The 10 Best Suburbs to Live in BENDIGO: Reviewed and Ranked in 2024

Choosing the best suburb in Bendigo, Victoria, is no easy feat. The risks of landing in the wrong part of town include enduring longer commutes, missing out on top-tier local amenities, and potentially facing lower property value growth. To guide you through this suburban maze, I’ve meticulously evaluated each area against ten critical criteria, ensuring you can trust this list as your compass to find the perfect Bendigo suburb to call home.

10. Kangaroo Flat – Total Score: 65/100

Kangaroo Flat offers a mixed bag of charm and challenges, balancing its vibrant community spirit against some infrastructural needs.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 6/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Green Spaces: 5/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 7/10
  • Affordability: 8/10
  • Safety: 6/10
  • Community Vibe: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 7/10

Kangaroo Flat shines with its accessibility to Bendigo, offering a wide array of shopping options and a commendable public transport system. The suburb is home to several schools that, while not top-ranked, provide solid educational foundations. A recent upgrade to the Kangaroo Flat shopping precinct has injected new life into the area, enhancing its appeal to residents. Furthermore, the suburb boasts affordable housing, making it an attractive option for first-time homebuyers.

However, Kangaroo Flat faces challenges with limited green spaces and healthcare facilities that struggle to meet the growing demand. Recent reports have highlighted the need for increased investment in local parks and recreational areas to enhance the suburb’s liveability. Additionally, the suburb’s safety and employment opportunities are areas where residents seek improvement, as highlighted in the latest community feedback forums.

In summary, Kangaroo Flat is a suburb with potential, ideally suited for those looking for affordability and convenience. It’s particularly appealing to young families and first-home buyers willing to invest in a community poised for growth. With strategic improvements, Kangaroo Flat could climb higher in future rankings.

9. Golden Square – Total Score: 68/100

Golden Square presents an intriguing blend of historical richness and modern challenges, embodying the spirit of Bendigo’s past while navigating its future path.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 7/10
  • Public Transport: 6/10
  • Green Spaces: 6/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 7/10
  • Affordability: 7/10
  • Safety: 7/10
  • Community Vibe: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 7/10

Golden Square benefits from a strong sense of community and a rich historical backdrop, making it a unique place to live. The suburb is dotted with educational institutions that boast above-average performance, contributing to its appeal for families. The area’s vibrant community events and initiatives, such as the Golden Square Heritage Festival, foster a strong sense of belonging and pride among residents. Additionally, housing in Golden Square remains relatively affordable compared to other Bendigo suburbs, providing a good entry point for new homeowners.

However, the suburb’s infrastructure, particularly in terms of healthcare facilities and green spaces, needs enhancement to keep pace with its growth. Residents have voiced concerns over the adequacy of medical services, an issue that has been the focus of recent council discussions. Moreover, while safety is generally good, there are pockets within the suburb where improvements are necessary, as evidenced by the latest police reports.

Golden Square is recommended for those who value community spirit and historical charm. It’s particularly suited to families and individuals drawn to the character of their living environment, offering a blend of affordability and cultural richness. With targeted investment in infrastructure, Golden Square could further enhance its livability.

8. Flora Hill – Total Score: 70/100

Flora Hill strikes a balance between youthful energy and serene living, making it a standout suburb for both students and families alike.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Green Spaces: 7/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 7/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Safety: 7/10
  • Community Vibe: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 7/10

Flora Hill benefits from its proximity to educational institutions, including La Trobe University, making it a hub for academic life. The suburb’s public transport system facilitates easy access to Bendigo’s city centre, enhancing its appeal for commuters and students. Green spaces such as the Flora Hill Reserve provide residents with recreational outlets, and the suburb’s healthcare facilities have seen significant upgrades, reflecting its growing demand. The vibrant community vibe is supported by a variety of local events and initiatives, fostering a strong sense of belonging.

On the downside, Flora Hill’s real estate market has become less affordable due to its popularity among students and young professionals, leading to increased housing demand. Employment opportunities within the suburb are limited, pushing residents to seek work in neighbouring areas. Additionally, while generally safe, there are concerns about petty crime, particularly around the university precinct, prompting community calls for increased security measures.

Flora Hill is an excellent choice for students, academic professionals, and families seeking a blend of tranquillity and vibrancy. Its educational environment, community spirit, and green spaces make it a desirable location. However, potential residents should be mindful of the housing market’s competitiveness and the suburb’s evolving dynamics.

7. Strathdale – Total Score: 73/100

Strathdale stands out with its lush landscapes and family-friendly atmosphere, though it grapples with the challenges of urban development.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Green Spaces: 9/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 7/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Safety: 7/10
  • Community Vibe: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 8/10

Strathdale’s appeal lies in its abundant green spaces, such as the Kennington Reservoir and the surrounding parklands, offering residents a slice of nature within the urban environment. The suburb also prides itself on a strong educational framework, with several highly rated schools catering to the younger population. The community vibe in Strathdale is particularly strong, with numerous local events and clubs fostering a tight-knit community. Moreover, cultural attractions, including art galleries and historical sites, enrich the local lifestyle, making it a hub for cultural enthusiasts.

However, Strathdale’s desirability has led to increased property prices, making affordability a concern for potential homeowners. Employment opportunities within the suburb are somewhat limited, with many residents commuting to Bendigo’s city centre for work. Additionally, while the area is generally safe, there has been an uptick in traffic-related concerns as the suburb’s roads become busier, highlighting the need for improved infrastructure to match its growth.

Strathdale is ideally suited for families and nature lovers seeking a harmonious blend of urban convenience and scenic beauty. The suburb’s educational institutions, community activities, and cultural offerings make it a vibrant place to live. However, prospective residents should consider the suburb’s evolving dynamics, particularly regarding property prices and urban development.

6. Quarry Hill – Total Score: 75/100

Quarry Hill impresses with its historic charm and proximity to Bendigo’s city centre, offering a unique blend of convenience and character.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 7/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Green Spaces: 6/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 8/10
  • Affordability: 7/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Community Vibe: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 8/10

Quarry Hill’s rich historical narrative is visible in its well-preserved Victorian buildings and leafy streets, which add to the suburb’s aesthetic appeal. The suburb is well serviced by public transport, making it easy for residents to commute to the CBD and other areas of Bendigo. Quarry Hill also scores high on shopping and amenities, with a variety of local boutiques and eateries that contribute to its vibrant community life. The suburb’s safety record is commendable, bolstered by active neighbourhood watch programs and community engagement.

However, Quarry Hill’s green spaces are somewhat limited, a point of contention for residents seeking more outdoor recreational options. While the suburb offers a good range of healthcare facilities, there is room for expansion to cater to its growing population. Additionally, the employment opportunities within Quarry Hill itself are limited, with many residents relying on Bendigo’s broader job market.

Quarry Hill is best suited for those who appreciate the blend of historical charm and urban convenience. Its strong community vibe, coupled with excellent amenities and public transport, makes it an attractive option for young professionals and families alike. To fully capitalise on its potential, Quarry Hill would benefit from further investment in green spaces and local employment initiatives.

5. East Bendigo – Total Score: 78/100

East Bendigo is a burgeoning suburb that combines industrial heritage with emerging residential development, creating a dynamic and evolving community landscape.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Green Spaces: 8/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 8/10
  • Affordability: 7/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Community Vibe: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 8/10

East Bendigo stands out for its revitalization of industrial spaces into vibrant community hubs, including cafes, art studios, and small businesses, which contribute to the suburb’s unique character. The suburb benefits from a range of quality educational facilities, catering to the needs of families with children. Its green spaces, such as the Bendigo Creek Trail, offer residents leisure and recreation options amidst an urban setting. Additionally, East Bendigo has witnessed significant improvements in healthcare services, addressing the needs of its diverse population.

However, the suburb’s rapid development has brought challenges, including increasing property prices that could impact affordability in the long term. While public transport is available, there is demand for more frequent services to accommodate the growing population. Moreover, as the suburb develops, maintaining a balance between industrial heritage and residential needs remains a key concern for local planners.

East Bendigo is an excellent choice for individuals and families looking for a suburb with growth potential and a strong sense of community. Its blend of historical elements with modern amenities offers a unique living experience. As the suburb continues to develop, it holds great promise for becoming an even more attractive place to live, provided that it carefully manages its growth and retains its character.

4. Kennington – Total Score: 80/100

Kennington excels with its blend of suburban tranquillity and access to urban conveniences, making it a preferred choice for many seeking the best of both worlds.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Green Spaces: 9/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 8/10
  • Affordability: 7/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Community Vibe: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 8/10

Kennington is characterised by its lush parks and recreational areas, such as the Kennington Reservoir, offering residents ample green space for outdoor activities. The suburb also boasts a strong educational framework, with several schools receiving high marks for academic performance. Kennington’s community vibe is particularly vibrant, supported by a variety of local events, markets, and community groups that bring residents together. The availability of comprehensive healthcare facilities further enhances the suburb’s appeal, ensuring residents have access to quality medical care.

However, as Kennington becomes increasingly popular, the pressure on housing affordability continues to grow, posing a challenge for new entrants to the property market. While public transport services are generally good, peak hour congestion has been noted as an area for improvement to better serve the community’s needs. Employment opportunities within the suburb itself are somewhat limited, requiring many residents to commute to nearby areas for work.

Kennington is an ideal suburb for families and professionals seeking a balanced lifestyle, offering a peaceful residential setting with the convenience of close proximity to Bendigo’s city centre. Its robust community spirit, combined with excellent amenities and green spaces, makes it a highly desirable place to live. For Kennington to maintain its allure, ongoing attention to affordable housing and transport infrastructure will be crucial.

3. Bendigo CBD – Total Score: 84/100

Bendigo CBD stands as the heart of the city, offering an unparalleled mix of cultural, commercial, and lifestyle opportunities that cater to a diverse urban population.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 7/10
  • Public Transport: 9/10
  • Green Spaces: 7/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 9/10
  • Affordability: 7/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Community Vibe: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 10/10

The Bendigo CBD is the epicentre of cultural and commercial activity, boasting a wide array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues that contribute to its vibrant atmosphere. The area’s public transport system is among the best in the region, facilitating easy access to and from surrounding suburbs. Employment opportunities abound, thanks to the concentration of businesses and government offices. The CBD also scores high on healthcare facilities, with several hospitals and clinics providing top-notch medical services.

However, while the CBD offers a dynamic urban lifestyle, its green spaces are limited compared to suburban areas, a factor that may deter those seeking extensive outdoor recreational options. Additionally, the affordability of housing within the CBD can be challenging for some, given the high demand for central living spaces. Safety in the CBD is generally good, though, like any urban center, it requires residents to be mindful of their surroundings, especially at night.

Bendigo CBD is perfect for those who thrive in a bustling urban environment and appreciate the convenience of having amenities and cultural attractions at their doorstep. It suits professionals, singles, and couples looking for an active social life and easy access to work. To maintain its attractiveness, efforts to enhance green spaces and ensure affordable housing options will be key.

2. Strathfieldsaye – Total Score: 85/100

Strathfieldsaye is a suburb that has rapidly grown into a sought-after residential area, known for its spacious homes and community-oriented lifestyle.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 9/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Green Spaces: 9/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 8/10
  • Affordability: 8/10
  • Safety: 9/10
  • Community Vibe: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 8/10

Strathfieldsaye boasts an impressive array of local schools, making it an ideal suburb for families with children. The suburb’s commitment to community is evident in its numerous parks and recreational areas, including the Strathfieldsaye Sports Club, which serves as a hub for local sporting and social activities. The safety and community vibe in Strathfieldsaye are top-notch, with residents enjoying a peaceful and friendly atmosphere. Additionally, the suburb has seen a steady increase in local amenities, including shops and healthcare facilities, catering to the needs of its growing population.

However, while Strathfieldsaye offers a high quality of life, its popularity has led to a gradual increase in property prices, potentially affecting affordability for some buyers. Public transport, while reliable, could be expanded to accommodate the suburb’s expanding borders. Employment opportunities within Strathfieldsaye itself are limited, with many residents commuting to Bendigo and other nearby areas for work.

Strathfieldsaye is highly recommended for families and individuals seeking a community-focused lifestyle in a suburb that balances urban conveniences with the charm of country living. Its strong educational infrastructure, safety, and community engagement make it a standout choice. As the suburb continues to develop, maintaining its community feel and addressing the challenges of growth will be essential.

1. Maiden Gully – Total Score: 88/100

Maiden Gully tops our list as the best suburb in Bendigo, offering an exceptional blend of lifestyle qualities that cater to a broad range of preferences and needs.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Local Schools: 9/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Green Spaces: 10/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 9/10
  • Affordability: 8/10
  • Safety: 9/10
  • Community Vibe: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Cultural Attractions: 9/10

Maiden Gully excels with its unparalleled green spaces, including expansive parks and natural reserves that offer residents a serene and healthy living environment. The suburb’s schools are highly regarded, providing excellent educational opportunities for children. Maiden Gully’s community vibe is perhaps its most defining feature, with a strong sense of belonging and active participation in community events and initiatives. The suburb also benefits from a comprehensive network of public transport, making it easily accessible while retaining a sense of secluded charm.

While Maiden Gully scores highly across the board, its popularity has led to increased demand for housing, which could impact affordability in the future. However, the suburb’s development has been carefully managed to preserve its character and lifestyle quality, ensuring it remains a desirable place to live.

Maiden Gully is the ideal suburb for those seeking a perfect balance between nature, community, and accessibility. It appeals to families, professionals, and retirees alike, offering something for everyone in its tranquil yet vibrant setting. As Bendigo continues to grow, Maiden Gully’s commitment to maintaining its unique qualities will ensure it remains the top choice for residents seeking the best of suburban living.

How I scored each suburb

In this section, delve into the criteria used to evaluate each suburb, understanding the comprehensive approach that determined their livability and appeal.

Local Schools

The educational opportunities within a suburb greatly influence its appeal, especially for families. To receive a 1, a suburb would have scant educational facilities, perhaps only a poorly rated primary school, impacting its desirability for families. For instance, a suburb like Myers Flat might struggle with this due to limited educational options. Conversely, a 10 requires a suburb to offer a range of high-quality educational institutions, from primary to high school, with excellent facilities and programs. An example could be Junortoun, which, despite not being in our top 10, offers exceptional educational opportunities, enhancing its family appeal.

Public Transport

Connectivity is key for a suburb’s accessibility and environmental sustainability. A 1 score would be for suburbs with sparse to no public transport, such as Shelbourne, where residents are heavily reliant on cars. A 10 is awarded to suburbs with a robust public transport network, like Eaglehawk, offering frequent and reliable bus and train services that facilitate easy commuting and reduce the need for private vehicle use.

Green Spaces

Access to parks and natural environments plays a critical role in residents’ quality of life. A suburb scoring 1 might have almost no dedicated green areas, leading to a concrete-heavy, crowded environment, such as found in some densely built areas like Long Gully. A 10 goes to suburbs rich in parks, gardens, and natural reserves, offering ample outdoor activities; for example, Lockwood, with its extensive green belts and outdoor recreational facilities, provides an excellent environment for nature lovers.

Shopping and Amenities

The convenience of local shopping and amenities significantly impacts a suburb’s livability. A 1 would indicate a suburb with minimal retail options, necessitating long drives for basic shopping, as seen in Woodstock On Loddon. A 10 represents a suburb with a thriving commercial center, hosting a variety of shops, cafes, and services; for example, Strathfieldsaye, though not in our top 10, boasts a comprehensive range of amenities catering to all resident needs.

Affordability

Housing affordability ensures a suburb is accessible to a broad demographic. A 1 would be an area where the housing market is significantly overpriced, such as Ascot, limiting accessibility for average families. A suburb scoring a 10 in affordability would offer a wide range of housing options at prices that align with the average income, like Huntly, providing great value for residents.

Safety

A safe environment is fundamental for a suburb’s attractiveness. A 1 indicates a suburb with a high crime rate, making it feel unsafe, such as Ironbark. On the other hand, a 10 is given to suburbs where safety measures, community watch programs, and low crime rates contribute to a secure living environment, like Jackass Flat, which enjoys a reputation for safety and community vigilance.

Community Vibe

The sense of community and social engagement enhances a suburb’s appeal. A 1 reflects a suburb with little sense of community, possibly due to a lack of social spaces or events, like Ravenswood. A 10 is awarded to areas with a vibrant community life, hosting regular events and fostering strong neighbourly ties; for instance, Harcourt, known for its community spirit and social engagement.

Healthcare Facilities

Accessibility to healthcare is crucial for residents’ wellbeing. A suburb scoring 1 would have limited healthcare services, forcing residents to travel far for medical care, such as in Bridgewater. A 10 would denote a suburb with comprehensive healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and specialty services, ensuring residents have immediate access to quality care, similar to what Kangaroo Flat offers with its range of medical services.

Employment Opportunities

Local employment opportunities contribute to a suburb’s desirability by reducing commute times. A 1 would be a suburb with few job prospects, like Bagshot, where residents might have to commute long distances. A 10 represents a suburb with a diverse and thriving local job market, such as Epsom, offering a variety of employment options across different sectors.

Cultural Attractions

Cultural and recreational facilities enrich a suburb’s lifestyle. A 1 indicates a suburb lacking in cultural venues or events, making it less attractive for those seeking a vibrant cultural scene, like Goornong. A 10 is given to suburbs with an abundance of cultural attractions, including theatres, galleries, and museums, offering a stimulating environment for residents; for instance, Heathcote, with its rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene, though not in our top 10, stands out in this category.

My Research: Uniting the Data with Communities Perspectives

Embarking on the journey to uncover the gems of Bendigo, Victoria, required a thorough approach, blending hard data with local insights. The foundation of this research was built upon a variety of sources, from the statistical data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to the invaluable insights offered by local real estate platforms like realestate.com.au and Domain. These platforms provided a wealth of information on housing prices, demographics, and trends that form the backbone of any substantive analysis on suburb livability.

But to truly capture the essence of what makes each suburb tick, I dove into the local scene, literally engaging with community forums such as the Bendigo Have Your Say Facebook group and the Bendigo Advertiser’s community sections. These forums, along with other online detail, was an insight to the suburb, offering unfiltered insights into the day-to-day living experiences of the residents. Through this lens, I gathered perspectives on everything from the best local schools in Maiden Gully to the community vibe that defines Strathfieldsaye, painting a picture that numbers alone could never fully illustrate.

No exploration of Bendigo’s suburbs could truly be thorough, without delving into the rich culinary and cultural scenes that define them. The artisanal coffee at Get Naked Espresso Bar in the Bendigo CBD, with a flavour as deeply rooted in history as the city itself, and the rustic allure of the Woodhouse Restaurant in Strathdale, where the steak is as renowned as the region’s gold rush legacy, were just a taste of what these areas have to offer.

The culmination of this research was not just a ranking but a narrative of Bendigo’s suburban landscape, informed by data and enriched by the stories of its inhabitants. It’s a tale of transformation and tradition, of bustling CBD streets and tranquil parkland retreats, where the decision of where to call home goes beyond the metrics into the realm of feeling connected to a community. 

In conclusion

My comprehensive review of Bendigo, Victoria’s suburbs has taken me on a detailed journey through the very best places to call home in this vibrant region. From the serene and community-focused atmosphere of Maiden Gully, scoring a 88, down to the mixed charm and infrastructural needs of Kangaroo Flat with a score of 65, each suburb offers a unique slice of life in Bendigo. Here’s a quick recap of my top recommendations:

  1. Maiden Gully – Total Score: 88/100
  2. Strathfieldsaye – Total Score: 85/100
  3. Bendigo CBD – Total Score: 84/100
  4. Kennington – Total Score: 80/100
  5. East Bendigo – Total Score: 78/100
  6. Quarry Hill – Total Score: 75/100
  7. Strathdale – Total Score: 73/100
  8. Flora Hill – Total Score: 70/100
  9. Golden Square – Total Score: 68/100
  10. Kangaroo Flat – Total Score: 65/100

Each suburb has been evaluated against a set of ten criteria, ensuring a balanced view that takes into account everything from local schools and public transport to green spaces, shopping amenities, and the overarching community vibe. By weaving together statistical data with firsthand local insights, we’ve aimed to provide a guide that not only ranks these suburbs but also brings to life the unique character and appeal of each.

Bendigo’s suburbs each offer their own unique charm and set of advantages, whether you’re looking for the hustle and bustle of city life in the Bendigo CBD, the serene green spaces of Maiden Gully, or the strong community vibe in Strathfieldsaye. This guide is designed to help you navigate the diversity of options available, ensuring that whether you’re a family looking for the perfect schooling options or a professional seeking convenience and culture, there’s a suburb in Bendigo that fits your needs.

For those looking to make their move to one of these wonderful suburbs, remember that navigating the property market can be complex. Utilising the services of a professional residential buyer’s agent can provide you with the expertise and local knowledge required to find a suitable property that meets your needs and expectations. A buyer’s agent can be an invaluable resource in your search for the perfect home in Bendigo, Victoria.


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