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

Identifying the best suburbs in Geelong is akin to finding the perfect blend of tea; it’s subjective and varies widely based on individual taste. Choosing the wrong suburb can lead to longer commutes, fewer amenities, and a mismatch with community vibes. As a seasoned real estate professional, I’ve thoroughly researched and evaluated various suburbs against a set of 10 criteria, ensuring you can trust this guide to find your ideal Geelong suburb.

10. Corio – Total Score: 65/100

Corio, with its blend of industrial vibrancy and suburban quiet, presents an intriguing dichotomy.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 8/10
  • Safety: 6/10
  • Schools: 7/10
  • Public Transport: 6/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 6/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 7/10
  • Community Vibe: 5/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 5/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 8/10

Corio shines with its affordability and cultural diversity. The suburb boasts several well-regarded schools, such as Corio Bay Senior College, enhancing its appeal to families. Shopping is a breeze with the Corio Central Shopping Centre providing a variety of options. The suburb’s green spaces, like Stead Park, offer residents a pleasant outdoor experience.

However, it’s not without its drawbacks. Safety concerns have been noted, with recent statistics showing a higher-than-average crime rate. Employment opportunities are limited, primarily focusing on the industrial sector. The community vibe, while friendly, lacks the cohesion found in more established suburbs.

Corio is best suited for those seeking affordability and don’t mind a more industrial setting. It’s ideal for young families and individuals starting their careers, especially those who value cultural diversity and basic amenities.

9. Bell Post Hill – Total Score: 68/100

Bell Post Hill offers a quiet, family-friendly atmosphere but faces challenges with public transport and limited dining options.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Safety: 7/10
  • Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 4/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 7/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 6/10
  • Community Vibe: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 9/10

Bell Post Hill’s strength lies in its exceptional schools, such as the well-regarded Kardinia International College, making it a haven for families with school-aged children. The suburb also scores high in healthcare facilities, with several clinics and a hospital nearby. Its parks, like the Bell Post Hill Reserve, offer ample green space for recreation.

On the downside, Bell Post Hill’s public transport options are limited, which can be inconvenient for those without private vehicles. The suburb’s dining scene and nightlife are somewhat lacking, which might not appeal to those seeking a vibrant social life.

Bell Post Hill is a perfect match for families who highly align to education and healthcare, whilst preferring a quieter lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of more central areas.

8. Newcomb – Total Score: 70/100

Newcomb balances affordability with access to amenities, yet struggles with higher crime rates and limited green spaces.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 9/10
  • Safety: 6/10
  • Schools: 6/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 5/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 8/10
  • Community Vibe: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 6/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 9/10

Newcomb is known for its excellent affordability, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers. The suburb is well-serviced by public transport and offers a variety of shopping amenities, including the Newcomb Central Shopping Centre.

However, it’s important to note the higher crime rates compared to other suburbs, which may concern some residents. The availability of parks and recreational areas is also limited, which might not appeal to those seeking an active outdoor lifestyle.

Newcomb is ideal for first-home buyers or investors looking for affordability and convenience but may not be the best fit for those prioritising safety and outdoor activities.

7. Highton – Total Score: 72/100

Highton impresses with its scenic views and quality schools but is marked down for its higher cost of living and limited public transport.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 4/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Schools: 9/10
  • Public Transport: 5/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 8/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 7/10
  • Community Vibe: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 10/10

Highton, known for its panoramic views of the Barwon River, offers an appealing environment for families and nature lovers. The suburb’s schools, such as Highton Primary School, are highly rated, providing excellent educational opportunities. The community vibe is strong, with numerous local events fostering a sense of togetherness.

However, the cost of living in Highton is higher than in some other Geelong suburbs, potentially posing a challenge for budget-conscious residents. Additionally, public transport services are less frequent, which might inconvenience those relying on it for daily commutes.

Highton is most suitable for families and professionals who emphasise the importance of education and community, and are willing to invest in a higher standard of living.

6. Waurn Ponds – Total Score: 73/100

Waurn Ponds strikes a balance with its expanding shopping district and leisure facilities, though it falls short in public transport and cultural diversity.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Safety: 7/10
  • Schools: 7/10
  • Public Transport: 5/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 9/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 8/10
  • Community Vibe: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 10/10

Waurn Ponds is quickly becoming a hub for shopping and entertainment, with the expansive Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre and the nearby Leisurelink Aquatic and Recreation Centre. The suburb is also home to Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus, attracting students and academics alike.

However, its public transport system is not as developed as in other suburbs, and the cultural diversity is somewhat limited. This may impact those who value a more varied and multicultural community.

Waurn Ponds is an ideal choice for families and young professionals seeking a blend of suburban comfort and access to shopping and leisure facilities, without the need for extensive public transport.

5. Grovedale – Total Score: 76/100

Grovedale offers a friendly community and good amenities, yet struggles with traffic congestion and limited nightlife options.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 7/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Schools: 7/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 8/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 7/10
  • Community Vibe: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 9/10

Grovedale is known for its warm and welcoming community, making it an ideal place for families and those looking for a friendly neighbourhood. The suburb boasts several parks and recreational areas, like the Grovedale Recreation Reserve, offering residents a great outdoor lifestyle. Shopping and amenities are conveniently accessible, adding to the suburb’s appeal.

However, Grovedale faces challenges with traffic, especially during peak hours, and those seeking a vibrant nightlife might find the options limited. Additionally, the area has limited public transportation options, which can be inconvenient for those without personal vehicles. Moreover, the local shopping and dining scene is somewhat restricted, lacking the diversity and abundance found in other suburbs.

Grovedale is best suited for families and individuals who value community spirit and a suburban lifestyle but can manage some traffic inconveniences.

4. Belmont – Total Score: 78/100

Belmont, with its excellent shopping options and riverside charm, is slightly marred by its higher property prices and busy traffic.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 8/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 9/10
  • Community Vibe: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 10/10

Belmont is a favourite among many for its proximity to the Barwon River, offering beautiful scenery and a range of outdoor activities. The suburb is well-equipped with shopping facilities like the Belmont Village Shopping Centre and excellent healthcare facilities. Schools in Belmont are highly regarded, adding to its family-friendly appeal.

The downside of Belmont is the higher property prices, making it less affordable than some neighbouring suburbs. Traffic congestion, particularly along High Street, can be a challenge for residents.

Belmont is ideal for those who are looking for a balance of nature, shopping, and quality amenities, and are willing to invest in a higher-cost area.

3. Newtown – Total Score: 80/100

Newtown excels with its historic charm and strong community spirit but faces challenges with affordability and limited public transport options.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 4/10
  • Safety: 9/10
  • Schools: 9/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 8/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 8/10
  • Community Vibe: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 10/10

Newtown, known for its beautiful Victorian-era homes and leafy streets, offers a prestigious living environment. The suburb has some of the best schools in Geelong, like Geelong College, appealing to families prioritising education. Its community vibe is bolstered by various local events and a strong sense of neighbourhood solidarity.

The main drawback of Newtown is its high cost of living, making it less accessible for budget-conscious buyers. Public transport services are also less frequent compared to other suburbs, which might be a concern for daily commuters.

Newtown is best suited for families and individuals seeking an upscale, community-focused environment, and who are willing to invest in premium living standards.

2. Geelong West – Total Score: 82/100

Geelong West combines urban convenience with a vibrant cultural scene, though it grapples with parking issues and a busy atmosphere.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 7/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 8/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 9/10
  • Community Vibe: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 10/10

Geelong West is renowned for its lively Pakington Street, known for its eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants, creating a bustling urban atmosphere. The suburb has good public transport connectivity and several schools, making it a convenient choice for families and professionals alike. The sense of community is strong, with various cultural and social events throughout the year.

However, the popularity of the area can lead to parking difficulties and a generally busy environment, which might not suit those seeking a quieter, more laid-back suburb. Furthermore, the high demand for housing in this area often results in increased property prices and rent, making it less accessible for budget-conscious individuals. Additionally, the bustling streets and frequent social events might be overwhelming for those who prefer a more tranquil and less crowded living space.

Geelong West is perfect for those who appreciate a lively, culturally-rich environment and don’t mind the hustle and bustle of urban life.

1. East Geelong – Total Score: 85/100

Geelong Harbour, image by Bob Feryl

East Geelong stands out with its balance of peaceful residential streets and proximity to central Geelong, though it comes with a higher price tag and limited nightlife.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Safety: 9/10
  • Schools: 9/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Parks and Recreation: 9/10
  • Shopping and Amenities: 8/10
  • Community Vibe: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 10/10

East Geelong is a gem for those seeking a suburb that offers both tranquillity and easy access to the city’s heart. Its parks, such as Eastern Park and the Geelong Botanic Gardens, provide beautiful green spaces for relaxation and recreation. The suburb boasts excellent schools and healthcare facilities, making it a top choice for families and health-conscious individuals.

The main limitation of East Geelong is its higher property prices, reflecting its desirability and prime location. Additionally, those looking for a vibrant nightlife might find the options in East Geelong somewhat limited.

East Geelong is ideal for families, professionals, and anyone who values a quiet yet connected lifestyle, and is prepared to invest in a high-quality living environment.

How I Scored Each Suburb

In this section, you’ll gain insights into how each suburb was evaluated based on specific criteria, helping you understand the strengths and weaknesses that influenced their rankings.

Affordability

Affordability was measured by comparing average housing prices and living costs in each suburb. This metric is crucial as it impacts the financial feasibility for residents. A score of 1 would be given to a suburb where housing prices are significantly higher than the average in Geelong, like Drumcondra. Conversely, a suburb like Norlane, where housing prices are notably lower than the city’s average, would score a 10 in affordability.

Safety

Safety was assessed based on crime rates and residents’ perceptions of safety. This is important because a safe environment is a top priority for many residents. A suburb like Whittington, which might have higher crime rates, would score 1, while a suburb with exceptionally low crime rates and a strong sense of community security, like Newtown, would score a 10.

Schools

The quality and accessibility of educational institutions within the suburb were considered. Good schools are a key factor for families with children. A score of 1 would be assigned to a suburb with limited or poorly-rated educational facilities, such as Breakwater, while a suburb with a range of highly-regarded schools, like Highton, would score 10.

Public Transport

The availability and frequency of public transport services were evaluated. Efficient public transport is essential for connectivity and accessibility. A suburb with sparse or unreliable public transport, like Lovely Banks, would score 1. In contrast, a suburb with extensive and reliable public transport options, like Geelong West, would score 10.

Parks and Recreation

This criterion looked at the availability and quality of parks, recreational facilities, and green spaces. These are important for leisure and quality of life. A suburb with scarce green spaces or poorly maintained facilities, such as Corio, might score 1, whereas a suburb with abundant, well-maintained parks and recreational areas, like East Geelong, would score 10.

Shopping and Amenities

The availability and variety of shopping centers, grocery stores, and essential amenities were considered. This affects the convenience of living in a suburb. A suburb with limited shopping and amenities, like Moolap, would score 1, while a suburb with a wide range of shopping options and amenities, like Belmont, would score 10.

Community Vibe

The sense of community, including neighbourliness and social activities, was assessed. A strong community feel enhances the living experience. A suburb with a fragmented or unfriendly community, like North Geelong, might score 1, whereas a suburb with a vibrant, cohesive community, like Newtown, would score 10.

Employment Opportunities

The availability of job opportunities within or near the suburb was evaluated. This is significant for residents’ livelihoods and career growth. A suburb with scarce employment opportunities, like Bell Park, would score 1, while a suburb with abundant job options, like Geelong West, would score 10.

Healthcare Facilities

The accessibility and quality of healthcare services in the suburb were examined. Good healthcare facilities are essential for residents’ wellbeing. A suburb with limited healthcare facilities, like St Albans Park, might score 1, while a suburb with excellent healthcare services, like Belmont, would score 10.

Cultural Diversity

This criterion measured the cultural mix and inclusivity of the suburb. Cultural diversity enriches community life and fosters tolerance. A suburb with minimal cultural diversity, like Marshall, would score 1, whereas a suburb with a rich, diverse cultural scene, like Geelong West, would score 10.

My Research Journey: Merging Data with Local Gems

In crafting this comprehensive suburb guide, my approach was to marry both data and local insights. My research involved reviewing statistical data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), local council reports from the City of Greater Geelong, and real estate market analyses from major property websites like realestate.com.au and Domain. These resources provided an objective view of each suburb’s housing market, demographic makeup, and overall livability.

To further capture the true essence of each of the suburbs in Geelong, I turned to the locals themselves. I spent countless mornings chatting with baristas and customers in popular cafes like Box Office Café in Geelong West or the Winter’s Café in Newtown. These casual conversations with residents provided invaluable insights into the day-to-day living experience in each area, from the friendliness of neighbours to the little quirks that make each suburb unique.

I also made it a point to visit each suburb, walking the streets, visiting local businesses, and even dining in renowned eateries such as the Tulip Bar & Restaurant in Geelong West or the Bistrot St Jean in East Geelong. Experiencing these suburbs firsthand allowed me to gauge the local vibe, insights, feeling and the quality of amenities, and the overall atmosphere that statistics can’t quite encapsulate.

In Conclusion

In summarising the top suburbs in Geelong for 2024, our comprehensive research and analysis have brought to light the unique qualities of each area, catering to a variety of preferences and needs. Here’s a recap of my best suburbs to live in Geelong, along with their total scores:

  1. East Geelong – Total Score: 85/100
  2. Geelong West – Total Score: 82/100
  3. Newtown – Total Score: 80/100
  4. Belmont – Total Score: 78/100
  5. Grovedale – Total Score: 76/100
  6. Waurn Ponds – Total Score: 74/100
  7. Highton – Total Score: 72/100
  8. Newcomb – Total Score: 70/100
  9. Bell Post Hill – Total Score: 68/100
  10. Corio – Total Score: 65/100

Whether you’re seeking the bustling urban vibe of Geelong West, the tranquil riverside charm of Belmont, or the affordable living in Corio, Geelong offers a suburb to match every lifestyle. Each suburb has been carefully assessed on a variety of factors to ensure you can make an informed decision about your future home.

If you find yourself needing assistance in navigating the property market in Geelong, consider enlisting the help of a professional residential buyer’s agent. They can provide expert guidance and support in finding a property that perfectly aligns with your preferences, needs, and budget. With the right help, your dream home in Geelong could be just around the corner.


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