The 10 Best Suburbs to Live in the EASTERN SUBURBS of Melbourne: Reviewed and Ranked in 2024

Unearthing the most fitting place to live amidst the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne is like embarking on a quest to discover a rare treasure within the tapestry of city living.  The wrong choice can lead to regrettable issues: strained commutes, lacklustre local amenities, or a community vibe that just doesn’t gel. My extensive research and expertise as a residential real estate professional in this area assure you that this guide is your beacon to the ideal suburb for your needs.

Princes Bridge and Flinders St Melbourne Skyline

10. Mitcham (Total Score: 65/100)

Yarra Flats Park facing the Melbourne skyline, image by Bob Tan

Mitcham, with its balanced blend of urban convenience and green spaces / park lands, scores a respectable 65 out of 100, in our assessment.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 7/10
  • Quality of Schools: 6/10
  • Local Amenities: 6/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 7/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Green Spaces: 8/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 5/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Housing Quality: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10

Positives of living in Mitcham include its efficient public transport system, evident in the recently upgraded Mitcham Station. The suburb also boasts numerous parks and reserves, like the lush Halliday Park, offering a serene escape from the urban bustle. Additionally, Mitcham features a range of housing options, from charming post-war homes to modern apartments, catering to diverse preferences. The local schools, such as Mitcham Primary, are well-regarded, enhancing the suburb’s family-friendly appeal.

However, Mitcham isn’t without its drawbacks. The suburb has experienced a rise in property prices, making affordability a concern for some potential residents. The community life can seem lacking compared to more vibrant neighbouring suburbs, and some areas have seen an uptick in minor crimes, as reported in local news.

In summary, Mitcham is ideal for families and individuals seeking a balance between city life and natural surroundings, though it may not suit those looking for a bustling community feel or absolute affordability.

Interested in Mitcham?

9. Doncaster (Total Score: 68/100)

Doncaster CBD, image by Bob Tan

Doncaster, known for its shopping centers and scenic views, achieves a score of 68 out of 100.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 6/10
  • Quality of Schools: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 6/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Green Spaces: 7/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Housing Quality: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 6/10

Doncaster’s strengths lie in its excellent shopping facilities, including the well-known Westfield Doncaster, and its array of dining options. The suburb offers a variety of schools, such as Doncaster Secondary College, noted for their solid educational standards. Green spaces like Ruffey Lake Park provide residents with ample outdoor activities. Furthermore, the suburb has a range of housing options, from classic homes to contemporary apartments, accommodating diverse tastes and budgets.

However, Doncaster faces challenges in terms of affordability, with housing prices seeing a steady increase. Public transport options are somewhat limited, making commuting a potential issue for those without private vehicles. Additionally, healthcare facilities in the area are not as abundant or diverse as in some neighbouring suburbs, as reported by local health surveys.

Doncaster is best suited for families and individuals who prioritise shopping amenities and a suburban feel but may not be the best fit for those seeking extensive public transport options or more affordable living.

Interested in Doncaster?

8. Box Hill (Total Score: 70/100)

Box Hill, image by Bob Tan

Box Hill, a suburb known for its multicultural vibrancy, scores a commendable 70 out of 100.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 8/10
  • Quality of Schools: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 6/10
  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Green Spaces: 6/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Housing Quality: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10

Box Hill is celebrated for its cultural diversity, reflected in its eclectic food scene and community events. The suburb is also well-serviced by public transport, including Box Hill Station, making commuting convenient. Its healthcare facilities, like the Box Hill Hospital, are among the best in the region. Additionally, the suburb offers a range of educational institutions, such as Box Hill Senior Secondary College, known for their inclusive and supportive environment.

However, Box Hill’s increasing popularity has led to a rise in housing prices, making it less affordable for some. While it has green spaces like Box Hill Gardens, they are relatively limited compared to larger suburban parks. The suburb has also faced challenges with rising crime rates in certain areas, as highlighted in recent police reports.

Box Hill is an excellent choice for those who appreciate cultural diversity and excellent public amenities, but it may not be the ideal fit for those looking for more affordable housing or extensive green spaces.

Interested in Box Hill?

7. Burwood (Total Score: 72/100)

Melbournes Skyline from Burwood, image by Bob Tan

Burwood, with its blend of academic atmosphere and suburban charm, achieves a score of 72 out of 100.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 7/10
  • Quality of Schools: 8/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Green Spaces: 8/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Housing Quality: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10

Burwood is noted for its educational institutions, including the prestigious Deakin University, making it a hub for students and academics. The suburb offers a peaceful residential atmosphere with a good selection of local shops and cafes. Green spaces like Wattle Park provide residents with outdoor recreational opportunities. Housing in Burwood ranges from classic suburban homes to modern developments, catering to different preferences.

The challenges in Burwood include its relatively moderate affordability, as property prices have been steadily increasing. The community and cultural life in Burwood is growing but still lags behind more established suburbs. Additionally, while generally safe, there have been occasional reports of petty crime in the area.

Burwood is particularly suitable for students, academic professionals, and families looking for a quiet, education-focused environment. However, it might not be the best choice for those seeking a bustling community life or more affordable housing options.

Interested in Burwood?

6. Camberwell (Total Score: 74/100)

Camberwell, famed for its leafy streets and historic charm, scores a solid 74 out of 100.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 8/10
  • Quality of Schools: 8/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 7/10
  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Green Spaces: 8/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Housing Quality: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10

Camberwell is renowned for its beautiful heritage homes and well-maintained gardens, creating an aesthetically pleasing environment. The suburb boasts excellent schools, like Camberwell High School, and is well-serviced by public transport, including trams and Camberwell Station. The suburb’s shopping district, centered around Burke Road, offers a variety of retail and dining experiences. Additionally, parks such as the Camberwell Sports Ground provide ample green spaces for recreation.

However, the high desirability of Camberwell has resulted in higher property prices, which may be a barrier for some. While it generally enjoys a low crime rate, there are occasional reports of property-related crimes. The suburb also faces some traffic congestion, particularly around major commercial areas.

Camberwell is ideal for those seeking a high-quality suburban lifestyle with excellent amenities, though it may not suit those looking for more affordable housing options or a faster-paced urban environment.

Interested in Camberwell?

5. Glen Waverley (Total Score: 76/100)

Glen Waverley Shopping Center, image by Bob Tan

Glen Waverley, known for its vibrant community and excellent educational facilities, scores an impressive 76 out of 100.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 7/10
  • Quality of Schools: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 8/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Green Spaces: 8/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Housing Quality: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10

Glen Waverley is a hub of activity, with its bustling Kingsway dining and entertainment precinct offering a diverse range of cuisines and leisure activities. The suburb is home to some of the best schools in the region, such as Glen Waverley Secondary College, making it a top choice for families. Its numerous parks and reserves, like Jells Park, provide beautiful spaces for outdoor activities. Housing in Glen Waverley is varied, with options ranging from traditional family homes to modern apartments.

Despite these advantages, Glen Waverley’s popularity has led to a rise in property prices, impacting affordability. The suburb can experience heavy traffic, especially near shopping centers and schools. Additionally, while the healthcare facilities are adequate, they can be stretched during peak times.

Glen Waverley is particularly suited to families and individuals who prioritise education and a vibrant community life but might not be the best fit for those looking for more affordable living options or a quieter suburb.

Interested in Glen Waverley?

4. Surrey Hills (Total Score: 78/100)

Surrey Hills, with its tranquil streets and high-quality living standards, earns a commendable 78 out of 100.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 8/10
  • Quality of Schools: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Green Spaces: 8/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Housing Quality: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10

Surrey Hills is characterised by its peaceful environment and picturesque streets lined with Edwardian and Victorian homes. The suburb offers high-standard educational institutions, including Surrey Hills Primary School. It’s well-connected by public transport, making commuting to the city center convenient. The suburb’s green spaces, such as Surrey Gardens, are well-maintained and provide a serene backdrop for residents.

However, the high desirability of Surrey Hills has resulted in significant property price increases, making it less accessible for some buyers. While it boasts a low crime rate, the suburb is not immune to occasional petty crimes. Furthermore, while Surrey Hills has good local amenities, it may not offer the same level of variety as more bustling suburbs.

Surrey Hills is best suited for those seeking a quiet, family-friendly suburb with high-quality living standards. It’s ideal for families and older couples, but may not be the best option for those looking for affordability or a more dynamic community life.

Interested in Surrey Hills?

3. Mont Albert (Total Score: 80/100)

Mont Albert, known for its elegant charm and community-focused atmosphere, scores a notable 80 out of 100.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 8/10
  • Quality of Schools: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Green Spaces: 8/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Housing Quality: 10/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10

Mont Albert is distinguished by its beautiful heritage homes and well-kept gardens, providing a visually appealing environment. The suburb is home to some of the best educational institutions in the area, such as Mont Albert Primary School. It has a strong sense of community, with local events and markets fostering a close-knit atmosphere. The suburb’s parks, like Kingsley Gardens, offer lovely settings for leisure and family time.

The primary drawback of Mont Albert is its high property prices, reflecting its desirability but also limiting accessibility for some. The suburb’s calmness also means that it lacks the vibrancy of more urban areas, which might not appeal to everyone. Additionally, while crime rates are low, residents should still be mindful of basic security measures.

Mont Albert is an excellent choice for families and individuals who value a peaceful, community-oriented lifestyle and are willing to invest in a premium living experience. However, it might not be the best fit for those seeking more affordable options or a bustling urban atmosphere.

Interested in Mont Albert?

2. Kew (Total Score: 88/100)

Melbourne CBD, from Kew, image by Philip Mallis

Kew, celebrated for its prestigious schools and leafy environs, achieves a high score of 88 out of 100.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 9/10
  • Quality of Schools: 10/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 9/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Green Spaces: 9/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Housing Quality: 10/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10

Kew is known for its excellent educational facilities, including prestigious schools like Trinity Grammar School and Xavier College. The suburb boasts an array of local amenities, such as high-end shops and gourmet eateries, particularly along High Street. Its numerous parks and gardens, like Alexandra Gardens, provide beautiful spaces for relaxation and recreation. Kew also features an impressive range of high-quality housing, from historic mansions to contemporary residences.

The primary challenge in Kew is affordability; its desirability has led to high property prices. While the suburb is well-connected by public transport, traffic can be an issue during peak times. Furthermore, despite its many positives, Kew might not offer the dynamic nightlife or cultural diversity found in more urbanised areas.

Kew is ideally suited for those who prioritise education, quality of living, and a serene environment. It’s perfect for families and professionals who are seeking an upscale, peaceful suburb, but it might be less appealing for those seeking more affordable or cosmopolitan living options.

Interested in Kew?

1. Balwyn (Total Score: 92/100)

La Trobe St North Balwyn, image by Liam Davies

Balwyn, with its unbeatable combination of lifestyle, education, and community, tops the list with a score of 92 out of 100.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Public Transport Accessibility: 9/10
  • Quality of Schools: 10/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rate: 10/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Green Spaces: 10/10
  • Community and Cultural Life: 10/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Housing Quality: 10/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 10/10

Balwyn stands out for its exceptional quality of schools, including the renowned Balwyn High School, making it a top choice for families. The suburb is characterised by its safety, with one of the lowest crime rates in Melbourne. It offers a range of local amenities, from boutique shops to fine dining, particularly along Whitehorse Road. The housing in Balwyn is of high quality, featuring beautiful, well-maintained properties. Additionally, the suburb is rich in green spaces, such as Maranoa Gardens, providing a serene environment for residents.

However, the high desirability of Balwyn has led to increased property prices, which might be a concern for some buyers. While the suburb has excellent public transport, it can experience traffic congestion, especially during school drop-off and pick-up times. Additionally, despite its many advantages, Balwyn’s serene character means it may lack the vibrancy of inner-city suburbs.

Balwyn is the perfect choice for those seeking a high-quality, family-friendly environment with top-notch educational facilities. It’s particularly suited for families and professionals looking for an affluent, peaceful suburb. However, those looking for a more affordable or lively urban experience might find it less suitable.

Interested in Balwyn?

How I Scored Each Suburb

In the following section, you’ll gain insight into the methodology I used to score each suburb, offering a transparent view of how the rankings were determined.

Public Transport Accessibility

Public Transport Accessibility is crucial for commuting, reducing the reliance on private vehicles, and fostering sustainable living. A suburb scoring 1 in this category would have minimal to no public transport options, like a suburb with no train station or infrequent bus services. For instance, Park Orchards in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne scores low due to its limited public transport. Conversely, a score of 10 represents excellent public transport links, like frequent train and bus services. A good example is Glen Waverley, which boasts a major train station and several bus routes, ensuring high connectivity.

Quality of Schools

The Quality of Schools is a vital factor for families, impacting children’s education and overall development. A suburb with a score of 1 in this area might have schools with poor facilities or low academic performance. An example would be Scoresby, where some schools may not meet the higher standards seen elsewhere. In contrast, a score of 10 would be given to a suburb with highly rated schools, excellent facilities, and a strong academic record. Canterbury, not in the top 10 list, is an example, known for its exceptional schools.

Local Amenities

Local Amenities include shops, restaurants, parks, and leisure facilities, crucial for a convenient and enjoyable lifestyle. A score of 1 would be indicative of a suburb with very few amenities, such as a lack of shopping centers or dining options. Montrose, for example, has fewer amenities compared to more developed suburbs. A suburb scoring 10 would have a rich array of amenities, like bustling shopping districts and diverse dining options. Blackburn, not in the top 10, exemplifies this with its comprehensive range of local amenities.

Safety and Crime Rate

Safety and Crime Rate is a primary concern, impacting the quality of life and peace of mind. A suburb with a score of 1 in this category would have a high crime rate or frequent reports of safety issues. For example, Bayswater has experienced higher crime rates in certain areas. A score of 10 reflects a suburb with a very low crime rate and a strong sense of safety, like Ashburton, which is known for its peaceful and secure environment.

Affordability

Affordability is key for many, relating to housing prices and living costs. A score of 1 would indicate a suburb with extremely high property prices, making it unaffordable for most. Deepdene, for example, is known for its high real estate prices. A suburb scoring 10 in affordability would have more reasonably priced housing and living expenses, like Croydon, offering a more budget-friendly living option.

Green Spaces

Green Spaces, such as parks and nature reserves, are essential for recreation and wellbeing. A suburb with a score of 1 might have limited or poorly maintained green spaces. An example is Kilsyth, where green spaces are not as abundant or well-developed as in other suburbs. On the other hand, a score of 10 would be given to a suburb with abundant, well-maintained parks and natural areas, like Ringwood, known for its extensive and beautiful green spaces.

Community and Cultural Life

Community and Cultural Life reflects the social and cultural richness of a suburb, including community events and cultural diversity. A score of 1 would go to a suburb with a lack of community events or cultural diversity. For instance, Nunawading, while pleasant, is not as culturally vibrant as other areas. A score of 10 represents a suburb with a thriving community life and cultural diversity, like Box Hill, known for its multicultural community and vibrant cultural events.

Employment Opportunities

Employment Opportunities are important for local job prospects and economic stability. A suburb scoring 1 would have limited job opportunities or a high unemployment rate. For example, Heathmont has fewer employment opportunities compared to more commercially active suburbs. A suburb scoring 10 offers a wide range of employment options and a low unemployment rate, like Clayton, known for its thriving business parks and job opportunities.

Housing Quality

Housing Quality relates to the condition and variety of housing available. A score of 1 indicates poor housing conditions or limited variety. An example is Vermont, which may not offer the same quality or diversity of housing as other suburbs. A score of 10 signifies a suburb with a wide range of high-quality housing options, like Hawthorn, known for its beautiful, well-constructed homes.

Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare Facilities are crucial for the wellbeing and medical needs of residents. A suburb with a score of 1 would have limited or poor-quality healthcare services. For instance, Chirnside Park lacks the healthcare facilities found in more central suburbs. A score of 10 represents a suburb with excellent healthcare facilities, both in terms of quality and quantity, like East Melbourne, renowned for its top-notch healthcare services and hospitals.

My Research Methodology: Data-Driven Insights and Local Experiences

To curate this comprehensive list of Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs, I embarked on a meticulous journey, blending hard data with the nuanced, on-the-ground insights that only a local would know. This blend of quantitative and qualitative research forms the backbone of my suburb assessments and rankings.

Firstly, I delved into a range of statistical data from reputable sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and local council reports. This data provided concrete figures on crime rates, housing quality, and school performance. For instance, the detailed reports on educational outcomes from the Department of Education and Training Victoria were instrumental in evaluating the quality of schools in each suburb.

However, numbers alone can’t capture the essence of a suburb. Thus, I spent countless hours exploring the streets of these suburbs, experiencing their unique vibes firsthand. Cafes like The Baker’s Wife in Camberwell, with its bustling atmosphere and delightful pastries, gave me insights into the community life and local amenities. Similarly, dining at the renowned Golden Dragon Palace in Balwyn offered a glimpse into the suburb’s culinary scene and cultural diversity.

Local newspapers and community forums were another invaluable resource, offering a pulse on the latest developments and resident opinions in these areas. Publications like the ‘Eastern Suburbs Review‘ and online forums on platforms like Nextdoor provided a wealth of information on everything from new infrastructure projects to community events.

Lastly, conversations with residents, local business owners, and real estate professionals enriched my understanding. Their personal anecdotes and experiences added depth to the data, revealing the subtleties of each suburb’s character. For example, chatting with the owner of the popular café Maling Room in Canterbury highlighted the suburb’s strong community ties and the importance of local businesses in fostering this.

In conclusion

My exploration of the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne has uncovered a rich tapestry of suburbs, each boasting its own distinct strengths and charms. Here’s a recap of the top 10 suburbs, showcasing a harmonious blend of lifestyle, amenities, and community characteristics:

  1. Balwyn – Score (92/100) 
  2. Kew – Score (88/100) 
  3. Mont Albert – Score (80/100) 
  4. Surrey Hills – Score (78/100) 
  5. Glen Waverley – Score (76/100) 
  6. Camberwell – Score (74/100) 
  7. Burwood – Score (72/100) 
  8. Box Hill – Score (70/100) 
  9. Doncaster – Score (68/100) 
  10. Mitcham – Score (65/100) 

Each suburb offers a unique living experience, catering to different preferences and lifestyles. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly environment, educational excellence, or vibrant community life, the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne have something for everyone.

For those seeking to find a suitable property in these areas, the expertise of a professional residential buyer’s agent can be invaluable. A buyer’s agent can provide tailored advice, help navigate the real estate market, and assist in finding a home that aligns perfectly with your needs and preferences in this dynamic and diverse region.


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