4 bedder with 2 baths on more than 950sqm in Manifold Heights. Kaching!

4 bedder with 2 baths on more than 950sqm in Manifold Heights. Kaching!

1. Glorious value-for-money real estate

Melbourne’s median house price is now more than $700,000. The question is, how many suburbs in Melbourne can you actually buy into for that kind of cash? Are they suburbs you’d like to live in? More importantly, what will it get you – a dog box or a ‘renovator’s delight?’ Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast offer plenty of great options for an equivalent outlay, and for considerably less too.

The median house price across broader Geelong sits at under $450K, which will buy you plenty of house and backyard in a wide range of suburbs. At the other end of the scale, there’s plenty of premium real estate, offering exceptional value for money against ‘like’ properties in Melbourne or Sydney. Here’s a blow-by-blow run down on neighbourhood’s across Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast.

For business, commercial office space and warehousing is considerably cheaper than Sydney and Melbourne locales.

Purple train, purple train

Purple train, purple train

 2. Better trains

Melbourne’s train system is broken and won’t be fixed anytime soon. Geelong has the new regional rail link. It’s stretching the truth to say it’s perfect. But it’s an improvement. There are more seats and more frequent services. Trains run every ten minutes in the morning and every twenty minutes in the evening, or thereabouts. It’s now much easier to use commuter time productively, be it working, catching up on some restorative zzzzzz time or enjoying the golden age of TV. Learn how to make commuting work for you.

Oakdene Estate, Wallington

Oakdene Estate, Wallington

3. No traffic

Traffic in Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast is nothing like what you experience in Sydney or Melbourne. Crossing town is a ten to fifteen minute leisurely journey. Lifestyle locations close to the beach or in rural hamlets are half an hour from the town centre, giving you tantalising seachange/treechange choices, as well as higher density urban options with inner-city living accoutrements.

Whittington family centre

Whittington family centre

4. Childcare

You won’t find crazy wait times for childcare places. After carrying out your research, it’s possible you may be in for a little wait for your number one option. Even if you’re in a hurry, you’ll definitely get a spot somewhere great, be it council operated or privately managed.


5. Schools

Geelong is spoilt for choice, from great government schools to some of the most elite and reputable private schools in the country. Whatever your preference, there will be something to suit you and your child’s needs.

TAC headquarters, Geelong

TAC headquarters, Geelong

6. Employment opportunities and a skilled work force

The incessant banging on about Ford, Alcoa and every single business closure and job loss announcement is masking a more complex, positive Geelong employment story. Geelong’s unemployment rate is actually lower than many parts of Melbourne. The jobs rate is growing. Unemployment is decreasing. But if you’re thinking of relocating your business, or starting up something new here, the most important thing you need to know is this: there’s still available capacity in Geelong’s highly skilled workforce. Do you need to rapidly recruit to get your business moving and growing? Come to Geelong. There’s still some skilled people here wanting to find work. And of those already working, some of them would like to work more hours.

The simple fact is that Geelong’s economy is changing – not dying. For the record, Ford is well down the list of Geelong’s current major employers at number 7. The 800 or so jobs Ford will shed in Geelong is less than 8% of the local manufacturing workforce. It’s not ideal, but as a proportion of the total workforce, Ford jobs make up just 1.07%. The number of new roles coming up at Epworth Geelong (a brand new hospital in Waurn Ponds next to Deakin University) and the continually expanding Cotton On will more than replace the roles Geelong is set to lose when Ford’s local workforce reduces to around 500 in late 2016. (Yes, Ford will still have a local presence.)

Beyond large-scale employers with big workforce numbers, Geelong’s biggest asset is the massive opportunity on offer to entrepreneurs, startups, remote workers, new businesses and relocating businesses. Inventive dreamers and doers can benefit from a lower cost of living and doing business, including more affordable housing, lower cost commercial offices and warehousing, and an adaptable skilled workforce.

Gone fishing

Gone fishing

7. Options to live life the way you really want to

If you’re in Sydney or Melbourne, crippling mortgage repayments can often mean shelving startup business plans and other fun stuff on your do-before-you-die list. The risk of going out on your own, or trying something different can seem too much. But across Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast, you can unshackle yourself from the financial constraints of big city living. You can reduce your mortgage, or upgrade without taking on a bigger mortgage. Renting is comparatively cheap. Moving to Geelong could be the difference between putting off that great startup idea and just going for it. Are you dreaming of going back to university to study medicine? Or maybe you just want to minimise your expenses so you can travel to exotic locations every year? In Geelong, anything really is possible.

Raffs Beach. Pretty, pretty good.

Raffs Beach. Pretty, pretty good.

8. Beaches

It’s true. Some of the world’s best beaches are located on the Bellarine and Surf Coast and Geelong’s waterfront is an absolute stunner too. This inspiring outdoor lifestyle is the perfect invigorator to get you moving and shaking your way from this region to the world.

9. Proximity to capital cities

For business or pleasure, Melbourne and Sydney are only an hour away by car or ninety minutes by plane respectively. Avalon Airport is a twenty-minute drive from Geelong with regular daily flights to Sydney and other locations. Get the full low-down on getting around to big cities here.

Yep. Some cafe's serve drinks in jars here too.

Even in the Geelong region you can’t escape cafe’s serving drinks in jars.

10. The good life

There’s no denying that in big cities, you’re spoilt for choice. But unless you’re really on a mission, it’s so horrendous getting across town that you rarely leave your ‘hood. Still, it can be a shock to the system when all the choices you like having at your disposal become seriously diminished. Wineries. Bars and cafes. Shopping. Sporting events. Theatre. Arts. Music. Libraries. Galleries. These things are are all on offer in Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast. What’s more, they’re easier to get to than in capital cities. In fact, you couldn’t possibly get to everything that’s on offer across the Geelong region. So just focus on what you can do, and head north when a bout of FOMO hits or you jut need a big city fix. Meanwhile, lap up the slower pace and relaxed friendly community. They’re ready to welcome new enthusiastic residents.

The humble goonbag spout, invented by Charles Malpas in Geelong

The humble wine cask spout, invented by Charles Malpas in Geelong. (Pic Tama Leaver)

11. Inventors

Geelong has always attracted and nurtured inventive and creative people. This continues thanks to two Deakin University campuses, a rapidly expanding tertiary connected health system, and the linchpin of gentrification for artsfolk, dreamers and doers: an affordable cost of living. This mix makes for a dynamic local community.

Don’t live with regrets; invent the life you want to live now in Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast. 



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