I’ve lived in Sydney for several years and have learned a thing or two about comparing suburbs as fairly as possible. Although I can’t unanimously declare one suburb to be better than the other, I have still found a way to compare them using some unbiased metrics.
Coming from a family-oriented point of view, there are five main criteria to consider. These are:
- Quality educational opportunities
- Lifestyle and a great day to day experience for kids
- Affordability of the property as well as suburban lifestyle
- Public transportation that is safe and reliable
At the end of the day, it’s still a subjective matter with the above points not having the same order of priority for everyone.
Considering the above metrics, this article puts 5 suburbs to the test, in ascending order. Please note that the crime rate means the number of crimes per 100,000 people. 1
Fifth best for families
- Median 3 bedroom house price: $2,560,000 2
- Crime rate: 5,783
- Sydney crime rate ranking: 89/1415
Waverley has highly ranked schools, sporting facilities and convenient access to the beach. There are top tier amenities for a great lifestyle. It is slightly less popular than the nearby suburbs such as Bondi and Bronte.
This has allowed it to stay comparatively more affordable while boasting the same quality, and dodging the tourist mania.
Waveley epitomizes the term balance. There is an effortless mix of city and coastal life with breathtaking green spaces in the four local parks. Conveniently, dogs are also allowed off leash at some of them.
There are also many outdoor activities for toddlers and teens alike. The other obvious draw card is the proximity to the beaches and all of the family fun that comes with it.
The most popular choices for schools are St Charles’ School and St Catherine’s School. Both are highly esteemed and highly ranked within the state.
Another option includes Waverley College, which has multiple campuses. The schooling district accommodates children of all ages.
Thinking of amenities, Charing Cross Village is seen as a one-stop-shop. From boutique shops and gyms to everyday groceries, this centre caters to all your needs. There are also cafes and restaurants for outdoor or indoor dining convenience.
If you require a change of scenery, simply walk to Westfield to watch a movie or catch a train/bus to your desired location.
The mix of the neighbourly feel and buzzing social spots attracts young singles, couples, and families alike. 3 The major transport network allows professionals to travel with ease and return home to a lush green, peaceful neighbourhood.
With the major drawbacks being traffic and the price tag, Waverley doesn’t differ much from the other members of our list. Beating traffic can be easy if you utilize public transport. However, the trappings and inherent value of the suburb does mean a price tag that’s unlikely to budge.
- Great schools that accommodate children of all ages.
- Close to beautiful beaches.
- A transportation network is present.
- Variety of amenities available.
- Traffic can be an issue when commuting.
- Higher price range than competitors.
- Poor crime rate ranking.
Fourth best for families
- Median 3 bedroom house price: $2,501,250 4
- Crime rate: 2,619
- Sydney crime rate ranking: 9/141
Lane cove is a suburb that enjoys a comfortable amount of isolation. A mere 9km away from the CBD, this suburb boasts the best of both worlds. This offers a wonderful balance for family-oriented living. This suburb has a growing array of amenities with no signs of slowing.
Lane Cove has many childcare facilities and two preschools. There are also several public primary schools. The suburb is more suited to families with younger children as the nearest high school is not within a convenient driving distance.
The suburb is self-sustained in terms of amenities and daily needs. But if you desire variety, Lane Cove is just a 5-minute bus ride away from Chatswood, and Artarmon, and is also in proximity to Crows Nest and St Leonards.
Entertainment sources for the kids are mostly physical and interactive. The Lane Cove Aquatic Centre is a wonderful spot for young swimming enthusiasts. The centre has four sports fields to accompany the swimming facilities.
The main attraction is more recently The Canopy in Lane Cove. It is an exciting centre containing restaurants, shops, and a very impressive children’s playground.
If time outdoors is a high priority for you then Lane Cove won’t disappoint. Although the whole suburb contains lush greenery, the Lane Cove National Park is at the apex. There are numerous bushland reserves all with walking trails as well as rest and picnic areas.
For family members that cycle, there is a new path that connects to the Gore Hill Freeway cycle path. This allows safe access to other suburbs via bicycle. Another form of unconventional transport is a ferry service that stops at Longueville Wharf and Greenwich Wharf.
There is no train station in the suburb, but there are reliable bus connections. The rising popularity and influx of residents have caused a spike in daily traffic. The surge in popularity has also caused an increase in property prices. There are many comprehensive reviews online, covering everything that Lane Cove has to offer.
- Many outdoor activities available.
- Very close to the CBD, but has a feeling of isolation.
- Safer than the average suburb.
- Cycle paths and ferry services.
- No high schools nearby.
- No train station within the suburb.
Third best for families
- Median 3 bedroom house price: $1,620,000 6
- Crime rate: 3,620
- Sydney crime rate ranking: 37/141
This suburb offers respectable public schools with even more options in the nearby locations of Hurstville and Peakhurst. The schools within the suburb include Oatley Public School,Oatley West Public School,St Joseph's Catholic School and Oatley Senior Campus.
Oatley is located 18km from the CBD. The CBD can be reached via a 40 minute train ride. In the opposite direction, you can take a 20 minute ride to Cronulla to enjoy the bustling beaches. Alternatively, there are slightly longer rides that can take you to Waterfall and Heathcote for more exciting opportunities than what the local suburb has to offer.
There’s limited shopping or entertainment options available. However, what does exist is plenty in itself. For your daily needs or even some minor luxury purchases, the local shopping district will not fail you. Though, if you need to do some heavier retail therapy, Hurstville is within a short driving distance.
You’ll find the essentials like pharmacies and doctors surgeries. There’s also the typical restaurants, and cafes, as well as many spots of natural beauty overlooking Georges River.
The Oatley Park Adventure Playground within Oatley Park is a hit with children. It contains playground fixtures to keep kids entertained for hours.The park also has areas for picnics and barbecues.
Another option for outdoor enjoyment is Oatley Memorial Gardens. This is a park that runs through Oatley Village. The area can be hired out and is often used for professional photography or social gatherings.
For the parents there is the ever-popular Oatley pub. It is a popular attraction that boasts live entertainment and well reviewed food. There is a large beer garden spread over 3 levels. However, it can become quite a boisterous place over the weekends. There are also comedy and jazz nights on occasion.
For family entertainment, there is the Oatley RSL Club. This family club hosts interactive entertainment with food and beverages available. This suburb offers a very peaceful, safe place to raise a family. The quiet environment will suit those that find serenity in home life without too many distractions or busy places.
There is a strong sense of community with things like the facebook neighbourhood watch, and the parents and community page. Children are also seen frequently riding their bikes to school and the community does its part to keep the neighbourhood clean.
- More affordable price points.
- Quiet and serene location.
- Many schools to choose from to accommodate all ages/grades.
- Less comprehensive in terms of amenities.
- Might be deemed boring by the youths of the family.
Second best for families
- Median 3 bedroom house price: $1,890,000 7
- Crime rate: 2,084
- Sydney crime rate ranking: 1/141
This suburb is home to one of the top public primary schools in the state. This is a draw card for many families looking to relocate. St Ives North Public School has a great reputation. They offer special programs for students with higher academic inclination.
This can give gifted kids that extra edge in life, and progress them faster through the schooling system. It is also great for their track record when applying to tertiary institutes.
There are also other public schools that have historically performed very well academically. Each one has an accompanying pre-school which accommodates families with younger children. Masada College is another noteworthy mention. This schooling service is an independent Jewish co-educational primary and secondary school.
The properties are known for being large and spacious. Most come standard with a yard and swimming pool. Like most of the other entries on the list, the roads are beautifully lined with trees, not to mention the suburb has 13 sports fields and an impressive 18 playgrounds.
St Ives does not have a train station but there are nearby stations that still make it a convenient location. It is also 18km from the CBD which is a short drive.
Some great hotspots are contained in Ku-ring-gai. For instance, the St Ives Village Shopping Centre and the Wildflower Garden are both popular attractions.
Many smaller shopping centres and restaurants are also reachable on foot. Some noteworthy mentions are the skate park and the intriguing monthly fairs that take place.
- Niche schooling services for gifted students or students of certain faiths.
- Great diversity and very inclusive of foreigners.
- The best crime rate in Sydney.
- Exhaustive outdoor facilities.
- Higher price points for the average property.
- No train station present.
The best for families
- Median 3 bedroom house price: $1,675,000 8
- Crime rate: 2,084
- Sydney crime rate ranking: 1/141
Topping our list of family-friendly suburbs in Sydney is Wahroonga. The most noteworthy point about this suburb is it’s impressive schooling district. Some of the highly regarded schools include Knox Grammar, Abbotsleigh School for Girls, St Leo’s Catholic College, and Wahroonga Adventist School.
There are also schools for the visually impaired and those with special needs, two of which are St Lucy’s School and St Edmund’s School.
Wahroonga is ideal for families with children of all ages, and includes a variety of child care facilities .The suburb is appealing to the eye with picturesque greenery accompanied by quiet, safe streets. It’s no surprise that families dominate the local demographic. 9
This suburb has plenty of open space to cater to sport and other recreational activities. There are over 20 parks in Wahroonga for dog walking, picnics, and mountain biking. The most popular park is Wahroonga park situated near the station.
There is also a refurbished playground and a beautiful Rotunda for hire. The housing options range from cosy cottages to impressive estates. The residences are typically detached, but there are some flats and terrace house options.
A typical home boasts of a swimming pool and tennis court. The average household also has 3 bedrooms. With quality rail connectivity the suburb has seen some growth. These locations usually become crowded and see a surge in development.
However, there are fewer property development projects underway than the average suburb along a transport route.
The shopping district is located in Wahroonga village. With plenty of boutique shops selling everything from essentials to luxury gifts. Additionally, there are many cafes, restaurants and bars to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon.
There are also many clinics, dentists as well as the well-esteemed Sydney Adventist Hospital within the suburb.
The combination of great infrastructure and quality of education has pushed the price tag to a premium level but there are still many reasonably priced units for the area. Many residents claim they love the village atmosphere of Wahroonga above all else.
- Impressive and comprehensive schooling district.
- Slightly more affordable properties.
- Excellent crime rating.
- Amazing amenities and self-sustained suburb.
- Quality railway services.
- Growing market and a very competitive suburb to enter.
Get out there and explore!
It’s really a good thing that you’re doing research and weighing up the odds before relocating. It’s no small decision to make. Having said that, there is only so much reading you can do. Going out and experiencing life in the suburbs that you’re considering is also very important.
Perhaps taking tours of schools and spending time in each neighbourhood will be more enlightening. Even booking a short stay at a place you’re considering might be a feasible way of getting the entire family’s approval. In the end, I hope this article helped your decision-making a little easier!
1 Speaking Same. "Sydney Crime Rate Ranking, http://house.speakingsame.com/crime.php?sta=nsw”. 23rd June, 2021.
2 Realestate.com.au. "Waverley, New South Wales 2024, https://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/waverley-2024-nsw”. 28th May, 2021.
3 SITCHU. ”Waverley, https://sitchu.com.au/sydney/eastern-suburbs/waverley/”. 23rd June, 2021.
4 Realestate.com.au. “Lane Cove, New South Wales 2066, https://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/lane-cove-2066-nsw”. 28th May, 2021.
5 Sydney Suburb Reviews. "Lane Cove Suburb Review, https://sydneysuburbreviews.com/lane-cove”. 23rd June,2021.
6 Realestate.com.au. "Oatley, New South Wales 2223, https://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/oatley-2223-nsw”. 28th May, 2021.
7 Realestate.com.au. "St Ives, New South Wales 2075, https://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/st-ives-2075-nsw". 28th May, 2021.
8 Realestate.com.au. "Wahroonga, New South Wales 2076, https://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/wahroonga-2076-nsw". 28th May, 2021.
9 Australian Bureau of Statistics. "2016 Census QuickStats, https://quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/SSC14085". 30th October, 2020.