Wedged between the ocean and national parks, Brisbane is a hub for arts and culture but still retains an emphasis on nature and a laid-back lifestyle.
Almost 2.5 million people call Brisbane home. As of 2019 Brisbane is Australia’s third most inhabited city behind Sydney and Melbourne (5). It can be said Brisbane is the younger sibling of these two larger cities, the underdog. However, Brisbane is coming of age and over the last decade, Brisbane’s cultural scene has thrived. Brisbane is truly becoming a new world city.
The city is on the doorstep of world class national parks and beaches, meaning locals are spoilt for choice with how to spend their free time. No matter what you enjoy, Brisbane has something for everyone. Lazy mornings are commonly spent eating at the abundance of wonderful cafes before the city comes alive at night, with plenty of fun to be had for people of all ages. The lifestyle truly is the main drawcard when it comes to Brisbane, it’s a city environment with a laidback vibe.
Not to mention the perfect weather year-round. Even in the depths of winter, Brisbane’s sky is a vibrant blue and the temperature sits at a balmy average of 21 degrees Celsius. Brisbane has over 261 sunny days each year, in comparison Sydney has 236 sunny days annually and Melbourne has only 185 (6). As Queensland’s motto goes: “beautiful one day, perfect the next.” You’ll never need a holiday to escape the weather.
There are almost 450 suburbs within the wider Brisbane region and when you live interstate or internationally, it can be hard to know what area will be right for you and your family. Have you considered the Western Suburbs of Brisbane?
What makes the western suburbs different to the rest of Brisbane?
We may be biased, but at Place Graceville we believe the western suburbs encapsulate the best elements about living in Brisbane. The river wraps around the suburbs carving out natural green spaces. The suburbs are established and are filled with well-presented, quaint homes on tree lined streets.
However, it’s the amenities of these suburbs which make them second to none within Brisbane. Below Place Graceville outlines the best elements about the western suburbs.
The western suburbs are the education belt of Brisbane. Within a small area there is world class education facilities at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Here in Brisbane, when it comes to primary education, we are spoilt for choice. School kids can attend a private or public school. The government funded state schools in the western suburbs are as highly regarded as most private schools. Each suburb has a catchment zone and people often pay extra for a property to secure a spot in esteemed state primary schools. The most highly sort after catchment zones in the area are Graceville State School, Ironside State School and Indooroopilly State School.
The western suburbs are also home to some of Brisbane’s best high schools. The following are all the high schools on the westside ranked by academic marks (2). Out of around 200 schools, you can see the western suburbs school are all highly regarded. The following rankings are based on final Grade 12 scores in 2018:
- Queensland Academy – 1st
- St Aiden’s Anglican Girl School - 9th
- Brisbane Boys College - 13th
- St Peter’s Lutheran College 19th
- Kenmore State High – 32nd
- Indooroopilly State High School – 41st
- Corinda State High – 48th
- Brigidine College – 60th
The western suburbs are just minutes from The University of Queensland (UQ), a university ranked in the world’s top 50. Based in St Lucia, UQ is ranked 48th globally and 1st in Queensland. Another great university is The Queensland University of Technology (QUT), located in the CBD, juts 20 minutes away.
2. Style of home
The homes within the area are a mix of character and modern properties. The character homes in the area are called “Queenslanders.” They are characterised by their timber structure, iron roofs and balconies which wrap around the front. Over the years “Queenslanders” have been renovated and made practical for the modern era. Traditional Queenslanders are well sought after and now come with a hefty price tag. Post war homes came around the 1950’s and have a large amount of character.
Over the year's some of the larger blocks have been subdivided and modern homes have been built, resulting in a generous choice of contemporary builds scattered through the suburbs. There are strict council regulations regarding building requirements as the council is dedicated to ensuring character homes are preserved and maintaining the feel of the suburbs, meaning the modern properties must fit into the street scape.
Choosing a style of home is unique to the buyer's preferences, however you can read more about Brisbane’s style of homes here.
As the suburbs are bound by the river, the western suburbs are a close-knit community. People genuinely care about their neighbours and people they see. It’s the type of area where people smile when you pass each other on the street.
It can be intimidating moving to a new place where you don’t know anyone. Rest assured in these areas there are many community groups that welcome new members. From local school groups to cycling groups, sports clubs, gyms, men’s sheds, history groups and local coffee groups - this area has it all. Down at the local Graceville dog park, a group of once-strangers now meet every Friday and Saturday for drinks while their dogs play. There’s a group for everyone in this area, there are even community Facebook groups, boasting thousands of members allowing locals to connect who all have one thing I common – their love for the western suburbs.
Brisbane is considered the safest major city on the east coast of Australia; safer than Sydney and Melbourne (7). The western suburbs have a relatively low crime rate. The westside suburbs of Kenmore Hills, Brookfield, Auchenflower and Toowong have been declared the safest suburbs by Queensland Police (3) (4).
Whether it’s 4pm or 4am, in the western suburbs it always feels safe to walk around. It’s the type of area where a lost wallet would be returned with all the cash in it. Neighbours look out for each other and report things if something seems out of place.
Residents in the western suburbs are spoilt for choice when it comes to green space. There’s also a multitude of parks and walkways lining the river.
From Chelmer to Oxley, the suburbs have a distinctly suburban feel. These properties have manicured lawns and gardens straight from a storybook. Meanwhile the suburbs out past Kenmore around Moggill, Brookfield and Anstead model a rural environment. Natural bushland can be found in people’s backyard. It feels like you’re living in the country however shopping precincts are just minutes down the road. All around the area, strings of parks are scattered throughout the suburbs. These parks often have amenities like playgrounds, sporting fields, basketball courts and barbecues. It’s the perfect place to let the kids run wild.
In the area we’re lucky to have Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane’s tallest mountain. It contains more than 1600 hectares of open eucalypt forest, rainforest gullies and creek lines. Enjoy a one hour hike up the mountain and be rewarded with panoramic views of the whole of Brisbane.
If this isn’t enough for you, Brisbane is a gateway to many natural wonders. Within a two-hour drive are the Sunshine and Gold Coasts, home to world class beaches. Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island sit off the coast and are favourites with Brisbane locals. They’re natural wonders, rated as some of the world’s largest sand islands. If you head inland, you’ll be treated to national parks filled with a range of environments including rainforests, waterfalls, granite boulders and bushland.
Public transport within Brisbane is very accessible. Running from early morning until just after midnight, it helps Brisbane residents move around the city.
Train - The first railway line in Brisbane was the Ipswich track, which runs straight through the western suburbs. Most of the suburbs were built around accessing this line. Over 150 years later, this track still services thousands of customers each day. In peak hour trains come every six minutes. A train ride to the city takes around 15 to 25 minutes from the western suburbs.
Bus - Where there isn’t a train line, there are plenty of buses. Buses come at least every 15 minutes on most routes, and it takes around 20 to 30 minutes to commute into the city via bus.
Car - The beauty of the westside is that there are no large highways or industrial routes through the area. Commuting time to the city is around 20 to 30 minutes by car.
Which western suburb is the best for you?
While the suburbs within the westside are diverse, at the heart of every suburb are the same elements. A great community in a safe environment surrounded by nature. There’s something for everyone in the western suburbs.
Best western suburbs for...
Chelmer – Over the bridge from the education hub, Chelmer is the perfect place for working professionals. Established trees line the streets filled with prestigious character homes. It’s an oasis just 20 minutes from the city. The suburb is across the river from the bustling hub of Indooroopilly, yet it maintains a relaxed lifestyle.
Graceville – Neighbouring Chelmer, Graceville is known for its traditional Queensland houses and quaint shops. The streets are comprised of both character and modern homes. Just 20 minutes from the city, Graceville is the perfect base for a family. After a short commute home from the CBD, spend your spare time playing with your kids in one of Graceville’s many riverside parks.
Sherwood – Neighbouring Graceville, Sherwood is a very family-oriented suburb. The back streets of Sherwood are filled with a mix of character and modern homes. Sherwood is also home to the Sherwood Arboretum, a large park on the river. Each weekend you’ll find many families out at the park enjoying the Sherwood lifestyle.
Corinda – Corinda is home to many established Queenslanders. Families call the suburb home due to the local shops, prestigious schools and proximity to the city. A few Corinda homes have panoramic views of the city and Mt Coot-tha. Corinda is appealing because it is quiet and kids can play in the streets.
Kenmore – Located just 10 kilometres from the city, Kenmore is another hub within the western suburbs. Kenmore was developed in the 1950’s, so the homes are more modern than the suburbs of Chelmer, Graceville, Sherwood and Corinda. Families are drawn to Kenmore due to the thriving local shops, great schools and strong sense of community.
Families who want space
Anstead – The properties out in Anstead come with a sizeable amount of land. It’s the perfect place to live if you desire the country lifestyle. In Anstead, residents own horses and live a stress-free lifestyle whilst still only a stone’s throw from the city.
Brookfield – Brookfield is a prestigious area with a rural feel. The homes are huge and so are the blocks of land. Brookfield is filled with families wanting to experience the rural life but still be a short drive from the shops. It’s a place the worries of the world seem lighter, a place where kids can be kids.
Kenmore Hills – Open your back door and step out onto bushland. Kenmore Hills is filled with large homes on sizeable but manageable blocks. It’s filled with families who want the rural lifestyle on a low maintenance property whilst still being close to shops.
Indooroopilly – ‘Indro’, as the locals call it, is the perfect location for a university student. Many students find themselves working at the local shopping centre while studying at the nearby UQ campus. It’s a bustling hub, with many shops, restaurants and schools.
Toowong – Another shopping hub, Toowong is filled with character homes and modern apartment blocks overlooking the river. The suburb is appealing to students and young professionals due to the short commute to the city, dining precincts and nightlife.
Taringa – Taringa is sandwiched between Indooroopilly and Toowong. It is a hilly suburb filled with trees, parks and beautiful character homes, some of which are transformed into share houses for students. Taringa is one of the western suburbs most underrated suburbs. Many families live in the area and enjoy panoramic city views.
St Lucia – As St Lucia is home to The University of Queensland, the suburb is popular with student accommodation. The manicured gardens and the beautiful heritage buildings on the university campus make the suburb very appealing to live in. The river wraps around the leafy suburb and apartment buildings line the riverbanks. The suburb attracts students, university staff and parents who are trying to get into the catchment of the prestigious state schools.
Couples and singles
Toowong – Toowong is a bustling hub filled with restaurants, shops and bars. It is close to the city and has fantastic public transport which makes it very attractive to singles and couple. Everything is within walking distance.
Auchenflower – Located next to Toowong, Auchenflower is just two kilometres from the city. While it’s an expensive area to live, it attracts couples and singles due to the accessibility to the CBD and the vibrant lifestyle of this riverfront suburb.
First home buyers
Kenmore – Just a stone’s throw from the city, Kenmore is attractive due to its bushland aspect. Kenmore’s median price has increased by $200,000 in two years (8). Kenmore was developed in the 1950’s, so the homes are more modern than Queensland’s traditional homes and thus more affordable for first home buyers. People are drawn to Kenmore due to its thriving local shops, great schools and strong sense of community.
Oxley – Oxley is appealing to first home buyers as it is within 10 kilometres of the city, yet it’s very affordable. Oxley is home to mostly single-story post-war homes. With a bit of renovation, these properties can be turned into a great family home. Prices in Oxley are set to sky rocket in coming years, so get in now before the market explodes.
Here at Place Graceville, we’re Brisbane’s western suburb specialists. If you’re moving from interstate or overseas and need some help finding the perfect property, then let us help take the weight off your shoulders and guide you through the process. Within no time you’ll be living in Brisbane.
1. ABS, 2016
5. ABC, 2018
8. Place, 2019