I lived in Melbourne for 8 and a half years before moving to Perth at the end of 2010. I lived in the inner city (North Fitzroy) when we had our 2 kids and I completely loved feeling part of a close and bustling community, which I think Melbourne does really well. The people who worked at our local IGA knew my kids names, and at our local cafe we were welcomed like family. Inner Melbourne can be flat and fabulous for getting around on foot with a pram; I have wonderful memories of exploring our laneways with DD1 and DD2, and watching the seasons change in the park across the road. It is really a beautiful city you can just walk around.
I would definitely opt for places like Yarraville, Seddon, West Footscray, Maribyrnong, Williamstown, Flemington, Ascot Vale, Essendon over CS - I know 18 months doesn't seem like long but I've been in Perth for 18 months now and trust me it is a very long time if you're living someone you don't particularly like.
If it were me and I knew I was only going to live in a city for a defined period I would want to be somewhere that felt true to that place, a suburb with history, not a new housing estate, where to be honest you could be anywhere in Australia.
How about Avondale Heights or Maidstone? They would both be 10-20 min away from Deer park / footscray and good distance to the city (Maidstone closer).
I lived in Kensington for years and loved it. We only moved because we wanted a bigger house.
It's only a few minutes from Footscray. 10 mins into the city (by car or train), 15 mins from Williamstown. Nice cafes and shops on the main street - kind of old fashioned feeling of community. A park every second corner (in the newer part of Kensington at least).
We are in Sunshine North now and I love the area we are in, which is a new estate, but I wouldn't want to go much further from the city than this.
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions and info I have a great list going now . I've never lived in a big city before so I think I was feeling overwhelmed! Its so great to hear how many nice suburbs there are for families in west Melbourne and I'm actually feeling really excited now to get down there and check it all out... and ride a tram for the first time ever !!!
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