Every now and then Martin and I get despondent about the price of houses in Melbourne, both to buy and rent, and start thinking up possible solutions to our dilemma. A few weeks ago we drove down to Geelong (a small city/large town an hour out of Melbourne). We both really liked the feel of it, like Hobart and Melbourne's lovechild, nice waterfront and city centre, though it has some yucky industrial parts (as does Melbourne of course but easy to avoid them where we live). Geelong has lots of primary schools, a really great looking girl's high school as well as several co-ed high schools and a number of well priced private schools. It's close to surf beaches (not that I surf, but I like open, wild beaches) and national parks.
Then yesterday we drove up to Castlemaine, an old goldmining country town about an hour and a half north of Melbourne. It has a very young, groovy feel, lots of nice cafes, bookshops, schools and architecture and even its own arts festival.
In both these places we could afford to buy a nice three bedroom house with a big backyard and I have no doubt that we'd have a nice lifestyle, nature, good schools for the girls, more space at home for me to write (at the moment I write in the main open plan living/dining area). But the thought of leaving Melbourne's inner north, despite the horrendous rising rents, let alone the prohibitive cost of buying, makes me feel sad... But then it's also increasingly hard to see a future for ourselves in Melbourne, especially if we want to keep adding to our family.
(image from www.abc.net.au)
Anyway, it's not till you drive into the country that you realise just how dry Victoria is. It's kind of scary but also sort of beautiful in its own way, if you can learn to look at it. All the creek beds are stone dry. We drove back to Melbourne through Daylesford where it was noticably greener. Dunno why.