To end our series on popular suburbs for newcomers to Brisbane, we head to the Western Suburbs of Brisbane, in particular Paddington, Toowong, Indooroopilly, St Lucia and Chelmer/Graceville. These areas tend to be leafy and green and all are close to the Brisbane River offering bike paths, walkways, parkland, most even have convenient train access to the CBD. Westfield Indooroopilly is close by with a plethora of shopping options. University of Queensland is not far away and schools in the area, public and private have good reputations. The areas are affluent, so if your budget is limited, you may need to consider an apartment or townhouse.
One of Brisbane’s oldest suburbs and sought after for its heritage buildings and city views is Paddington. The suburb sits on the edge of the city and is popular for its thriving cafe, boutique and antique shopping culture. The suburb is not for everyone, the trade off for stunning city views is some steep topography but many move here to enjoy character filled, restored, weatherboard houses and workmen’s cottages and to be accessible to Brisbane River walking and bike paths which are not far away.
Young professionals, students and mature couples enjoy access to the casual shopping and vibrant dining scene around Latrobe and Given Terraces and the bars, clubs and restaurants around Caxton Street. Families like the suburb for its larger homes, quality schools and many parks scattered around the area. There is a council pool, neighbourhood cinemas and large skatepark in the area. Suncorp Stadium which holds rugby league matches, major music concerts and other events throughout the year is also found here. Close by are Milton markets for fresh food and produce on Sunday mornings and there are multiple shopping centres (Ashgrove, Toowong and Indooroopilly Westfield) a short drive away.
Indooroopilly (‘Indro’ to locals) hugs a bend in the Brisbane River 7 kilometres south west of the CBD. Given its proximity to quality private and public schools, University of Queensland, varied accommodation options and an easy train or bus commute to the CBD, you will find a mix of residents here including families, students and young couples and room mates. The area is quite multicultural, so there are varied dining options and even an Asian supermarket. The suburb boasts one of only 4 large Westfield Shopping Centres operating in the Brisbane area. The large public Indooroopilly Golf Club and associated facilities offers great dining and 36 holes of golfing.
Accommodation includes both older and modern apartment complexes around the Westfield Shopping Complex and near the train station and train line, family homes, waterfront properties, larger blocks heading towards Fig Tree Pocket, as well as an increasing array of townhouses - so something to suit most peoples requirements and budget. The area also offers easy access to the Western Freeway heading west towards Ipswich. Driving access to the CBD is via the Western Freeway or along Milton and Coronation Roads which can get busy in peak hour. There are highly regarded schools in the area including St Peters Lutheran College (prep to year 12 plus boarding), Ambrose Treacy College (Catholic boys college from years 4-12), Brigidine College (Ctaholic girls college from years 7-12) and Indooroopilly State School (Primary) and Indooroopilly State High School making it a sought after area for families.
Toowong is an vibrant and youthful suburb with great variety. Houses of varying quality from modest to exclusive architect designed homes with expansive views of the CBD dominate the western edge heading towards Mt Cootha. Closer to the Toowong Shopping area and with the Brisbane River on its eastern edge are apartments, student accommodation and short term apartment buildings.
The area is known for the popular and historic Regatta Hotel and there is a good selection of inexpensive multicultural dining options, chain restaurants and small cafes around the Toowong Shopping Centre catering to young professionals, university students, hospital workers and families in the area. Families are well catered for with parks, schools (Brisbane Boys College is located in the suburb) and several sporting facilities (including a rugby club, tennis centre and basketball centre). The commute to the CBD is less than 10 minutes by train and there are also buses along Coronation Drive and Milton Road, two very busy thorough fares. Many commuters also take the riverfront bike path into the city or take a pleasant City Cat boat ride into the city.
Mt Cootha is nearby which hosts the Botanic Gardens, Lookout (and its cafe and restaurant) as well as a plethora of bush walks and areas for a casual picnic and invigorating dog walks.
St Lucia is the home of the prestigious University of Queensland offering generous parklands, sporting grounds, riverfront walkways and cycle paths, playground and even a local theatre. The suburb is very picturesque, leafy and surrounded by the Brisbane River on three side, one side taken up by the expansive St Lucia Gold Links (public course) and the Indooroopilly Golf Club. There are some small cafes and local restaurants along sections of Hawken Drive but for more expansive offerings and shopping, residents head to neighbouring Indooroopilly, Toowong and Taringa that are only a short drive away.
In terms of housing, the suburb is one of contrasts with large modern family homes mixed with modest houses rented by students as share housing and waterfront units and houses along the northern edge of the river. Students and young professionals make up a large proportion of the suburb but young families are also attracted to the area for its educational facilities, including one of the top ranking primary schools in the State, Ironside State School. Older residents live in established homes in quieter sections of the suburb. Public transport in the area is good, offering bus services to the CBD, Indooroopilly train station and Westfield Indooroopilly Shopping Centre and the City Cat also services the area to the CBD and other riverfront suburbs.
Chelmer / Graceville
Chelmer and Graceville are pretty suburbs just across the river from Indooroopilly but with a relaxed charm, boasting wide leafy streets and attractive Queenslander homes. The suburbs are bisected by the train line with two main thoroughfares, Honour Ave and Oxley Road, running either side of the train line from Indooroopilly down towards Sherwood and Corinda. The western side of the suburbs tends to have larger blocks with expansive and carefully preserved Queenslander homes with manicured gardens and riverfront homes perched above the river. On the eastern side, some blocks have been subdivided to allow for reproduction Queenslanders or modern build homes on smaller blocks resulting in some more affordable rents (although some areas on this side did flood back in 2011). There are many sporting fields, walking and bike paths along the river in this area.
Honour Avenue has an attractive shopping area close to Graceville train station with a quaint village feel. The Regal Twin Cinema is also a popular local spot for art house film fans. Local businesses and cute cafes are scattered along Oxley Avenue as well as many of the areas local schools. The main shopping areas can be found at either Indooroopilly or Sherwood. The area is affluent and property prices and rentals are relatively high attracting established well to do families who like to live in a safe, attractive, quiet area but with easy access to respected private schools nearby and the University of Queensland. One downside for many commuters is the bottleneck over the bridge leading into Indooroopilly, however, the train line also offers a convenient commute to the city as well as to the Indooroopilly shopping hub and several private schools nearby.