Why Officer is the best place to live in Melbourne
The Great Australian Dream is well and truly alive for residents in Officer, in Melbourne’s southeast.
This up-and-coming ‘boomburb’ is one of the fastest-growing suburbs in Melbourne, with new housing estates and land developments luring people to the increasingly coveted postcode.
Located just 48km from the CBD, the burgeoning suburban metropolis has become a hub for first-home buyers, downsizers and investors alike, with rapid urbanisation, high rental yields and a budding food and drink scene making it the ideal location for anyone wanting to trade the hustle, bustle and busyness of Melbourne’s increasingly crowded urban landscape for a more relaxed, laid-back, leafy lifestyle.
It’s hard to believe that 50 years ago, Officer was barely more than sprawling paddocks and bucolic landscapes. But what a difference a few decades make. Recent population booms and increasingly high costs of entry into the Melbourne housing market have seen this once rural area become a bustling precinct with a thriving community hub.
But Officer’s appeal is more than just its affordability. Not only is the area well serviced by public transport, hospitals and freeways, it offers both the luxury of spacious, semi-rural living and the lifestyle and convenience of the city, with parks, gardens, galleries and shopping centres all just a stone’s throw away.
From restaurants and cafes to schools and sporting facilities, this southeastern belle offers something for everyone.
Seven reasons homebuyers are flocking to Officer.
Parks and gardens
Love the great outdoors? There’s plenty of it to be explored around this idyllic green wedge. On weekends, you’ll often find two- and four-legged locals doing the Cardinia Aqueduct Trail. Set in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, this relatively flat, 5km trail, which meanders through lush, eucalyptus forest, is well trodden by walkers, joggers and cyclists.
Toomuc Reserve, Arena Playground and Gumnut Park are popular among playground enthusiasts, while the botanic wonderland that is Wilson Botanic Park, in nearby Berwick, boasts 39ha of lush walking tracks, barbecue and picnic facilities and bird-watching opportunities. There is also a cafe at the onsite visitor centre.
Budding athletes and sporting superstars will love living in Officer, with everything from soccer, cricket and netball clubs to tennis, swimming, badminton and athletics. Think you have a future AFL player in the family?
Cardinia Shire has partnered with two-time premiership-winning Richmond Footy Club, which means locals have access to kids’ football clinics, player signing sessions, physical challenges and more. Cardinia Leisure Centre and Casey ARC are also popular local sports and swimming centres, or get into the swing of things at Cardinia Beaconhills Golf Links, Pakenham & District Golf Club and Berwick Montuna Golf Course.
Want retail therapy, minus the chaos of the city or Chadstone? Arena Shopping Centre has everything you need, without having to leave the suburb. For a date night, family dinner or if you’re looking for the perfect outfit for a special occasion, the recently redeveloped Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, in Narre Warren, is just 10 minutes’ drive away.
Cafes and restaurants
Locals are spoiled for choice when it comes to cafes and restaurants in Cardinia. It’s stacks on at Officer’s resident bun dealer, Burgled Burgers.
The Timber Mill is the go-to brunch destination, while Chelle’s Soulfoods Cafe is slinging seriously delicious smoothies, smoothie bowls and raw desserts. For a Tex-Mex feast, head to Frankie’s or to Club Officer for a counter meal or bistro dinner or, for a more intimate experience, make a beeline for the two-hatted O.MY in Beaconsfield, where a seasonal, sustainable, zero-waste philosophy is the inspiration for its refined, farm-to-table menu.
Get your coffee and creativity on at the Robert Gordon Pottery and Kitchen in Pakenham. Pick up a bargain at the outlet store, which sells seconds and samples at discounted prices, then spend the money you saved on pottery on a delicious breakfast or lunch at the Robert Gordon cafe, which is open seven days.
Vino enthusiasts will love having a local winery and cellar door. D’Angelo Estate, which is perched on a hill with views out to Western Port Bay and Phillip Island, produces premium drops including pinot noir, chardonnay, shiraz and sauvignon blanc, which go down beautifully with gourmet pizzas and share plates from the Cellar Door Tapas Bar. Hello, homemade gnocchi, beef croquettes and kuro prawns. Carlei Estate, in neighbouring Beasconsfield Upper, is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. The Carlei Cellar Door and Pizzeria offers an authentic Italian dining experience, and the estate-made wines are as generous (and delicious) as the hospitality.
Officer might be a burgeoning culinary paradise, but this is not at the expense of education. The area is home to myriad top private and public schools, including Maranatha Christian School, St Clare’s Primary, Officer Primary and Officer Secondary, as well as Officer campuses of St Francis Xavier College, Minaret College, Heritage College and St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar. Federation University and Chisolm TAFE’s Berwick campuses are only a short drive away.
Officer is well served by hospitals, public transport, roads and freeways. From Officer train station, on the Pakenham Line, it’s an easy 55-minute commute into the city, or a 45-minute drive down the Monash Freeway.
The Princes Freeway will also get you to Gippsland in under an hour or Phillip Island in a little over, or take the back way along Clyde Five Ways Rd and you’ll be in the Mornington Peninsula hinterland in just 45 minutes.