I WRITE to you from a suburb 12 kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD. I live not far from Olympic Village, which is the former accommodation for the 1956 Olympic athletes and since then the home of some 2000 public housing tenants. Until about two years ago, real estate was reasonably priced for its proximity to the city.
In May this year, the two-bedroom unit next door to me sold at auction for $587,000. I had been half-heartedly looking around coastal Victoria for a small plot of land near the sea that I could afford. After the sale of the house next door, I decided it was time to find it.
I had spent some time a few years ago driving around Bellarine Peninsula, Mornington Peninsula, South Gippsland, Great Ocean Road, spent a night in Kilcunda, a few in Cape Paterson and Inverloch looking for a reasonably priced property in a special place, to no avail.
Every couple of weeks I'd get on Realestate.com.au and check out different parts of Victoria and had always shied away from Western Port. My family had a holiday house at Cannon's Creek when I was a teenager; Dad bought it for the fishing but the mozzies were a big turnoff.
The other week when I was casually looking at Google maps I noticed the Grantville/Coronet Bay/Corinella area. Hadn't heard of any of those towns before. Corinella could have been Victoria's best kept secret … but someone has let the cat out of the bag, that's fur sure, because when I started looking at properties for sale most of them were under contract or new houses in new estates.
A couple of weekends ago, on the spur of the moment, I booked myself in for two nights at Corinella B&B (where I was given friendly five star treatment and the most wonderful cooked breakfast) to focus on what was on offer at Corinella and Coronet Bay.
I had made appointments to see half a dozen homes with a number of different real estate agents. I pulled up outside Stockdale & Leggo in Grantville, with whom I had my first appointment. Liz kindly drove me around to see a couple of properties and it was great to be able to see the area without having to navigate as well.
My first impression of Corinella was that it was quaint and peaceful and that this wouldn't last long. As we drove down the street of the first house, we saw a woman with two big, bouncing dogs who gave me a warm smile. Liz told me that was the woman who owned the house she was showing me.
Liz gave me a tour of the property. It was a very small but totally refurbished cottage on a decent-sized block near the beach. Very appealing but there was lots of new housing going into a new housing estate very nearby and I wondered what life would be like here in the not-too-distant-future, especially given the only shopping outlet is a general store/petrol station/post office.
Later the next day, after looking at numerous properties that didn't float my boat or fit my budget, I went back to take a second look at the first property. The owner spied me out of her kitchen window. She popped over and introduced herself and told me the story of the cottage. She had bought the property next door to give the woman who lived there security as she would have nowhere to go when the property was sold. It was such a heart-warming story, followed by all the details about the extensive renovations she'd made, and I felt I had found my place.
I am looking forward to moving in at the end of July, decorating and putting in a vegetable garden and making the acquaintance of my neighbours and discovering more about one of Victoria's first settlements and best-kept secrets.