Lara is a residential town halfway between Melbourne and Geelong situated just to the north of the Princes Highway. Surrounded by farmland and shadowed to the north by the You Yangs, this peaceful village is perfectly positioned for lifestyle properties that offer convenience to all the major services without the crowds.
Originally known as Duck Ponds, the township is blessed with the natural wildlife attracted to Hovell’s Creek which runs through it. The name was changed in 1872 after a petition from the locals and has been Lara ever since.
Hume and Hovell passed through the area in 1824. They recorded in their journal that the local Aboriginal tribes referred to the land as Corayo and the bay as Jullong. Today, we recognise these names as Corio and Geelong.
- 18km northeast of Geelong.
- Population – 17,550 (2019 census)
- The mockumentary We Can be Heroes was shot in Lara.
- Pirra Homestead has had many uses since it was built in the mid-1860s. Make sure you pay a visit and learn about the area’s fascinating history.
- Home to The Kevin Hoffman Walk. Don’t miss this hidden gem!
Residential and Demographics
Just over half of Lara’s population (54.2%) are registered as married and around 10% are in de facto relationships. The spread of ages in the town is fairly even with no particular age bracket dominating. The median age is 36.
Average household size is 2.8 people per residence.
Most residents identify as Australian though over 800 are from the United Kingdom. Christianity attracts over 8,000 followers and 3,200 have no religion.
38% are full-time employees, 35% are not in the labour market, 20% are part-timers only 2.7% are unemployed and looking for work.
Median loan repayment is $1,625/month and weekly income is $1,399.
The median house price in Lara is $525,000 while units fetch $370,000. Importantly, the 12 month growth figures vary significantly with houses sitting at 6.06% and units reaching 11.28%.
Landlords are attracting a median rent of $420 for a house and $345 for a unit.
Houses and units stay on the market for between 7-10 weeks.
Lara caters for all levels of childhood education via the offerings of three primary schools and Lara Secondary College. This college is relatively new having opened in 2003. The building and grounds are now complete making it one of the most modern secondary schools in the state.
Additionally, Avalon College is located 8km to the south of the Lara township. This school is specifically for international students whose first language is not English. The students graduate from Avalon with an excellent grounding in English and Australian school culture and this sets them up for a productive educational experience no matter where they transfer to.
Lara is blessed with several wonderful places for peaceful natural experiences. The most notable of these is The You Yangs Regional Park. The You Yangs are a series of granite peaks immediately to the north of Lara. In an otherwise flat plain, they rise above the landscape and offer 3600 commanding views. Artists, hikers, picnickers and mountain bike riders all flock here to pursue their interests.
Serendip Sanctuary is a beautiful sample of the local grassland and wetland of the area. Spectacularly, it plays home to over 150 species of birds which are visible from various hides constructed around the park. The local Eastern Grey Kangaroos and emus will keep an eye on you as you go about your sightseeing business.
The Kevin Hoffman Walk is a little jewel lining the east bank of Hovell’s Creek. Supported by a team of local volunteers, it provides a peaceful amble through significant native vegetation linking Station Lake Road and Flinders Avenue.
Shopping. Cafes. Cuisine.
The shopping heart of Lara has moved in recent years. Once centred around the intersection of Patullos Rd and Forest Rd South, it has now moved east by 2 kilometres and is dominated by a large Woolworths and a Coles Supermarket situated right across the car park from each other. If you’re chasing supermarket bargains, this new retail space is the place to be. If you’re after a homespun, rural shopping experience, head to the mum and dad shops back at the intersection.
Cafes are limited but Little Teapot and Play, Millars Café and Xpresso Lounge stand out when you’re in the market for a reviving cup of Joe. Each has their own ambience and sense of fun.
If Thai, Chinese, pizza or Indian are what it takes to stop you cooking tonight then Lara restaurants and takeaways have you covered. Chicken parmigiana calling you? Then head to the pub for that and all the regulars on a pub dinner menu.
Situated alongside the Princes Freeway, Lara is perfectly positioned for commuters heading to and from Melbourne or Geelong. Each provides all the services modern life requires though, due to proximity, most of the day-to-day needs of Lara residents not available in town are sourced in Geelong 18km away.
Lara is on the main Geelong-Melbourne train line and services are frequent and designed to cater for the morning and evening peaks.
A local bus network ferries commuters around the town taking in the schools, sporting facilities and major shopping centres.
All in All…
If you’re looking for a peaceful plot to call your own in a tranquil town catering to all your immediate needs, Lara is for you. With Geelong and Melbourne close by, all your educational and service needs covered, this little town has convenience and lifestyle written all over it.
And if you’re contemplating a domestic or international departure… Avalon Airport is a 10 minute drive away. It has regular flights to the major destinations of south-east Asia and is quickly becoming a departure point of preference for many of the region’s locals.