looking to rent in the area before buying

My partner and I are looking to rent in and around east gosford for a little while before buying our first home there. We have previously lived in the inner city in both sydney and melbourne, and value things like cafe's, a good gourmet pub, restaurants, cinemas( both group and independant),and places to walk with our dog. We like the water and are keen to take up kayaking and maybe even scuba diving.

We work around north sydney, so would be commuting by car and if possible sometimes by train. Its important to us to have a reliable high speed internet connection and also acess to public transport.

Gosford seems like a good place to start but we have recently heard some bad reports about crime and safety at night. While we arent exactly of the night club gen any more, we do like to go out for meals and to the pub with friends and to see concerts and so on. We would like to be able to walk to those places or at least be able to catch public transport.

Any comments, or advice about streets and places to focus( or avoid!) would be greatly appreciated.
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