Fri, 1 Aug, 2014
11 best places to retire in Australia
From Geraldton to Merimbula, there’s so many amazing places to retire to in Australia, so where do you choose? Here’s 11 great places.
When it comes to choosing where to retire, it’s good to give the decision some careful thought. Who likes packing up the belongings and moving house several times? Not many people. However, it can be a difficult decision because Australia is a beautiful country, so you’re spoiled for choice!
For many over-60s, the decision will come down to a few important factors, such as where your children and grandchildren live, what amenities are available, good transport connections and affordable housing. Good all-year round sunshine doesn’t hurt either. For this reason, Queensland has always proven a popular choice, with places like the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, however, there are great places to choose all over this great southern land.
Jill and Owen Weeks, founders of retirement website Where2Now and authors of Where to retire in Australia, say, generally speaking, retirees are looking for a number common factors when trying to find their perfect retirement location. “Every retiree is different, so they will have a different set of criteria about what they are looking for,” Jill explains. “However, generally speaking, they’re looking for leisure facilities, low crime rates, accessible transport, relatively low cost of living, good climate, good medical facilities and choice of shopping.”
Before making your final decision, however, do your research. It can be a costly (and not to mention annoying) for anyone who had to move again, and again. With so many amazing places to choose from in Australia, we take a look at some of the most popular places to retire. Does your location make the list? Read on to find out!
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
No one will be surprised by the inclusion of this area of beautiful beaches, great weather and relaxed community feel, otherwise known as the Sunshine Coast. A little quieter than its southern counterpart, Gold Coast, but no less vibrant, this area is home to a few well-known suburbs, including Noosa, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Caloundra. There has been less development in this area, and cheaper housing too. However, that will all depend on what you’re looking for.
Prices can range from about $500,000 to $2 million, or if you’re not wanting to buy, there’s plenty of rentals available too. You’ve also got a pick of retirement villages, with a number of affordable options close to amenities. An hour’s drive north of Brisbane, it’s a great place to base yourself that’s quiet and peaceful, but not too far out of the way that you can’t easily visit family in other parts of the country.
Coolangatta, Queensland/Tweed Heads, NSW
A favourite area with retirees, it’s hard to separate Coolangatta and Tweed Heads, the neighbouring towns on the Queensland/New South Wales border. Much quieter than its glitzy cousin, Surfer’s Paradise, Coolangatta has a relaxed and friendly vibe that’s easily accessible to all parts of Australia, with the nearby airport.
Good shopping centres, close proximity to leisure and entertainment options, and plenty of community groups, clubs and associations to get involved in, this area has everything an over-60 could want. The popular Twin Towns club is beloved by retirees on both sides of the Queensland/New South Wales border, with affordable dining, entertainment (in the form of classic film showings and live music), live bands for dancing, and let’s not forget the great views of the Tweed River!
Unlike the glitter strip of the Gold Coast, which can get a little noisy when school leavers descend on Surfer’s Paradise and surrounds, Tweed Heads is relaxed, peaceful and an ideal retirement spot for many. Between Tweed Heads and Coffs Harbour, as well as further south towards Foster-Tuncurry, Aussie retirees are spoilt for choice. If you’re looking in this area, take a few days and go for a drive to find a place that feels right for you.
Hunter Valley, NSW
While you’re probably thinking over-60s are retiring here for the wine (and that could definitely be a contributing factor), the Hunter Valley also offers close proximity to the state’s main urban hubs – Newcastle and Sydney – and has plenty of amenities for retirees.
House prices have steadily risen in this area, however, as more people have discovered the appeal of this diverse region. Having said that, it can be cheaper than living in many other parts of the country which are closer to the big capital cities.
What the Hunter Valley excels at though is its rich gourmet food and wine scene, stunning golf courses and diversity of residents, with the nearby mining industry continuing to attract and retain people of all ages to the region.
It’s one of the worst-kept retirement secrets among retirees – the south west coast of NSW. From Milton to Merimbula, this peaceful coastline that has long been popular with holidaymakers has started attracting large numbers of people looking for a quiet and relaxed retirement destination.
From Sydney, Milton is about a three-hour drive while Merimbula is about a six-hour drive, with beautiful scenery along the way. If you feel like a day trip to Canberra or a weekend in Melbourne, these are well within driving range too. If you prefer a quicker way to get to Sydney, there’s also an airport in Merimbula, with daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne.
There’s sunshine all-year round, with a range of natural attractions, superb beaches and national parks to go for walking excursions. Plenty of amenities too, with a good selection of shops, clubs, leisure facilities and restaurants. Safe and friendly too, this is a beautiful place to call home.
For residents of this little spot on the Murray River, there could be no better place to live. While it may be far away from the pristine coastlines of the Sunshine Coast, the community spirit in the twin towns of Echuca and Moama, which sits across the river in NSW, makes every visitor feel welcome.
As the closest settlement on the Murray to Melbourne, Echuca offers an affordable place to live that’s vibrant, accessible and friendly. Retirees to this place, whose name means “the meeting of the waters”, love the clubs, associations and activities that can be found and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. It also offers great health facilities and plenty of places to eat out at half the price of dining in Melbourne.
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
On the other side of the state, to the south, is the Mornington Peninsula, another retiree favourite in Victoria. The quaint coastal villages and hamlets in this breathtaking part of the world are hard to forget, and offer endless places to explore and discover for retirees who decide to settle here.
From the beachfront to the rolling hills of orchards and market gardens, this place is heaven. There are a number of housing options, including retirement villages, good access to the Melbourne CBD, if you need to visit family or fly interstate, and there are plenty of quality food and wine producers, so you’ll never fall short of having delicious dishes to create for visiting family and friends.
For those who like a morning or afternoon walk, there’s beautiful places to go in and around the open water scenery of Western Port Bay, Port Phillip Bay and the Bass Strait.
Huon Valley, Tasmania
Sharing the love around Australia, you can’t forget Tasmania. If you’re love for natural beauty and open spaces can master the cooler climate you’re going to experience here, then Huon Valley is an ideal retirement spot. While many retirees opt for places with warmer weather, Jill and Owen Weeks say more people are noticing the charms of Tasmania.
“We have become aware of a number of people from mainland states looking to retire to Tasmania,” they say. “For example, St Helens on the east coast, which has around 300 days of sunshine a year, and the Huon Valley. People we have spoken to say they like the clean air, friendly locals, ease of getting about and the relatively low cost of living (compared to where they used to live).”
With affordable housing, plenty of attractions to explore and a strong community vibe, the townships in the valley could be a great place to look at for those hoping to retire in a beautiful part of Tasmania. There are seven altogether: Cygnet, Dover (on Esperance Bay), Franklin, Geeveston, Port Huon, Glen Huon and Huonville.
While retiring in Tasmania won’t be for everyone, if you’ve lived here before and love it, or prefer quiet places with that local feel, the towns in this part of the world could be worth a look.
Together with Tasmania, South Australia has the highest proportion of older Aussies (about 16 per cent) compared to the other states. So, where do they live? Well, you’ll find many retirees enjoying the community spirit of the Copper Coast, with Kadina at its heart.
This pretty town, along with Wallaroo and Moonta, make up the Copper Coast, so named for the discovery of copper at the Wallaroo mines, near Kadina, in 1859. The region on the Yorke Peninsula, about a two-hour drive from Adelaide, is also known as ‘Australia’s Little Cornwall’. Here, you’ll find the Kernewek Lowender, the world’s largest Cornish festival, which has been held every two years since 1973.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city, Kadina and its neighbours continue to attract retirees for its country way of life and the variety of facilities the towns offer. There’s a good selection of supermarkets, medical services, retirement living options, aged care facilities and local attractions to keep residents busy.
Set on the western side of South Australia’s stunning Fleurieu Peninsula, Yankalilla is a pretty country haven that has lots of charm and character. If you love being surrounding by nature and is only about an hour’s drive south from Adelaide.
It has a number of quaint bed and breakfast establishments for visiting family and friends, and there are affordable housing options if you’re looking to set up permanently. Median prices in Yankalilla are about the $240,000 mark. For beach excursions, the nearby seaside havens of Normanville, Carrickalinga and Myponga Beach are beautiful spots for a relaxing morning swim or afternoon walk.
While it may not have as many facilities as other retirement havens, the fact that it’s an hour’s drive from the state’s capital means you can get to bigger shopping complexes and medical facilities. Home to farmers, artists, city-dwellers down for the weekend and retirees, this is an ideal place for those looking to be close to a capital city but with the peaceful lifestyle of a quiet country town.
If you love the feel of the sun warming your skin and taking a dip in clear turquoise waters, Geraldton is the place to go. This coastal town about a five hour drive from Perth is a popular haven for retirees who like to be warm all-year round!
It’s the gateway to the Abrolhos Islands and is an area known for its rock lobster fishing. Jill and Owen Weeks suggest nearby Dongara, which they say is perfect for over-60s who love fishing and a quieter life. Due to the local iron ore mining boom, housing may have gone up slightly compared to previous years, but you can still find some affordable gems here.
Due to the growth from mining, the region boasts a number of facilities for residents, including a wide variety of community activities and programs for residents over 60. These include: art classes, ballroom dancing, bowling tournaments, computer lessons and a range of clubs to get involved in.
While the South West of WA has a wonderfully diverse range of quiet inland towns and coastal havens for retirees, Esperance is a real natural gem. It’s one of the furthest outposts from Perth in the state’s south, but its unspoilt coastline, stunningly white beaches, friendly community and great options for one to three-day road trips make it an ideal hub to set up and establish your retirement home.
If you’re not up for the eight to nine-hour drive south-east from Perth, Esperance has an airport that provides daily travel to Perth with Virgin Australia. Here, you’ll find all the essential amenities of any large regional centre, along with plenty of things to see, do and show your family and friends when they come down for a visit.
Median house prices come in around $267,000 for units or $370,000 for houses. A truly beautiful part of the world, Esperance could make a great retirement destination for anyone.