Retirement means different things to different people, but one thing that is shared by all retirees is the desire for a better quality of life. This may mean relationships, lifestyle, health and fitness, more time to travel and explore, or more time to wind down and be still. Whatever your retirement ideals may be, there are a number of destinations across the country that appear again and again on top ten lists such as these, and for good reason! Here are just a few that we think are great choices for the 2018 retiree.
1. Northern New South Wales
The north coast of NSW stretches from Port Macquarie in the south, to Tweed Heads in the north. The region is accessible by two domestic airports at Port Macquarie and Coolangatta and there are numerous picturesque towns to choose from, depending on the lifestyle you want. All three of the major towns within the region are popular with retirees, offering the lifestyle benefits that come with life by the water through the region’s many beaches and waterways. The average age in the region sits above 55 and services and local facilities accommodate the older aged population very effectively.
2. Queensland’s Gold Coast
For retirees looking for a faster pace, the Gold Coast is a fun, new-lease-on-life kind of retirement destination. With great weather almost year-round, it has easy access to excellent beaches, shopping, dining and recreation, as well as the 2018-only bonus of a quick commute to the Commonwealth Games. Tourism is the coast’s major industry, so there are always new and interesting people of all ages to meet. The Gold Coast also has some pretty incredible properties to be found – from high rise luxury apartments to split level homes with rivers and creeks as their backyard. Coolangatta – twin town to one on NSW’s top retiree destinations Tweed Heads – is a great pick. As are Currumbin, Palm Beach and Burleigh Waters.
3. Queensland’s Sunshine Coast
Just 100 kilometres north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast has all the treasures of its northern counterpart, without the crowds. While the Gold Coast may attract the party crowd, the Sunshine Coast moves at a slower and much more relaxing pace. Its casual vibe and strong sense of community are key to its appeal, along with its stunning natural attractions such as Fraser Island, the Great Sandy National Park and of course its long unbroken stretches of beaches. Popular towns for retirees on the Sunshine Coast include Caloundra at its southern most point, Noosa and the surrounding region, and Mooloolaba.
4. Echuca in Northern Victoria
One of Australia’s most affordable retiree destinations is the northern Victoria town of Echuca. Located on the banks of the Murray River, it’s a popular destination for those looking for a tree change from Melbourne or Sydney. Echuca is a major regional centre but retains a strong sense of community and a solid country aesthetic. It’s a popular tourist destination for families who like a camping holiday on or by the river and, as such, it has plenty of inexpensive places to eat out. Echuca is well serviced with associations and clubs so retirees will find no shortage of activities to take part in and new people to meet.
5. Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula
The region is home to some of Victoria’s most beautiful scenery and has an abundance of things to see and do. With gorgeous mostly crowd free beaches on both sides of the Peninsula, and lush green landscapes of forests, farmlands and rolling vineyards in its centre, the peninsula offers a good range of lifestyle options for the retiree. Did we mention the golf courses, sailing, fishing and bushwalking too? Property options range from acreage, to cottages in quaint villages, modern townhouses with great sea views, as well as plenty of retirement and assisted living facilities in more populous parts such as Mornington and Frankston. Popular locations include Red Hill, Flinders, Mt Martha, Safety Beach and Sorrento. Peninsula Link will get you from most parts of the Peninsula to Melbourne CBD in less than 90 minutes.
6. Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Anyone visiting Adelaide is sure to include a trip to the hills in their itinerary, so deciding to relocate there permanently makes perfect sense. The hills are just 40 minutes from Adelaide’s CBD, yet transport you a world away, with lush bushland, plentiful walking trails, historic villages and a rich and diverse foodie culture. There are numerous retirement facilities in the area, from homes, to ‘lifestyle villages’, as well as plenty of other residential options from farm life, to a quaint cottage in a peaceful tight knit community. The hills region extends north from the Mount Bold Reservoir up to the South Para Reservoir. In between, towns like Stirling, Crafers and Aldgate are picturesque and provide good city access. While Birdwood and Mt Torrens in the north provide a more rural option.
7. Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
If the South Australian tree change is not for you, then the Fleurieu Peninsula may well be your next best address. Just over an hour’s drive south of Adelaide city, the Peninsula is a world away, with spectacular scenery and central access to the city and the sea. It’s also the entry point to some of the state’s most famous tourist attractions, including the renowned McLaren Vale wine region, Kangaroo Island and the Coorong National Park. Popular retiree destinations include Yankalilla on the Peninsula’s western coast and Victor Harbour on the east coast, both of which are affordable and home to an older population. There are facilities targeted at the older resident, however where there’s a lack, additional facilities are within easy reach in Adelaide
8. Esperance, Western Australia
If “because it’s beautiful” is a good enough answer to the question “why should I live there?”, then Esperance is definitely the spot for you. Its long stretch of stunning, unspoilt coastline means you will more often than not have a beach to yourself. Esperance also offers considerably cheaper housing opportunities than Perth and is a popular tourist destination, so the local economy is vibrant and self-sustaining. It is one of the more remote options to retire to, but there’s a local airport and the town is well equipped with services and facilities. The remoteness is part of the attraction for many, as are the stunning natural wonders including the islands and wildlife of the Recherche Archipelago and the Cape le Grand National Park.
9. Western Australia’s south west region
Wine, weather and wonder should be the tagline for the region, with vineyards, a gorgeous coastline and a mild Mediterranean climate year-round. The south west made its way onto the map thanks to the Margaret River region’s marketing department. Its wineries, forests, surf beaches, B&Bs and festivals are popular attractions for Australian and international holidaymakers. There are almost 150 wineries in Margaret River and of course where there’s wine there’s food so eating out will always be an experience. The region has become known for adopting a new approach to retirement, with ‘lifestyle villages’ offering more contemporary housing choices, as well as learning opportunities such as winemaking, olive growing and beer brewing classes. Like Esperance, it is also a more remote choice with Perth - the closest major service centre - a 3 hour drive to the north. Popular towns in the region for retirees include Bunbury, Busselton and in and around the Margaret River township.
10. Huon Valley, Tasmania
Tasmania offers you the pick of retirement locations – throw a dart at a map of Tasmania and you will almost always hit a bullseye. However, for the best in lifestyle, access to major services and the mainland, and affordability, the Huon Valley tends to rate the highest amongst retirees. It’s around a 40-minute trip into the city and just over an hour to the airport, in one of the most picturesque parts of the state. With rolling hills, national parks on its doorstep and beaches, bays and islands just a short drive down the road, the Huon Valley is a tiny piece of paradise, though without the palm trees and year-round sunshine. It’s cooler climate suits many and its small, friendly affordable villages such as Huonville, Franklin, Cygnet and Geeveston tick all the boxes if you’re looking for peaceful communities, offering a great quality of life. Its key appeal is the abundance of fresh local produce and clean living, with plenty of fresh air to enjoy and nature to explore.