Australia is blessed with a formidable diversity of desirable retirement locations. Some people dream of a seaside lifestyle on the Western Australian coast, whilst others long for a country lifestyle in one of the wine regions in New South Wales or Tasmania. We are all different in where we would like to be located in our retirement. However, we should not be that different in the way we plan when considering where to retire.
After researching over 200 locations around Australia to come up with the best Australia has to offer, and looking at facilities around Australia, we believe that one of the most important features to look for is the medical facilities. The quality of medical facilities ranges from excellent to poor. Some popular areas with retirees have trouble attracting and retaining doctors, whilst other areas do not have specialists and other health personnel that live and practise in the town. Other areas, such as Port Macquarie on the New South Wales north coast, are well catered for – and even have a hospital for koalas!
Another important point to look for concerns the security of an area. How many police are stationed in the town? Is the police station a 24-hour station? Is there a Neighbourhood Watch programme operating? In some popular holiday locations, such a programme does not operate because locals either think they do a good job unofficially or they do not want to be “caretakers” of homes that are owned by people who use them as holiday houses a few times a year. In areas such as Queenscliff, on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, the residents are proud of their town and say there is a good community feel and locals keep a watchful lookout.
Access to the Internet is increasingly important for people to communicate with their family and friends around the world. Generally fast Internet connection is available in metropolitan areas. Outside these areas a fast connection is not always available. Good radio and television reception is also highly desirable for many retirees. In Victoria’s Apollo Bay, the reception can vary.
In Tasmania’s picturesque Tamar Valley communication facilities are generally very good, and there are numerous computer groups for older people, such as OPEN (“Older Person’s Electronic Network”) and “Linking Tasmania’s Seniors Online”, which are very popular. Meanwhile in Victor Harbor, one hour south of Adelaide, there are numerous courses and activities to keep the grey matter going. In Western Australia’s Albany there are over 56 book groups to keep you informed!
Take care if you are bringing pets with you. Australia’s climate varies, and dogs with heavy coats will not thank you for relocating them to tropical North Queensland! Some areas have problems with ticks. Before moving, dog lovers may want to chat with the local council ranger regarding regulations about where they can walk their dog. Some councils are strict about the number of dogs you can have, whilst others are vigilant about dog areas, particularly on beaches.
Do you like four distinct seasons, or do you prefer warm temperatures throughout the year? Many people from Victoria who have moved north say they miss the four distinct seasons (even Melburnians who cope with jokes about having four seasons in a day!). Did you know that St Helens on the East Coast of Tasmania has 300 days of sunshine, and nearby Binalong Bay has a beach that is like one of Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands?
Australia has many great retirement locations, and by careful planning, you could end up in your dream location.
- Subscribe to the local newspaper before moving. This will provide an insight into issues within the area.
- Request a “new resident’s kit” from the local council.
- Consider renting for 18 months before buying a new home or unit. This will allow you to experience the seasons and location.