Shifting In Retirement: Is Tasmania The New Florida?

Will Tasmania become a ‘Florida’ for retirees? Would you, should you retire interstate? In Australia, it seemed that in the 1970s there were many ‘southerners’ (particularly from Victoria) travelling up the Newell Highway in record numbers to live in Queensland.

Often the place of choice was the Gold Coast-Tweed Heads area. The major reasons given for leaving southern states back then were: warmer weather; no death duties; and good leisure facilities.

It’s interesting to read that Tasmania may become the ‘Florida’ of Australia. The Apple Isle is likely to attract many who want to retire there.

Rocks by the sea with orange lichen on them
Photo: David Clode

Having researched Tasmania as a place to retire, it does hold some appeal. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Tasmania has the oldest median age (42 years) of any Australian state.  This could be a plus for those wanting a similar peer group, however, an ageing population has certain needs.

Young people moving to the mainland for further education and employment opportunities is often one reason given for the ageing of the population.

St Helens, on the east coast, has a median age of 56 years. We met a couple there who had retired from Adelaide. They’d been caravanning around Tasmania and had found their piece of paradise in St Helens.

Fishing boats in water, ducks in foreground on water
Photo: David Clode

It didn’t take them long to become part of the community.

Another couple, from Sydney, moved to St Helens for the relaxed lifestyle. Moving from expensive Sydney also allowed them to purchase a rural property with a view over the ocean.

‘I can lie on my sofa and watch whales frolicking in the ocean,’ was one comment.

One of them had found work a few days a week consulting in St Helens. He found it a relief that there were no city traffic jams on his way to work.

With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, friendly locals and proximity to the white sand beach of Binalong Bay, it isn’t hard to understand the appeal of St Helens.

Further south near Hobart, the Huon Valley is also an attractive lifestyle location for retirees.

Boats in ocean and on shore
Photo: Jonathon Young

Tasmania offers retirees: cleaner air; four distinct seasons; a relaxed lifestyle; and the opportunity to buy cheaper land for building or farm use.

However, there are likely to be challenges ahead with fewer people in the Tasmanian workforce.

Another thing to think about is this: If you’ve sold up in a mainland capital city, rising prices may make it difficult to buy back into the same area, should you want to return.

Doing your research before moving across Bass Strait is essential.

It’s a good idea to go and live in an area before moving there (among the options are renting, house-swapping or house sitting). This enables you to check such things as: the range of facilities; what the community is like (will you ‘fit in?’); any issues the community faces; the cost of living; and what the weather is really like.

It remains to be seen if Tasmania does become the Florida of the south.

First published in RetireNotes

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