There are many great lifestyle locations in in Australia. From metropolitan areas to coastal and inland areas – there are many choices. The beauty of lifestyle locations means that it can be difficult to choose just one. For lovers of country lifestyle, with a river setting and not too far from Melbourne, Echuca may be well worth your consideration as a great place to retire in Australia.
Located around 210 kilometres north of Melbourne, Echuca was originally named ‘Hopwood’s Ferry’, after the former convict Henry Hopwood (who operated a punt on the Murray River, became a postmaster and owned several other businesses). The town’s name was changed with its expansion.
With a population of around 15,500 people, Echuca is popular as a great place to retire in Australia. It is an ideal retirement location for those who like a warm climate and who are attracted to fishing, boating or other water sports.
But. What’s it really like to live in Echuca?
I asked a local, Anne Peace, what it is like living in Echuca.
(Spoiler alert: she really loves living in Echuca!)
Anne has lived in Echuca for 32 years.
‘I took leave from teaching in Melbourne, purchased the Wistaria Tea Rooms on the historic port and never returned’.
Anne has also spent some years living on Norfolk Island in the Pacific
Anne has an Air BnB that’s listed as ‘Peaceful, Central, riverside home’ and she is a ‘Superior Host’.
What attracts people to live in Echuca? Anne listed some of the attractions of Echuca.
- closest point to Melbourne on the Murray River.
- with upgrades to amenities all that we would want – a new hospital, a Cancer Wellness Centre being constructed, excellent medical and ancillary support available.
- we have a new police station, fire station, ambulance headquarters, SES headquarters (and Search and Rescue).
- affordable housing
- easy to get around with only four sets of traffic lights
- walking, bicycle riding easy on the flat terrain
- train and bus services to Bendigo and Melbourne improving all the time
- every sport imaginable available from kindergarten to mature age
- church, social groups, service clubs and 4 Probus clubs, seniors, RSL, Legacy allowing one to be connected
- support as one ages, in the home, aged care facilities some owned by the community.
- wonderful winter climate which is good for the soul
Medical facilities? A new hospital with visiting specialists. Medical clinics with excellent staff and facilities. Primary care with rehabilitation and consulting rooms. Dental, chiropractic, physiotherapists, osteopaths, psychologists on hand.
Urgent ambulance transport, life flight helicopter and airplane are available to Bendigo or straight to Melbourne.
The climate? – for the short time that temperatures become unbearable one learns to shop, water the garden, or have the watering system come on early in the day, and make appointments before the temperature rises.
Air conditioning, shaded windows and doors, double glazing are important. One even manages the house, working in the west rooms in the morning, the kitchen and living room and the east rooms in the afternoon, the study and the reading corner in the bedroom. Quite easy to do. To have beautiful blue skies in the winter to brighten the soul makes this all worthwhile.
Sporting and cultural facilities? – every sport one can imagine is on offer in this town. Bowling, tennis, golf, croquet, competition shooting, martial arts, gymnasiums, swimming pools, walking groups and bush walking, BMX and trail bikes, kayaking and canoeing, triathlon to name a few.
Cultural? – Musical/theatrical group, cinema, historical and family history groups, boutique art galleries, performing arts in a historical church, music festivals. RSL, Seniors, Legacy – one could go on
Dining – cuisines from a variety of cultures, bistros in hotels and clubs, dining on paddle steamers, wineries, many to choose from.
Cost of living – one does not have to use much fuel which is a saving, supermarket chains provide everything the same as in the big cities. I shop at a family owned butcher, a fruit and vegetable shop with local produce and a local small supermarket. There is a Farmers Market, pre-loved book shop, local crafts available, always a garage sale, so one can support the locals in many ways.
Philanthropy – the town raised over a million dollars to provide new furniture and equipment for the new hospital and is now working toward the balance of the funds for the new Cancer and Wellness Centre being constructed, ($1.3 million) and is well on the way.
Community Living and Respite are constructing their fifth house to enable people with disabilities to live independently. Community for the Aged is extending on land given to the group by a local farmer. Special fundraising projects are always well supported eg: Good Friday Appeal, Red Shield.
Echuca, for Anne (and many others) is a great lifestyle location in Australia.
Where do you think is a great lifestyle location in Australia? Let us know here
Jill Weeks is the author of 21 Ways To Retire and co-author of Where To
Retire In Australia and Retire Bizzi. Information Provider For Great Retirement Lifestyles.
She is a regular contributor to radio.