Australia’s Best Spots To Retire

The beautiful Margaret River mouth. Photo: Joshua Leong

From Cairns to Coles Bay, to Echuca, Albany and beyond, Australians are fortunate to have many choices of locations to retire. Australia has some of the best spots to retire, but where are some of Australia’s best spots to retire?

When researching places around Australia for editions of Where To Retire In Australia (and we continue to research lifestyle locations), there are many items on our lists. Yes, we actually go and visit places!

We actually speak to local people, look at the data, facilities and utilities – to name a few of the tasks on the ‘to do list’ for finding Australia’s best spots to retire.

One of the items on our checklist are the medical facilities of an area: what are they like?how many doctors are there, how many specialists live and practice in the area, how many specialists visit the area? is there a hospital?

Australia’s Best Spots To Retire

Let’s look at just a few great retirement spots around Australia.

Bribie Island, Queensland

‘Bribie’ has  long been a magnet for retirees wanting a more peaceful environment than some of the busier areas nearby. We’ve researched Bribie Island many times as one of Australia’s best spots to retire.

4WD red vehicle driving down long. sandy, white beach, sea on left hand side, scrub on right hand side, Australia's best spots to retire
Beach Drive at Bribie Island, Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Located around 88 kilometres north of Brisbane, Bribie Island has picturesque coastal scenery, alluring beaches and a variety of wildlife.
Once you travel over the bridge you are on ‘Bribie time’.  It’s said that the bridge is the only bridge in Queensland that connects an island to the mainland.

Pelican sitting on a rock, with two other pelicans in background on edge of water with white railed bridge in background., Australia's best spots to retire
Pelican, Bribie Island Photo: Margaret Riseley

Bribie Island has been, and continues to be, a popular retirement lifestyle destination for people from other states. In the 2016 ABS Census there was a population of 18,142, with 47.7% males and 52.% females. The median age was 59 years. The mean maximum temperature is around 25C.

Merimbula, New South Wales

Merimbula, on the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, has also been on our radar for some time.  The name Merimbula (pronounced Mer-rim-bula, not Merim-bula as some visitors like to say) is said to mean two lakes, two waters or a big snake. With national parks and glorious beaches, those who like being in the great outdoors will be spoiled for choice.

white railed bridge over ocean with rocks down below, Australia's best spots to retire
Scenic coastal views across Merimbula Bay from Merimbula wharf. Photo: Destination NSW

Merimbula is nearly 520 kilometres south of Sydney. There were 3,544 people living in Merimbula (2016 ABS Census), with a median age of 55 years, 47.7% of males and 52.3% females. The average mean temperature in Merimbula is 20.8C.

Bass Coast, Victoria 

Think of the Bass Coast and many people would mention the penguin parade and the Grand Prix circuit of Phillip Island.

However, the towns of Grantville, Inverloch, San Remo and Wonthaggi are also part of the Bass Coast. There’s plenty of surf, rolling hills, fishing and charming communities to explore.

crashing ocean waves over rocks with large rock ins distance with a white sailed yacht in background, Australia's best spots to retire
The Nobbies, Phillip Island Photo: J. Weeks

It’s a popular area for tourists and the population grows (a lot!) during the summer season. It’s estimated that more than 3.5 million people visit the Bass coast each year.
The Bass Coast has a population of 32,804 and a median age of 50.
Males: 48.5%, females: 51.5%.

two geese sitting on a cliff overlooking ocean waves, Australia's best spots to retire
Cape Barren Geese, Phillip Island Photo: J Weeks

St Helens Tasmania

When we’ve been researching St Helens, on the east coast of Tasmania as a great spot to retire, we’ve met people who have moved from interstate. Some people have retired, others we have met have had a ‘seachange’ and found new jobs and businesses – and loved it.  One man told us that he ‘could lie on his couch and watch the whales go by’ – such was his love of his new property.

blue fishing boat, with white cabin sitting in dock on water in harbour with several other boats around, Australia's best spots to retire
Georges Bay, St Helens, Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett

So, what are the statistics of St Helens?  Well, there’s a population of nearly 1500 , an average age of 56. Males constitute 46.7% of the population and females make up 53.3% of the population.

two cyclists standing looking out over a treed valley one cyclist in black and white and one with red pants and black top, Australia's best spots to retire
St Helens Mountain Bike Trails Photo: Stu Gibson

Apart from being away from the rat race, there is also the lure of sunshine – said to be over 300 days a year. Nearby Binalong Beach is an exquiste white sand. beach .
(‘Forget the Whitsundays, it’s all here!’).

Victor Harbor, South Australia

The coastal area of Victor Harbor is 83  kilometres south of Adelaide (alright, some people say it’s a few kilometres more), and has been attracting retirees for years.  Some people reminisce about fabulous holidays they’ve had over the years and decide that this is the great retirement spot for them. 

Deep blue ocean in foreground, green, grassy bluff behind with a town in the distance, Australia's best spots to retire
The Bluff, Fleurieu Peninsula, Photo: Jesse Ehlers

The 2016 ABS Census told us there was a population of  14,665, males made up 47.2% of the population and females: 52.8%.  The median age was 58 years.

One of the GP’s told us that, in his opinion, the medical facilities were ‘excellent’ (is that an unbiased opinion!?).

Two people fishing off a wharf overlooking blue ocean towards a granite island, Australia's best spots to retire, Australia's best spots to retire
Encounter Bay, Photo: Tash Mohring

There’s a lot to do in Victor Harbor, plus it’s not that far from Adelaide if you ever want a taste of a bigger city.

Margaret River, Western Australia

Just over 3 hours from Perth is Margaret River. Famed for its surfing, vineyards and wine makers, there is a lot more to this special area of Western Australia.

It’s also a creative area for many artists and has varied galleries to visit. There’s also interesting cafes and restaurants.

The climate is described as ‘Mediterranean with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters’. It has a mean maximum temperature of 33.8C.

Aerial view of ocean with rocky shoreline and white car in foreground, Australia's best spots to retire
Aerial view of Koomal Dreaming, Ngilgi Cave Photo: Tourism Western Australia

For nature lovers the tall timber forests and inland rivers will be sure to delight. For surfers this is a dream destination.

This area is also attracting new residents to retire, rewind and relax. You will notice from the 2016 ABS Census that there is a younger median age of 36 years.

White 4WD driving down sandy road in a forest, Australia's best spots to retire.
4WD driving through the Boranup Karri Forest, Margaret River Photo: Tourism Western Australia

With a population of 7,654 there are 49.8% males and 50.2% females.

Australia’s best spots to retire. There are many great spots, but careful research is required.

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