Where To Retire In Australia

Moving to a new location in retirement can be exciting. Australia has many great spots from which to choose. However, it’s important to find a place that suits your needs, wants and lifestyle. Are you looking for the best places to retire in Australia? Here’s just a few suggestions. (And. Yes, we actually go and visit these areas to research places to retire in Australia).

Best Places To Retire In Australia
Bribie Island, Queensland

We’ve researched Bribie Island several times (plus visited) as a retirement location when researching for Where To Retire In Australia books. One local told us that ‘many people seem to have moved from somewhere else, so we connect and there is a real sense of community’.

long, white sandy beach with a red car on the sand, blue ocean on the left of the photo
Self-driving along the beach Beach Drive at Bribie Island, Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

There’s a surf beach one side of the island and calmer waters on the other side. The bridge of around 830 metres is the link to the mainland. 

Bribie Island (in grey), Photo: .id community

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.

A fun stamp that has a photo of a large map of Bribie Island with Australia to the left of it saying that Australia is an island off the west coast of Bribie
Bribie Island Fun Stamp

We asked our where2now.net Ambassadors Max and Luz about their move from Alice Springs to Bribie Island. They like Bribie Island because it has:

1/. Mild Weather
2/. The location is close to family and friends
3/. There’s very good and easily accessible medical facilities.

Fast Facts

People20,612
Males47.4%
Females52.6%
Median age63
Source: ABS 2021 Census

Bribie Island is not far from Caloundra, which has been a drawcard for retirees for some time. The Island is around 80 kilometres north of Brisbane.

Best Places To Retire In Australia
Victor Harbor, South Australia

The coastal area of Victor Harbor is 83 kilometres south of Adelaide (well o.k., some people say it’s a few kilometres more). It 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.

Victor Harbor (grey area), Photo: .id community

It’s popular with people who move from Adelaide, as it’s not that far to return to family, friends, appointments and social events.

A photo of an island in a bay with a large town behind it on the land
Victor Harbor, Photo: Zac Edmonds

And. The ‘Harbor’ is really spelt that way (not ‘Harbour’).

One of the local GPs told me that Victor Harbor ‘had the best medical facilities’. No bias there!

The computer group established to help older people is excellent. So many helpful tutors and there’s a great sense of camaraderie.

Fast Facts

People16,139
Males47.0%
Females53.0%
Median Age60
Source: ABS 2021 Census

Why is Victor Harbor attractive to retirees?

1/. It’s not far from Adelaide
2/. Relaxed lifestyle
3/. Facilities

Best Places To Retire In Australia
St Helens Tasmania

We have visited and researched St Helens for Where To Retire In Australia publications several times.

St Helens is part of the Break-O-Day Council. Photo: .id community

One thing we have noticed is that there have been people moving to St Helens from interstate.

A blue and white fishing boat that has red and white cray pots in a cage on board
Georges Bay, St Helens, Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett

On one of our visits, for example, we met a couple who had moved from Adelaide. They had taken their caravan around Tasmania and visited St Helens. They decide St Helens was the place to retire and it wasn’t long before they had made the move.

Another person had moved from Sydney. He had a major health issue and went on a holiday to Tasmania to recuperate. Whilst in St Helens he was chatting to locals when he was offered a part time job in his field. As they say, the rest is history.
‘Where else can I lie on the couch and watch whales glide by’, he muses.

Fast Facts

Population1,573
Males47.5%
Females52.5%
Median age59
Souce: ABS 2021 Census

Why is St Helens attractive to retirees?

The weather. Being on the east coast of Tasmania it is milder (and more sunshine)
Binalong Bay is nearby (it’s a short drive and has a beautiful white sand beach)
Good for enthusiasts of game fishing

Best Places To Retire In Australia
Echuca, Victoria

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.

Echuca is in the Campaspe Shire Council area. Photo: .id community

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. 

A couple relaxing at dusj on a houseboat with a river in front of them
Relaxing, Photo: Photo: Emily Godfrey

Ambassador for www.where2now.net Anne Peace has more than 3 reasons why Echuca is a great place to live:

  • 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

Fast Facts

Population15,636
Males48.0%
Females52.0%
Median Age 45
Source: ABS 2021 Census

Best Places To Retire In Australia
Merimbula, New South Wales

Merimbula, on the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, has also been on our radar for some time, as a place to retire.

Merimbula, part of Bega Valley Shire. Photo: .id community

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.

A pier jutting out into the water, overlooking rocks
Scenic coastal views across Merimbula Bay from Merimbula wharf. Photo: Destination NSW

Merimbula is nearly 520 kilometres south of Sydney.

Fast Facts

Population8,220
Males47.5%
Females52.5%
Median Age56
Source: ABS 2021 Census

Some retirees told us they loved not being in a metropolitan area, others said that sometimes they needed to go to Sydney for various specialist appointments.

Why is Merimbula popular with retirees?
There are many beaches to explore, amazing bush walks, a Jazz Festival, an annual Seniors Tennis Tournament  and so much more. Watersports, fishing, golf and other sports are catered. Clubs such as the RSL Club and Club Sapphire frequently have restaurants and entertainment.

Best Places To Retire In Australia
Margaret River

‘By area, Western Australia is the largest state or territory, covering 2.5 million square kilometres or 33% of Australia.

Margaret River, part of the Shire Augusta Margaret River

.id community says: ‘The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River is predominantly rural, with townships at Augusta, Cowaramup and Margaret River, and smaller settlements at Gracetown, Karridale, Prevelly/Gnarabup and Witchcliffe’. 

A wooden deck that looks out onto a vibrant blue ocean with sandy beach circling
Margaret River
Photo: Eloise Shakespeare

The State’s capital, Perth, was founded on 12 August 1829 and the Greater Perth area contains more than three quarters (78%) of Western Australia’s total population.

Western Australia’s regions offer the traveller much to see. It’s a wonderful place to visit. There’s the beautiful white sand beaches of Esperance, the gourmet region of Margaret River, the amazing Kimberley region, quokkas at Rottnest Island, dolphins at Monkey Mia, camel rides along the beach at Broome, the spectacular wildflowers and karri forests – to name a few of the delights of Western Australia.

However, let’s look at Margaret River. It’s certainly changed from a dairying area to spectacular vineyards and lifestyle opportunities.

Population7,430
Males49.4%
Females50.6%
Median Age38
Source: ABs 2021 Census

You will note that the median age is below other places we have mentioned.

It’s certainly changed since we first visited. There has also been a vibrant community, one that many retirees and treechangers embrace.

Why is Margaret River popular with retirees?
It’s best summed up by margaretriver.com: ‘Who needs theme parks when Mother Nature provides the best playground on Earth!? Surfing is synonymous with the Margaret River Region, known worldwide for its powerful surf that has sculpted the styles of the best surfers to have come out of Western Australia’. ​

Best Places To Retire In Australia
What are some of the things you should consider before you move?

Before searching for the best places to-retire in Australia, take time to consider what you should be looking for. There are many! We research: medical facilities, cost of living, transport, climate, things to do, gardening, security, possibility of employment, starting a profitable hobby or small business….plus many more. So, there’s a start!

Remember there’s nothing like visiting in all seasons and doing your own research!

What’s on your list? Let us know by emailing here

Jill Weeks has been an educator and author for many years. She is the author of 21 Ways To Retire, which gives insights into how 21 Australians from different backgrounds adjusted to retirementShe is also the co-author with her husband, Owen, of several editions of Where To Retire In Australia and one of Retire Bizzi.



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