Your top retirement destinations for 2023 revealed

Feb 22, 2023
Australia's dreamiest retirement locations. Source: Getty

City living can be fantastic, no doubt about it! Having the ability to “duck to the shops”, the luxury of not planning meals ahead of time and just grabbing something on the way home and being close to family and friends can often not be beaten. But, as we age people often start to dream about the quiet life, having their own slice of paradise and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you are looking for a change to the seaside or even a country escape, here is a little inspiration for you!

Port Douglas, QLD

If you love escaping to warm weather in the winter, Port Douglas is the place for you. Surrounded by stunning rainforest and crystal-clear ocean views, Port Douglas is one of those places you feel at home almost immediately. The tourist town boasts warm humid weather all year-round and its relaxed residents are more than happy to welcome newcomers into the fold.

Activities: Not only does the small town offer amazing shopping and dining opportunities, but it is also the only place on earth home to two World Heritage-listed gems: the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest of the Daintree and Cape Tribulation. Port Douglas’ tropical climate is also the perfect location to host open-air events like the Opera in the Outback and the Wallaby Creek Festival.

Healthcare: The nearest hospital to Port Doughlas is Mossman Hospital, however, the Cairns Base Hospital is also relatively close, being about 70km away (1-hour drive) from Port Douglas.


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Lennox Head, NSW

Lennox Head is one of those hidden gems often overlooked by tourists and house hunters, who tend to flock to nearby Byron Bay instead – and therein lies the coastal town’s biggest asset. It is still largely a quiet and easy-going town, with surfers and seachangers enjoying the scenic views and peaceful lifestyle away from the crowds.

Activities: There are monthly markets for locals to peruse fresh produce and lots of activities to participate in when your not strolling along the beach or hiking through the gorgeous landscape. This super-relaxed coastal town also has an abundance of cafes, restaurants, boutiques, a bowls club and a waterfront pub.

Healthcare: If you’re looking for a GP, the Lennox Head Medical Centre is easily accessible and offers discounts for pensioners and those with a current Health Care Card. They also have a pain and injury centre and Pathology drive-through clinic, which is a quick drive away from the Epiq Medical Centre.


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Busselton, WA

Busselton has been flying under the radar for years now, but that’s all changing thanks to a thriving foodie scene and some of the country’s best beaches. Located 220km Southwest of Perth, Busselton is in the sweet spot for anyone wanting to make the most of the gorgeous Margaret River wineries, farm life, and pristine beaches. Busselton has also made a name for itself as the “events capital” of Australia, with more than 138 events hosted in the town every year – meaning you’re never short of anything to do.

Activities: They also offer a plethora of active senior programs at both their Geographe Leisure Centre and Naturaliste Community Centre. There’s also the Busselton Senior Citizens Centre which offers a variety of daytime activities for people over 60 like indoor bowls, table tennis, bingo, Tai Chi, and boot scooting.

Healthcare: Not only does Busselton offer an abundance of senior activities, but they also have great healthcare initiatives and services specifically catered to older adults. They have the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), who are a team of medical, nursing and health professionals who assess the physical, psychological, medical, restorative, cultural and social needs of older people. And the Safe and Found initiative, a programme to help those at risk of becoming lost.


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Echuca, VIC

Located about 200km north of Melbourne is Echuca. With an estimated population of around 15,000 people, this country town is perfect for retirees searching for warmer weather and are interested in fishing and boating. If you’re missing the city, this town is just a short drive away from Melbourne. Echuca is also an accessible town to retire to, with its flat terrain and easy sets of traffic lights.

Activities: Locals can enjoy a tipple at the many craft breweries, wineries and local gin distillery in Echuca. Older residents can also visit the Probus to find the perfect interest-based social group or enrol in U3A. Every year in October, the state of Victoria also hosts the Victorian Senior Festival which boasts over 2,500 events across the state.

Healthcare: Echuca has a newly opened hospital with visiting specialists and a handful of medical clinics with great staff and facilities. Primary care, dental, chiropractic, and osteopath can easily be found in time.

Stanley, TAS

Stanley is quite possibly one of Australia’s most under-appreciated towns, with its colonial housing and breathtaking scenery making it the quintessential location for a seaside escape. The town is small – very small – with only 481 residents and is filled with quaint cottages and fresh sea air. A volcanic rock formation sits on the edge of the village and a chairlift ride to the top with a picnic basket is the perfect way to spend the afternoon. There’s an abundance of fresh seafood and local produce to choose from and friendly locals to help you settle in.

Activities: For fans of history, Stanley is home to a number of historic, perfectly preserved colonial buildings scattered across the town. If you’re on the hunt for more specific activities or want to learn more about senior activities across Tassie, the Council of Ageing (COTA) Tasmania is a great resource to connect with over 60s communities or find new activities.

Healthcare: Stanley is equipped with two hospitals, Summerdale Medical Centre and Smithton District Hospital. For a more specific look at ageing and aged care in Tasmania, the Tasmanian Department of Health’s website offers more in-depth details about the support they offer for senior residents.

Barossa Valley, SA

If you’re a fan of eating scrumptious local food and sipping on some of the best wine in the world, head on down to the Barossa Valley in South Australia. This gorgeous town is only a few hours drive from Adelaide and is home to some of the best produce in the country. The main streets are lined with antique stores and boutiques, while nearby wineries cover the rolling hills with lush grape vines and roses.

Activities: Other than great wine, Barossa Valley also offers a variety of leisure activities and fun outings for older people. The Barossa Village Community Services Lifestyle Club offers monthly outings and activities in the local Barossa area. For active seniors, the Barrosa Aquatic Fitness centre also offers senior fitness classes like aqua classes and light cardiovascular exercises specially catered for those over 60.

Healthcare: Residents in the Barrosa Valley area also have great access to a wide range of healthcare services scattered throughout the region. They also have in-home, residential and community-based services for seniors.

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