Considering a lifestyle community

Pickleball, art exhibitions and a creek side path: my peek at lifestyle community living

Feb 15, 2023
Residents coming together for the annual art exhibition and presentation. Image source: Di East

Di and I live in a holiday apartment resort on the Sunshine Coast – we have truly adopted the sea change retirement model. So, we were very interested to inspect Ingenia Nature’s Edge, for a tree change comparison. Nature’s Edge is an over 50’s community for active and independent retirees based upon the land lease community model. It’s situated on 19 landscaped hectares in the rolling foothills of Buderim on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Nature’s Edge exudes peace and security from the moment that you arrive. The community is encircled by mature forests and bushland with a perennial creek on the northern boundary. It really is a leafy oasis with easy access north or south via the Bruce Highway. Beautiful Buderim Village is a mere 10 minutes’ drive eastwards, and the fabulous hinterland township of Montville is only 20 minutes to the west. And even though Nature’s Edge has everything you’d be looking for in a tree change escape, the coast is easily accessible too with beaches like Mooloolaba and Alexandra Heads just a 15-minute drive away.

We met Di Whybrow, Nature’s Edge Community Manager, our host for the day and discovered immediately that Nature’s Edge stands out from the competition in several ways. Firstly, it’s gently sloping and green.  The houses here are sited to be more private with wider meandering streets and more front garden, without really overlooking each other. In addition, this wandering streetscape provides openness and breezes. There’s a large dam as well, so every household has a dam water tap for its garden, helping to keep the water costs down.   

The outdoor environment at Nature’s Edge should satisfy any active retiree. There are creek-side walking trails, bocce court, tennis court, bowling green and of course pickleball. And better yet, there’s an off-leash dog area! That’s right, you can have a pet (subject to approval) although cats are not allowed because of the proximity to the nature reserves – after all, cats and critters are not a good mix.

Nestled in the Buderim foothills, enjoy relaxed living surrounded by lush scenery. Image source: Di East

Upon our visit we found that tennis is a popular choice, as are bowls and pickleball – the new kid on the block that is played four days a week with coaching available for beginners!

We then wandered into the Leisure Centre which is the social hub of Nature’s Edge and met our new friends, Barry, and Marilyn, who moved up from Tasmania over four years ago for a warmer climate and to be closer to their family. Marilyn explained how they use this facility a lot.

We have a coffee morning here regularly. I’m playing Mah-jong here later this morning. There’s Friday night happy hour outside on the veranda and regular dinners inside.”

There a so many ways for residents to connect and expand their social circle. Image source: Di East

The heated pool and spa look over bushland as do the library, craft rooms and other breakout facilities. A masseur and hairdresser are available, and the pool has disabled ramp access, dumbbells, and noodles. We had a peek and saw that the classes are all well patronised.

The resort-like facilities make it feel like you are on a never-ending holiday. Image source: Di East

Marilyn explained how residents enjoy having the freedom to choose what they want to do. “Some like table tennis, some of the men play pool. Lots of people are into craft and art. We have a Christmas function of course. And there’s the bar…”

To support the community’s vibrant social culture, Ingenia also runs a program called Ingenia Activate, which is a complimentary lifestyle program offered to all residents. This helps build social connections and supports cognitive and physical health. The program incorporates regular fun games and activities, special-themed lunches, entertainers, bus trips, charity events, special celebrations, and informative talks. Management holds an event every month separate from social club functions, all adding to the sense of community and belonging here.

We also found that many residents are talented artists and craftspeople and were fortunate that our visit coincided with the presentation of awards for the annual art exhibition. Exhibits of paintings, photography and other creative projects were proudly on display around the walls of the Leisure Centre.

The art exhibition allows residents to showcase their artistic skills. Image source: Di East

The residents (one vote per household) judged these paintings, and there may have been some not-so-secret lobbying going on in the background. Excitement was high, the coffee and tea were flowing, and cakes were walking off the table. The entries had more than doubled since the previous year, so the room was full. To cheers all round, Catherine Mulcahy took out first prize for her painting, The Rusty Boat.

The first prize winner of the 2022 annual art exhibition with her painting, The Rusty Boat. Image source: Di East

Did I also mention that there is a cinema? We inspected the cinema with Marilyn and Barry who explained that it’s a tiered 30 seat layout and you can bring your own drinks and popcorn. The movie man puts on a regular movie, often with morning tea. During footy season it’s always booked out for the NRL, AFL etc, although NRL seems to be the most popular. Residents can book it out for their family if they want to see something special. Sometimes in holidays with children visiting there will be a family movie and on Christmas Day the cinema’s booked out with three sessions.

As our day in a Forest Retreat comes to an end, it is clear to us that residents find it easy to make new friends here and they like the independence and security that a lifestyle village offers. A common theme we’ve been hearing from residents is that here at Nature’s Edge it’s a good place to meet people and make new friends.

So, if you are considering a tree change in retirement that’s centrally located on the Sunshine Coast and perfectly positioned between the lush hinterland and pristine beaches, and you want an active, social lifestyle in a quality community surrounded by like-minded people, then perhaps you too should consider Ingenia Nature’s Edge.

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