Many of us aged over 60s are starting to think about downsizing and retiring. But where do we go and what sort of retirement accommodation would suit best?
If you are like my husband Geoff and I, then you might want a sea-change retirement. Somewhere we can have an active lifestyle and where the grandchildren would want to visit. Somewhere with a wide range of well-established facilities in the local community.
I was fortunate to be able to experience a day exploring Newport Retirement Living – a new and different style of retirement living developed by Stockland.
Newport Retirement Living is not a low-rise retirement village. Nestled on the north side of the Redcliffe Peninsula and offering stunning views to Moreton Bay, Newport Retirement Living is a modern well-appointed, medium-rise, resort-style apartment complex.
My first impression was that this is a well-designed and community-focused development where everything you need is close at hand.
This new complex is across a quiet street from a large lake, with the beautiful Moreton Bay behind. There are 125 apartments in two six-storey towers, connected at podium level by a landscaped community garden incorporating break-out areas, the crystal-clear pool and barbeque facilities. All apartments either have a courtyard (ground and podium level) or spacious balconies, with most looking out to Moreton Bay or overlooking the communal gardens.
I was made welcome by John, the village manager, and shown to the unit where Geoff and I were to stay for the night. John explained that our unit was usually used for potential buyers who were unsure about purchasing. They stay for free and it allows them to see whether they would like to live in the complex by using the facilities themselves and meeting the residents.
Our apartment had three bedrooms, with one of the rooms set up as a study.Two-bedroom apartments start from $399,000, with three-beds starting from $469,000.
With its beautiful, coastal décor, our apartment was well appointed with all modern features including air conditioning, NBN and a balcony overlooking the gardens. All units are connected to an INS Lifeguard Emergency call system as well as video intercom, adding peace of mind should assistance be required.
I loved the low windowsill in the main bedroom that would let you lie in bed and see the water. I was also impressed that the corridors within the buildings featured bookshelves and nooks with views throughout the complex, adding to a warm and homely feeling. There was also a shelf beside each apartment door for personalising each resident’s entry and many of these were wonderfully decorated by their owners. Such great stories on display!
After viewing the display apartments, I was looking forward to morning tea and an opportunity to meet the residents.
The lovely, airy upstairs bar and alfresco deck has a large balcony with a beautiful view across the lake to the bay and catches the afternoon sea breeze. It hosts many of the group functions. People were friendly and relaxed, happy to chat and tell me their stories. It was obvious that they all loved the view, the waterfront location and the striking modern, coastal design and décor of the building.
But while these are what brought them here, it was the lifestyle at Newport Retirement Living itself about which they were most vocal. Everyone I spoke to was looking forward to this week’s Coffee, Chat, Craft & Cake session (the 4 Cs!), where craft is encouraged but far from essential. You can be as involved as you wish, with no pressure to join if you prefer not to.
Many apartments have a storage cage in the carpark so there is room for some ‘toys’, as well as secure bike racks available to residents.
Over coffee and delicious gluten-free chocolate muffins, I asked how easy it was to have their families visit and was inundated with stories of grandchildren sleeping over and family get-togethers in the clubhouse.
The podium level (outside, near the pool) is another popular entertainment area with its own barbeque and long table, well set up for family get-togethers. One resident, Diane, told me that her grandchildren are older now and can all drive, so they just wander in and out, stay as long as they like, and go again.
This is a pet-friendly apartment community (subject to approval). The ground-floor units’ spacious courtyards are perfect for pet owners.
The average age of residents is early-70s, with both couples and singles well represented. It’s a reasonably active group who like to get out and socialise.
Penny and Paul told me they had wanted to move to Newport Retirement Living while they were still capable rather than their family having to do it for them, and it’s lived up to their expectations.
“It’s a lovely location. You’re never too old to make new friends and we’ve made some lovely new friends here,” were some of their comments. “There’s a really good group organising the social committee.”
For them, though, the best thing is peace of mind that they will be catered for whatever happens in the future.
I had free time until lunch, so ambled over the road to the foreshore with its striking water feature, walking paths and playgrounds, then wandered across to Pilpel Express Café, less than five minutes away, for an enjoyable light lunch. Pilpel’s tables sit on the foreshore overlooking the lake, with a playground beside for those with grandchildren.
I was instructed to bring my togs for the aqua aerobics, so after lunch I popped up to my unit to change. The heated pool is designed with wide ledges for those who want to sit and enjoy the water, or you can jump in the middle and get active. Rhonda, our bubbly and fit instructor, soon had us all up and moving accompanied by popular music and bursts of laughter. Who knew you could do aqua aerobics to YMCA?
Afterwards, some of the newly-fit joined a group playing 500 and Rummy in the Clubhouse which is the heart of the community. It’s safely nestled in the ground and first floor of Tower 1 and accessible from any apartment via the podium level.
The Clubhouse is beautifully designed and features a reception, well-appointed resident kitchen and coffee lounge for socialising and entertaining, a library, a meeting room, a function room for activities and guests, a state-of-the-art billiard room that also doubles as a media room; and of course, the bar and alfresco deck on Level 1. Sue is working on a large jigsaw puzzle on a table in the Clubhouse. In a form of silent communication, other residents complete small parts as they walk past. Think you’d be bored here? Think again!
If that’s not enough, the health centre has a residents’ gym which is equipped with weight training, rowing, cycling and treadmills, as well as rooms for visiting doctors and consultants. All brand new and with a view out over the communal gardens. I set a time to meet Peter at the gym in the morning so that he and Geoff could get a workout while I took photos.
The Redcliffe Golf Club was mentioned several times, as was the new, 12.5-kilometre cycling rail trail from Petrie to Kippa-Ring and the one from Deception Bay waterfront to Kippa-Ring. Both are well suited to walking or cycling. Kayaking is also popular on the lake and there are multiple other sporting and community groups to choose from. Medical facilities are in abundance based around Redcliffe Hospital.
There’s a strong feeling of community here, which sometimes expresses itself in unusual ways. I spoke to Angie, who is a keen pianist.
She explained that after watching the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody, she became fascinated with the music of Queen and worried about her neighbours complaining about the noise, until one sunny morning the gardening group were working downstairs outside her window. As they looked up and saw her watching there was a call for “music, Angie! Please!”. So, for some time the gardening group worked along to the tempo of her piano.
Angela also joined the men’s sailing club with their model remote-control yachts on the lake. She says she infiltrated their group, and they’ve taken her under their wing. They store her boat for her, then help her set it up and launch it. Possessing a friendly and outgoing personality, she sits and chats with them as she sails her boat around the buoys.
And so, to happy hour … Back to the Clubhouse and the Alfresco Deck, where I discovered that it was also pizza night and as people arrived, there were plenty of opportunities to chat, with most happy to share their experiences as this diverse group of people enjoy their sea-change retirement lifestyle.
Retire happy on the Redcliffe Peninsula with brand new apartments from $399k* at Newport Retirement Living. Enjoy resort-style amenities and convenient offerings only steps from your front door.