10 Retirement Havens in Australia

17 September 2017
According to a study undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians are retiring later than originally planned. To help you get the most out of retirement, Canstar has identified 10 retirement havens scattered throughout Australia.

The findings show that the overall proportion of people expecting to be retired in 2015 was higher than the proportion of those who have actually retired, meaning Australians are now staying in the workforce for longer. The survey found that 71% of people intended to retire beyond the age of 65 – a 5% increase from the previous version of this survey in 2013.

The survey also found that 23% of people aged 45 and over intend to retire past the age of 70, compared to just 8% in 2005.

A possible explanation for this is that most people expect to be self-sufficient in retirement, and not rely on government pensions. With this in mind, the transition to retirement sees more people either cut back on their working hours as they get older or start part-time work, rather than just retire straight away, in order to save more money.

This is supported by the fact that fewer Australians are self-reliant in retirement than expected, which causes them to work for longer to ensure financial security. Retirement is meant to be a time of leisure, to reward yourself for all your years of hard work.

So when it comes time to retire, it makes sense to live somewhere that can help you make the most of your leisure time. To help provide you with food for thought, we’ve rounded out 10 locations across Australia that we think could represent a retirement haven:

  • Tweed Heads, NSW
  • Port Macquarie, NSW
  • The Sunshine Coast, QLD
  • Coolangatta, QLD
  • Echuca, VIC
  • Mornington Peninsula, VIC
  • Adelaide Hills, SA
  • Yankalilla, SA
  • Esperance, WA
  • Huon Valley, TAS

To find out why these have made our list, read on.

New South Wales

Tweed Heads

Tweed Heads is located on the border of NSW and Queensland, neighbouring another popular destination in Coolangatta, QLD. It is often referred to as a town that changes time zones due to its proximity to the border, and you can even ‘celebrate new year’s twice in an hour, just by crossing the street’.

It is the 6th most populated town in NSW, and the average age for residents is 54, which is 17 years above the national average. This is due to the high density of retirees who populate this beautiful and peaceful region.

The Tweed area is one of the richest areas for flora and fauna in Australia, and it lies in the middle of Australia’s Green Cauldron National landscape. The surrounding area includes 14 national parks and reserves to explore, as well as the extinct volcano, Mt. Warning.

As it is also a holiday destination, there are countless activities that can be done to pass the time in Tweed heads, which can be found here. These include affordable dining, live music, tours and day trips such as whale watching, and sports.

According to realestate.com.au, the median price for a house in the Tweed area is $655,000, whereas rent is $490 per week. If a retirement village is something you’d be interested in, there are a total of 14 to choose from.

Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie is located 390km North of Sydney at the mouth of the Hastings River, with a population of roughly 70,000. The region’s total area is almost 3700 square kilometers, with an extremely diverse topography that includes wetlands, forests and mountain regions. It has a beautiful climate, with temperatures ranging from 7 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius.

There is a multitude of fine restaurants and cafés to dine in, which can be found on the Port Macquarie website. There are a number of yearly attractions and festivals in the Port, and the most appealing to retirees is, without doubt, the Tasting on Hastings, a month-long food festival in October.

The median property price here is $560,000, and the cost to rent is $425 per week, as per realestate.com.au.

There are also 13 retirement villages in the area to choose from. Although considerably less than Tweed Heads, the average age of 47 is still 10 years above the national average, as the Port is another in-demand destination for retirees.


The Sunshine Coast

Quieter than the Gold Coast, The Sunshine Coast begins about 100km north of Brisbane and includes the popular tourist destinations of Noosa, Mooloolaba, Caloundra, Coolum and Maroochydore. The Sunshine Coast is a perfect blend of being a quiet and peaceful location, as well as being close enough to Brisbane to make regular trips to visit family and friends.

The area is home to more national parks than any other region in Queensland, and it has one of the most ideal climates in Queensland. There is an average of 7 hours of sunshine a day, and the temperature is warm year-round, ranging from 17-28 in summer and 13-25 in autumn, creating ideal beach conditions.

The Sunshine Coast has superb shopping facilities, with countless fine dining (and more budget) options in the area to choose from. It also has numerous beautiful beaches, none more so than Rainbow Beach, so named for its distinctive multi-coloured sand dunes. If you enjoy trips to the beach, the Sunshine Coast is the place for you.

The Sunshine Coast is less developed than the more glamorous Gold Coast, so housing is much more affordable. The average house goes for $560,000, and there are approximately 95 retirement villages in the surrounding area, so you have plenty of options if you decide to retire here.


Coolangatta is the southernmost suburb of the Gold Coast and directly borders Tweed Heads in NSW, with which it has a shared economy. Much like Tweed, the average age is 49, 12 years above the national average. It has the same climate and topography as Tweed Heads due to the proximity of the two.

There are around 19 retirement villages to choose from in the area, and the median house price is $705,500 ($525 per week to rent), making it one of the most expensive places to live on this list.  You can enjoy many of the same activities as you can in Tweed Heads.




Echuca is located on the banks of the Murray River, 214 km north of Melbourne. It has a population of almost 14,000, so it an option for those wanting a quiet retirement. It is the closest point of the Murray to Melbourne, which helped establish it as a thriving river port in the 19th century.

Although it lacks the pristine coastlines of beach destinations, Echuca more than makes up for it with its community spirit and vibrant culture. It is home to a wide variety of restaurants and cafes, a list of which can be found here. These restaurants can cost half as much as eating in Melbourne, offering affordable options for those retiring on a budget.

There are several yearly events that take place here as well, such as the winter blues festival in July and the riverboats music festival, held in the third week of February each year. Like everything else in Echuca, they are a cheap and affordable way to kick-back and have fun.

The average house in Echuca goes for an affordable $320,000 and $340 per week to rent, so moving there won’t take too much of a chunk out of your retirement savings.

Mornington Peninsula

Another popular destination for retirees in Victoria is Mornington Peninsula, known for its beaches, wineries and outdoor activities. It is a peninsula located 40km south east of Melbourne, and has a very mountainous terrain, making it ideal for sightseeing and walking. One of the main advantages of the peninsula is its closeness to the Melbourne CBD, meaning long trips to visit family (or for medical appointments) won’t be as difficult.

The peninsula offers superb shopping possibilities, with dozens of villages with their own markets scattered along the coastline. Each of these villages also has their own monthly markets. There are also several high-quality winery tours on offer, for those feeling a little fancy.

If you are interested in retiring here, the median house price is roughly $790,000, which is a little on the pricey side. However, its combination of isolation, as well as its closeness to the city, may make the price worth it to some. If you see yourself renting a place there, then it will cost you $440 per week.

South Australia

Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills are a part of the Mount Lofty Ranges and have a population of approximately 29,000 people. It is one of the coolest regions in Mainland Australia, generally experiencing cold nights all year round with the exception of January and February.

These temperatures create perfect conditions for wine producing. The Adelaide Hills Wine region is a geographical indication for wine made from grapes grown in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia. The area is home to plantings belonging to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

There are also several annual events held in the area, such as the Adelaide Hills Wine show and the crush festival in January. So if you like Wine and Fine dining, then Adelaide Hills is the perfect destination for you.

The average house price in the region is $728,000, and $500 to rent per week. This is quite expensive, and there isn’t much to do besides sightseeing and wine-related activities; if you are a wine lover though, then this price may be worth it.