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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: mymatenate on September 24, 2013, 06:01:35 PM

Title: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: mymatenate on September 24, 2013, 06:01:35 PM
Inspired by MMM's post here ( I'd love to hear from some fellow Aussies (or anyone who has lived in Australia!) thoughts on the best places in Australia to Retire Early

Now, if you search Google you will see tonnes of results for "best places in Australia to retire", but these are always framed from a traditional perspective, that is "what would a 60+ couple want in a retirement destination". This could be quite a different question for us aspiring *early* retirees, who might be at a somewhat different life stage :)

So if you could choose anywhere in Aussie to retire, where would you go?

I've a few thoughts of my own, but i thought i'd first wait and hear some of yours first, so not to steer the conversation ;-)
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: SnackDog on September 25, 2013, 04:22:42 AM
Tasmania.  Amazing natural beauty, off the beaten path, and much cheaper than the packed cities of M, S, B, P.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Melody on September 25, 2013, 06:26:59 PM
I would look at small cities or large towns within a few hours drive of a capital city.i live in perth and proximity to family and friends would be an issue for me as would, like you said being younger.bunbury is small coastal city two hours south if perth with a lot of young people.buying is cheap but renting is at almost perth levels so it would only be a good option if you were planning to buy.often compared with woolongong and geelong. Has some social issues (lots of state housing, single parent families etc).avoid carey park neighbourhood.
Margaret river is a coastal surfing/ tourist town 3 hours south of perth often comparedwith byron bay. MR itself is expensive but surrounding towns such as cowararump and witchcliffe have cheap rent.(all are expensive to buy into so not ideal if you want to be a homeowner).again heaps of fun free things to do and lots of young people.northham is a small town an hour east of pertg with housing that is cheap to buy but expensive to rent.on the avon river its a great place for canoeing and there are many national parks nearby. All 3 towns have required facilities such as hospitals, supermarkets and schools although northham has less.a friend of mine who is semi FI  is looking at the towns which have university of new england and university of sothern queensland.both have a low cost of living and one would assume.a good social life as they are university towns.interested to hear other peoples thoughts.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Norrie on September 25, 2013, 07:50:44 PM
Chiming in to vote for Perth, or the southwest coast (I could probably live in Denmark pretty happily). I grew up in Perth, and all of my extended family is still there, so I view it as the greatest place on Earth.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: BlackRat on September 26, 2013, 05:09:32 AM
I'm from Victoria, so that's the place I know
For cheap housing (and good rental returns... though maybe not high demand) somewhere in the western districts... one of the larger towns like Stawell or Horsham would be able to provide enough services that you wouldn't need a car.
In the middle of nowhere is cheaper.... the very small towns in the Wimmera like Nhill, Warracknabeal or Boort - nothing much in terms of the social life you get in towns and the rainfall is very low (I want to have a hobby farm).
Or up the other end of the state.... in east Gippsland and in the mountains - more rain, but perhaps more isolated, and potentially more fire danger.

If you like towns and more convenience (and higher property prices) I'd say Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour or Sale/Bairnsdale... still within a couple of hours of Melbourne too.

For me the distance from friends/family is important - so at the moment I have only a couple of areas I'm actually interested in. I do love doing searches for the cheapest houses/properties in the State (or country) and daydreaming about how I could live in each or them. Mining claims with tin sheds in Queensland are going pretty cheaply at the moment... could be fun :D
My hobby is kind of like Thoreau saying he thought about buying farms and planning what he'd plant and build and grow; but walking away with 'the best part of the farm', without having his hands burned by the ownership of it.

Perth is too far from 'home' for me, but housing costs certainly seem more reasonable than the eastern cities - I've never been there though.
Tasmania is the other place I'd really consider - so beautiful, good rainfall, cooler climate, houses reasonably cheap... Tasmania gives me great daydreams :)
I don't really like cities though... so the expense doesn't seem worth the 'convenience' for me.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Melody on September 26, 2013, 05:52:19 AM
While Perth is "cheap" compared to other cities, it's not cheap enough to for early retirement unless you are either happy to live way out in the exo-burbs (which might actually be ok if you weren't working! Some of the 'burbs around Mandurah are nice if you like the beach, and if you didn't have a job the 70+km commute wouldn't be an issue. You can get houses in these ares <300k) or in a very small basic apartment (plenty within 5kms of the city under $250k). But for "house" in walkable area, you need a huge chunk of your stash just tried up in putting a roof over your head. I'd rather live in a house in a (walkable) non capital city (e.g. Bunbury) than in an outer suburb. Better atmosphere in the place. I'm thinking hard about the possibility of apartment living for now though as I build the stash. I can buy an apartment for a similar weekly repayment to what my current (shared) living situation is. 
Tassie is beautiful, but the cold is offputting.
New Zealand could also be an option for those that don't mind the cold/lack of proximity to family. Our dollar is a lot stronger, their wages are lower and COL is lower too. If you were FIRE the low wages wouldn't matter. And of course, no visa dramas.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: limeandpepper on September 26, 2013, 10:26:36 AM
This is such a subjective question. Some people like the city life, some enjoy the countryside. Some people want to be close to extended family, some may want to get away from them! And then it depends on your stash as well... if you've got enough for a lavish lifestyle, then you can stay somewhere expensive if that's the ideal place for you, otherwise you'd have to compromise and find a cheaper place that you still like.

I'm happy staying in Melbourne but I think I'd also enjoy Adelaide and Hobart. My ideal place would be in a lovely tree-lined street that feels sheltered from too much hustle and bustle, yet still a short walk to amenities and a variety of fun and happening things. My current place where I'm renting actually fits the bill, but property prices are not exactly affordable, sigh.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Wildflame on September 26, 2013, 11:51:23 AM
I'm going for Mandurah, south of Perth. Planning to buy in 1.5 to 2.5 years, depending how quickly I get full-time work after graduating.
Lived there before - working class area but not too many bogans, Halls Head beach is 30 mins' bike ride or less (foreshore much closer), and excellent quality. Reasonable range of grocers in the main shops, some cafes etc on the foreshore too, and library was excellent when I lived there. Train line gives access to Perth and if I needed to commute, it would take only 10-15 minutes longer than my current one in Melbourne (zzz, trams) - with the plus that being at the end of the line, I can almost guarantee a seat!

Warnbro or Rockingham area (still south, a bit closer to Perth) might be good too. Rockingham in particular has some rough parts, but has been slowly improving over the last decade or so afaik. Avoid Kwinana and Baldivis areas.

Northern fringe of Perth is all either too expensive or too isolated. Don't know about the eastern suburbs other than that crime tends to be worse there.

Rural WA? Well... I hear Broome is attractive, but too tropical for me, and I don't know too much about affordability or social issues there. Further in the South West you have beautiful temperate rainforest, but the population is extremely sparse, with the accompanying lack of social amenities. I'm too soft for such a rugged lifestyle, but having travelled down there, by and large the people are good-hearted. As for the rest, I reckon you'd know already if it was your thing or not.

I have also considered Tasmania, which is pleasant, but too far from Perth-based family, two plane hops. Colder than the rest, and (much) wetter if you go west into the mountains, if you like that kind of thing. Even Hobart is lightly populated relative to other capitals, so property there is comparatively cheap for 'capital city' living. I ruled it out because I am not yet stashed up so the relatively high unemployment and small population make it undesirable for me while I'm in the earning phase. If I had the cash already? Quite possibly.

Also rural Victoria, has nice areas up near the mountains, Bright, Harrietville, etc, but housing is still expensive unless you buy a lot and build your own - no idea how that would go. Or the south-west coast along the Great Ocean Road and its cousin south-east of Melbourne along the coast. Lots of small tourist towns out there. Not sure on house prices, but suspect it's expensive (is that a theme?).

Yes it is. Given how stupendously expensive Australian housing is in most locations, I believe early retirement here is somewhat less feasible than in the USA. I actually considered moving to the US once I had built up a stash here, but am too uncomfortable with losing universal healthcare, having to endure even more toxic politics than we recently witnessed, etc.

You might also consider asking the same question on the forums, see what the users there think. I also hope some posters with experience of SA, NSW, QLD or NT chime in to satisfy my curiosity. =)
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: travelbug on September 26, 2013, 03:05:47 PM
We have looked into many places here too, but we are finding that travel and living overseas (coming home for 3 months at Christmas time where we will spread ourselves between South Eastern QLD, Melbourne and beachside Victoria due to family living there) is way cheaper and much better quality lifestyle for us.


But if we were to come "home" I think we would settle in SE QLD somewhere. Cheap: no. Quality of life: yes.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Melody on September 26, 2013, 05:16:10 PM
I think FIRE is just as achievable in australia ad in the US due to higher wages and lower costs (no need to buy pricey health insurance or maintain a fleet of vehicles if you don't want to).
For the poster who mentioned mandurah for after graduating the train ride is $9each way. It will almost certainly be cheaper to pay more rent and bike to work (not to mention fittness/free time). the inner north areas like balga and mirrabooka (for buying) are rapidly gentrifying, padbury is costal and already quite nice (buy or rent) innaloo has cheap rentals but is expensive to buy.coobellup (to buy) would be pretty hardcore biking distance but might be coastal suburb near fremantle with lots of new developments. I love mandurah but the commuting cost makes it good post FIRE only.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: happy on September 27, 2013, 07:13:57 AM
Its a subjective question depending on what you like. FWIW, regional centres have been surveyed to provide the greatest happiness. Big enough for essential infratructure, but lacking the overcrowding/crime/depersonalitization etc of big cities. So maybe pick a regional centre based on the climate/environment you like.

Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: marty998 on September 27, 2013, 04:11:18 PM
Everyone I talk to would like to retire somewhere else! Bali, Phuket, Fiji....anywhere but Australia!

That being said there are 1000's of locations around Oz that showcase the pure and simple natural beauty of the world. We truly are the lucky country in that respect.

Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Nudelkopf on September 27, 2013, 09:45:06 PM
I want to retire somewhere cool and green. Outback Qld is too hot! (But rent is cheap)
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: HappierAtHome on September 29, 2013, 04:30:46 AM
I second Bunbury as a good choice. I always thought I'd retire to one of the larger / better known towns nearish Perth (Bunbury? Albany? Splash out on Margaret River?), but the BF is 100% set on living in Perth itself for the rest of his life. And that's not exactly a bad way to go :-) prices have risen here a LOT during the last ten years, but once the mining boom ends I think prices will either drop significantly or stagnate for a long term. Just think of how many restaurants have popped up in the last few years - pretty sure that when there are no more super high mining salaries going easy, those restaurants will either shut or have to stop charging $50+ for a main.

Or maybe I'm dreaming :-)

The way I look at it is, I wouldn't earn nearly as much as I do if I didn't live and work in Perth. So that will, partly, balance out the insane property prices etc.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Melody on October 01, 2013, 06:59:45 AM
Its a subjective question depending on what you like.

I agree it's very personal, but I think COL counts too. For example, say hypothetically you owned a house outright in a capital city but no other assets, and this house has a rental value of $600 a week. Say you need approx $400 a week to cover your non housing related expenses. If you stay in the city you need to save $520k to be FI. Say you could find a town you enjoyed living in where you could rent for $150 a week. If you move there and rent out the city house you are already FI. You may (or may not) be willing to trade off certain attributes of a place to live in order to get to FI (significantly) sooner.

If I could live anywhere in Australia (and family/friends/COL were not a factor) I would pick Newcastle! Love it so much! Great beach, chilled out college town vibe, close to Sydney (I love being a tourist in Sydney but wouldn't want to live there), great pubs, social life etc. But Newcastle is still pretty expensive :(
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Todge on October 05, 2013, 07:58:46 PM
I've though about this as well. I like MMM's idea of living in a big town, not a big city. Weather is very important to me - not too hot!

QLD:  The heat in Brisbane in summer a little to high for me - so anywhere north of that is also out of consideration. Toowoomba's about as far north as I'd go. It has a good climate, fits the bill of being a good sized town, close to the capital but with all of the amenities (medical/schools/range of shops) you'll require. It's pretty flat and bike friendly. A 3 bed house close to the town centre (read: biking distance) can be had for less than 250k if you are prepared to spend a bit of time on it (patiently watching the market for ready-to-live bargains, or buying a property that needs a lick of paint).

NSW: North coast around Port Macquarie is also good for weather - summers not too hot, winters are mild. But it is a bit of a hike to big cities from there. That said it has everything you need, hospitals, shops good schools and great outdoor activities. The drawback is some pockets of very expensive property (esp near beach).

Southern NSW - Nowra is good for those that like a more country feel - but it's still close enough to Woolongong and 'big city' amenities. Nowra still has medical/shopping but houses close to city centre will set you back a bit more than say, Toowoomba.

All that said, far better to decide on a place and rent for a year. After all, many of us have been to a place in only one season - better to get the full measure of your location before committing via a property purchase.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: mymatenate on October 08, 2013, 06:32:06 AM
Thanks for the replies so far all, time for me to share a few of my own thoughts on badass places for ER in Aus.

So far I've lived a few of Australia's state capitals, and I've also lived in a coastal NSW town.

A couple of places that I reckon would be pretty ideal places to live if one was financially independent and into nature / outdoorsy sort of stuff:

1. Hobart, Tasmania. For many of the same reasons MMM likes living in small (medium?) town Colorado. Most of the attractions/amenities/social opportunities of a larger city but much more manageable/bikeable size. Pristine natural environment. Loads of outdoorsy activities (hiking, fishing, boating, kayaking, mountainbiking) all within spitting distance (you can literally ride your bike out the back door and up Mount Wellington for some great MTB-ing). Tassie has a great variety of spectacular natural features packed into a relatively small area - you can traverse the entire island if just a few hours driving. Lower cost of living than many parts of mainland Aus to boot.

2. Coffs Harbour, NSW. Right on the beach, and backs right onto the great dividing range. It gets the best of both worlds - warm beachy stuff like surfing, swimming, fishing as well as mountainy stuff like hiking, kayaking, mountainbiking. Also a fairly large regional centre with most amenities.

Obviously, it depends on what you're in to. Clearly I like outdoorsy stuff and I'm not hung up on needing to be in a big city once I'm FI :D
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Melody on October 09, 2013, 06:47:59 AM
For the poster that said Nowra... wow! I'd never heard of it, but it looks like my kinda place... I'm still so far from FI though :( But this is motivating me to up that savings rate!Coffs Harbour looks beautiful too. Thanks Nate for starting the thread.
Title: Re: Best places in Australia to Retire Early
Post by: Bumfluff on October 09, 2013, 05:07:24 PM
Hobart, Tasmania for me. Gorgeous little city, beautiful historic buildings, brilliant modern art gallery, great restaurant and foodie scene. The rest of Tasmania is breathtakingly beautiful and so easy to get around, great climate (I don't really like the heat) and cheaper than other Australian state capitals. Wish I was there now!