Retirement is the perfect time to get out and see more of Australia, from the tropical north to the wilderness of the south and the red earth in between. Here are 11 amazing places in Australia to visit when you retire, or for enjoying a mini-retirement.
1. Bruny Island, Tasmania
If natural wilderness outlined with uninhabited coastline, accompanied by local wine and cheese sounds enticing, then a visit to Bruny Island may be for you. Situated on the south eastern corner of Tasmania, Bruny Island is made up of two islands separated by a small strip of land called the ‘neck’. With stunning scenery of rugged coastline, forests and secluded beaches, Bruny Island is perfect for bushwalking, fishing, bird watching and surfing. There are plentiful beaches and tracks to discover including the walk to Truganini memorial, with spectacular views of both islands, and the beautiful sandy shores of Fluted Cape.
Bruny Island is accessible via ferry, leaving from Kettering on the Tasmanian mainland and can carry both vehicles and passengers. There is no transport available on Bruny Island, so hiring a car might be a great option for getting around.
2. Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory
Rich in Aboriginal history and dotted with traditional art, Katherine Gorge is a series of 13 sandstone gorges situated within Nitmiluk National Park in the Northern Territory and is a wonderful place to visit during retirement. Famed for thermal hot springs and 360⁰ views of spectacular outback, the area can be explored by canoe, boat, foot or helicopter, depending on your required adventure level.
Nitmiluk National Park is traditionally owned by the Jawoyn and Dagomen people who jointly manage Nitmiluk with Parks & Wildlife. Visiting will allow you to learn more about the culture and history of the land, including the seasons to hunt, harvest and roam. The area has great cultural and spiritual significance with rock paintings scattered throughout, many dating back to thousands of years ago.
Katherine Gorge is accessible via a drive from Katherine, with buses leaving daily.
3. Wilson Promontory, Victoria
Wilson’s Prom is a much loved area of coastal wilderness in Southern Victoria. The park is perfect for walking and exploring, with a winding map of walking trails. The Prom is home to an abundance of native wildlife, fern gullies and inspiring rock formations amongst a variety of landscapes including rainforest, forests, beach and coastline. A perfect spot for divers, the surrounding waters are home to a plethora of marine wildlife, amongst a protected marine park.
The traditional owners for the land are the Boon Wurrung, Bunurong and Gunaikurnai people. A must do is a visit to the Wilsons Promontory lighthouse located on a promontory on the southernmost tip of mainland Australia.
Getting to Wilson’s Prom is about a 2.5 hour drive from Melbourne.
4. Noosa, QLD
Noosa in Queensland is a tropical resort town of rainforests, beaches and fine dining, making it a nature and life lover’s dream. Wander through the Eumundi markets selling a variety of clothes, jewellery, food and wine or visit nearby Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island and World Heritage listed site.
While in Noosa watch dolphins and whales near the shore, hike through Noosa National Park to see amazing views along many walking trails to choose from, or stroll through a wide range of shopping.
Noosa has accommodation options for all budgets and is just within a 90 min drive from Brisbane as well being accessible via air.
5. Hunter Valley, NSW
The Hunter Valley is delightful for a retired holiday, combining sophisticated dining and wining with beautiful surroundings. The Hunter Valley is home to over 150 wineries, and is Australia’s oldest wine region with vineyards dating back to the 1820s.
The Hunter Valley is designed for treating yourself to fine dining, spa days, golf and even horse riding. The region is also often host to many events including Jazz in the vines, Lovedale Long Lunch and Sculptures in the Vineyards. The Hunter Valley is lovely any time of year, but during Autumn it is a feast for the eyes with trees turning rich tones of red and yellow. Cellar doors in the wine country cater for wine tastings throughout the region, with some by appointment but many you can drop in on.
The Hunter Valley is just a 2 hour drive north of Sydney, with the closest airport being in Newcastle about an hour’s drive from the Valley.
6. Margaret River
Set on a stretch of pristine coastline, Margaret River is a delight for everyone being both a food and wine lovers dream, and an outdoor adventure seeker’s haven. As a wine region Margaret River is a premier location, featuring some of Australia’s best up and coming wineries. A must do in the area is simply exploring the coastline – Margaret River has some 100 km of coast completely uninhabited.
While exploring Margaret River another must is a whale sightseeing tour, with the area being home to a plethora of local whales and features an extra-long whale season ranging from May through to early December. You can view whales from out in the water or even spot them from the shore. Finish your day at one of the many fine restaurants in the area.
Margaret River is a 3 hour drive from Perth.
7. Mt Kosciusko
For the adventurous at heart, the beautiful Mt Kosciusko in Snowy Mountain Park may be a great place to visit once you retire. The view from the summit is best viewed by chairlift, which is open 365 days a year and lovely in any season. If you’ve never visited the tallest mountain of Australia, now could be the time.
During the winter there is of course plenty of winter sport action, but during summer in Mt Kosciusko there is much to see and activities to do such as mountain biking, fishing, camping, bushwalking and horse riding. Walking up to the top is achievable for all levels of fitness and mountaineering experience with a path that can be followed all the way up.
Getting to Mt Kosciusko is accessible easiest via Canberra airport with a 2 hour drive, or a 6 hour drive from both Sydney and Melbourne.
8. Adelaide Hills, South Australia
South Australia is not only a great place to visit in retirement, but is also a very popular place to retire in, having a higher proportion of older Australians than other states along with Tasmania.
The Adelaide Hills are typically a little cooler than the surrounding plains and are a place to simply enjoy food and wine surrounded by amazing views. The area is home to some of Australia’s cooler climate wines. Vineyards in the area include: Arranmore wines, Artwine, Ashton Hills, Hahndorf Winery, Howard Vineyard, Kersbrook Hill Wines, Longview plus many more, there are over 60 wineries in the region.
Additional activities in Adelaide Hills include picking fruit, driving through the countryside, bushwalking, and the area is perfect for cycling.
Getting here is accessible easily from Adelaide being about a 30 minute drive from the city.
9. Port Douglas
In the far north of Queensland is Port Douglas which is perfectly tropical and far away from any nearby city. Port Douglas is the only spot on Earth with two heritage listed sites close by: the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest with Cape Tribulation. As a tourist destination, Port Douglas has come of age from its early days as a fishing village and is now a vibrant holiday spot, however without the hustle and bustle you might find elsewhere in Queensland.
The number one must do activity in Port Douglas is visiting the Great Barrier Reef, a national and natural treasure. As well, explore the tropical wonders of the Daintree and Four Mile Beach with its lush tropical setting lines of white sandy beach lined with palm trees.
Port Douglas is about a 20 hour drive from Brisbane, making it most accessible via Cairns airport, with an approx. 1 hour drive north. The drive itself is a delight as it follows the coast taking in the view along the Great Barrier Reef Drive, there are also coaches available for transfer.
Hobart is one of those places you’ll want to stay for a while to soak it all up. A city brimming with buzz, there is a well-rounded atmosphere of food, wine, museums, art, all surrounded by incredible wilderness with some off the cleanest air in the world. Your trip to Bruny Island may well start here in Hobart.
The food centre is on Salamanca Pl where the local Tasmanian produce comes out to impress, and is looked over by Mt Wellington which is seemingly made perfect for bushwalking and mountain biking. Things to do include the Salamanca Markets held every Saturday and catching a show at the Theatre Royal, first opening in 1837. Another must do whilst in Hobart is a visit to the Mona museum, showcasing new and modern art set on a peninsula in the harbour, accessible via catching a ferry from the Brooke St terminal in Hobart.
Hobart is accessible via air from major cities, or if you are coming from Melbourne there is the Spirit of Tasmania ferry which allows you to bring vehicles.
The pearl in the Kimberley’s crown is Broome situated in the north-west of Western Australia. Being far removed from most places in Australia, Broome is a great spot to visit when time is not of the essence.
Broome has a unique landscape of the desert coming down to the coast, where red earth meets the ocean, making a spectacular location for sunrise over the beach. Ride a camel on famous cable beach, shop for local pearls and visit the Bungle Bungle range nearby. The town has a strong multicultural background with a Chinatown in the middle, due to a history of pearl diving both surprising and tragic. There’s more than just pretty scenery in Broome.
Broome is best accessible via air, with the airport is in the middle of the centre town and Cable Beach on the Indian Ocean coast.
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Information is current as at 5 September 2016 and may change.
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