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Australia’s a great place to live

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Just typing off the cuff here. Had planned to do a photo shoot today but not feeling so good today. Instead I’ll chat about retirement. Where to live in retirement, specifically.

My partner’s almost ready to retire.  About 3 or 4 years to go we reckon (global financial crises & their impact on superannuation allowing).  So the question has arisen – where?

We’ve both travelled extensively in Australia and lived in multiple states and territories.  We’ve both done urban, rural and remote areas.  He’s been financially savvy enough in his younger years to have bought & nearly paid off a few houses in Adelaide and Brisbane.  So, worst comes to worst, we could opt for either the South Australian or Queensland capitals, basing our retired lives in the inner urban areas.

Pushed to choose between those two cities, I’d opt for Adelaide. It’s smaller, quieter and has a gorgeous Meditteranean like climate.  With occasional heatwaves.  🙂

More importantly, for me, Adelaide is an arts city. Lots of festivals, great theatre, wondrous music. 2010 sees the biennial Festival of Arts, the Fringe Festival and Womadelaide. That’s just in February-March!

Brisbane is a nice enough city. I particularly like where we own a house. It’s close to the city, close to the river, close to riverside suburbs such as New Farm. But I don’t like the traffic, the growing crowds on the trains and buses, or the noise. As more land is cleared for housing, the more noise from the Gateway Motorway penetrates the older suburbs.

I prefer Adelaide’s shopping. It’s cheaper and where we would live has very easy access to street shopping with a distinctly multicultural flavour. It’s hard to pass by the Italian bakery or the German bakery. Brisbane’s shops are more expensive and there’s no way to avoid the big shopping centres if you want cheap produce. Adelaide’s cost of living is much lower than Brisbane.

Brisbane’s humid. In winter it’s lovely but in summer? Ugh!

No beaches in Brissy. One has to head up or down the coast to the Gold or Sunshine Coasts. With their crowds and traffic chaos. It used to be lovely. Not so anymore.

Adelaide has quaint beaches, reminiscent of English beaches but a lot warmer. And there’s this terrific bike/walking path stretching all along the suburban coastline of the city. That’s a winner.

I wouldn’t be unhappy living in Brisbane if my partner decided that’s where he would love to live. But personally I’m hoping he’ll opt for the city of serial killers and other strange crimes.

But …

I’m not really an urban girl. I prefer the peace and quiet of rural Australia. I don’t want to retire to a remote locality. I’ve spent way too many years living in deserts and other remote areas.

I don’t miss the beach (too much) when away from it so I don’t need a sea change. After all, that would be costly real estate indeed.

I like mountains. There are so many towns in or near the mountains to choose from: Jindabyne, Tumut, Khancoban, Corryong, Richmond (Tasmania), Bright, Mount Beauty, Beechworth.

I’m incredibly taken with Deniliquin, sitting on a small river, with its beautiful, historical buildings. Then there’s Portland (Victoria) on a busy seaport. Or Albany in WA. Esperance. And Strahan, sitting quietly on magnificent Macquarie Harbour in the World Heritage Area.

Tenterfield (NSW) still grabs me with its beauty and friendliness.  Robe, on South Australia’s Limestone Coast is simply gorgeous. Laura (SA), Jamestown (SA) or Melrose (SA). The list of towns goes on.

How does one choose?

Ideally, wherever we choose to live, we would have the income in retirement to constantly travel to all those towns and cities mentioned above.

I suppose, in the end, I shall have to be practical. My (I hesitate to write the word ‘failing’) health will more than likely determine our choice. I will need to have easy access to a hospital and a GP. So be it.

And whilst my partner will be retired and drawing a nice, fat allocated pension (or whatever it’s called nowadays), I will need to work.  Well into my 70s.  As per the government’s dictates.  So I need a reasonable sized town where job prospects are also reasonable.  Or I need to carve myself a new career in the arts.

It does amaze me, the incredibly long list of towns and areas of Australia I can come up with as possible retirement contenders. Shows me just what a truly wonderful country I live in. I am so glad I did return to live here.

Gearing up & getting ready for a road trip

August 11, 2009 2 comments

Take heart: cheat the dark
Get driving with the lark
As cities sleep
Steal a march before the sun
It’s all philosophy
An open motorway
Chasing break of day
Somewhere on a border town …

… Everything you see
Is everything you need
Take a road trip
Go soul deep.

(c) Runrig (C. and R. Macdonald)

The lines above come from Scottish band Runrig‘s song Road Trip. It’s a favourite of mine, especially now that I am fast approaching departure day for my own Road Trip!

I leave this weekend, flying eastwards to Brisbane, leaving the desert of Central Australia far behind me for two weeks. There are a few logistical errands to be completed in Brissy before we drive down the motorway one last time. But we expect to be on the road next Tuesday lunchtime after the removalists have been and done their bit.

Heading south via the New England Highway through Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Armidale and Tamworth. Down through Dubbo, Parkes and turning off the highway at Wyalong (as opposed to West Wyalong) before heading over to Temora, Junee and Wagga. Albury for a day. A sightseeing day to be spent cruising the Kiewa Valley up to Mount Beauty (cannot drive past without going on in up the valley!).

Then we have to make the choice. Over to Canberra and either the Monaro Hwy or Princes Hwy down in to Gippsland and cruise coastal all the way around. This is the route I took some years ago when I first moved to Alice Springs and got the job of driving the car across.

Or do we leave the Hume Freeway at some point and meander cross country through western Victoria, through the old goldfields and towns such as Bendigo and Ballarat? This route allows us to drive through Cressy and Colac before entering the Great Ocean Road at either Apollo Bay or Lavers Hill.

Either route, we end up on the Great Ocean Road. This is the focal point of our trip, taking our time to look, enjoy and photograph our way along the Shipwreck Coast. We will spend a couple of nights at Port Fairy to recoup our energy and enjoy the little fishing village and surrounds, climbing Tower Hill on one of the mornings.

Then it’s on in to South Australia via the Limestone Coast, driving up the Coorong. At which point we will begin our arguments over which route to take in to the city of Adelaide. I’m a South-East Fwy girl, my sister prefers Strathalbyn and up South Road.

Two weeks.

Should be lovely.

And I’ll be off line most of that time. The mobile is for emergencies only (no, Twitter doesn’t count as an emergency alas). No lap top (gulp). Possibly won’t even venture in to an internet cafe to pick up emails until Adelaide (talk about going cold turkey!). I’m sure I’ll be fine. 🙂

And this blog will still be here when I get back.