The Australian Government’s recently announced billion-dollar tourism support package will provide an obvious boost for regional travel and tourism in 2021.
The package could also be an excellent tool for downsizers wanting to find the perfect retirement home across the country without breaking the bank.
The scheme will subsidise more than a dozen flight routes within Australia, linking capital cities with regional centres in need of a post-COVID pick-me-up.
Bookings can be made from 1 April until 31 July for half-price flights which will take off between 1 May and 31 December.
Most of the half-price tickets will be offered by Qantas and Jetstar, and Virgin Australia will also provide a smaller percentage.
Regional airlines such as Rex will also participate on some routes.
We've decided to take a look at more than a dozen properties across Queensland, NSW and Victoria accessible from five flight destinations included in the scheme.
There are options for all tastes and budgets from luxury resort-style living in tropical Cairns to a high-rise retirement village in Carlton, a stone’s throw from the bustling cosmopolitan heart of Melbourne.
Cairns’ laid back charm is a great drawcard for downsizers looking to retire to year-round summery weather.
The town is also an ideal gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree National Park and everything Queensland's tropical north has to offer.
It's also the ultimate hub for daytrippers, with Kuranda, Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge and Green Island all easily accessible by car or boat. You can get half-price fares from Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin to Cairns.
The Botanica Lifestyle Resort offers a truly stylish spin on over 50’s living a short drive away from Cairns’ CBD in Caravonica.
A newly-built secure gated community with a country club lifestyle, the resort features bespoke architecture in a lush natural setting created by an award-winning landscape architect.
As a land lease community, Botanica is free of stamp duty, exit fees and council rates, and you keep 100% of capital gains on sale.
You could also choose from one and two bedroom independent living units at Aveo The Parks, a friendly retirement community just 15 minutes from the heart of Cairns.
Aveo The Parks is surrounded by tropical landscaped gardens and conveniently located close to medical services, supermarkets, cafés, restaurants and cinemas.
Residents have access to a range of exceptional facilities including an external bowling green, lagoon-style heated swimming pool and spa, billiard room, a well-stocked library, gym and community lounge.
There are also regular village-organised events and activities on offer such as monthly dinners, exercises classes, card games and bowls tournaments.
While the Gold Coast is best known for its glitzy high rise developments and bustling surfside scene, it also contains some undeniable retirement property gems - whether inland or on the coastal strip.
Mild year-round weather and minimal traffic, together with world-class restaurants, cafes and entertainment, make the Gold Coast a perennial favourite for Aussie retirees.
You can get half-price fares into the Gold Coast from Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
Aveo Southport Gardens is a stone’s throw from the Gold Coast’s iconic natural landmarks. The retirement community offers independent living with personal care services, 24-hour on-call support and a community centre where residents can gather for coffee, fitness classes, games, and movie nights.
Shop at the nearby Ferry Road markets or make a day of it by taking a short drive to the popular Broadbeach retail and entertainment district.
Meanwhile, Aveo The Domain Country Club is an outstanding Gold Coast resort-style retirement community set in lush manicured gardens with walking paths and a beautiful ornamental pond and waterfall.
It offers the best of both worlds in the peaceful residential area of Ashmore and yet only a 10-minute drive to beaches, shopping malls, golf courses, the casino and restaurants.
One bedroom serviced apartments, as well as spacious 2 and 3 bedroom units, are available in a range of floor plans and designs.
Lendlease's Gardens on Lindfield is an elegant gated retirement village equipped with resort-style facilities. It’s a short stroll from shops and the local library at Helensvale and offers easy access to the Gold Coast’s major attractions via light rail.
Finally, The Lady Small Haven retirement village in Benowa offers a vibrant community with a large range of spacious apartments – including one plus study, two bedrooms, two plus study or three bedrooms – in a brand new, architecturally designed building with high ceilings, open plan living and quality fixtures and appliances.
It has a spacious clubhouse, restaurant and swimming pool and is close to shops, beaches, a golf course and bowling green.
Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast)
Travel via Sunshine Coast Airport to Maroochydore, which is well known for its stunning beaches, riverside precinct, and lifestyle facilities. You can get half-price fares into the Sunshine Coast from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Explore the beautiful coastal stretch between Cotton Tree and Alexandra Headland and the huge shopping complex at Sunshine Plaza.
Hinterland towns with rich histories like Buderim are within easy reach or you can venture a bit further north to sophisticated Noosa and its surrounds. Brisbane is also easily accessible in under one and a half hour’s drive south.
In Maroochydore, you’ll find the Brighton Apartments, a boutique complex of 18 downsizer-friendly freehold apartments and penthouse suites overlooking the lake at Sunshine Cove.
These apartments, which have been specifically developed for over 50s, represent a new approach to retirement living. They have been developed by national retirement village operator Living Choice, but don’t form part of a retirement village.
The complex features an abundance of space with open plan styling, excellent ventilation and natural light.
Each apartment offers an entertainment balcony, with picture-perfect lake views. Floor plans include three generous bedrooms, a main bathroom and master bedroom ensuite and secure, underground parking bays are also provided.
Meanwhile, Aura’s The Avenue retirement community is set 200m from the waterfront in the heart of the Sunshine Coast. It’s a stone’s throw from Maroochydore’s entertainment, retail, and medical centre, and the bustling Sunshine Plaza is a five minute stroll away.
Stylish, pet-friendly apartments in a range of two and three bedroom combinations are offered and you can also join in one of the many social activities in the lounge, bar and entertainment area. A library, gym, craft room, veggie patch and outdoor BBQ area are also available.
Located on the “Sapphire Coast” stretch of NSW’s southern coastline, Merimbula is close to a plethora of other beautiful towns like Eden, Bermagui, Cobargo and Tathra. Half-price fares are available into Merimbula from Melbourne.
A short drive inland is the NSW cheese and dairy “capital” of Bega. The area has long been a haven for city escapees looking for a more relaxed lifestyle and is an exceptional place to retire with its beautiful beaches and national parks set against lush rolling inland hills.
Merimbula has widespread appeal - you can whale watch, surf and paddleboard or just enjoy the quiet life with eco-walks, farmers markets, and fine dining at one of the area’s superb local seafood restaurants.
RSL Lifecare's Sanananda Park is a scenic oasis five minutes by car from Merimbula and just two minutes drive from beautiful Tura Beach.
Residents come together for regular morning teas, social outings, church services, a weekly happy hour and more, and have access to a bus service with frequent trips to Merimbula.
The village offers maintenance-free living in two and three bedroom apartments complete with 24-hour emergency call facilities and an optional personal care service via RSL LifeCare at Home. Higher-level residential care is also offered on-site in the Hugh Cunningham Garden nursing home.
Meanwhile, Bimbimbie Park - also by RSL Lifecare - offers one and two bedroom units set amongst beautiful gardens with stunning ocean and lake views and a short distance to the scenic Merimbula boardwalk.
Local shops are just a short stroll away and all residents have access to a bus service with frequent trips to shops and local points of interest as well as regular social outings.
The village is well equipped with a library, computer room, hair salon, knitting club and an extensive resident garden.
A half-hour drive from Merimbula Airport is Eden Gardens Estate, a brand-new community living estate located on the stunning Eden Golf course and 5 minutes from Eden’s town centre.
Choose a “buy and build” freehold package with five modern home designs or a “land lease lifestyle living” packages with a variety of one, two or three bedroom house designs.
Melbourne (via Avalon)
Based between Melbourne and Geelong is Victoria’s Avalon Airport.
You can access half-price fares into Avalon from the Gold Coast and Sydney.
Avalon is the closest domestic airport to the Great Ocean Road. If you’re keen to check out retirement properties in Melbourne, it’s a great base to start your road trip and take in some of the state’s most scenic natural attractions on the way. Once in Melbourne, you’ll find a variety of fabulous properties to choose from.
For instance, Centennial Living's Keilor Retirement Village in northern Melbourne offers freshly renovated and spacious open plans villas with two generously sized bedrooms, a large bathroom with walk-in shower, a separate toilet and built-in wardrobes.
Ample storage, energy-efficient heating and cooling, fashionable fixtures and fittings and a private courtyard make these highly desirable properties.
There are also lots of opportunities to connect with other residents via a community centre hub, lounge and dining area and garden spaces.
Meanwhile, a retirement community managed by Australian Unity, Drummond Place epitomises sophisticated inner-city living at its best. In the heart of cosmopolitan Carlton, it’s just over 1km from Melbourne’s CBD.
Located within an architecturally-designed complex, the community provides numerous opportunities for residents to connect and pursue fitness activities and hobbies in a secure low maintenance living environment.
Finally, The Grace is perfect for over 55s seeking to live within a supported community while still maintaining their connection to the sophisticated city lifestyle South Melbourne has to offer.
The rooftop terrace, fitness group, book club and cooking classes are designed to get residents mingling and enjoying each other’s company. The purpose-built health and wellbeing centre offers personalised regimes and access to physiotherapy, rehabilitation, exercise programs and massage.
The Grace is operated by Australian Unity and created to maximise independence in a village setting tailored to the unique needs of its residents.
Comment from our CEO
Downsizing.com.au CEO Amanda Graham said the half-price airfare scheme was a useful incentive for downsizers to scope out properties in some of Australia’s desirable retirement hotspots.
“This is a great opportunity for downsizers to maybe enjoy a holiday and a break and at the same time scope out future homes in a favoured destination,” Ms Graham said.
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