Tenterfield Star

Top retirement destinations for Aussie seniors seeking a sea change

Top retirement destinations for Aussie seniors seeking a sea change

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When it comes to retiring in luxury, Australians truly are spoilt for choice. There are picture perfect countrysides and coastal escapes dotting all corners of this island continent, allowing Aussie seniors the privilege of selecting a setting that best suits their needs. Even so, with all the choice that is available to them, many retirees opt to spend their golden years abroad, and for a few reasons than just wanderlust alone.

The most popular retirement destinations selected by Australian seniors all have their own selling points, alongside generally being coastal. We'll be taking a closer look at all these popular retirement destinations and the reasons why Australian seniors may be so drawn to them.

Gold Coast, Queensland

Starting off with Australia's very own most popular retirement destination, the Gold Coast is renowned across the globe for its pleasant tropical weather, striking beaches, and gnarly surf.

There are many Gold Coast retirement villages for retirees to choose from if they require assisted living services, would benefit from 24/7 access to tailored healthcare facilities, or are simply on the hunt for senior-friendly residences that will allow them to live by the coast on a budget.

The region surrounding this coastal city is also packed with a myriad of natural attractions, ranging from the Daintree Rainforest to the Great Barrier Reef, and the expansive rolling hills of the Queensland hinterlands and wine country. In a nutshell, there's plenty of things to see and do for Aussie seniors who want to retire somewhere they can still enjoy the gentle rustling of gum trees throughout their golden years.

Phuket, Thailand

As well as being a popular holiday destination that's loved by many travelling Aussies, Thailand is home to a highly diverse population of senior expats, with retirees from the UK, US, Canada, and other nations settling on Thai shores in their golden years.

In truth, you can actually find whole communities of Australian expats all over Thailand, but the most established Aussie 'neighbourhoods' can be found in Koh Samui, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and of course, Phuket. We've added Phuket to this list as it is the perfect Thai destination for seniors who want to spend their retirement years island hopping!

Retirees looking to relocate to Thailand will likely be able to secure themselves cheap accommodation and enjoy a very minimal cost of living to boot. It's also fairly simple to relocate to Thailand for retirees, as Thailand's retirement visa application process requires minimal requirements to ensure eligibility, and can be easily renewed annually.

The Algarve, Portugal

For any looking for a warm and sunny European retirement, look no further than the lovely coastal region of Algarve, Portugal in southern Europe.

Top retirement destinations for Aussie seniors seeking a sea change

Whilst house prices are on the rise in Lisbon, Portugal's capital, at the moment, seniors will face no trouble with securing themselves some budget accommodation in the secluded and picturesque Algarve region, as well as along the rest of Portugal's southern coast.

This city centre and its surrounding sleepy, little townships, are basically tailor-made for retirees, with brilliant beaches, gorgeous golf courses, and cobblestone streets hosting breathtaking European architecture that will all prove to be more than worthy backdrops for your golden years.

Like Thailand, Portugal is home to a diverse population of expats, with the majority coming from across Europe and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. Aussies looking to retire to Portugal should prepare to make friends from all over the world, although rest assured it shouldn't be too long at all before you come face to face with a fellow countryman (or bushman!).

Sicily, Italy

Another European coastal retirement destination, the serene island of Sicily is well and truly a favourite getaway spot that's beloved by people from all corners of the globe. And thanks to Italy's incredibly cost-effective universal healthcare system and relatively low cost of living, many retirees come to proudly call Sicily and other districts across Italy home.

The healthcare system also has plenty of infrastructure catering solely to expats, with separate emergency numbers with English-speaking operators, and an abundance of resources to ensure that individuals on working, student, and even retirement visas, maintain access to all the healthcare services they need.

Alongside its practical elements, Sicily is also an undeniably idyllic retirement destination, especially for any who are particularly fond of the Mediterranean. Aussie seniors who are able to secure themselves an abode in Sicily, will basically ensure that they can spend their golden years exploring all the many isles and islands that dot the horizon, and swim in the sea's warm waters whenever the fancy strikes them.

Bali, Indonesia

A favourite travel destination beloved by millions of Aussies, the island of Bali in Indonesia is about as idyllic a coastal retirement destination as you can imagine! With plenty of Balinese Hindu and Buddhist temples to explore, as well as a rich and vibrant natural landscape that boasts vibrant rainforests, aquamarine waters, and striking volcanoes and mountain ranges, the whole island of Bali is a spiritual experience in itself.

Simply put, this particular retirement destination is perfect for seniors who are hoping to practice mindfulness, express gratitude everyday, and connect with the earth beneath their feet during their golden years.

Alongside the selling points that are its natural attractions and spiritual sites, Bali is a highly accessible retirement destination, with plenty of cheap accommodation and cheap eats to choose from. Long-term visitors or individuals on retirement visas alike can enjoy a reasonable cost of living that is bound to work well with your own pension fund, whatever amount you receive.

Top retirement destinations for Aussie seniors seeking a sea change

Penang, Malaysia

Last but not least, the island of Penang in Malaysia is another favourite retirement destination shared by Aussie seniors in particular for a few notable reasons. Being our neighbour, travelling to and from Malaysia is superbly simple, which is preferable for Aussie seniors who are leaving family members back home as they prepare for their international retirement.

Penang is just a stone's throw away from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's bustling capital, so organising travel from Penang to Australia and other destinations across the globe is an effortless endeavour. Penang in particular, is also well-known for being a cultural melting pot, with the island boasting a large population of expats, the majority of whom actually come from Australia.

Malaysia also possesses one of the best healthcare systems in the Southern Hemisphere, with low rates for all Malaysian citizens and expats alike, as well as specialty healthcare programmes designed to provide additional support for rural communities and low-income individuals. Even dentistry is highly affordable, so retirees can ensure that they stay in good health for very little when relocating to Malaysia.


Finding the perfect coastal retirement destination for you is going to require a little experimentation, so you should feel encouraged to travel widely before you even think about settling down in any corner of the globe. After all, there's no better way to spend you retirement than taking in new experiences and seeing parts of the world that you may never have been able to explore before!