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7 affordable spots to retire in Australia if the cost of living in the city is too much for you

Planning a retirement away from the big smoke? Here are seven great options for popular retirement spots in Australia.

Retirement may sound like a faraway dream for some. But higher living costs across Australia show it’s never too early to start planning for a future after hanging up your work boots.

The age Aussies are retiring has been pushed back to 66 for men and over 64 for women. And it's costing more, with singles needing a record $51,278 and couples $72,148 a year to live comfortably.

So, unless you’re fairly wealthy, a comfortable post-work life in Sydney or Melbourne might be off the cards., But there are plenty of beautiful, relaxing and reasonably affordable spots to spend a much-deserved retirement at whatever age you do it.

Real estate agent Tori Huxtable told Yahoo Finance the best way to find your perfect retirement spot was to draw up a spreadsheet with key features important to you and draw up a shortlist of locations.

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“This could include being close to family and friends, quality medical care and hospitals in an area that's affordable, a sound investment, close to public transport and offers the chance to socialise,” she said.

Finding a community with like-minded people, low crime rates and good infrastructure where you can engage in hobbies was also important, along with climate and bushfire or flood risks.

Yahoo Finance has taken a look at some popular spots you could retire in Australia and used crowd-sourced cost-of-living database Numbeo to give you an idea of the cost of day-to-day life there.

We've done the same for overseas locations too if a life abroad appeals to you.

Burleigh Heads skyline seen from the air.
The Gold Coast is a popular spot for retirees, including Burleigh Heads (pictured). Source: Getty

Two bedroom villas in retirement villages and over-55 living options can be found for around $350,000 and apartments for $200,000, however the median house price is $750,000.

Housing: $17,000 per sq/m for an apartment

Eating out: $140

Groceries: $26.69

Petrol: $1.84/L

Pros

Beautiful beaches, warm climate, eclectic dining options, shopping, entertainment and plenty of hospitals. Great fishing and surfing spots. Good public transport including buses, trains, trams and ferries.

Cons

Can get very busy during school holidays and eating out can be pricey.

Tasmania is home to the magnificent Bay of Fires, while Constitution Dock in Hobart is also worth a visit. Source: Getty
Tasmania is home to the magnificent Bay of Fires, while Constitution Dock in Hobart is also worth a visit. Source: Getty

Median house prices for two-bedroom retirement villas are $516,000, according to data firm CoreLogic. Homes in regional Tassie start at about $367,000.

Housing: $11,842 per sq/m for an apartment

Eating out: $130

Groceries: $31.01

Petrol: $1.83/L

Pros

Hobart has a thriving dining and cultural scene and a variety of public and private hospitals, buses and ferries. There are plenty of historic sites, art galleries and theatres and great fishing spots.

Cons

There's a cooler climate and there are no trains.

Mooloolaba has a stunning coastline and, along with other Sunshine Coast town, is popular with retirees. Source: Getty
Mooloolaba has a stunning coastline and, along with other Sunshine Coast town, is popular with retirees. (Source: Getty)

Prices vary wildly from a median of $675,000 for a three-bedroom house in inland Nambour or $450,000 for a two-bedroom unit, to multi-million dollar homes in exclusive suburbs Noosa and Sunshine Beach.

Housing: $11,842 per sq/m for apartment

Eating out: $112.50

Grocery: $26.17

Petrol: $1.83/L per sq/m for an apartment

Pros

Thriving community spirit, great foodie scene, good hospitals and public transport. Gorgeous beaches and coastline, lush hinterland and natural beauty spots like Glass House Mountains and Blackall Range.

Cons

Can get very busy during peak times, particularly at Christmas and during school holidays.

Port Stephens in the Hunter region has glorious white sand beaches and a laid-back vibe. Source: Getty
Port Stephens in the Hunter region has glorious white sand beaches and a laid-back vibe. (Source: Getty)

Prices have increased in recent years but bargains can still be found, particularly for retirees. Prices for two to three-bedroom retirement villas range between $400,000 and $850,000.

Eating out: $120

Groceries: $27.02

Petrol: $1.78/L

Pros

Relaxed coastal lifestyle, pristine waters, national parks, water sports and dolphin and whale watching cruises. Fingal Bay Beach is family-friendly with a patrolled surf beach. Just three hours from Sydney.

Cons

Real estate is hard to come by and prices are rising quickly.

The Margaret River region has a thriving cultural scene and a strong sense of community. Source: Getty
The Margaret River region has a thriving cultural scene and a strong sense of community. (Source: Getty)

Prices for three bedroom houses in Margaret River sit at a median price of $750,000 and $456,000 for two bedroom units, but two-bedroom townhouses for mid-$400,00 can also be found.

Housing: $11,296 per sq/m for an apartment

Eating out: $150

Groceries: $30.33

Petrol: $1.90/L

Pros

Beaches, hiking tracks, good access to health care, a charming town centre, thriving art scene, wineries, breweries and distilleries.

Cons

As a small town three hours from Perth, Margaret River has a tight-knit community feel which may not suit everyone. A car is recommended.

Bribie Island has interesting historical relics including an abandoned WWII bunker, lovely beaches and a tight-knit community. Source: Getty
Bribie Island has interesting historical relics including an abandoned WWII bunker, lovely beaches and a tight-knit community. (Source: Getty)

Two-bedroom retirement villas and homes are priced in the mid-$400,000s, while three-bedroom homes can be picked up for $550,000.

Housing: $13,250 per sq/m for an apartment

Eating out: $140

Groceries: $22.35

Petrol: $1.84/L

Pros

Stunning beaches, popular with boating, surfing, camping and fishing enthusiasts. You can spot dugongs, dolphins and turtles. Less than an hour's drive to Brisbane. It has medical centres and a satellite hospital.

Cons

A car is recommended to get around. The island experienced severe flooding in 2022.

Esperance's giant granite boulders at Lucky Bay in the Cape Le Grand National Park. Stairs lead down to the beach from the lookout point.
Esperance's giant granite boulders at Lucky Bay in the Cape Le Grand National Park. Stairs lead down to the beach from the lookout point. (Source: Getty)

Large blocks of land can still be snapped up for under $100,000, while two-bedroom houses are selling for $250,000.

Housing: $9,026 per sq/m for apartment

Eating out: $150

Groceries: $28.60

Petrol: $2.12/L

Pros

Beautiful white sandy beaches, national parks and the Recherche Archipelago islands where you can see fur seals and sea lions. The town also has a regional airport, plus bus and train links.

Cons

Small town, seven hour drive or 90 minute flight to Perth. Esperance only has a small hospital with an emergency department.