What about retiring to Norfolk Island?

Image: the white view/ Bigstock.com

Norfolk Island has been in the news recently—and not only as a great place to visit. More people are looking to Norfolk Island as a retirement destination.

First settled in 1788, just weeks after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney, Norfolk offers much for those who enjoy pristine air and superb scenery. In fact, one of their popular swimming areas has been listed among Australia’s top-10 beaches.

There used to be restrictions about gaining residency, but these have been lifted, which means Australians can now move to Norfolk Island without applying for a permit.

That has seen the population grow from 1550 to around 1800.

Norfolk’s median age

The median age of Norfolk Islanders is 49 years. That’s more than 10 years higher than the median age of 38 for all of Australia.

Popular retirement spots around Australia, however, show that some places have higher median ages:

  • Merimbula 55 years
  • Victor Harbor 58 years
  • Paynesville 61 years
  • Tweed Heads 56 years
  • Bribie Island 59 years

Languages, other than English, spoken on the island include: Norf’k; Pitcairn; Fijian; Tagalog; Filipino; and Mandarin.

Housing and lifestyle

David Bell originally came from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, but has lived on Norfolk Island for 17 years. His business is Norfolk Island Realty and he reports that, in 2018, the median house price was $399,000.

Be aware, though, that that usually includes furniture.

Tourism is the main Norfolk Island industry. That means for those who don’t want to ‘retire’, but get a second wind, may consider some of the accommodation businesses that come up for sale.

The laidback, safe lifestyle is a ‘pull’ factor for those wanting to live on Norfolk Island. A relaxed lifestyle may not be for everyone—but it appeals to many.

What’s it like living on Norfolk Island? David says it’s ‘one of the safest islands in the South Pacific’. Parents can let their children to walk to school or the shops alone.

The aged-care situation

There are no nursing homes or retirement villages on the island, but the hospital, with approximately 20 beds, has an aged-care section. There’s a GP clinic and doctors will do home visits. Anglicare and Meals on Wheels are some of the care groups on the island.

Should you need to see a specialist in Australia, David says that the Australian government pays for airfares (except taxes), accommodation, taxis and medical expenses.

Not only that, but funerals on Norfolk Island are free of charge.

For sport lovers, there’s a lot on offer, as well as various cultural activities.

And age is no barrier to participation. For 86-year-old Ian Anderson, Norfolk Island has been home for 33 years. He’s a participating member of the Norfolk Island Rugby League team, the ‘Norfolk Mutineers’. That team is not to be confused with another: ‘The Creaky Old Convicts’.

When he’s not playing Rugby League, Ian and his wife run World Traders, one of the island’s largest retail stores. They also own and run the local theatre. Ian says that he loves the ‘sheer beauty and freshness of the island’.

Does this sound like the kind of place you’re hoping to find for your retirement?

Jill Weeks is the author of 21 Ways To Retire and co-author of Where To Retire In Australia and Retire Bizzi. She is a regular contributor to ABC radio. For more, go to:  www.where2now.net

Category: Lifestyle, Retirement, Where to Live

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