Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pondering on the Future

Searching for a place to call home

If you read "Melbourne - Our Home by the Bay" then you've probably noticed that we've been doing a bit of work on the house and also been taking some long weekend trips. What's behind all of this?

Well! We are looking at alternative lifestyles for our future years of retirement. Reading other people's blogs, we see many moving from their homeland to other corners of the planet. We are not that adventurous and besides, we live in a great country. Sue seems to be constantly looking at real estate on the Web and there's some interesting opportunities. Melbourne now has a population of 3 million and even though we live on the Bay which is like a great green belt but blue, the area is becoming more densely populated.
Many apartments are going up and that means more people and more cars. We've been here for over 30 years and the changes are both good and bad in our eyes. With the apartments comes a more transient population. Mentone has lost that village feel it once had. The friendly hellos are not so frequent.

That village feel is something we have discovered in our long weekends away. You may remember we spent a week in Launceston, Tasmania and although it had a population of 100,000, people took the time to chat.
It has a good range of homes, both modern and historic within our budget.

$435,000 in Trevallyn, Launceston
Launceston sits on the banks of the Tamar River
We also took a day trip down the road from Melbourne to Warragul to look at a house Sue saw on the Net. I have cycling friends in Warragul, and they have a small cycling culture that would help us blend with the locals. Warragul is a farming district with the Baw Baw mountain range to one side and rolling hills to the coast on the other. It does have a smaller population of around 13,000 and is about an hour and a half from Melbourne so its not too far to visit friends for the day.

$515,000 at Warragul and there's lots of new homes going up. The town is probably no more than a 90 minute drive to Melbourne these days.
Like Launceston, Warragul also has a great cycling culture and there are several members of the local club that I'm friends with.
More recently we enjoyed a long weekend at Warrnambool where we took in a bit of whale watching, looked at the local cafe and restaurant scene - very nice too. It's probably a bit less than a 4 hour drive from Melbourne. With the great southern ocean at your doorstep, the views are fantastic.
$365,000 in Warrnambool - seems like a bargain.
Warrnambool is by the sea which is a big plus for Sue and has a population of  35,000 so it's not too small and  has the amenities of a larger regional town.

Although not Sue's cup of tea, both Ballarat and Bendigo are great regional cities, Bendigo has always been a favorite of mine for years. We've spent long weekends in both and probably Bendigo has more to offer with the amenities. Build on gold, its architecture dates from the 1850s, Bendigo hosts many fine exhibitions and theatre. Again it has a great cycling culture and some of the best track cycling meetings draw crowds in the thousands with International riders competing in the Bendigo Madison each year.

Bendigo in the 1890s 
This very modern house in Bendigo is listed at $525,000.
However this one did catch my eye at $1,9M but I don't think the budget would stretch that far.

Regardless, we still have a couple of years up our sleeve - besides, there's much more sprucing up of our 1929 Californian Bungalow to be done before we have to decide on another place to call home.
Interesting times ahead.

We just heard from our son Mitchy and he's just posted on his blog on the first few days in India. You can find it on the side bar.
It's titled "BEST and WORST"


  1. It is going to be interesting to follow your future plans as I will be in the same situation as you in 13 years (maybe less). We never know what the future has in store for us all but isn't it fun to look at real estate and dream? I will get a look at Mitch's blog.

    1. Nadege,
      I get the sense that you may have travelled a bit. Do you have a favorite country where you might like to retire?
      Although I lived in NorCal with a visit to SoCal for a summer in 79, I'm not sure if the US is for Sue and I. I feel the same might be for you in retirement.

  2. Oh, I love the one in Warramboul. There's a touch of the Queensland Colonial in it, but modernized.
    I spend a lot of time looking at real estate on the internet. I think house-hunting is fun, but I'll probably just be doing it online. We've got a little house already, for just the two of us, and the dog, although I'd love to have one or two guest rooms.
    I posted a comment on Mitchy's blog and he answered me. You have a very nice son.

    1. Kay - you surprise me with your comment "Queensland Colonial" and I can see the slight resemblence too. Have you been to Australia?

      Mitch was trilled to get your comment - we Skyped yesterday and he mentioned you did. Thank you for that. His last trip was to Canada and yes, you are correct - he is a very nice person.

  3. I was going to say that our population is 4 million, not 3 million. But wiki puts it at 4.26 million ( - can that be correct?

    Ballarat and Bendigo are fantastic, creative and historic cities to live in, with one exception. Ballarat is freezing in winter and Bendigo is blazing hot in summer.

    1. Hels you may well be right about Melb's population - all I know is that it takes me longer to get to and from work these days.
      I figure if we make enough profit from our sale, if its cold in winter we can always nip off to south of France for a few months. Well maybe QLD then.

  4. I've never visited Autralia or Tasmania so can't really give an opinion.

    However wha I do know is that when you find the right combination of house and place you'll both know it! Happy house hunting..

  5. It would be really good for you if you could settle somewhere where you have some cycling friends. You would soon meet people though in a new area and make new friends. Sue is such a friendly person she also would never have problems making new friends. At least they all speak the same language! Have a good week, Diane

    1. Diane - I'm sure where ever me move, we'll make it home.
      Its also a financial decision. We were fortunate to have bought 30 years ago in a growth area. We all need $$$$ for our retirement years.

  6. Gosh, how exciting! But I am sure that the right house in the right place will jump out at you like our farm here did, and it was not anything like I was looking for either! Happy house hunting!


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