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Retirement RV-Style
The birth of communities for the RV savvy retiree
Words and Images by: GRAEME KEMLO

There’s a generation of retirees who are intent on not doing things the traditional way. Baby Boomers who have re-imagined and reinvented the 50 plus lifestyle, redefined the term ‘old rocker’ and are up and out of their chairs, out of the family home and on the road out of town.

Looking for lifestyle, many of those who have reached retirement age (15 per cent are over 65) and others in their fifties and early sixties (18 per cent are aged 50 to 64), are cashing up and opting out of the perceived restrictions of the brick veneer and quarter acre block. Having unleashed the tethers, which increasingly means getting rid of the mortgage in favour of a mobile lifestyle – an RV or a luxury caravan – they’re free to take off around the state, across the continent or around the world.

However there’s a temptation to put down some roots too, to seek more space, to grow some flowers or vegetables, and have a place where the grandchildren can come and stay – but they don’t want to lose their independence and travelling lifestyle. Meeting the changing needs of this active retired segment of Australia’s 24 million population, is a new type of neighbourhood catering specifically to the RV-owner.

Enjoying the pool at Palm Lake Resort


The aptly-named RV Homebase is a community at the southern end of the Fraser Coast, four kilometres from the centre of Maryborough, Queensland, where 274 permanent homes with their own RV garages have been built and sold to the growing grey nomad community over the past five and a half years. But this is not just a flash caravan park and this is not a retirement village. As Sales Manager Kevin Leary explains, RV Homebase is an active lifestyle community that has no entry or exit fees, the homes are freehold and can be readily bought, sold or willed to family. And the land? “It is on a perpetual lease, which does not attract stamp duty” and of course there are huge garages.

It is the facilities at RV Homebase that ultimately attract road warriors: manicured gardens, security, gymnasium, two swimming pools with aquatic fitness zones and instructors, a four rink bowling green with floodlights and retractable cover, four hole chip and putt golf course, residents’ workshop, arts and crafts building, library, recreation centre with kitchen, bar, pool tables, dance floor and leisure areas, plus fire pits, barbecues and pizza ovens.

Ticking the rest of the boxes, it not only has an RV high-pressure wash bay, but provides a hardstand for visitors, offers broadband internet and is pet friendly.

“While we have a permanent population of up to 500 people, at any one time half of them would be away, either on the road or off on a cruise … some are gone six months, others a whole year,” Kevin explains, adding that Maryborough is ideally positioned to take short or long trips along the Fraser Coast, head into the mountains or across the outback,  or to catch a Virgin or Qantas flight from Hervey Bay airport.

“And when they shut the front door we take care of the garden, there’s no tell-tale junk mail accumulating in the mailbox – we’re a secure gated complex, so there’s peace of mind.”

The final section of RV Homebase Maryborough is selling with seven home packages left. He said prices ranged from $425,000 to $462,000 for a two and three bedroom plus one multipurpose room and a garage up to 16m long.

Like-minded folk share travel exploits at Palm Lake


Over the past 40 years Palm Lake Resort group has developed a group of “master planned, security gated, lifestyle communities built exclusively for active mature age living”, with 13 in Queensland, six in New South Wales and three in Victoria.

Its latest release is Palm Lake Resort Cooroy-Noosa, which has proved a popular destination – stage one is all sold and stage two is selling now. General Manager Sales and Marketing, Marlene Cumming says this latest resort features floodlit tennis courts, swimming pools, spa and sauna, barbecue areas, workshop, caravan and boat storage, even an undercover lawn bowls green.

Adding an undisputed sense of ‘style’ to the life at Cooroy will be its new pavilion clubhouse, with a dance floor, stage, baby grand  piano, luxurious cinema, wellequipped gym, billiards, art and craft room, commercial kitchen, bar, library with computers, ten-pin bowling alleys and a golf simulator.

Marlene says the 40 acre Cooroy development is about 20 minutes from the vibrant Noosa village with its shopping, dining, beach and river experiences and the popular hinterland is also close by. Palm Lake resident services include instructors for weekly water aerobics and gentle exercise programs, an on-site hairdresser and caretakers who maintain lawns and grounds plus a resort bus to take residents on outings, or into town.

While Noosa is a popular holiday destination for Victorians seeking refuge from the winter chill, Marlene says Palm Lake attracts residents from up and down the east coast who want the lifestyle facilities on offer, but also enjoy “no council  rates, no stamp duty and no entry or exit fees”. Typically residents are aged over 55, one third are single and two-thirds are couples.

Like-minded folk share travel exploits at Palm Lake

Ultimately, there will be 220 homes developed at Cooroy, mostly two bedroom, two bathroom, kitchen dining and living rooms, an outdoor living space, two car garage with on-site storage for RVs and caravans. But among the homes available now are some that have two bedrooms, a multipurpose room suitable as a study or guest bedroom, a powder room, and a four-car garage (6.3x10.8m) suitable for an RV or car and van or boat. She says home packages start from $472,000 and all five stages are expected to be sell within the next two years.

An interesting development currently planned for the Cooroy- Noosa resort is the addition of specially-designed aged care units,  which would allow continuity of care on-site should a resident couple need expert assistance for one partner or both. There are obvious advantages financially and socially to allow one or both partners to remain within the same community, when otherwise they may be forced to sell and move. Marlene Cumming says the Palm Lake group has an extensive background in the provision of aged care accommodation and services, but this move would still require a licence for each aged care bed to be approved by the Federal Government.

Other Palm Lake communities established in Queensland are at Bargara, Beachmere Bay, Beachmere Sands, Bethania, Carindale, Deception Bay, Eagleby Heights, Hervey Bay, Mt Warren Park, Toowoomba, Upper Coomera and Waterford.

New South Wales resorts are in Ballina, Banora Point, Fern Bay, Tea Gardens, Tweed River  and Yamba, with three in Victoria at Phillip Island, Truganina and Willow Lodge.

Palm Lake and RV Homebase are clearly meeting a need in the market for this type of community where your home can support your lifestyle and if sales are anything to go by, it will only continue to be a growing concept.

Tags: Retirement RV Campervan Motorhome Caravan Travel Palm Lake Resort RV Homebase Tinana Fraser Coast Maryborough QLD Queensland Storage Noosa
Category: Features
Written: Fri 01 Sep 2017
Printed: September, 2017
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