We didn’t want to travel, so found our paradise in Ballarat

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Ballarat for grey nomads
Norm and Jenny have discovered Shangri-La in Ballarat. PIC: Tourism Victoria

Having sold up and having dipped their big toes into the full-time Big Lap, Norm and wife Jenny admitted they found not having a home base to return to a little ‘disconcerting’. Just seven months into what was to be an endless journey, the couple decided to begin looking for place to call home in between caravanning adventures.

It seems that Norm and Jenny’s experience was far from unique. There are many other grey nomads travelling and looking for that perfect place to call ‘home’ … at least for a few months of the year.

In Norm and Jenny’s case, the Victorian country town of Ballarat was the perfect location. “Jenny and I were born in country Victoria and we lived most of our married life in various parts of the state before moving to Melbourne for the last 22 years of our working lives,” said Norm. “We always wanted to return to somewhere in country Victoria as city life held absolutely no appeal to us.” Here’s why Norm says Ballarat ticked the essential boxes for them:

  •  Out of Melbourne in a pleasant country setting (away from the increasingly busy, congested, noisy, polluted, impersonal, ugly, ever-expanding and stressful city environment, and, I might add, away from a particularly nasty neighbour!).
  •  Affordable housing (with all the attributes that we wanted, including a garden that could be left relatively unattended for months) and reasonable ongoing living costs (as most grey nomads will have noted, day-to-day expenses can be costly in some smaller country towns).
  •  Excellent health and care facilities, as well as a full range of retail, service, recreation and entertainment amenities that are all within easy reach (older age considerations).
  •  Easy access to main roads leading to the rest of Oz (for easy and quick starts to caravan trips without having to travel through city traffic).

Plus some important bonuses: 

  • Family members were already living in Ballarat (two siblings and their families).
  •  Central location to our immediate family members who at that time lived in Warrnambool, Melton, Hoppers Crossing, Kalorama, and Knoxfield.
  •  Community life of a country town.

Since buying their new home, Norm and Jenny have upgraded to a van with an ensuite and recliner chairs, and travel most winters for 2-3 months exploring all parts of Australia. And so, do they regret their decision to buy in Ballarat nine years ago? “Not for a moment,” says a smiling Norm.

 

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