A Land of Fire and Lava

A Land of Fire and Lava

Looking for somewhere different with mind-blowing natural phenomena? Then consider a small Spanish-owned island off the coast of North-West Africa, called Lanzarote. Nicole Buckler finds the good stuff.

Europeans, Scandinavians and Russians know Lanzarote well. The town of Puerto del Carmen on Lazarote island is thick with holiday apartments built specifically for the package holiday traveller. Most of these travellers live in countries so sun-starved that tourists are there for one purpose – to get some solar rays on their skin. Lanzarote is nicknamed the “Island of Eternal Spring” because of its guaranteed good weather all year round. A subtropical-desert climate can do a lot for the tourist trade.

fire and lava
The beautiful white-washed houses of Lanzarote

Such tourists don’t tend to leave the resorts much, or venture further than the unadventurous restaurants around their accommodation. All they want to do is uptake vitamin D while lying next to a pool. So this means that if you are going to Lanzarote to explore the natural phenomena, then you will get an easy ride. You will actually get some sites all to yourself! We Gold Coasters are spoiled for sun, so we can concentrate on other things while there.

Because of its package holiday reputation, this is one of the most underrated places to holiday in the world. Outside of the McResorts is a natural wonderland of world-class beauty. The island is so spectacular, that it was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1993. And UNESCO don’t go around naming stuff biospheres lightly.

Lanzarote, one of the famous Canary Islands, has a volcanic origin. It was born through fiery eruptions. Solidified lava streams as well as extravagant rock formations are quite the sight to behold. And they can go on as far as the eye can see. Some parts of the island are so moon-like, that photos of the area were studied by Apollo astronauts before going to the moon so that they could get an idea of what they might encounter.

fire and lava
The strange colours of the lake at El Golfo

BEACHES

The part-sand, part-volcanic-stone beaches are perfect for the barbequing of human flesh. This, combined with clear waters, makes Lanzarote the tourist attraction that it is.

If you want to sneak off to a National Park beach, a must-see is El Papagayo, a collection of small bays with incredible crystal-clear waters and fine white sands — it could be the most gorgeous place on the island. Although, it can be quite a mission to get to it. As well as needing a car (preferably a 4WD as the roads are not really roads at all), the best coves require visitors to climb down a  sandy cliff to reach the alluring beach below. Only mountain goats or reasonably able humans can accomplish this feat. Clothes are optional here, so when in Rome…

Because of the volcanic history, there are several black-sand beaches on Lanzarote. This is an Instagrammer’s dream come true. If you’ve never seen a black sand beach before, you’ll be amazed when your feet sink into one. Check out the black sand beach of Playa Quemada (burned beach).

Another thing to know is that Lanzarote is one of the best surfing spots in Europe. Known as the Hawaii of Europe, the best place to surf is Playa de Famara. It is a black sand beach under huge black cliffs that will seem otherworldly. It is not touristy at all in this area, and you can find some crazy little places to stay in Caleta de Famara, a coastal village next to the beach. But be quick, this place is starting to get on the map. In the last few years Famara has become the place to be for numerous surfers from all over the globe. The 6-star ASP event La Santa Pro is a leg of the world surfing championships. It was held in October at the beautiful beach of San Juan, a few hundred metres away from the village.

lanzarote
Typical accommodation at the resort area of Puerto del Carmen

OTHER SWIMMING SPOTS

The lagoon called El Golfo is something else. The neon-green body of water sits between a black beach and red cliffs. It started its life when sea water ran into an old volcanic crater. The green colour is from algae living its best life in the water. Around the edge of the lake, you can pick up pieces of a mineral called olivine – it is very popular with jewellery makers. Like vast tracts of Lanzarote, being there is like being on another world.

THE HOT STUFF

Timanfaya National Park is the hands-down highlight of any trip to Lanzarote. Timanfaya, meaning “Mountain of Fire” is one of the greatest geological phenomena you are likely to see. This region was devastated by intermittent volcanic eruptions, the last being in 1824. All life was nuked. The effect that this had on the landscape was, and is, incredible. It is a vast expanse of lifelessness that goes for as far as the eye can see. There are “seabeds” of dried lava which look like giant petrified slugs that go on for miles. It truly is an amazing place.

lanzarote craters
One of Timanfaya National Park’s spectacular craters.

At this strange-looking place, the ground is still scorching hot, so you aren’t allowed to just walk around like a lunatic. Any visitors must stay on a bus or be contained in guided tours. The ground is still so volatile and deathly dry that a human could die in a few hours of being lost in the park. But be sure to visit Timanfaya, you’ll feel small and unimportant in a good way.

As a side-note, the heat of the volcano is used for cooking steaks and fish in a restaurant on top of the lava flow, called, of course, El Diablo. More or less, the dead flesh is held over the lava until it is crispy and perfect. Free heat, I like it.

WINE PRODUCTION

If humans ever wanted to learn how to grow grapes on the moon, they should come and see it being done in La Geria. This wine region looks like the lunar surface. It’s desolate, seemingly dry as hell, and steep. But Lanzarote’s biggest wineproducing region has managed to make a wine industry thrive in the face of punishing adversity.

Lanzarote is windy. Legend has it that after several days in Lanzarote, the constant wind creates a biological response in humans of sheer anxiety. As well as allegedly making us all jumpy, the wind blows away the grapevine seeds before they can germinate. So the locals of Lanzarote dig deep holes in the hills of lava, and build rather odd-looking stone circular walls around the seeds so that they don’t blow away. These walls also hold in the scant dew that appears on the plants from time to time.

It is truly extraordinary to see large expanses of these stone circles. But all the effort building these pods is worth it. The wine of lava from Lanzarote has a remarkable peppery taste and you drink a whole lot more of it than you remember, usually. If you ever take any of my crazy recommendations, take this one. It is seriously the best wine I have ever tasted in my life.

lanzarote water
The captal, Arrecife, is not touristy at all, and you can find some excellent restaurants here.

WATER

Lanzarote is a “desert island” where most of the drinking water is imported in bottles. It is a seriously dry place where only cacti survive well. The rainfall is scant, but in Lanzarote there is fog fairly often, which is a saving grace. The locals have developed an ingenious way of collecting water — they catch fog. They have erected huge vertical sheets of fine nets which sit on the tops of mountains. When the fog moves through the nets, it precipitates into water and runs down the nets into storage tanks. This technique of collecting “horizontal rain” provides an alternative source of freshwater. Along with the wind power turbines, the landscape is quite an interesting spectre, all in the name of living well in a harsh but achingly beautiful place.

FOOD

If you stay in the tourist towns, you can expect to be disappointed with the food. However, once you strike out into the areas where the locals live, you’ll be impressed. The Spanish port areas sees the menu change to tapas, fresh fish and seafood cooked in the Spanish-Lanzarote way, and the famous Lanzarote potato with Mojo Rojo sauce — tongue orgasm kind of stuff.

lanzarote
Lanzarote

GETTING THERE

A great way to see Lanzarote is to book a package holiday out of somewhere like London. That way, you get to see London and then get a cheap, direct flight from the English capital, with your accommodation thrown in for next to no extra cost. Otherwise, flights go from the Gold Coast via Doha in Qatar, while others are routed via Spain. Happy travels! ■

Website: www.hellocanaryislands.com/lanzarote

Want to use your retirement travelling for free? Check out this article!

MUST-HAVE CARAVAN ACCESSORIES

MUST-HAVE CARAVAN ACCESSORIES

The Caravan Repair Company at Burleigh Heads is known across Queensland and New South Wales as the place to go to restore a caravan or get it fixed. They tell us what accessories makes the caravanning experience even better.

Caravanning is great fun and very much part of the Australian culture. It is a great way to get around and a budget-friendly way to holiday. Is there anything better than hitching up the caravan and heading off on a relaxing road trip? Well yes actually. And that’s knowing you have the right accessories for any situation that may crop up before you start your trek. That knowledge will ensure the journey is as stressfree and fun as possible.

If you own a caravan, you probably treat it like a little palace, filling it with everything to make it as comfortable and attractive as possible. We know this at The Caravan Repair Company as we deal with so many proud and happy owners. Here are what we think are the must-have caravan accessories on the Gold Coast.

CLEVER INNOVATIONS

One of the most clever and innovative products is tyre repair spray. It seals a hole temporarily, allowing reinflation without having to remove the tyre. This product could get you out of a very difficult situation since it enables you to cover a few hundred kilometres before the damaged tyre needs permanent repair. Come in and see us and we will get you sorted out with some of this amazing product.

SOLAR ACCESSORIES

Depending on where you are planning on travelling to, you may to need to invest in solar panels or a  solar blanket, charger, battery and inverter, so  you can create a chain of power. In simple terms, this chain of power ensures you can take your precious coffee machine, or other appliance, with you so you can still enjoy a great cappuccino, even if you’re off-grid.

caravan accessories

AN AERIAL OR ANTENNA

Caravanning is a home away from home trip, and for many that means home comforts can come along, including a television. Many caravans now have a TV antenna installed as standard but if yours does not, it is an easy installation with us.

Antennas are a great way to stay in touch with the world. The great outdoors can lose its appeal sometimes for younger travellers who want to connect with their friends back at home. Being connected to the internet and watching TV helps keep all family members happy.

Aerials come in a huge range of shapes and sizes, but you’ll need to choose if you want a  directional aerial or an omnidirectional aerial. An ariel will give you terrestrial television. Satellite TV in your caravan is a bit more complex, so come and have a conversation with us and we can help you make some choices there.

And of course, there are safety benefits that come with having an antenna. In the event of something going wrong, you get the peace of mind that you can contact the outside world. With a working antenna, you’re never really lost.

ELECTRONIC STABILITY CONTROL

This accessory is specifically for towing caravans. It is a must-have if you do a lot of towing and are concerned about safety.

Caravans that are being towed can be unstable, and particularly vulnerable to sideways movement. When a critical point of lateral movement is reached, it could overturn. The ESC monitors the movements and automatically applies the brakes when necessary to bring the caravan back into line and restabilising it.

WATER

One of the realities of travelling anywhere in Australia, especially through the warmer months, is that you will need to carry fresh, clean drinking water with you. A 40-litre water can on wheels will make the job of transporting the water supply from the source back to your van, just that little bit easier. Ask us about the water tank on wheels.

HOME COMFORTS

If you are bringing your interior up to spec, consider getting a modern aircon system. A long time in the heat at a holiday destination is no fun if the air conditioning is broken or non-existent!

Similarly, you’ll probably want the best facilities when it comes to mealtimes. A lot of caravan owners love their microwaves, as they’re quick to feed impatient mouths. Fridges, of course, are essential for keeping food edible while you’re on the road. These appliances can be upgraded or installed easily by our experienced technicians.

A lot of the caravan restorations we have done involve retro-fitting. A bargain RV or caravan might have a lot of potential, but very few mod cons. You might not think your classic van has room for the latest kit, but you would be wrong. It’s  amazing how much of the latest equipment can fit into quite small, older caravans, when fitted by experts.

setting up accessories

ENJOY YOUR TRIP!

There are so many beautiful places to explore in Australia and often it’s the little things you find along the way that mean the most. Once you’ve parked your van, especially when driving long distances, it’s a great idea to cycle around the area, this gives you the chance to check out your surroundings and take it all in, at a slower pace. Consider having folding bikes! They are a genius solution for compact convenience.

Come have a chat with us at The Caravan Repair Company, and we will get a plan in place to make your caravan or RV a moving palace. ■

CONTACT

manager@caravanrepaircompany.com.au

10 Greg Chappell Drive Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, QLD 4220

(07) 5593 7486

Monday to Friday: 7:30am – 4:00pm

If you like reading about caravan adventures, read this.

From Caravan to Cruise

From Caravan to Cruise

Our caravan aficionados Jan and Peter (both 74) combine a caravan holiday with a cruise holiday, making the most of a Queensland getaway.

With winter approaching, the warmer weather in northern Queensland was looking attractive!

We decided to follow the Queensland coastline up as far as Airlie Beach and then hire a boat to cruise the Whitsundays. We told friends of the trip. The first thing they asked was, ‘Do you need a boat license?’ While our boating experience was useful, a license wasn’t a  mandatory requirement. Yes, that’s right, you can hire a cruiser and not have a boating license!

Twenty-two years ago, we chartered a similar vessel in the Whitsundays, so we thought we would recapture fond memories, seeing as we can’t travel overseas.

We spent a great week of caravanning from the Gold Coast to Airlie Beach. From here, we found the Whitsunday Yacht Charters’ office above the restaurants and tourist shops in the Coral Sea Marina. We viewed our vessel which would be our home for 8 nights. Sunquest is a 44 ft catamaran, twin engine motor cruiser. Beautiful.

Whitsunday Charters phoned to advise our vessel would be available from 2pm for boarding, which allowed us to be well settled in before our departure the following morning.  We stocked up on groceries from Woolworths nearby.

For an extra fee, an additional night can be spent on the boat in the marina in a ‘sleepover’ (as they call it). With a separate company, we arranged secure parking for our vehicle and caravan.

A staff member came on board to acquaint us to the workings of the stove, fridge, water, bathrooms, gas and power while we were plugged into the marina power.

No grey water is allowed to be released while in the harbour. A key was provided for the marina bathroom facilities. We strolled along the boardwalk to Airlie Beach to purchase fresh seafood for our first dinner on board.

TRAINING

We were up early to greet our instructor who arrived at 8am.  The 4-hour orientation for operating Sunquest was informative and very helpful. The  very explanatory navigation book A  Hundred Magic Miles was perused and explained.  As the prevailing winds for the following week were predicted to be south-easterly, we were made aware that comfortable anchorages would be on the northern sides of the islands.

The charter company ensures that the hirer understands the operation and all functions of the vessel. This includes navigation rules, how to read charts and successfully navigate reefs, shallow areas and anchorages.  Once the briefing is completed, the hirer is assessed while manoeuvring the vessel out of the harbour.

SKEDS

The hirers are required to make regular radio contact with the charter base. Two ‘skeds’ (scheduled radio contact) are compulsory each day with the charter base. The base will then give the hirers a forecast for weather, wind and sea.

At the 9am sked, the route for the day is reported. At 4pm the hirer advises their overnight anchorage. If an unsuitable mooring has been selected, they are required to move to a safe one.

Just outside the marina we were instructed on how to secure the boat to a mooring buoy and, alternatively, how to drop an anchor. Jan found retrieving the heavy mooring rope quite a challenge!

It is preferable to use mooring buoys where possible. This protects reefs from the damage caused by anchors. When no buoys are available anchoring further offshore is acceptable. Having satisfied our instructor, we returned him to the marina. Then, we were on our way!

WHITSUNDAY PASSAGE

We rounded Cape Conway and passed North Mole Island where we encountered choppy seas for our crossing of Whitsunday Passage to Hook Island.  On the 3 June 1770 Lieutenant James Cook sailed into these waters. He named them in commemoration of Whitsun, which falls on the 7th Sunday after Easter.

Stonehaven was our overnight anchorage. There, Jan struggled with retrieving the heavy mooring rope from the buoy while dangling over the bow. We made our 4pm radio sked to advise the base that we were secure for the evening. It was a very restful evening in slight seas. A pink sunset enhanced our view across the water to Hayman Island and Langford Reef.

Mooring was the topic of conversation over breakfast. After our 9am sked to advise of our itinerary, we moved over to Langford Reef.

Jan extracted Peter from the captain’s seat while Peter caught, lifted and secured the mooring rope. This was a great improvement and we successfully continued to use this arrangement.  As soon as we were settled, a school of large batfish swam right up to the rear duckboard and popped their faces out of the water to look at us. What a surprise! They are obviously used to being hand fed.

caravan cruise

HAYMAN ISLAND

We made our lunch time anchorage Blue Pearl Bay on the northwest side of Hayman Island. We took the opportunity to snorkel on the reef. There were coral trout, parrot fish, batfish, and schools of tiny colourful fish.

Tropical cyclone Debbie made landfall in March 2017. Underwater we could see the trail of destruction she left on the coral. A tour group arrived, and we followed their lead to discover that the best coral and colorful fish were further offshore.

That afternoon we cruised around the northwestern tip of Hayman Island towards Hook Island and picked up a mooring buoy in Butterfly Bay. We launched the tender (a smaller boat used to get to shore) to explore the beach. At the northern end, we scrambled over rocks along a watercourse which, to our surprise, led to a waterfall. Although Butterfly Bay was named because of its shape, butterflies hovered all around us in the thick vegetation and ferns. We were back on board Sunquest in time to enjoy another lovely sunset.

UNDERWATER ADVENTURES

In perfect morning sunshine (after our regulatory 9am sked) the tender was launched. We motored to the other side of the Butterfly Bay to snorkel along the reef. The marine life on the large coral bommies was fascinating.

Further into the bay we spied a turtle and lots of coloured fish. Back on board, the tender was hoisted up at the stern. Our stinger protection suits were hung up to dry, and lunch devoured. (May is the very end of season when the Irukandji stingers can be found in these waters).

caravan cruise

THE OUTER ISLANDS

We were on our way again. With the auto pilot set for Border Island out to the East, we enjoyed smooth water and fine weather for the hourand-a-half crossing in open seas. We picked up a mooring buoy in Cataran Bay, sheltered from the south easterly winds. An afternoon hike took us to Mosstrooper Peak to marvel at the views of the pretty bays below us as well as Deloraine, Whitsunday and Hazelwood Islands in the distance.

Strong south-easterly winds greeted us in the morning which meant we encountered a choppy crossing once we cleared the shelter of Border Island. We were headed for shelter in Tongue Bay on Whitsunday Island. This bay is very popular with tourist boats. Luckily, we managed to hook one of the last available buoys.

The walk along the forested paths took us to lookouts over the spectacular Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. The harvesting of hoop pines took place here from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Sawn timber was shipped to the mainland. 

In a falling tide, a fellow tourist helped us pull the tender off the beach enabling us to return to Sunquest for lunch. We cruised along the length of Whitehaven and inside Lagoon Rock to one of the last available mooring buoys at Chalkies Beach, Hazelwood Island. Ashore, we enjoyed a  short climb up stairs to the lookout. We could see Whitehaven, Martin Islet and the Solway Passage. This is the main route for boats which transport tourists from Hamilton Island to Whitehaven Beach.  Sheep had grazed on Hazelwood Island in the 1930s. It was declared a National Park in 1940.

Back on board and on the flybridge for the 4pm sked, we relaxed with our favorite drink. It was a  wonderful calm mooring but, in the morning, a  strong current made snorkelling too much of a challenge. We moved Sunquest to the northern end of Chalkies Beach, swam out against the current and drifted slowly back enjoying the marine life along the drop off. 

We later took the tender to explore along the northern side of Hazelwood Island.  Our goal was Windy Bay where we spent a lovely day 22 years ago.  We anchored the tender near the headland at the entrance to the shallow bay and again loved strolling along this deserted beach, exploring all the nooks and crannies and a small creek. We searched for the track that previously led over the island to a reef on the other side. But alas, the track was now overgrown.

On our return journey we walked the tender through shallow crystal-clear blue waters with a  cute island just offshore. There was a lovely beach on the headland at Katies Cove, to the north of Chalkies. We had an impressive view of the edge of the reef as we slowly motored back over it to Sunquest.

caravan cruise

THE ESSENTIALS

Running the engines for a minimum of 4 hours each day is enough to charge the batteries. As a result of motoring for a very short time the previous day, our power and hot water supply were low. We took off at 7.30am and cruised the long way around the eastern side of Border Island to recharge the batteries. The high cliffs and small sheltered bays along the island were lovely. We did our morning sked while cruising in calm open seas.

MORE EXPLORATION

On Hook Island we moored in Saba Bay.  With a  fringing reef here, we made a very cautious entry. What a delight to find we had the bay and pretty coves all to ourselves. The tender took us to the end of the bay for an interesting snorkel out towards the drop off. We decided to move on after lunch because of the falling tide and shallow reefs at the entrance to the bay.

Cairn Bay, on Whitsunday Island, was our evening anchorage.  Just across the Passage was the beach which once housed the Hook Island Underwater Observatory. It was a tourist attraction constructed in 1966 but, it was closed because the submarine viewing chamber had insufficient ventilation. Since its closure it has fallen into disrepair.

With the tender secured on Cairn beach, we  explored the shoreline and a campground nearby. The currents and wind swung us backwards and forwards in the evening. This caused the buoy to bang against the hulls, disturbing our sleep, despite us freeing it a couple of times. In the morning we noticed a nearby yachtie had pulled his buoy up above the water. We wondered why we hadn’t thought of that.

caravan cruise

On Mother’s Day, we were fortunate to be in phone range and Jan was able to answer greetings from our family. With the tender on shore, we snorkeled straight off the beach. It was at the top of the tide allowing a lovely snorkel with no current. We swam out as far as the drop off which was the best viewing on this journey. Again, there was cyclone damage, no staghorn or branch corals, but coral bommies, schools of fish and soft corals.

After negotiating the swirling currents at the entrance to Hook Passage, we travelled up the eastern side of the island.  Luncheon Bay on the northern side offered a sheltered spot, appropriately, in this pretty area for lunch. A passage between Hayman and Hook Island led to Stonehaven where we hooked on one of the few vacant buoys for the evening. It was protected from strong winds.

On our last morning we departed at 7.30am entering choppy seas until we rounded North Molle Island. A radio call on approach to Airlie Beach brought two deck hands on board as we arrived in the harbour for a condition report, refueling and a debrief. Our fuel bill was surprisingly only $187.00!

Our car was waiting for us at the marina. We  collected our caravan, and enjoyed the next week travelling south along the Australian Country Way towards the Gold Coast and home. Another caravan adventure awaits!

Want to hire a boat like Jan and Peter? Then check out whitsundaysyachtcharters.com.au.

Check out other caravan adventure locations you can go to in this article.

TAMBORINE RAINFOREST SKYWALK

TAMBORINE RAINFOREST SKYWALK

There are bushwalks all around the Gold Coast. But, if you want something a little different, then head on up to the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, and make peace with your fear of heights! Nicole Buckler reports.

We lowlanders on the Gold Coast don’t get up to the Hinterlands enough. But we should, because it’s rainforesty and naturish and gorgeous. There are lovely locals who are all relaxed and talk about giant staghorns and ferns that are as big as an Arundel townhouse. And  all that fresh air. We all need more of it, to cleanse away all of the sins our brain has gathered from watching too much Netflix.

For something different, try the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. The circuit is a 1.5km walk in total and takes it about 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. It was built by the Moore family, after they spent four years researching and planning the tourist attraction. Also, as soon as you step onto the steel skywalk, you can feel just how much money was invested in the site.

The skywalk itself hovers at the tops of absolutely huge palm trees. I challenge you to show me taller palm trees than those that exist in this oasis. Colourful birds swoop past your head, so close they threaten to take your eyebrows with them.

Tamborine viewing platform
viewing platform

This is a place to walk slowly, and take it all in. You have to spend a lot of time just being still, listening to the birds and waiting for nature to appear. This isn’t somewhere to powerwalk at full speed in your designer lycra, Karen. Just calm the hell down or you will miss the point of the exercise.

This walk is very easy and very accessible. Part of it is wheelchair friendly. All of it is unchallenging. With that, people of all abilities can crack on and do the circuit.

The pièce de résistance is the cantilever. This is a place that Instagram dreams are made of.

Of course, it is the journey that counts here. At every turn there is a giant strangler fig, a rare orchid, or a finger lime tree, with fruit waiting to be snatched. Or, there is a seat, positioned perfectly to take in butterflies, birds, platypus or whatever creature is trying to make their living in the beautiful rainforest surrounds.

tamborine trees

The walk starts with an Eco gallery, and ends at Skywalk’s Birdwing Coffee Shop. Just have the cookie and the cappuccino, you know you want to! ■

The Skywalk is open 7 days from 9:30am with final walks at 4pm. The Skywalk closes at 5pm. Adults $19.50, Children $9.50, Family $44.00 (2 adults & 1 child), Extra Child $5.00 and Senior/Student Card Holders $16.50.

The Skywalk is located at 333 Geissmann Drive, North Tamborine

See www.rainforestskywalk.com.au for a map. Groups are welcome: Ph 07 5545 2222.

Want to check out other locations you can go to? If yes, then you might want to try checking out Binna Burra in this article.

THE GOLD COAST’S EXCITING NEW FACE OF RETIREMENT LIVING

THE GOLD COAST’S EXCITING NEW FACE OF RETIREMENT LIVING

Fresh, innovative, and stylish are terms not typically associated with retirement living. But a closer look shows a quiet revolution is underway on the Gold Coast, with local developer GemLife shaking up the landscape and transforming the way over-50s, downsizers, and retirees live in 2021 and beyond. GemLife launched just over four years ago and now has ten over-50s lifestyle resorts across Australia. The Director and CEO Adrian Puljich, himself a Gold Coaster, said he was excited to bring its innovative home and lifestyle concept to the Gold Coast and nearby Tweed. Both estates are in the early stages of development.

GemLife is at the forefront of a revolution in over-50s’ living – one which Adrian says has been long overdue. The real estate industry has been slow to adapt to the changing wants and needs of older Australians who are healthier and more active than ever before, and equally passionate about great design as younger generations.

“Retirement is a loaded word that comes with a host of outdated associations about ageing that don’t reflect the reality of today’s over-50s. This is, even more so, the case with ideas about ‘retirement living’,” said Adrian.

“There is a huge gap between the stereotypes and the truth. Most over-50s are adventurous, curious and freedom-loving – they see life opening up before them, not slowing down,” he said.

When GemLife launched, Adrian set out to redefine the sector with an emphasis on a dynamic lifestyle, high-quality homes, and a huge offering of resort-style facilities for fitness and fun.

Typically, facilities at a GemLife resort include a  luxury country club with an indoor swimming pool, spa, sauna, ten-pin bowling, golf simulator, cinema, bar and café. This is in addition to an outdoor pool, barbecue areas, tennis courts, and community garden. All resorts are pet-friendly, and have an off-leash dog run.

gemlife social

The approach has hit the mark – across Australia GemLife homes are consistently selling faster than competitors. “Our first resort at Bribie Island was forecast to be an eight-year project, but we are already wrapping up the resort’s final stage and have almost sold out in half that time. Our resorts are all about a terrific lifestyle, underscored by quality design and construction, attention to detail and responsiveness. That has been a big part of our success,” he said.

Increasingly, the resorts attract younger buyers, many still working full or part-time, looking to free themselves from the responsibilities of large family homes. Frequent feedback from older residents, according to Adrian, is that they wish they’d done it sooner.

“We’ve also had the 50-year-old children of prospective residents so impressed by what they see, they end up moving in too.”

That is what happened to Michelle Thomas, who now lives at GemLife Bribie Island in Moreton Bay. “Mum and dad had gone unconditional on their waterfront villa and were waiting to start building when they invited us to an open day. I came along to see what they were so excited about. I went home with all the information and came back an hour later to tell them that Dave and I were putting our house on the market, and we moved in that April,” said Michelle.

Adrian said that word-of-mouth was a strong driver for the company, with family recommending the GemLife lifestyle to other family members and friends recommending to their friends. “We even have employees whose own parents have moved in. The strength of belief in our offering means a lot to me personally.”

For Adrian, taking over-50s living in a fresh, vibrant direction with GemLife has been a longheld passion. “I’m excited and inspired by what we’re doing at our resorts. It’s about staying innovative and creating an environment that opens up possibilities for over-50s to live life to the fullest.”

gemlife pool

ABOUT GEMLIFE GOLD COAST

Set upon a unique, elevated 46.4-hectare site with sweeping views all the way to Surfers Paradise and bordered by beautiful natural bushland, GemLife Gold Coast is set to become a flagship, signature resort.

It has an incredible three-level country club complete with rooftop infinity pool, fitness centre, indoor pool and spa, bar and lounge, wine room and more. It also has a separate wellness centre with a lagoon-style pool, outdoor yoga and indoor Pilates’ studio. Plus, it has an origami-inspired pavilion set atop the resort’s highest point to capture 180-degree views across the Gold Coast’s coastline. Peacefully ensconced in a picturesque part of Pimpama in the housing growth corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the centrally located GemLife Gold Coast puts the coast’s world-famous beaches and coastline, the natural beauty of the sub-tropical hinterland and Brisbane’s city-life all within easy reach.

The resort’s architecturally designed homes are six-star energy rated and built with high-end, low-maintenance living in mind. With unrivalled levels of customisation available, including multiple colour-schemes and facade options, your home will truly be your sanctuary.

ABOUT GEMLIFE TWEED WATERS

Superb design, inspired by the natural coastal beauty of the Tweed and mid-century modernism, will define the exclusive, boutique over-50s lifestyle resort, GemLife Tweed Waters.

Set in a premium position with direct waterway access, the resort will feature just under 100 homes and a stunning modern waterfront country club. It will have an extensive array of premium fitness and leisure facilities, including a fabulous roof-top swimming pool.

The gated lifestyle resort would take advantage of the natural features of its idyllic coastal location, offering luxurious, low-maintenance living and premium facilities that let buyers downsize their responsibilities and upsize their lifestyle.

The architecture of the resort’s two-storey country club will feature a sleek, coastal look with references to southern Californian mid-century modernism, but with a Tweed twist. Incorporating a coastal material palette including stone and louvred feature walls, and interesting use of timber, the club wraps around the waterfront to maximise a north-east aspect.

Facilities in and around the country club include an outdoor yoga studio, bar and cafe, gym studio, outdoor lounge areas, fire pits, barbecue facilities, cinema, a creative arts space and much more.

gemlife living

ABOUT GEMLIFE

GemLife’s secure, gated resorts are in country and coastal locations in Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales. To know more about GemLife, visit their website here.■

If you liked our article about retirement life, you might want to check out this article about cruising retirement!

DANCING – DYNAMITE FOR YOUR WELLBEING

DANCING – DYNAMITE FOR YOUR WELLBEING

People dance for many reasons. But did you know that dancing has great health benefits as well? Steven Bock from 5th Avenue Dance tells us everything he has discovered about just how good dancing is for your wellbeing.

We all know that exercise is the ultimate medicine. Staying active is paramount for wellbeing, especially in the years after 50. But what if you could combine a fun activity with exercise so that you didn’t even feel like you were exercising at all? That’s exactly why so many people do dancing – it’s so fun that you forget you are getting quite the workout. Dancing is amazing for wellbeing. Here’s why.

BENEFITS:

  • Improve the condition of your heart and lungs; due to the (sometimes) aerobic nature of some of the faster dances. At 5th Avenue Dance we structure your 45 minute lessons to warm up with a Foxtrot which moves around the room, then a slower Latin dance the Rumba, before we hit the faster tempos of Swing, a break with some wonderful Waltz, before moving onto a faster Cha Cha then cool down with a Tango.
  • Increase your muscular strength. When you are dancing, you are moving! Our 5th Avenue Dance instructors are very aware of your starting level of fitness, and take this into account as we teach you to dance, and within a very short period of time what you can do, increases.
  • Increase endurance. Dancing may not seem like exercise in the same way as going to the gym, riding a bike or training for a triathlon. But we are dancing and moving for 45 minutes, which is a good workout. The difference is the music and fun (not to mention the skill you are learning).
  • Weight management. Exercise is great. Even better is a variety of exercise to burn calories. Your body gets used to just swimming, or just running. Dancing a variety of dances uses different muscle groups at different speeds. This is hard for your body to “get used to” so therefore more calories are burned.
  • Stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis. According to Osteoporosis Australia, dancing is categorised as highly Osteogenic. Dancing is right up there in the number one category.
    • Highly Osteogenic: Dancing/Gymnastics, Basketball/Netball, Tennis, Jump rope
    • Moderately Osteogenic: Running/Jogging, Brisk/Hill walking, Stair climbing
    • Low Osteogenic: Leisure walking, Lawn Bowls, Yoga/Pilates
    • Non-Osteogenic: Swimming and Cycling.
  • Better coordination, agility, and flexibility. This is very important in the later years to maintain balance and prevent falls. At 5th Avenue Dance we concentrate on feet placement and timing. This leads to better balance and coordination and gives you increased agility and flexibility as well as spatial awareness (very important on a social dance floor with many other couples dancing and having fun).
  • Increased physical confidence. As your stamina increases, together with balance and timing, your physical confidence in what you can do skyrockets. For those needing the occasional helping hand, your connection to your dance partner supplies this – allowing you to fly across the dance floor.
  • Improved general and psychological wellbeing. Being social and making new friends in the later years has been shown time and time again to lengthen lifespan and increase wellbeing.
  • Better social skills. At 5th Avenue Dance we are constantly recommending changing partners in group lessons. Our students make us so proud, even those who have their own partner go out of the way to ask and dance with all partners. You can never have too many friends, right?

To find out more about whether dancing can benefit your health, come in and take advantage of our complementary private dance lesson here at 5thavenuedance.com.au . Time to have fun! ■

If you want to read more about dancing, click here.

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