Headscarf and sunglasses at the ready!

5 min
08 June 2023

When your best friend moves to the Sunshine Coast, it’s only fitting that you pack your bags and hit the road to join them.

Jo Cook and Andrea Curtain first met fundraising together at a Rotary Club in Redland Bay and so began a friendship spanning close to 15 years.

Now both on their own with families grown-up and independent, the ladies found themselves considering where they would like to live as they headed toward retirement.

Jo, who still works full-time for Suncorp, was the first to make a move, buying off the plan at Halcyon Nirimba in Stockland’s master-planned Aura community and moving in early 2022.

“I can work from home and have a nice office set up at the front of the house. After hours, there are plenty of things to do. I use the gym or pool most mornings before starting work too,” Jo says.

“But retirement isn’t too far away. I am looking forward to making the most of so many other activities here in the community.”

Andrea was initially concerned that her friend was buying off the plan.

“Once Jo had moved in, I popped up to see her with a bottle of champagne to celebrate. I thought, Oh, this is quite nice. But I still wasn’t sure it was for me,” Andrea recalls.

“I began to visit regularly. Then one weekend, when I stayed there, we went on a bus trip with others and joined an evening barbecue. The appeal of being a part of a community of people in a similar age group had struck a chord.”

Andrea is preparing to move into her new home later this year.

A nurse for 41 years, she will continue to commute back to Brisbane to work one day a week and continue singing with a local choir.

But as full retirement approaches, she looks forward to settling in properly, making friends and getting more involved in her new community.

“My place is closer to The Clubhouse than Joan's, she chuckles, so we've decided it will be the gathering point before we go out.

“It’s great that you have all these things on your doorstep. You don’t need to get in the car and find a park. Everything is so easy because you can walk there.”

Through community interest groups, Jo has already begun learning to paint watercolours and is eyeing a jewellery-making course too.

“Once I have more time, I might pick up racquetball or pickleball,”says Jo.

Meanwhile, Andrea has taken up lawn bowls in preparation for her move north.

“I quite like watching the AFL,” says Andrea, “I’m hoping that I will meet some people to watch it with.”

For both women, being a part of a community was an essential factor in their decision.

When you are older and on your own, it’s important to be somewhere you can make new connections,” says Jo.

“And once Andrea moves up, it will be nice to have someone to explore the area with too.”