Take a tour of the Walka Grange Lifestyle Village and you can’t help but be impressed by the quality brick-and-tile villas and the landscaped gardens.
Then take a tour of the residents’ clubrooms and be simply awed by the sophisticated style yet understated elegance of the furnishings.
If you happen to make your visit late on a Thursday afternoon you’ll get a warm welcome from the “Kelly Pool Gang” and be drawn into a fun-filled chat with this cheerfully laidback group.
Ranging in age from late 50s to mid-70s and from diverse backgrounds, they are strong advocates of downsizing into lifestyle villages.
There’s Mick, who like his wife, is still working full-time but doesn’t want to have to do house maintenance during his “down time”.
A sentiment echoed by Dudley’s “No lawns, no gardens, no hassles.”
Kenny, a former Vietnam vet, adds: “Everybody loves it here. Best thing my wife and I ever did was buy in Walka Grange.”
So was the main motivation for moving into a lifestyle village purely to reduce household maintenance?
“That and security,” says Jon, who moved off five acres. “I’d worked enough and wanted to be able to travel knowing my home was secure.”
Robin, rostered on to work the well-appointed bar this afternoon, also cites travel as a factor in their decision to purchase in Walka Grange.
“We went away for three months and came back to a perfectly maintained garden, lawn and secured mail. Before when we went away I was paying $55 a week for maintenance around my house. At Walka Grange that’s all included.
“Plus you don’t have to worry about going out and leaving your garage door open; no one is going to go in and pinch stuff.”
For bachelor Phil, Walka Grange is just perfect.
“I like to keep fit and active and enjoy the company of people around my own age.
“Loneliness can be a problem for some single people as they get older, but not amongst the residents of Walka Grange.”
Keeping fit isn’t hard with a gym full of state-of- the art equipment, plus a big screen TV to watch while you work out and on-site activities including Tai Chi, line dancing, aqua aerobics and indoor bowls.
Then there’s the indoor swimming pool, were Jeff is doing laps.
“Even though I’ve never been much of a swimmer, I was told it would help with my knee problems,” he said.
“When you only live 40 metres away from a pool like this there’s no excuse. I’ve been using it every day for four weeks now and my knees and general flexibility are better than they’ve been for years.”
Dudley adds: “Everything you could possibly need is right here on site. Anything else would just be a waste.”
That’s the consensus of all these residents who admit to having “shopped around other villages” prior to purchasing at Walka Grange.
They argue that while some might offer bowling greens and tennis courts, why would people, especially those who don’t bowl, want to pay extra to maintain those things? Walka Grange is on the doorstep of both Maitland City and Telarah bowling clubs.
“Compared to Walka Grange, anything for the same price is just rubbish,” semi-retired Mike added.
It’s fascinating to get insights from a strictly male perspective about retirement living and with Walka Grange all but sold out, the “Kelly Pool Gang” consider themselves lucky to have purchased when they did.
It explains why excitement for proposed village, Hunter Grange, continues to grow.