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Grey Nomads travelling in Queensland, Australia: social and health needs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 April 2012

School of Health and Human Services, Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Health, CQUniversity, Australia.
Address for correspondence: Wendy Hillman, School of Health and Human Services, Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Health, CQUniversity, 77/1.11 Bruce Highway, North Rockhampton, Queensland 4702, Australia. E-mail:


At any time of the year, and particularly in the colder months of the southern part of the Australian continent, many caravans and mobile homes can be seen on the roads of northern Australia, and Queensland, in particular. Mainly during June, July, August and September, Grey Nomads frequent the northern half of Australia, to escape the colder climate of southern Australia. The term Grey Nomad is applied to the section of the older Australian population who use their retirement years as a time to experience travel once freed from the constraints of work and family commitments. This paper draws on research conducted about the health and social needs of Grey Nomads holidaying in a Central Queensland, Australia, coastal location. Open-ended, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 20 participants. Contingency plans concerning wellness, wellbeing and medical conditions all formed a part of the Grey Nomads’ daily existence while travelling. Many important and lasting friendships and social support networks were formed during the journeying and sojourning phases of the travel. Many of the Grey Nomads interviewed felt the need to keep in contact with home, even though they willingly chose to leave it, and to be ‘away’. Just as the Grey Nomad cohort have concerns and solutions about their health and related issues, so too, they have concerns for social networks and family connectedness while travelling in Australia.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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