In a landscape where the majority ofthe country’s business networks are highly connected, greater numbers of both established business people and start-up entrepreneurs are seeking to base themselves inlifestyle cities. With pristine beaches, a redeveloped high street precinct in Bulcock Street, an already thriving and collaborative business community and major public and private investment in the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and Stockland’s Aura, it is no wonder that Caloundra is high on the list of lands of opportunity, where business owners can experience a work/lifestyle balance that is the envy of those living and working in major cities.

Caloundra may have been a sleepy town when optometrist Adrian Bell arrived in 1986 to begin his career, but even then, he knew there was something special about the place.His intuition was right and the optometrist has been a part of the community for more than 30 years, first as a partner with Roberts Alexander Optometrists and from 2014 as the owner of the standalone Caloundra Vision Optometrists.

Having been a longtime fixture on the street, Mr Bell says he has made countless relationships with people from all demographics in the community. In fact, he says these relationships are the key to business longevity and hasallowed him to continue to thrive despite the “cheap glasses phenomenon”.

“Some patients have had children and I am now seeing their grandchildren. I work with a lot of seniors and children – there is a real art to working with children and I love that challenge,” he says.

Mr Bell has spent 10 years on the executive of the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists and developed an interest in lecturing to optometrists about vision and children’s examinations. Optometry has changed a lot in three decades, with Mr Bell’s practice moving from the more medically-based closed curtain-style look of the ‘80s and early ‘90s to a much more modern and sophisticated feel. Lenses have also improved from the fragile glass kind to better quality plastic lenses that have the capability to block out blue light from electronic devices and change colour when they are in the sun or shade.

“When I first started at the age of 25, we used to have to look at a patient’s eye through the equipment and then draw by hand, the best that we could, what we saw. Now we can photograph a patient’s eye and look at it on the computer and can also save the files to compare with previous and future visits,”Mr Bell says.

While he uses camera equipment every day at work, Mr Bell has begun to indulge in his passion for wildlife and scenic photography in his down time.With wife Helen working as practice manager, Mr Bell says holidays were hard to come by, so they decided to scale back their hours to four-and-a-half days a week to achieve their ideal work/life balance.As a result, the accomplished photographer has built a strong social media presence over the past five years and uses his Adrian Bell Photography images to promote Caloundra as the ideal lifestyle city.

“I wake up in the morning and with half an eye open, I check the weather outside and if it’s great, I will head straight to the beach at Wurtulla where I live. The rule is, whenever I walk, I have the camera,” he says.

“I like to take photos of the seabirds, surfers, sunrises and sunsets. I have always had an interest in the art of photography, but it’s one of those things where life gets in the way. If I see something beautiful or visually stunning, I will stop and look at it. It’s all about the light, the lens and our vision”.

Find him on Instagram at(insert Instagram symbol): @caloundravision

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National research group, Colmar Brunton surveyed 1000 people on matters relating to work and their lifestyle preferences and they found:

  • 40 per cent of Australians had considered a seachange
  • 32 per cent had considered a treechange
  • Just 18 per cent thought about a city change

It really is no wonder that lifestyle locations like Caloundra rank highly in people’s minds when it comes to seeking an ideal work/life balance.