When COVID hit in March 2020, I was living in Sydney – arguably one of the world’s most beautiful cities and a place I’d called home for four years. I’d been happy enough with city life but had long been thinking about a move to somewhere less populated and more rural – COVID was the catalyst that fast-tracked those thoughts and propelled me into a whole new adventure in regional Australia!
At the start of this year, an opportunity came up too good to refuse – to relocate to the beautiful Northern Rivers on the Far North Coast of NSW and work for an amazing organisation called Screenworks that supports filmmakers in regional, remote and rural areas.
I’ve done a fair few relocations in my time, both local and international, but this one was the fastest ever – just a few weeks to find a new place to live and move my things 1,000kms north. I jumped on a plane to Ballina (a beautiful coastal town a one-hour flight from Sydney, and not far from the Queensland border) and after a hurried recce I found a cute little house located in a gorgeous spot right where the Richmond River meets the ocean. A couple of weeks later, I was on my new doorstep meeting the removals truck that had driven up from Sydney with all my stuff – and just like that, my new adventure began!
Those that know me will not be surprised to hear that one of the first things I did is to pick up a paper map of the area, buy some new wheels (four for the moment, but a new motorbike is definitely on the cards!) and go exploring. The Northern Rivers region is absolutely beautiful, from its spectacular coastline and endless beaches to the fertile valleys and World Heritage rainforest further inland. Whilst Byron Bay is a big drawcard to the north, it’s the more remote villages that appeal to me most – tiny little communities nestled in amongst the rivers, the hinterland and the coastal inlets: a different side of Australian living that I never saw in the big city.
I’ve been here in the Northern Rivers for about three months so far and it’s certainly been a big change (a very welcome one! ) adapting to life in regional Australia. For so long, I’ve been wanting to explore more of this huge continent and with international travel off the table for at least another year, now is the time, I figure, to make the most of where I find myself right now.