Melbourne celebs who fled to Byron Bay
Melbourne's biggest names have been flocking to Byron Bay to join the growing list of stars calling the coastal town home. Take a look the celebrities who took flight and avoided coronavirus lockdown:
Nine presenter and Instagram star Lauren Phillips moved to Byron after a messy split from Lachlan Spark, which recently prompted the sale of their renovated Fitzroy terrace.
She's been spotted living the coastal high-life with her new boyfriend, aviation tycoon Paul O'Brien. It's believed Phillips left Melbourne just before the city's second coronavirus lockdown in July.
ELYSE KNOWLES AND JOSH BARKER
The Block stars Elyse Knowles and Josh Barker have put down their roots in Byron Bay, paying $2.6m for a renovators' delight this year.
The pregnant model and her builder partner snapped up a 1960s beach house in April, about a year after relocating from Melbourne.
Knowles said on her Instagram the couple were looking for a "new adventure" when they decided to move to Byron Bay.
"We had always had this dream, we have decided to make it a reality," Knowles said.
Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky set the trend of sea-changing stars, after building their $20m Broken Heads mega-mansion that features a rooftop pool and skateboard ramp.
Hordes of Hemsworths have followed in their footsteps in the three years since - and their elaborate property purchases prove how far the family has come since humble beginnings on Victoria's Phillip Island.
The Thor star splashed out $4.3m on a Suffolk Park home, believed to be occupied by his parents Craig and Leonie.
Liam Hemsworth is also making the move to Byron after spending a massive $6.5m in the Newrybar hinterland in November.
First National Byron sales agent Denzil Lloyd said a movie production hub was taking shape as more A-listers moved to the region.
"New movie studios are being approved for Ballina and people working in production have decided to make a lifestyle move here this year," Mr Lloyd said.
"We're also seen American searching for Byron Bay more than anywhere else in Australia, which would certainly be due to people like Chris (Hemsworth) always talking about how happy they are to be here."
ABC's The Gruen Transfer host Wil Anderson moved to a 4ha hobby farm in Goonengerry, near Byron Bay, in the midst of lockdown.
The four-bedroom home in the region's tropical hinterland cost the comedian $1.9m in the first half of 2020.
It prompted Anderson to recently put his Port Melbourne pad at 143 Cruikshank Street on the market with a $2.9-$3.1m price guide.
Anderson spoke about the challenges he faced moving into his new home on Triple M Melbourne's breakfast show.
"We were meant to be moving house at the end of the (Melbourne) Comedy Festival but that got moved forward and we had to do it during isolation," the comedian told hosts Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy.
Natalie Bassingthwaighte and her husband, musician Cameron McGlinchey purchased in Byron Bay after selling their $4m Brighton house last year.
The talented couple paid $2.15m for a Byron hinterland house with incredible tropical gardens in November.
They moved out of Melbourne in February and rented up north first, narrowly avoiding the city's coronavirus lockdowns.
Mr Lloyd said many celebrities like Bassingthwaighte and Anderson sought out Byron's hinterland as a "safe haven".
"Out in the hills you'll find retreats and compounds that are extremely private," he said.
While these big names moved during one of Melbourne's most tumultuous years, they weren't the first notable Victorians to pack their bags to Byron. A-list actor Isabel Lucas paid $857,500 for a treehouse close to the water in the laid-back suburb of Suffolk Park about four years ago.
Socceroos legend Tim Cahill also bought a hinterland hobby farm in Byron Bay for $1.7m in 2017. He sold his Lower Plenty house for $3.5m shortly later.
The retired star and Australia's all-time leading goal scorer spends his days in Australia at the Eureka property.
Mr Lloyd said Byron Bay was "buzzing" from the attention it's seen from celebrities.
"Having actors like Zac Efron, Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman here this year has given the town some great visibility," he said.
"There are so many helicopters in the sky in the market, which is always an indication of what's happening here."
Originally published as Melbourne celebs who fled to Byron Bay