Gillian Nicholson’s transition from living in an inner-city Sydney terrace house to a banana plantation in Grassy Head was so life-changing she wrote a book about it.
The accomplished journalist, who enjoyed stints as editor of Woman’s Day and Better Homes & Gardens, penned This Way to the Sea – The True Story of a New Life with an Old Love in 2007, documenting the dramatic sea change she chose to make with her husband, Christo, over 20 years ago.
“We stumbled upon this place by accident,” she says. “It was a very spontaneous decision – a little bit crazy! This was our dream place to be, right in the bush with a view of the ocean.”
They never looked back and Gillian, now 70, still works as a freelance journalist, interspersing office time with maintaining the seven-hectare property (now minus bananas) or walks along the beach.
“I love the little things about this place, like being woken up by the butcher birds or seeing the reflection of the full moon on the ocean from our deck,” she says. “We’ve also made lovely friends – it’s a wonderful community.”
GILLIAN’S TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN THE GRASSY HEAD AREA
1 | Picnic at The Pines in Yarriabini National Park.
“Check out the beautiful mosaic koala sculpture created by local indigenous people and learn about their interesting history. I love the story of the two koalas.”
2 | Fish ‘n’ chips at Stuarts Point.
“Order takeaway fish and chips at The Point Café then wander down to the river and watch the pelicans while you eat your lunch.”
3 | The Stuarts Point footbridge.
“Walk across the bridge and through the wetlands to the surf beach. It only takes about 15 minutes and it’s a beautiful walk.”
4 | Spend Christmas at the Grassy
Head Holiday Park.
“This place comes alive at Christmas time. Families come from all over the place and deck their tents with fairy lights. The mixed aromas of all the different foods are amazing.”
5 | Dine at the Grassy Goose on Grassy Head Road.
“It’s only just opened but I had a wonderful slow-roasted pork