Home is Where the Heart Is

By Isabella Neal

Crystal clear beaches, white sand between toes and a relaxed, homely feeling is what Tugun and Currumbin is all about. Many people say they are hit with a wave of nostalgia and flooding memories when going back to a place they love and for a long time I didn’t believe that feeling was possible…

Until I grew older. I understood what it meant and as time went on, I found myself thinking back to my early years, growing up in such an untouched, pristine corner of the Gold Coast.

I have always loved coastal areas and coastal living for as far back as I can remember. Growing up in a family who have a long history with the far end of the Coast and spending a large majority of my life there, it’s no wonder why I am still drawn to a coastal, relaxed way of life today…

Tugun, Bilinga, Kirra and Coolangatta were nothing like they are now. There was no airport, no John Flynn Hospital or houses. Sixty plus years ago, most of the area was farm land. Some of the Tugun land was owned and operated by my Nanna and Grandad, as a working dairy farm. After many years working on the farm my Grandparents sold most of the land and retained a block of land for themselves, which is where they built the very first home right on top of Tugun hill which practically overlooked all the Southern end of the Gold Coast with a 360-degree view. Seeing many developments over the last seven decades, my Grandparents became some of the first pioneers of the Tugun area. After the sale of my Grandparent’s farm, my Grandad built and managed a block of holiday units at Bilinga until his sad passing in early 2000.

Although I only spent the first six years of my life at those flats, they became particularly special to me and I’ll always hold those memories close to my heart.

I’ll never forget my parents and sisters taking me for long walks along the beautiful Currumbin beach, as well as our weekly Sunday drives and family BBQ’s close to the flats. There was a Pizza Hut right on the banks of Kirra beach, overlooking the water. As a family, we would sit there and enjoy watching the waves kissing the shore, and surfers soaking up the sun.

Attending the Sunday markets and Cooly on the Rocks was a way of bonding and making memories for our family. There was just something about walking along, enjoying local music and being a part of such a laidback, tranquil community.

Even now, with the Gold Coast constantly expanding and changing, something nostalgic remains, it’s ever unchanging…It’s one of those few places on Earth that doesn’t need any explanation on its natural beauty.

My Nanna still lives on top of the very same hill to this very day and the view is just as stunning then ever – I look at her and wonder what goes through her mind as she looks out the window as she recalls all the changes throughout the last seven decades.

During the last couple of years, I have felt this strong sensation, something encouraging me to go back to my and my family’s roots. Each time Mum and I take a drive down the Coast, all the memories flood back and I think to myself how wonderful it would be to live in a constant state of nostalgia.

As a little girl I would always dream of living somewhere like France, or Italy, or America and ride bicycles and spend my days in cafes while watching the sun rise. I’d picture myself walking down cobble stone streets and engaging with such a unique culture.

But, as I grew older and my love for Tugun, Currumbin, Coolangatta, Bilinga and Kirra strengthened, I realised there was nowhere else I’d rather be. I could never leave a place that has had a significant impact on me. My heart will always belong to the coast. Nothing will ever change that. And you know what they say…

Home is where the heart is.