Zac Efron, Natalie Portman, Melissa McCarthy, and Isla Fisher and her husband Sacha Baron Cohen are among a slew of celebrities who now call Australia home – or are in town to film blockbusters.
Melbourne-born Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky relocated to Byron Bay from LA six years ago, and it appears they’ve put the northern New South Wales town on the map for other international stars.
‘The weather is fantastic, and we’re very hidden away. I always knew I loved it here, of course, but this year has really solidified that for me,’ Hemsworth told The Australian Financial Review.
Homegrown movie star Chris Hemsworth has revealed why he and a swathe of other Hollywood A-listers are ditching Los Angeles for Byron Bay. Pictured with wife Elsa Pataky
The 37-year-old, who has been filming Escape from Spiderhead on the Gold Coast, said American stars are catching on to the lifestyle Australia, and particularly Byron Bay, has to offer
Melbourne-born Hemsworth and his actress wife Elsa Pataky relocated to Byron Bay from LA six years ago
The 37-year-old, who has been filming Escape from Spiderhead on the Gold Coast, said American stars are catching on to the lifestyle Australia, and particularly Byron Bay, has to offer.
‘People love Australia and they know how much talent is here, and what a diverse landscape for shooting we have,’ he said.
In 2017 Hemsworth convinced Marvel Studios to shoot Thor: Ragnarok at Village Roadshow studios on the Gold Coast. The next film will be shot at Fox Studios in Sydney in January.
‘Ragnarok was a turning point for the Thor franchise in many ways and personally, it was a hugely enjoyable experience because I was close to home, I could see my kids and wife,’ he said.
The Avengers star said that while the franchise could have been filmed in a number of countries, Australia is ‘the best place to be right now’.
Nine Perfect Strangers starring Nicole Kidman, Bosch & Rockit starring Chris’ older brother Luke and Isabel Lucas, and Seriously Red starring Rose Byrne have also been shot in Byron Bay this year.
The Avengers star said that while the franchise could have been filmed in a number of countries, Australia is ‘the best place to be right now’
Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky arguably started the ‘Hollywood 2.0’ craze
In 2017 Hemsworth convinced Marvel Studios to shoot Thor: Ragnarok at Village Roadshow studios on the Gold Coast. The next film will be shot at Fox Studios in Sydney in January
But Hollywood stars and film crews relocating to the town of 9,000 people has come at a cost to locals, who are being priced out.
Families who have called northern NSW home for generations also can’t compete with new arrivals from Sydney and Melbourne with their city-sized budgets.
Instead, they’re sleeping in cars or caravans and slowly moving away from the eclectic community they helped build.
As Byron’s reputation as the place to be grows, real estate agents report properties being snapped up sight unseen or via Zoom inspection.
Local comedian and long-term resident, Mandy Nolan, told Daily Mail Australia the heart and soul of Byron Bay – the ‘artists, musicians, crystal healers and dope dealers’ – deserve to keep the ‘sh*tty little shacks’ they call home.
‘If you want in on what we’ve spent decades creating… take care of the many who are being squeezed out,’ she said.
Her sentiment is widely felt in the community as an influx of new arrivals forces up property prices and the cost of increasingly scarce accommodation in town.
Arguably the most talked about arrival in Byron Bay of 2020 is Zac Efron, whose romance with local waitress Vanessa Valladares has made worldwide headlines
In September it was reported that Efron had ‘inspected and put in an offer’ on a home in Byron Bay, but was outbid at the last minute by a rival buyer. Pictured with Vanessa
In August, it was reported that the 33-year-old had been quietly living in Byron Bay for ‘months’, with sources suggesting he moved there to escape the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S
At $450 a week, traffic controller Steph Rouillon and her two children have been living in a one-bedroom ‘bush shack’, which is well-and-truly falling to bits.
The dirt road leading to the room has destroyed her small car, the water pump is ‘temperamental’ at best and she often finds herself unable to shower or cook at ‘the most inconvenient of times’.
Ray White real estate agent Matthew McCormack revealed 60 holiday homes and rentals were taken off the market for at least six months during the pandemic when Nicole Kidman’s latest television project started filming in the area.
Essential cast and crew will call the region home for at least the next six months.
The Oscar winner is filming Nine Perfect Strangers in the region, and the production is expected to inject millions into the local economy and create hundreds of jobs.
Arguably the most talked about arrival in Byron Bay of 2020 is Zac Efron, whose romance with local waitress Vanessa Valladares has made worldwide headlines.
In August, it was reported that the 33-year-old had been quietly living in Byron Bay for ‘months’, with sources suggesting he moved there to escape the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
At $450 a week, traffic controller Steph Rouillon and her two children have been living in a one-bedroom ‘bush shack’, which is well-and-truly falling to bits
According to TMZ, the Baywatch actor was already at that time considering a permanent move to the coastal town.
Sources alleged that the actor was ‘planning to list his Los Angeles home in the near future’ and is ‘burnt out living in and around Hollywood’.
In September it was reported that Efron had ‘inspected and put in an offer’ on a home in Byron Bay, but was outbid at the last minute by a rival buyer.
More recently, Efron was rumoured to be the mystery buyer of a record-breaking $22million mansion near Wategos Beach.
In August, Daily Mail Australia revealed that he’d cancelled his scheduled flight to LA, with rumours are swirling that the actor was given the final nudge to permanently relocate to Australia after falling for the Byron Bay General Store café worker.
Liam has been living at Phillip Island, which is just off Australia’s southern coast, with his model girlfriend Gabriella Brooks, 23
Local: Liam (pictured) been hunkering down inside his luxury Phillip Island beach pad since April, as COVID-19 sweeps the globe. He purchased it in 2013 for $1.6 million
‘He was only planning to fly home if he had to,’ a source revealed. ‘He didn’t really want to go back to America.’
KIIS FM radio host, and friend of Zac’s, Kyle Sandilands, said in October: ‘He absolutely loves Australia. He’s in love with this girl, Vanessa. They’re a beautiful couple. They do everything together. They’re just sweet’.
Hemsworth’s younger brother Liam is a regular visitor to his brother’s Byron Bay home.
The 30-year-old moved back to Australia from the United States early this year following the breakdown of his marriage to Miley Cyrus, 28.
He’s been hunkering down inside his luxury Phillip Island beach pad since April, as COVID-19 sweeps the globe.
The Hunger Games actor has been spotted surfing around the area routinely since moving there – and also makes routine trips to Byron Bay to visit his brother.
Liam has been living at Phillip Island, which is just off Australia’s southern coast, with his model girlfriend Gabriella Brooks, 23.
The couple appear to be living blissfully in Liam’s bunker-inspired beach pad, which he purchased in 2013 for $1.6 million.
Liam and Gabriella were first spotted together in mid-December 2019 during a lunch date with Liam’s parents, Craig and Leonie, in Byron Bay.
Also spending time in the northern NSW holiday town is Oscar-winner Natalie Portman.
The 39-year-old has slotted into Australian life easily since arriving Down Under in September with her family, ahead of filming her new movie, Thor: Love and Thunder, in Sydney.
The V For Vendetta star is in town with her husband, Benjamin Millepied, 43, and their children, Amalia, three and Aleph, nine.
Also spending time in the northern NSW holiday town is Oscar-winner Natalie Portman
The V For Vendetta star is in town with her husband, Benjamin Millepied, 43, and their children, Amalia, three and Aleph, nine
Portman, who has also spent time in Sydney, has gone largely unnoticed as she fits in with the laid-back locals in trendy areas
Portman, who has also spent time in Sydney, has gone largely unnoticed as she fits in with the laid-back locals in trendy areas.
The star told the Jimmy Kimmel show that her children have already picked up the local slang.
‘They say lollies (now) instead of candy, tomato sauce instead of ketchup. When you want what you want, you gotta say it like the locals,’ she said this week.
The most recent arrivals to Byron Bay are funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife, Isla Fisher, who appear to have relocated from Los Angeles to Australia for good in the past month.
The Borat star, 49, and the Wedding Crashers actress, 44, have taken the major and seemingly permanent step of enrolling their children at a school in Sydney, which happens to be the city where they first met back in 2002.
Last week, Fisher was spotted picking up her children from their new school after working on her laptop at a nearby café.
Moving back: The most recent transplants are funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife, Isla Fisher, who appear to have relocated from Los Angeles to Australia for good in the past month
Baron Cohen and Fisher, who tied the knot in 2010, share three children together.
Until recently, the notoriously private family were living in Los Angeles.
But after filming wrapped on Sacha’s latest mockumentary, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, it’s unclear if he has any more work in the pipeline in Los Angeles – particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Fisher, who was raised in Perth from the age of six, has always dreamed of bringing up her children in Australia.
She told Marie Claire in 2018: ‘I have this secret fantasy of slowing down, moving to Byron Bay, getting off the grid and sitting on the sand with a Vegemite sandwich.’
THE ‘WHO’S WHO’ OF BYRON BAY
While several big name stars call Byron Bay home permanently, the trendy seaside suburb has also become somewhat of a revolving door, with an endless stream of A-listers and local celebs spotted in the region.
The Hemsworth Clan:
Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky arguably started the ‘Hollywood 2.0’ craze.
The 37-year-old Thor star relocated to the area from Los Angeles in 2014 with his wife of 10 years, Elsa Pataky, and their three young children.
They now reside in a $20million mega-mansion in the area, situated on 4.2 hectares. The home boasts six bedrooms, a game room, gym, steam room, media room and a 50-metre rooftop infinity pool.
Chris’ younger brother Liam soon made the leap as well, dividing his time between Byron and Malibu during his marriage to Miley Cyrus before making the move more permanent in 2020.
Matt Damon is thought to own a holiday home in Byron Bay.
Efron hunkered down in Byron during the global coronavirus crisis.
The Hollywood hunk started dating a local waitress, who he has reportedly since separated from.
While he is currently filming a movie in South Australia, it is presumed that he will return to his ‘second home’ in Byron Bay when the project is completed.
The 32-year-old actor reportedly has no plans to return to Los Angeles any time soon, after extending his tourist visa from three months to a year, and shopping around for property in the area.
Nicole Kidman, 53, has been living in Byron Bay on-and-off with her husband Keith Urban and their two daughters since filming for her new show began earlier this year.
Nine Perfect Strangers is based on Liane Moriarty’s best-selling novel of the same name.
It stars several A-listers including Melissa McCarthy, Samara Weaving, Luke Evans and Bobby Cannavale.
In July, Nicole told the Daily Telegraph she’s ‘thrilled’ to be able to bring the $100 million production and hundreds of jobs to the local film industry after it was sent crashing down by the coronavirus pandemic.
‘It is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community that nurtured me through so much of my career,’ she said.
Elyse Knowles bought a $2.3million beach house in Byron Bay in early 2020 after more than a year of renting in the coastal town with her boyfriend, Josh Barker.
Their new 1960s built property is located in the old part of Byron Bay town, just a short walk from the main beach and surrounded by tranquil greenery.
Last year, Elyse told Daily Mail Australia that the couple moved to Byron Bay from Melbourne while chasing a more sustainable lifestyle for themselves.
‘Everyone always smiles and always say hello. That was one of the first things I noticed living [in Byron].’
‘The community is more environmentally conscious. It is conversations that people have every single day… talking about the ocean and the marine life.
The couple are now expecting their first child.
Isabel Lucas first purchased a home in Byron Bay in 2016, but the Australian actress has lived on-and-off in the region for the better part of a decade.
She has been spotted at protests against 5G towers in the area and has contributed to the belief that Byron Bay is the ‘anti vax’ capital of Australia.
While filming her feature film Bosch & Rockit in Byron Bay earlier this year, she ‘opted out’ of Covid testing, after previously admitting she ‘doesn’t trust’ the past of vaccination.
Hollywood actress Natalie Portman was spotted on several occasions holidaying in Byron Bay ahead of filming Thor: Love and Thunder.
She seemed to relish ‘living like the locals’ for her short stay, visiting the beaches and buying clothes from local stores.