Community at the heart of coastal oasis
Mark Ellis, 53, and his wife Tara, 40, were helping Mark’s parents look for a new home when they came across Stockland’s lush B by Halcyon lifestyle community nestled in the foothills of Buderim.
They loved it so much that they put down a deposit for their own home and the chance find has changed their lives.
The couple had been renting an apartment at Alexandra Headland but felt like strangers among their neighbours.
They had also bought a block of land at Bli Bli, where they planned to build their own home until they discovered B by Halcyon.
“We are relatively new to the coast and as you get older, integrating and building new networks can be harder. But here, people want to be active and part of the community,” explains Mark.
“I just had no idea that these sorts of places exist and that they could be so nice!” says Tara, who is originally from the United States.
The couple still works, running two fitness studios on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane.
Tara teaches classes several mornings a week at the Alexandra Headland studio and enjoys a part-time job in retail while Mark works behind the scenes looking after customer enquiries and bookkeeping.
“I get a little envious of Mark who can do most of his work from home and stay local. I really love the days I spend here because there is so much to do,” Tara laughs.
“We’ve been volunteering at the coffee shop on site, which is a great way to connect with more people and any time you go down to the recreation club, there is an atmosphere and a buzz.
“I have snuck in here a little early, thanks to Mark being over 50. A lot of my friends think I live in a nursing home but I tell them it’s more like living on a cruise ship,” Tara says.
“All the fun I want but also access to my own private space. It’s also great being around like-minded people who care about their neighbours.
“Last November we both had the flu and were very unwell. I cook a lot and after a couple of days, the neighbours noticed the absence of smells coming from my kitchen. They called to check everything was okay. It was nice to know we live somewhere that people look out for each other.”
Mark enjoys playing cards and has also joined a pool competition.
“The layout of the neighbourhood is great as well with everything maintained for you,” he says.
“And we are surrounded by National Park which leaves you feeling peaceful and calm. We are almost in the middle of the rainforest and yet we are still only five or 10 minutes from the beach. It has been like finding a hidden gem; an oasis almost.”