Wayne and Marie Stewart first bought their patch of rural paradise in 1980 in Peachester, overlooking Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Some of us just aren’t wired to live in suburbia, with fences for privacy and neighbours within earshot. It can work for a time, but the call of the country seems to always prevail. Wayne and Marie Stewart first bought their patch of rural paradise in 1980. In the lofty green hills of Peachester, overlooking Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, it was untamed bush – wild and rambling.

In time, they planted custard apple, lychee and avocado trees, and put a dam and irrigation in place. Their boys soaked up the country life, attending the small local school and riding their motorbikes in nearby pine forest. But as they grew, the family gravitated to the coast, where friends, sports and high school were much closer to hand. Wayne and Marie decided to push pause on their farm life, sell their home and some land around it, and keep the remaining 44 acres containing the orchard and dam. Twelve years later, with Wayne newly retired, it was time to head for the hills once more.

It was almost like starting over again. They needed to build another home, but this time around they had an advantage. “Our younger son Tim was now an architect, about to be married and living in Brisbane,” Wayne says. “He really wanted to design a house that he felt would enhance and suit the block. Having lived there for 12 years, he had a real feel for the situation.”

The couple love to travel and have recently returned from a jaunt to Canada and Alaska, but say coming home is one of the best parts of any journey. “It’s always great when we get home to walk around the garden and see what is new,” Marie says. “It feels great to stroll through the peaceful orchards where we see wallabies and so many birds and sit on our deck and look at the beautiful view. We feel that we still think it is the best place to live and hope we can stay for a while longer yet.”

The complete story was originally published in Australian Country issue 20.1. Click here to subscribe to our magazine.

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Words Tamara Simoneau
Photography Anastasia Kariofyllidis