No Place Like Home – Samantha Harris

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Australian model Samantha Harris on her home town of Tweed Heads. As told by Angie Kelly.

What are your fondest memories of Tweed Heads?

Going to the beach with my family as a child and having weekend barbecues along the beachfront are my happiest memories. We would go to Kingscliff and wade in ankle-deep water looking for pipis – I didn’t eat them but my mum would use them in curries. When I was in high school, I loved going to Rainbow Bay with my friends. The water is very clean and clear and the sand is white – it’s not as busy as the Sydney beaches I go to now and there’s free parking!

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Describe growing up there.

It was a really relaxed place to grow up, with beautiful beaches and a laid-back attitude. I love that it was small and not too busy; it’s a place where everyone knows everyone. Tweed had everything we needed. Even though Surfers Paradise isn’t far away, we didn’t go there much.

What took you away?

I left at 19. When I finished school, I moved straight to Sydney and joined Chic Management to fulfil my dream of modelling. The change of pace was definitely a massive shock.

How often do you go back?  

I love going home and try to get back at least two or three times a year.

Has it changed much? 

It has definitely changed. There are a lot more shops, cafés and restaurants. It’s busier but more vibrant now than when I lived there. I’ve noticed as it’s grown that its appeal to tourists has, too. I think people looking for a peaceful beach break would prefer Tweed Heads over Surfers these days.

What’s your favourite thing to do there now?

I love to hit the beach with a good book and relax. But I also like long walks along Greenmount and Kirra beaches. 

What do you miss about Tweed Heads?

The warm weather – I love that you don’t really get a winter there – and the beaches. I think the Gold Coast has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. And, of course, I miss my family. I have three brothers; two still live there and so does my mum. My partner’s family also lives on the Gold Coast so we catch up with everyone when we go. 

Name something about Tweed Heads that you think would surprise outsiders.

You can celebrate New Year’s Eve twice in one hour just by crossing the street, as the town is on the border of Queensland and NSW – and Queensland doesn’t have daylight saving.

What are three things you think every visitor should do?

Go to Fingal Head for the beautiful lighthouse walk across the cliffs. Hike up Mount Warning – about 30 minutes’ drive away – for a great view from the top, of Surfers Paradise in one direction and all the way to Byron Bay in the other. Have lunch or dinner and drinks at a surf club. My favourite is the Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club, which is great for families. I love the grilled salmon fillet but if you have a big appetite, try the Beef & Reef.

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