We love being so close to nature

Creative couple Danka Gralik and Nick Druery were living in Manly when they decided it was time to jump on the property ladder. They soon realised, however, that their budget wouldn’t go far in the popular beachside suburb.

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They began sussing out other Sydney neighbourhoods and even looked as far afield as the Gold Coast when a day trip to Lake Macquarie sparked an idea.

“We fell in love with the area,” Nick says.

“It reminded us of the Northern Beaches, but with less people.”

By April, the pair had bought a three-bedroom house with a big yard two blocks from the beach — a far cry from their cramped Manly apartment.

“I really love it. We’re so close to nature in Caves Beach and every time we explore, we find something new,” says Danka.

Nick, who works in tech, began his new Lake Mac work-life commuting three days a week to the same Sydney-based office he worked from while in Manly, starting and finishing his workday on the train. His commute only lasted for six months, before he landed a local opportunity, and now works just 30 minutes from home.

For Danka, who runs her own branding business Lemmy, the move has been seamless.

"I have clients all over the world, but everything is online now, so I don't think location matters," she explains.

"It's great to have a house now and be able to look into the garden while I work."

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