How Zac Efron has ditched Hollywood to make Australia his ‘forever’ home – falling in love with a down-to-earth Australian waitress, buying property, and cruising the Outback in a caravan
Zac Efron has been living Down Under for a year – and it looks likely the Hollywood star is here to stay.
After arriving in March for a holiday and to escape the Covid pandemic in the U.S, where 451,000 have died, it appears the High School Musical star, 33, has decided to make his move permanent.
He’s following in the footsteps of Chris Hemsworth, who relocated from Los Angeles to Australia in 2014 – but there’s a big difference between the two. While the Thor star is a born and raised Aussie, Zac grew up in California, which may have a reputation for being laid-back, but is definitely not as friendly and safe as Australia.
And from shooting Stan Original movie Gold to falling in love with a Byron Bay waitress and buying land in New South Wales, the stars seems to be aligning for Zac calling Australia home.
Meeting girlfriend Vanessa Valladares
He’s a local now! Zac Efron has been living Down Under for a year, and it looks like he’s here to stay. Pictured with his girlfriend Vanessa Valladares, a waitress from Byron Bay
Zac met Vanessa Valladares, 25, in July when she was working as a waitress at Byron Bay’s General Store & Café, after they were introduced by her boss.
The part-time model has fitted seamlessly into the star’s entourage of high-profile friends, and has been regularly visiting her boyfriend while he films Stan’s Gold in South Australia.
While the couple are living together in Byron Bay, but have also enjoyed regular trips to Sydney and the Thredbo ski resort.
Their relationship is believed to be serious, with a source telling New Idea magazine: ‘I really think Zac’s at the point where he’d marry Vanessa tomorrow if she said yes.’
New love: Zac met Vanessa Valladares, 25, in July when she was working as a waitress at Byron Bay’s General Store & Café, after they were introduced by her boss
In October, Zac’s friend, Kyle Sandilands, who is an influential and popular radio hosts, said that you ‘couldn’t get a lovelier, sweeter girl’ than Vanessa.
‘They’re a beautiful couple. They do everything together. They’re just sweet,’ he said.
If Zac were to return to the U.S. with the coronavirus pandemic still raging and causing chaos, Vanessa wouldn’t be able to go with him. This makes it even more likely he’s set to stay Down Under, at least for the next year.
Home away from home: Zac has reportedly purchased land in Tweed Valley, a town on the Tweed River in north-eastern NSW, for $2million
Zac has reportedly purchased land in Tweed Valley, a town on the Tweed River in north-eastern NSW, for $2million.
He’s said to be planning to build a home on the site and settle down with Vanessa.
The 130-hectare block of land is a slice of paradise with incredible views of mountains, cliffs, valleys, streams and rainforest.
There’s three clear-water creeks, rock waterfalls, water holes and two spring-fed dams.
Zac was also rumoured to have been considering buying a $22million mansion near Wategos Beach in Byron Bay – but in the end Rip Curl co-founder Brian Singer snapped the property up.
The 17 Again star is instead understood to be renting another property in the coastal NSW town, where he lives with Vanessa when he’s not filming projects.
Selling up in LA
Sweeping views: In yet another sign the Hollywood heart-throb is here to stay, he recently put his Los Angeles property on the market for $7.8million
In yet another sign the heart-throb is here to stay, he recently put his house in Los Angeles on the market for $7.8million.
The two-storey home has four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms, in addition to a separate one-bedroom guesthouse under the carport.
The guesthouse is currently decked out as a gym, complete with a sauna box.
Zac had purchased the mansion seven years ago for $5.8million.
If he had plans to move back to the U.S., the last thing he’d do is sell a home in the booming Los Angeles property market, where prices rose almost 10 per cent last year, and high-end homes for sale are scarce.
Becoming a local
He’s a local! Earlier this week, Zac revealed he was camping in the South Australian outback in a $140,000 Lotus caravan. He looked like a true blue Aussie in an Akubra hat while posing in front of his motorhome
Luxury: Zac’s ‘home sweet home’ features a comfortable double bed, a leather sofa and seating area, pop-up TVs, a cooker and hot water
Room for two: Zac did not reveal whether his girlfriend Vanessa was accompanying him on location, but she has been spotted regularly visiting him over the past few months
Earlier this week, Zac revealed he was camping in the South Australian outback in a $140,000 Lotus caravan.
He also looked like a true blue Aussie in an Akubra hat while posing in front of the luxury motorhome in a photo shared to Instagram.
Tellingly, he captioned the image: ‘Home sweet home.’
Zac’s caravan, which he’s renting for free as part of a sponsorship deal, features a double bed, a leather sofa and seating area, pop-up TVs, a cooker and hot water.
The actor previously said it was ‘easy’ keeping a low profile during his visits to Australia because of the sparsely populated beaches down the coast.
‘What I love about Australia, which is what we don’t have in California, is there are so many wide-open beaches where no one is at,’ he said.
Content: The actor previously said it was ‘easy’ keeping a low profile during his visits to Australia because of the sparsely populated beaches down the coast
Cancelling his flight to America
Daily Mail Australia revealed in August he’d cancelled his scheduled flight back to LA.
Zac had purchased the plane ticket several months prior, in case his application for a visa extension was denied by the Department of Home Affairs.
But it seems his request to have his tourist visa extended from three months to 12 months was granted, hence why he cancelled his trip home.
Zac is understood to have received a last-minute refund for his ticket.
‘He was only planning to fly home if he had to,’ a source said at the time. ‘He didn’t really want to go back to America.’
He’s not leaving! Daily Mail Australia revealed in August he’d cancelled his scheduled flight back to LA. ‘He didn’t really want to go back to America,’ a source said at the time
Calling Australia ‘home’
Since arriving Down Under, Zac has often referred to Australia as his ‘home’ – and he did so last week while filming in the South Australian outback.
Just last month, People reported he had ‘no plans to live permanently in LA again.’
‘He loves Australia and considers it his home,’ a source said.
After visiting the country several times over the years, Zac has made it known that he adores the Aussie lifestyle and everything it entails.
‘I’ve fallen in love with Australia,’ Zac said in a 2017 interview. ‘I love the people, the culture and the beach.’
When Zac came to SA to shoot Gold, a Kent Town barber who cut his hair said the actor plans to return to the location ‘in the middle of next year’ to go sightseeing.
‘He absolutely loves South Australia,’ Robby Lippett told Adelaide Now.
‘He really wants to get back here and check out the river, and our awesome wineries and beaches.’
He’s ours now! Since arriving Down Under, Zac has often referred to Australia as his ‘home’ – and he did so last week while filming in the South Australian outback. Pictured in 2019
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