How Sydney couple made extra $600 daily to fund wedding

A couple who moved from Sydney to a scenic riverside location an hour north have made a killing by renting out part of their waterfront home to holiday-makers.

Naomi Tukuafu and her fiance Graeme have seen a busy summer at their property in Bar Point in the NSW Hawkesbury River region, which they’ve split into two areas – one part for them to live, and the other part to list on Airbnb.

The engaged couple have been earning between $400 and $600 a night during the summer – slightly more than the off-season price of $300 a night they began with – and the extra money will help pay off their mortgage and cover the cost of their upcoming wedding.

Ms Tukuafu told they listed the property in August, just a few months after moving to the area from Sydney’s northern beaches, inspired by Graeme’s mum who runs a successful Airbnb in Byron Bay.

Naomi and Graeme moved from Sydney’s northern beaches to their new home in the Hawkesbury Region. Picture: Naomi TukuafuSource:Supplied

The couple list the bottom part of their property on Airbnb. Picture: AirbnbSource:Supplied

“We knew when house hunting that we wanted to run a similar set up and be able to generate another source of income,” Ms Tukuafu said.

“Having the space to rent out helps to alleviate pressure on our mortgage and will help

contribute to our upcoming wedding. This will be a full-time arrangement, however we have

the luxury of blocking out the dates when we are unable to host or have friends or family


“Since August 20, we have had 16 bookings and stays at the property – equating to almost every weekend leading up to Christmas.”

The Airbnb Superhosts have seen a lot of interest in their property with border restrictions forcing NSW holiday-makers to stay local. Picture: Naomi TukuafuSource:Supplied

The tranquil deck with water views. Picture: AirbnbSource:Supplied

While the couple live upstairs, guests have full privacy in the modern, airy accommodation area below, with their own separate entrance along with three bedrooms, kitchen with cooking appliances, bathroom, living and dining areas and deck complete with barbecue and outdoor furniture.

It’s set in a quiet location on the Hawkesbury River, and is only accessible by boat – a charming feature that serves to enhance that holiday feeling – even for Sydneysiders escaping the city, just an hour’s commute away.

“We have had quite a few different groups stay at the property – couples retreats, girls

weekends away and sporting groups to name a few,” Ms Tukuafu said.

“It appears they are looking to enjoy a relaxing weekend while some come to explore the Hawkesbury River by hiring boats or kayaks from Brooklyn.”

The spacious living area. Picture: AirbnbSource:Supplied

One of the three bedrooms at the property. Picture: AirbnbSource:Supplied

Ms Tukuafu, who works in marketing, and her tradie fiance said the waterfront life was exactly what they were looking for when they made the move from Sydney.

“We wanted to live on the water while trying an alternative lifestyle,” she said. “We enjoy a short boat ride to Brooklyn and then we are less than a one-hour drive to the Sydney CBD.

“We seem to be attracting a younger crowd with the idea of enjoying a relaxing weekend

away. We are offering a water access only property with complimentary boat transfers which

is all part of the experience. They get a glimpse into an alternative lifestyle while being able

to relax among the trees in a comfortable, styled space.”

The tranquil bathroom. Picture: AirbnbSource:Supplied

The couple were named as Airbnb Superhosts. Picture: AirbnbSource:Supplied

At a time when border closures have upset travel plans, Ms Tukuafu said they have been lucky to take advantage of travellers from within NSW who have spent much of the pandemic unable to leave their own borders.

“Initially the circumstances seemed to work in our favour as borders were closed and people

residing in NSW seemed to be looking for local weekender destinations,” she said.

“The bookings are currently slow for February 2021, however we tend to receive a lot of bookings the week out from the stay and offer free cancellation 24 hours prior to arrival, I think this works in our favour given that circumstances make it difficult to plan at times.”

New research from Airbnb has found Australians were seeking getaway experiences this summer that allowed them to unwind and be comforted by the familiar after a particularly turbulent, somewhat claustrophobic year.

The scenic setting on the Hawkesbury River. Picture: AirbnbSource:Supplied

The Bar Point property is accessible by boat. Picture: AirbnbSource:Supplied

A national survey by the company found 27 per cent of Aussies would holiday in a familiar summer destination and more than a third would stick to somewhere within driving distance of home.

“We’re definitely seeing a retro revival of sorts – this summer, Aussies want all the simple

staples that make an Aussie summer so quintessential, from a great backyard pool to a big

barbecue,” Airbnb’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Susan Wheeldon, said.

“After such a stressful year, there’s also a strong push towards homes that are designed for relaxing and unwinding, with everything from panoramic views to outdoor baths.”

Airbnb’s research found pet-friendly listings were the most searched-for amenity on Airbnb, followed by properties with pools, fully-equipped kitchens, wireless internet and spas.

It also found around a third of summer holiday-makers wanted to visit regions affected by last summer’s bushfires, to help support the recovery of locals.

“Last year, Australian guests on Airbnb contributed almost $6 billion to the economy, so the money they spend not just on accommodation but at local shops, pubs and cafes can be a real lifeline to communities doing it tough,” Ms Wheeldon said.

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