Working in Deepwater – Baffle Creek

This November Donna Slaven and Chad Ryan will celebrate 10 years since they shed their busy existence in the surfing heart of the Sunshine Coast for adventure in the pristine wilderness of Deepwater – a coastal bush locality of the Baffle Creek district on the Discovery Coast.

‘As the carefree, colourful Sunny Coast we had loved became shadowed by development and overcrowding, the ‘call of the wild’ became too loud to ignore,‘ said Donna recently.

‘The price of property in the south-east hinterland was soaring. But Baffle Creek kept centring itself in both my work and social circles at a time when most folk had never even heard of it… we took it as a sign.’

One weekend’s exploration of the area was enough and the first property they looked at with the local real estate agent was the one.

‘A log and stone cabin home on 110acres of beautiful bush with established gardens, sheds, dams… and with power, phone and internet, situated on one of Australia’s most pristine river systems flowing into the Southern Great Barrier Reef; gorgeous uninhabited beaches; 45 minutes fun in a fourbie via the breathtaking Deepwater National Park track to Agnes Water/1770; a little over an hour’s drive to the fully-serviced and airported cities of Bundaberg and Gladstone; and at a price you’d be lucky to get a low-end unit on the Sunshine Coast for?!? YEEEHHAA we were off!’ explains Donna.

‘Sounds great, but let’s be realistic. There is a big factor to confront when you set your ‘tree change’ sights on an area untainted by substantial development… very limited EMPLOYMENT! So what is the key to making the Discovery Coast dream financially sustainable?’
‘Bring your job with you!’ exclaims Donna.

‘I had established my freelance, home-based graphic design/advertising business on the Sunshine Coast. The printing/media industries together with internet communication had just gone through a technological revolution. I realised I could now fully service a client’s marketing needs from almost anywhere in the world.’

‘If you can earn your crust with simply a computer, modem and phone – you too can make the tree change!’

‘While life in the Baffle is like taking a trip back to a simpler time, the region is well serviced with internet, mobile and landline phone communication.’

Flat Rock Park Baffle Creek
Flat Rock Park Baffle Creek

Self-empowerment choices are not limited to just IT fields though…
‘The Baffle Creek/Discovery Coast region is a relatively new yet growing society of community-minded pioneers – whatever your creative talent, trade, field of expertise or ‘being your own boss’ dream is, seeding it here now could prove very fruitful,’ Donna explained.

‘The Discovery Coast is totally conducive to the home-based working arrangement. Mother Nature is the ultimate mentor and butt-kicker. She opens your mind, gets your creative juices flowing, ignites new ideas and guides you in problem solving. Minus from this the hours you lose in traffic jams and other stressful aspects of city-existing… and you can operate at your productive best.’

‘This is how I, for example, can keep my competitive edge despite not being physically in a city. With low overheads, I can assure customers get what they want and more because as a home-based freelancer, I can also be productive during a night or weekend if necessary.’

‘Once you’re here, new venture ideas and opportunities spark too as your brain starts to tick ‘outside the box’.

‘Chad started 10 years ago with an ebay store of retro music and collectibles – now he’s also farming garlic and honey commercially, plus welding discarded rusty metal into garden sculptures to sell at local markets and online sharetrading. There are now many Baffle bushies successfully using their home property to operate a myriad of commercial ventures.’

‘But life is not all about work and money, especially in the Baffle!
‘We all treasure our ‘great outdoors’ lifestyle. It never loses its shine. Between the wondrous nature cycle that plays out around you, your animal adventures and the varied array of colourful, fun people in the community – there is never a dull moment and heaps of laughs. We have our share of downs too but these are the times you realise what a truly amazing connected unit of humans you are clan with.’

‘There’s always a social event in the wind and you can have a great ‘night on the tin’ at the Zincalumbar. Kid’s especially, thrive in the Baffle outdoorsy, community lifestyle, and the local Wartburg School offers a truly unique, attentive education experience.’

‘Come for a holiday and check it out. If you’re piqued we have really good local real estate representation and the Bendigo Community Bank team at Agnes Water are a good place to start if you want to talk about finance.’

Rules Beach
Rules Beach

Donna is very passionate about the future of the area….

‘The foundations have been laid so well. The eco-tourism side is going to flourish off the back of the global ‘Save the Reef’ campaign, but I think as the eco-revolution really takes hold over the next couple of years, this will be the idyllic region to sprout and model some exciting clean’n’green trailblazing industries. And I’m very much looking forward to helping advertise them to the world!’

If you would like to talk more indepth with Donna Slaven about any of the above, connect with her on LinkedIn or email

Discovery Coast Style

The Discovery Coast Style, a seasonal colour magazine distributed in Central Queensland, including the Discovery Coast.