When Charli Robinson played in the sand dunes at Anna Bay as a child, she had no idea her life would lead to where she is now.
As a teenager, she and her friends would use the dunes as a backdrop to videos they thought would launch their careers.
“So, my friends and I, and my sister, would film video clips right here on the sand dunes,” Charli told the Newcastle Weekly.
“We did it because I always knew I wanted to sing, dance and do TV things.”
Performing was Charli’s passion and, when she was just 17 years old, she landed a role with a new children’s musical group, Hi-5.
She was halfway through her HSC and had no idea they would become so loved by families across the world.
“Hi-5 was incredible,” she said.
“We toured around the world nine months of every year and we sold out the Hammersmith Apollo where ACDC played and sold more tickets than ACDC and Kylie Minogue for shows in London, which is pretty awesome for Hi-5 – that was a huge highlight.
“We had Coldplay’s tour bus, for goodness sake, across the UK, it was incredible we watched as Coldplay got better and more famous, so did our tour bus so every year our tour bus got better.”
Fast forward 22 years, and Charli now has eight Logies to her name, two beautiful daughters and her dream job as a host for travel series Getaway.
Even though she is incredibly busy, she always finds time to come home to her favourite place in the world, which she once took for granted.
“I must have thought everyone had rolling sand dunes, countless beaches and friendly people around growing up,” she said.
“Then you see these Sydney people coming into town and you think what’s it like living in a big city, I want to go there one day and lo and behold halfway through my HSC at Broadmeadow High, now The Hunter School of Performing Arts, I got Hi-5 and had to move to Sydney immediately,” she said.
“In that moment I was like: ‘I love where I live, I love where I am from, how did I take all that for granted?’
“It was just so different, and I realised how blessed we all are to grow up in Newcastle and Port Stephens, it’s an unexplainable type of large city community feel.
“No matter where I’ve gone in the world or where I have lived it’s just like coming home, there is nothing that beats here, this feeling.”
Charli added that attending school at Broadmeadow was “the best”.
“It was an hour bus ride there and back every day, but I loved it,” she said.
“And it’s funny because my maths teacher at the time said, in front of everyone: ‘Charli I hope you win a Logie because you have nothing else going for you’ and I won eight, so I hope [he is] proud.
“It was such a good school and I now know kids who are desperate to get in, so it was great to pave the way.”
The star said this year had been a big one for her.
“The worst part for me is that this is my first trip back [to Anna Bay] after eight months, it almost broke my heart, because of COVID and having two babies, it was just too hard to go into quarantine,” she said.
“I would be home like every two weeks, even during Hi-5 I would come home every month or whenever we weren’t touring the world, I would come straight home to mum and dad.”
She added that her upbringing always kept her grounded.
So, what’s next for Charli?
“You know what, I just popped out two babies so I really should focus on them, even though I love working and it is my passion, I can’t see myself not being in front of the camera for long, they are my sole focus and love right now,” she said.
“Theadora is only three months old and Kensington is 21 months old.
“I was a bit late having kids, but I am glad I waited for the man of my dreams, they are everything to me.”