THE scenic parklands, live music and a friendly atmosphere is a far cry from Karratha in Western Australia, and Rita Watkins is wholly embracing the change.
Arriving in Gladstone four weeks ago, Ms Watkins has been overwhelmed at the contrast in lifestyle.
"I'm very happy here," she said. "There are so many things to do. I just go for walks and discover a new thing every day."
Having lived in the remote mining district that is the Pilbara for two years, making the adjustment to life in Gladstone is proving to be easy for Ms Watkins.
"Gladstone is an awesome place to live," she said. "There is free entertainment, markets on all the time, and the community are so nice and friendly."
Melbourne born, Ms Watkins says Gladstone provides the perfect compromise between the icy winters of Victoria and the relentless heat of Western Australia.
"The weather is fantastic. In Melbourne and Karratha you just don't want to leave the house.
"Now I have a car but I prefer to walk around everywhere. I learn something new every time I leave the house," she said.
"My partner and I are yachties so we are excited to go sailing and visit all of the surrounding islands.
"Gladstone is very me. I hope to stay here for as long as I can."
Currently seeking local employment, Ms Watkins intends to soak up the central Queensland lifestyle in the meantime.
"You'll be able to find me at BAM on the weekends or at the yacht club listening to live music," she said.
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