Life on the Wild Side - Port Douglas Magazine 2015 / by tina gonsalves

Words by Roy Weavers

Many dream about a worldwide creative life but few manage to successfully live one especially when a young family has to be taken into consideration.  But Tina Gonsalves together with husband Matthew Wild and children Pablo, 7yrs and baby Hugo have achieved exactly that.

Whilst in town from their latest worldwide travels, I popped in for a cup of tea at their very special Port Douglas Artists’ Beach House which usually serves as their home during their sojourns when here, to see if I could discern a little of what makes, ‘Life on the wild side,” so attractive . 

This beach house is literally a temple to the arts with every spare space of wall decked out with artwork from both all over the world as well as pieces that friends and family have passed on to them, I suspect, in the certain knowledge that they will be cherished in the possession of these art lovers.  

Tina is a world renowned artist and Matt is a skilled chef and making a living around the world is never a problem.

However their attitude towards planning their lives and their travelling is not quite as laissez-faire as it may look at first sight.  They have holiday rental properties around Port Douglas which generate a rental income and an apartment in Berlin, Germany.  Tina, the artist, is reluctant to admit she is famous in many parts of the world and that her artwork is much sought after, but it is true and Matt’s creative catering has a well-earned reputation so keeping the necessary pennies coming in whilst they indulge their travel passion does help oil the wheels.

But it’s not money that drives this individualistic family.  Far from it, they are happy to travel anywhere in the world and make different countries their home.  For them, they see their lifestyle more focused onexperience that matters and the material artwork collection is almost treasured more for the memories it evokes rather than its value.

Most traditional families would say the Wilds lifestyle sounds brave with such a young family but you soon discover that they have supreme confidence that the world’s everyday people they encounter are as welcoming and curious about them as the Wilds are of them and they have never felt any dangers. “Traveling with a young family, you are greeted with such warmth and smiles”. Pablo started travelling at 10weeks*he had a full passport by the time he was four. We took Hugo overseas at four months. The kids have got used to having their daily sleeps around chaos, on trains, tricycles, ferries, planes,. Its made them calm little confident beings, and Pablo is developing such curious nature about the world. Its been brilliant for them, and for us a parents. Hugo has been hugged and blessed by monks in India, to being passed around the ferry in the Philippines – its made him trust people, new smells, new tastes. I hope our kids see the world as their home, and that there are many different ways to live a life.


Tina believes it was her Mum and Dad who gave her the travel bug. My dad built a boat, sold up in Palm Beach, Sydney, and set sail around the world.  He On the sail up north, they fell in love with Port Douglas, and bought property here before taking off on the world adventure.  Matts parents also arrived in the early eighties, looking for a sea change, from Melbourne life. When Matt moved up here, was shocked at how much Port Douglas felt like paradise.

After studying art in Melbourne, Tina took off on her worldwide travels, exhibiting and undertaking artists in residencies around the world,  but Port Douglas was always considered a home to return to - where all her family isMatt moved to Byron Bay for many years, where he owned a few successful restaurants. They met up again years later, when he was working in The Nautilus Restaurant and they soon realised they had the same passion for travel and life

Children have come along but as Tina reports, “7yr old Pablo sees the world as his home and baby Hugo loves the adventures.  We travel a lot, we live between beautiful Port Douglas, amazing Berlin and the fascinating world.” 

Their lives should be described as creative, refreshing and fulfilling.   Their relaxed attitude towards travel is inspirational and their easy welcoming manner makes meeting them a wonderfully agreeable experience.  They appear to have learned so much from each of their adventures that they try to infuse that into their lives. And that attitude is infectious. “It’s a big world out there, filled full of amazing people, cultures and incredible landscapes and it nice to feel the courage and curiosity to explore it as a family”.We actually have a simple life, but we do try and travel as much as we can.

They control their holiday rental business, even when travelling around.  Both Tina and Matt agree that it is an easy responsibility to take on.  Tina says, “We have travelled so much that we feel we know what travellers need to have good rental experience and vice versa.  We like our guests not only to feel at home as soon as they enter our places, we like them to feel happy, creative and inspired.  We like to create spaces that allow people to have great conversations and discover new sides of themselves. Our guest book is full of people rediscovering a latent drawing talent, or a songwriting talent. I think creating spaces that tap into that is important. The result is that many of the people who enjoy a holiday with us have become great friends.  In fact we often get invited over for the evening which is really weird   - having dinner in your own home, but then you get up and leave them to clean up!”

Matt says, “We have the Artists Beach House, our five bedroom holiday rental by the beach, We have the Three bedroom Artists Treehouse in town, and next door is the two bedroom Artists Nook. Our first home was the charming one bedroom, Artists Cottage. Many years ago we lived in Berlin, and we still have our fantastic two bedroom apartment on the East Side. Our rentals were never really intended to be a business, ,The properties grew from necessity to satisfy repeat business. “Each property is like a personal shrine of lifestyle and art. Most guests remark that it’s not like staying in a major resort. It’s more like staying in some a home, to which the Wilds response is, “ Thank God.”