It may not be Spain, but Byron Bay does have its redeeming qualities as the new home of Love Island Australia 2021 — for starters, it gives us a chance to get the hell away from any and all lockdowns.

After a year-long hiatus, temperatures are set to reach fever pitch when the cult dating show returns to Channel 9 for its third season, during which Aussie singles carved from the Gods (or an acclaimed plastic surgeon) will come together in a northern New South Wales villa, ready to embark on a tumultuous few weeks of dating, romance and ultimately, love (see also — tears, tantrums and heartbreak).

Though the new season was originally pegged to be filmed in Port Douglas in far-north Queensland, a property named Amileka is being transformed 30 minutes outside of central Byron Bay into a brand new villa after production was forced to move to the tourist destination as a result of border closures — but we suppose now that Byron Bay will be home to these up and coming reality stars, the contestants will be closer to the blue tick influencer hub than ever!

The beautiful country property boasts luxuriously spacious living areas, a fire pit and pool, which we’re sure the new cast will make good use out of (and we will enjoy them doing so… bring on the six packs!).

Before the location switcharoo, returning host Sophie Monk said she was excited to get back to filming the “fun and irresistible” show in the new location.

“I can’t wait to join a whole new group of girls and guys looking for love,” the Aussie sweetheart, who hosted both season one and two, said.  “Filming in my hometown of Queensland is an added bonus for me as well, as Port Douglas is one of my favourite places to visit.”

Love Island Australia is our counterpart of the beloved British juggernaut and while the challenges and villa back-and-forth are quite honestly hilarious, Aussie guys just don’t have the same charm as those of the UK, especially when it’s Jake from Blacktown trying to hit on you rather than George from Oxford.

The series also hasn’t had the same success that overseas productions have had in creating lasting relationships — season one saw winners Tayla Damir and Grant Crapp (whose behaviour was quite literally “crapp”) sensationally split after just 12 days post-villa, while The Block 2021 star Josh Packham and Anna McEvoy of season two called it quits after only a year.  BUT!  We are open to being proved wrong. God knows we need a little faith these days.

Love Island isn’t the only reality show calling Australia home after COVID f*cked up any chance of getting back to their overseas bases — Australian Survivor filmed its sixth and current season, dubbed “Brains VS Brawn”, in north-west Queensland’s Cloncurry, while I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! 2021 was shot in Murwillumbah, New South Wales.

The dating series was put on hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however the 2019 season received approximately 10,000 applications and with the series partnering up with Tinder for the application process for 2021, that number can only be expected to grow this year.  

Love Island Australia 2021 is slated to premiere on October 4 on Channel 9 and 9Now.

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