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After carols it s the beach
After carols it's the beach

It's that time of year when shorts and sunnies, thongs, sand and Indian Ocean sunsets start calling loudly to Bunbury-raised Sunrise news presenter Natalie Barr.

The siren song has lured her back to WA for the holidays many times over. This year will be no different, with Barr, her husband and their two children grabbing their togs and heading home to the South West for a Bunbury and Dunsborough-themed Christmas.

Before she sets herself up on the beach, Barr has one not-so-little job to get out of the way - hosting one of Seven's most beloved annual events, Carols in the Domain, at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney on Saturday.

It's the second time the popular Sunrise team member has been asked to co-host the Christmas event. She was delighted to be asked back after her debut appearance last year, and even more so after finding out she'll be joined by fellow Seven presenter, Matt White.

"He's very much looking forward to it," Barr said. "He reckons he can't sing but I've heard he actually has a bit of a voice. It will be great - he's just a great guy to work with."

This year Carols in the Domain celebrates its 30th anniversary and according to Seven, there'll be a few surprises to mark the occasion.

Already confirmed are Perth's The X-Factor winner, Samantha Jade, reality star turned Home and Away heartthrob Johnny Ruffo, and musical theatre darling Lucy Durack. Also appearing will be X-Factor finalists The Collective, petite songstress and star of The Sapphires Jessica Mauboy, Home and Away's Georgie Parker, Play School presenter Jay Laga'aia, country star Troy Cassar-Daley and the cast of Legally Blonde The Musical.

Other performers include opera star Ali McGregor, the Ten Tenors, John Waters, Rachael Beck, Mark Vincent, Doug Parkinson, and the Justice Crew. The event will also mark the television swan song of the original line-up of children's mega-group The Wiggles, as Murray Cook, Jeff Fatt and Greg Page hang up their skivvies and introduce their young replacements to Australia.

There's bound to be a few misty eyes as the Red, Purple and Yellow Wiggles say goodbye to their millions of fans after almost 20 years of taking part in the Christmas tradition that is Carols in the Domain.

The farewell will add poignancy to what is typically a warm and fuzzy, uplifting affair.

"I just feel that it's such a special night," says Barr. "I grew up watching it - I can remember being in our lounge room in Bunbury watching it right before Christmas and loving it. I just feel so privileged and genuinely excited to do it. It's one of the best things I have ever done in my TV career. There's nothing like walking out on that stage and seeing that sea of candles - it's so special."

That's not to say the gig is an easy one. Even as a television veteran - Barr has been in TV for more than 20 years in both the US and Australia - she says her first time as MC was fraught with nerves.

"I realised quite quickly as I stood there at the back of the stage that I hadn't really done anything on a stage before. I had MC-ed and hosted a lot of big events and we obviously go live around the country with Sunrise. But at Carols everyone around you is a performer or a singer or an artist. It was wonderful but actually quite nerve-racking."

Once the carols are done and dusted, Barr will pretty much step off the stage and into her holiday gear.

"We finish the carols at midnight or something and then we are on a plane for Perth at 8am the next morning," she says. "It really will be stepping off the stage into shorts and a T-shirt and heading west."

Carols in the Domain airs Saturday at 8.30pm on Seven/GWN7.