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Olivia Newton-John: My heartstrings are pulling me home to Australia

Olivia Newton-John’s defying her doctor’s once more and returning to the place she calls home.

When Olivia Newton-John was named on the Australia Day honours list last month, it was a recognition that meant more to the revered singer than most.

Now, as she battles cancer for the third time with an incredible fighting spirit true to her Aussie roots, close friends have revealed a brave Olivia is desperate to return home for a final visit Down Under.

And despite reports earlier this year that she was clinging to life and had just weeks to live, friends say the determined mother-of-one is defying her doctors and preparing to fly to Australia in March.

"Olivia was thrilled to be awarded in the Australia Day honours – it's the third time she's been recognised in this way – and the most meaningful because of where she finds herself in terms of health," one close friend tells Woman's Day.

"Her heartstrings are pulling her home."

Byron Bay holds a special place in Olivia's heart. (Image: Getty)

Desperate to return

"Although it would be a huge effort, she's desperate to fly back to Australia in March to receive the award. It would mean so much more to receive it in person."

"Ironically, she can do this only because she's so ill, as she's less committed workwise. The upside of not performing is that she is appreciating not having a packed schedule – she's at least able to do personal things that she wasn't able to fit in before."

"It's the first time for decades she can plan a trip like this for pleasure and spend some downtime at her spiritual home of Australia and with her family."

Olivia first beat breast cancer in 1992. She kept a second bout in 2013 a secret from the world, before receiving a heartbreaking diagnosis in 2017, with doctors revealing she had breast cancer once more, as well as a tumour at the base of her spine.

WATCH: Olivia Newton John on her fight with cancer. Post continues after the video...

As the Aussie legend faces her illness head-on with her rock, husband of 10 years John Easterling, and daughter Chloe Lattanzi by her side, Olivia's resolve to return home will not be easy.

"She's being very brave – as obviously her medicos have cautioned her against it. But Olivia has decided she will defy her doctors and book the trip – that's how much it means," the friend explains.

"It's risky, but with Olivia's incredible determination, when she really wants to do something, she will find a way around it and do it."

Those close to the 70-year-old star say she won't travel without John by her side. And it's likely she'll need his support, as she faces the real possibility that this could be her last trip home. It'll also be one made even more difficult by some sad goodbyes.

With the support of her loved ones, ONJ, pictured with John, daughter Chloe and Chloe's partner James, the star wants to head home to Australia to receive the prestigious award. (Image: Getty)

A Northern NSW real estate agent has disclosed that Olivia has decided to sell her long-held property in the Byron Bay hinterland.

The singer has owned what she calls her "100 acres of pure heaven" for more than 30 years, buying the property before establishing her world-famous Gaia Retreat & Spa nearby.

The 70-year-old says her Gaia retreat possesses a "magical quality." (Image: gaiaretreat.com.au)

Home of her dreams

When Olivia purchased her much-loved Byron block, it had a small brick house on it. Although she loved it, she always envisaged it turning into the home of her dreams, which it is today.

Despite making the Santa Barbara ranch she shares with John her base, Byron Bay has always held a special place in Olivia's heart.

She even recorded an album at Gaia when she was recovering from her first bout of cancer.

"It will be so hard for to say goodbye to this gorgeous property, but even as positive as Olivia always is, she knows that with a terminal illness, she needs to start tidying up her affairs," her friend explains.

"Selling will leave her more time to enjoy Gaia." (Image: Sunday Night)

"Selling will leave her more time to enjoy Gaia, which is where she spends most of her time when she's back in Oz. It's incredibly private, and she can also be looked after by the wonderful staff she has hired."

Olivia's latest plans are just another example of her refusing to let cancer defeat her. In January, a close friend told Woman's Day the singer was determined to remain optimistic.

"She has never been in denial about her illness – it's deadly serious and certainly not going to go away. Olivia has an incredible fighting spirit. Although she's aware it's a huge battle, she won't be giving up."