The billionaires buying up Aussie islands

woman lying in hammock on beach at sunset

We know that Aussie house prices have soared over the past couple of years, but would you ever spend $42 million on an island?

The second richest person in Australia, Andrew Forrest, just did.

The $42 million secured the leasehold of Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef, which comprises a combined 2000ha of land across three parcels.

Mr Forrest and his wife Nicola made the purchase via their private investment company Tattarang, it’s now been confirmed.

The buyers have kept quiet about the details, but vendor SEA Group confirmed the deal in a statement to investors last week.

“The buyer has agreed to purchase the property located at Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia, at an aggregate consideration of $42 million in cash,” the statement read.

Read: Incredible Australian islands for when you want to get off the mainland

Lizard island sits 250km off the coast of Cairns and holds a high-end resort featuring 40 rooms and villas, a restaurant, bar and a day spa.

The Queensland government needs to sign off on the deal within 90 days of the contract being signed and it is understood Delaware North will stay on as operator of the island.

Mere weeks before this deal, it was reported that Mr Forrest bought Olivia Newton-John’s wellness retreat Gaia for a cool $30 million.

Gaia is located just outside of Byron Bay, NSW, and is made up of 22 accommodation suites, a fitness centre, restaurant and a day spa spread across 8ha of lush land with spectacular coastal views.

“After 16 years, we are excited to pass the baton to new visionaries to nurture and grow this majestic hinterland oasis – a place which has been so deeply embraced as a ‘home away from home’ for so many on their wellness and healing journey,” the actor said in a statement.

Read: Enjoy these islands while you can

Great Keppel Island sits a few hundred kilometres down the Queensland coast and is just as attractive to billionaires, it seems.

Fellow mining giant Gina Rinehart is reportedly in final negotiations to buy the island.

The picturesque parcel, off the coast of Yeppoon, is home to a shuttered resort that requires significant repairs due to cyclone damage, as well as a campground and private residences.

Ms Rinehart’s offer to buy is said to be worth a staggering $50 million and would mark the third time lucky for vendor Tower Holdings, which has seen two previous deals fall over.

Great Keppel Island comes with a development permit for a new building comprising 285 accommodation suites and 300 apartments.

The plan also includes a retail precinct, marina and upgrade of an existing airstrip that could take direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.

Ms Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting group has said it wanted to make Great Kepler Island a “showcase” for Queensland tourism ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics, with Ms Rinehart being “excited to bring the best of what she has experienced overseas to Great Keppel Island”.

What do you think of these purchases? Have you visited Lizard Island or Great Keppel Island? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.

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