Settle into island life

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am

The Whitsundays and other isles offer serene, comfortable living at affordable prices

For pure exclusivity it is hard to beat property on a tropical island. Out of 74 islands in the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is one of a rare few where property can be bought (on a perpetual lease-hold). Only 30 per cent of its land is able to be developed, and with 27 per cent of that already sold, the prestige is further enhanced.

As an integrated tourist resort Hamilton Island is Foreign Investment Review Board approved. It is also remarkably accessible. It has its own airport and is only a 40-minute flight from Cairns International Airport, or two hours from Sydney. 'Once you land you are at your private residence within minutes,' says Wayne Singleton of PRDnationwide, Hamilton Island. Most [homes] have breathtaking views of the Whitsundays.' He says capital growth on the island is 'remarkable' and 'consistent even when the rest of Australia was stagnant'.

Limited supply, the popularity of the Whitsundays and an upgrade of the island under new ownership, including a five-star Qualia resort, new Great Barrier Reef Yacht Club and Peter Thompson-designed 18 hole golf course are all contributing factors. Houses begin at A$500,000 (HK$3.43 million) with an average price of A$3.7million. Further north off Townsville, Magnetic Island has also been propelled into prestige status thanks to visionary new developments. Mantra One Bright Point, developed by Meridien, offers Coral Sea views in every direction, private open spaces, infinity pools and cleverly designed breezeways.

Meridien chief executive Warwick Bible says: 'Walk into an apartment in this A$90 million complex and you will feel as relaxed as if you just stepped inside an open beach shack on a tropical island. You could throw a [fishing] line in from the majority of the balconies. You are four metres from the sea.'

Oceanfront apartments start at A$850,000 and the penthouse is A$1.5 million.