ISLAND retreats

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 July, 2011, 12:00am


On Australia's Hayman Island, life is beautiful all the time. Think rainforest spas, to-die-for beaches, a private butler service, 6-star cuisine. And did I mention Zen-inducing views of the spectacular Whitsundays, with big game fishing, thrilling sailing and coral reef snorkelling and diving right on your doorstep?

Holidaymakers have long loved the Great Barrier Reef for its gorgeous island retreats. Now a privileged few can own a share of it.

The release of Hayman Private Residences and Hayman Marina Residences represents the first private ownership opportunity on Hayman. Planning permission was granted after four years of negotiations by Mulpha Australia, owner of the island's in perpetuity leasehold.

The permit allows for 100-year sublease of lots measuring 4,500 square metres, on which purchasers may customise a luxury residence by architect Kerry Hill, of Amanresorts fame. The three and four-bedroom free-standing homes each come with a private pool and, from their elevated location 88 metres above sea level, face iconic views of the Whitsundays' turquoise sea and sand-fringed islands. Two Hong Kong buyers have already secured Hayman homes, and Lloyd Donaldson, Mulpha's head of hotel investments and managing director for Hayman, expects more will follow.

'They will experience a luxurious, private and exclusive lifestyle in one of the most remarkable destinations in the world,' says Donaldson. Only 21 allotments will be available, and just two remain in phase one. Prices range from A$4.5 million (HK$37.1 million) to A$20 million.

More of the Whitsundays' finest homes are on Hamilton Island. 'Many of these properties are set on over half an acre of land, have private swimming pools and marina berths, and offer unparalleled views over the Whitsunday Island Passage,' says Wayne Singleton, of Hamilton Island Real Estate. One of the most aspirational is Iluka (A$3.85 million), a five-bedroom home by celebrated Australian architect Chris Beckingham, featuring an elegant wet-edge pool and outdoor living and dining area complete with built-in barbecue and day bed.

Or perhaps you'd like to build your own home? A land release of seven beach and waterfront lots at Coral Bay (priced from A$1.7 million to A$3.2 million) offers owners the opportunity to create their own private, secluded tropical island hideaway overlooking Catseye Bay and Fitzalan Passage.