Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can make life a little easier. When the going gets tough (e.g., things go all Walking Dead), having a luxurious doomsday bunker, a supercharged, post-apocalyptic getaway ride, or a private island in the Pacific would no doubt make riding out the pandemic almost palatable. If you’re in the market for the latter, there’s an idyllic, one-of-a-kind Australian island for sale, and it could be yours.
Located just 30 minutes off the coast of Queensland, Pumpkin Island is a quick, though social-distancing-friendly escape. The private retreat is on the market for the first time in nearly 20 years. It’s currently operated as an ultra-luxe eco-resort with a handful of beach cottages and enough room for 34 guests. The social scene revolves around a lounge, a full bar, and two waterfront bungalows with game rooms and an extensive library. There’s even a private helicopter landing pad to cater to the island’s most affluent guests. An oyster-shucking operation is optionally available to the new owners.
The current owners are looking to sell so they can move closer to family in New Zealand. The couple told CNN, “We would love to hand the island over to someone who would care for it as much as we do. It is a very special place and ideally, the new owners would find as much joy in the beauty and breathtaking nature as we have.” Considering the eye-popping natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, that shouldn’t be difficult.
Pumpkin Island has a long and curious history. This is is only the second time since 1961 that it’s changed hands. Before that, it operated quietly as an oyster farm before being won in a poker game for £60 (seriously). In 2003, current owners, Wayne and Laureth Rumble, purchased the lease for a little over AUD $1 million (approximately USD $700,000) after reading a newspaper article about it. The couple turned it into a stunning and quite profitable island getaway. It has since received a long list of accolades as one of the world’s most sustainable eco-resorts. It’s recognized as Australia’s first “beyond carbon neutral” island, meaning it currently offsets 150% of its annual greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2012, the island also became nationally famous when Queensland’s Castlemaine leased it for three years. The brewery temporarily renamed it “XXXX Island” to promote its Castlemaine XXXX beer. The Rumbles said of the promotion, “Their customers could win an all-expenses-paid holiday for themselves and three friends to the island if they found the golden beer can in a case of beer. Almost like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
So, how much is it? Of course, you shouldn’t have to ask if you’re serious about making an offer. According to realtor Knight Frank, the Rumbles are entertaining bids around AUD $25 million (USD $17 million). That price secures the current lease through 2046 and includes everything mentioned above — everything except the furniture, that is. So, you’ll need to factor an IKEA trip into the price tag.
If you’d prefer a more terrestrial alternative to escape the pandemic, this entire Wild West replica town in New Zealand is on the market for the bargain price of just USD $7.5 million.