Picnic Island, Australia. Image: Vladi Private Islands

The Allure of Your Own Private Island

Designed by Tasmanian architect John Latham, this 10-person lodge, clad in copper and cantilevered over the high-water mark, the property is the ultimate holiday getaway.

Did I mention it is on its own private island?

Picnic Island in Coles Bay, Tasmania is for sale through Vladi Private Islands, one of a few Australian and New Zealand islands available through the island broker website.

Vladi Private Islands Owner Farhad Vladi has been in the island selling business for over 50 years, and as COVID-19 continues to impact day-to-day life, budding island owners are keen for some isolation and privacy.

“The demand for private islands has definitely increased over the last year,” he said.

“Many people have expressed an interest in acquiring a private island. However, many are biding their time and waiting to see if they can travel to inspect an island. Once the pandemic is over, we expect a peak in clients who wish to inspect the properties of interest.

“In particular, private islands in Europe, Scandinavia, etc. are proving to be very popular, as these are lower priced islands and easily accessible for our European clients.”

St. Elmo Island, USA. Image: Vladi Private Islands

Vladi always dreamt about owning an island of his own, and then one day he noticed a story in a German paper detailing the sale of an island that was purchased for about 5000 DM (Deutsche Mark was the official currency of Germany until 2002).

The affordable price convinced Vladi that getting into the market was possible, so he got out his maps and started looking.

He found one island on the market for 1,000,00 DM and offered the island to some businessmen in his city of Hamburg.

Three of the businessmen go together and purchased the island, with Vladi netting a commission of 30,000 DM.

This is how Vladi got his start, and since he started his business in March of 1971, it has sold over 3500 islands.

“The islands we sell are privately-owned (mainly freehold) and not state-owned,” he said.

“In some cases, governments are buying private islands. Usually, the reasons for selling islands are death, debt and divorce. Once an island comes onto the market, we will contact our clients, whom we know may be looking for such a property.

“We find island buyers through a personal network. We keep in touch with island owners over the years and if an island comes onto the market, it is very likely that the owner will contact us.”

Haapiti Rahi, French Polynesia. Image: Vladi Private Islands

Buying a private island unsurprisingly is a bit more complicated than your usual luxury property.

Vladi provides clients with a nine-point checklist, which range from examining the infrastructure on the island, building permits, local fauna and medical services to name a few.

“Island buyers are looking for isolation and privacy,” Vladi said.

“However, the mainland should be not too far away. Nowadays, it is not really possible to live as Robinson Crusoe did.

“You need fuel for your boat, supplies from the mainland, medical services, etc. That is why I always recommend that an island buyer first rent an island in that area for a week or two to see whether he/she could live in the social and natural environment.”

While interest is up, COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines have made the process a bit trickier than usual.

“Due to quarantine and travel restrictions, inspections are currently not taking place, apart from virtual inspections where possible,” Vladi said.

“It is really important for any potential buyers to inspect the island, as only then can they really feel the energy of the island and make their decision. This however applies more to higher-priced islands.”

Celebrities and ultra-high net worth individuals are probably the consumer base most associate with buying a private island, and while this is the case, there are more chefs in the kitchen.

Knight Frank has noted that governments, NGOs and Conservationist groups are competing for ownership, and according to their Island Review in 2015, 65 per cent of private islands for sale at the time were actually priced below US$500,000 (approximately A$655,167).

The report also noted that the private island market isn’t a shrinking resource as volcanic eruptions create new islands each year, particularly in the pacific region.

Another island creator is people, as famously seen at the Palms Islands in the United Arab Emirates.

Trinity Island, Greece. Image: Vladi Private Islands

You should be cautious if you decide to buy a man-made island however, according to Vladi.

“Mother nature is very unpredictable and in the long run nature can have a significant effect on such an island.

“This can be seen with the man-made islands in the Middle East, where many man-made islands are vacant.The form of these islands has also changed.

“As long as we have islands created by mother nature, we will stick to those. These islands have stood the test of time and have existed for thousands of years.”

Australian and New Zealand Islands for sale

Pakatoa Island

NZ $550,000,000

Pakatoa is about 32 kilometres from Auckland City, and is located in the Waitemata Harbour. It is one of the only privately owned islands in the Hauraki Gulf, as the Crown owns the majority of the islands as reserve and park property.

The island was established as a tourist destination in the 1950s and now provides an exclusive piece of commercially accessible water-related land in New Zealand.

Picnic Island

Price on request

Picnic Island is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for someone who wants to own their own island while still making a profit. Set in a bay at the foot of the majestic Hazards mountain range and just around the corner from Wineglass Bay, one of the world’s best beaches, the setting is literally breathtaking.

The 10-person cabin, which is clad in copper and cantilevered over the high-water mark, as well as a second building with a communal lounge, toilet, and kitchen area, were recently completed. These structures, designed by Tasmanian architect John Latham, are one of the few waterfront freehold titles without a Crown reserve and are in private possession right to the water’s high mark. 

Private island in the Great Barrier Reef

Price on request

This delightful tropical island is situated in an undisclosed location amongst the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and can be reached from the mainland by the island’s own private commercial cruise.

This income-generating island resort has a exclusive number of visitors due to its size of approximately 16 acres. On the island, electricity is produced by wind and solar panels, and drinking water is provided by freshly filtered rainwater.

Its connection to the mainland guarantees phone and internet reception while preserving the feeling of being on a deserted island.

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