Thinking of Owning an island, your own slice of paradise?

Miji Michael April 25, 2021

Ever dream of owning an island, your own slice of paradise? There are islands around Australia that offer you the chance to combine a commercial income with a relaxing lifestyle.

From Queensland to Tasmania and New South Wales. The island lifestyle can be yours for the right price ranging from Worthington Island that sold for just $385,000 to islands that are expected to sell for more than $20 million. But as with any property purchase the island lifestyle also comes with its own issues.

Here are nine things you need to keep in mind when looking to buy an island:

  1. Extreme weather conditions - This can result in high insurance premiums.

  2. Logistics of long-distance construction and connecting utilities.

  3. Freehold vs leasehold terms - State governments own the majority of Australia’s coastal islands, meaning buyers only own the lease, rather than owning an island outright on freehold terms. 96% of Queensland’s islands are sold as leaseholds with lease terms ranging between 20 and 99 years and often roll over automatically on renewal.

    NSW’s river islands are generally sold as freehold. Tasmania’s Ninth Island is also one of just nine freehold islands in the state.

  4. Island leaseholders also pay council rates plus annual rent that is based on 6% of the government’s evaluation of the island.

  5. Utility and water connections for electricity, water and sewage. Some islands are connected to mainland power grids.  Island owners who generate their own power, water and sewage treatments may still have to pay annual council rates of $1000 to $2000 and off-the-grid systems also need regular maintenance.

    New solar technology makes island living easier with 350-watt solar panels and generators are no longer large and cumbersome.

    Water is collected from the roofs of island buildings or could be obtained from aquifers, which were usually available below islands’ ground levels.

  6. Construction and building is also easier with a number of barges that can accommodate everything from small graders to big bulldozers. It's as simple as going to Bunnings who will deliver your order to the barge, and the barge will deliver it to the island.

  7. Waterway zoning means you may or may not require council approval to construct jetties, boat ramps and slip ways.

  8. Livestock like cattle can alleviate the costs of island living and enable buyers to enjoy commercial gains.  Approval however may be needed for island animals. Livestock may also need to be relocated in harsh weather.

  9. Insurance premiums could be high due to harsh weather, like flooding. Flood insurance is optional.

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