Island resort near Cairns on the market for $35m

Property developer Doug Gamble is hoping to cash in on the renewed appetite from Australian billionaires for Queensland island retreats after putting his Fitzroy Island Resort near Cairns back on the market with an asking price of about $35 million.

It is the third time in seven years that Mr Gamble and his family have tried to sell the 4.4 hectare resort, after it was previously offered to the market for about $30 million in 2019 and 2016.

He paid $8 million for property in 2010, when he bought it from receivers.

Since then, the Gamble family has pumped millions of dollars into the resort that offers 106 accommodation units, a beachfront restaurant and bar, a staff village, general store and anchorage for six boats.

There is also a 190-seat high-speed ferry that operates daily transfers to Cairns taking about 45 minutes each way and the opportunity for visitors to explore the surrounding 339ha national park.

The Gamble family has appointed Stacey Quaid and Karen Wales from Colliers to secure a buyer via international expressions of interest.

“The trend we have seen is of high net worth investors snapping up these resorts up, so I imagine there will be interest from these groups,” Ms Wales told The Australian Financial Review.

However, she said the resort’s proximity to Cairns and the rebound in international tourism – occupancy rates rose to 79 per cent at the resort last year – would also generate interest from a broader range of buyers.

Fitzroy Island Resort comes to market after Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife, Annie, became the nation’s latest high-profile island owners when they purchased cyclone-prone Dunk Island opposite Mission Beach for just under $24 million in July last year.

Other high-profile island owners include mining magnate Andrew Forrest, who paid $42 million for Lizard Island, 250 kilometres north of Cairns in November 2021 and hospitality entrepreneur Glenn Piper, who paid more than $10 million for Hook Island in the Whitsundays, in May last year.

Also showing an interest in island resorts has been the richest Australian, Gina Rinehart, who paid a visit to Pumpkin Island, an eco-retreat in the Keppel Island Group opposite Rockhampton that the Rumble family has been trying to sell for about $25 million since last year.

Fitzroy Island Resort includes a waterfront restaurant and 106 accommodation suites.

However, Sydney-based property group Kingdom Developments has swiftly put Victor Island, a 3.13-hectare private retreat off the coast of Mackay, back on the market after purchasing it last year for $3.6 million.

Lynn Malone and Barbara Wolveridge of Queensland Sotheby’s International are handling the sale of both Pumpkin Island and the re-listed Victor Island.

Ms Malone said there was interest in Pumpkin Island from a Gold Coast buyer.

Last year the Rumble family sold the adults-only Elysian Retreat on Long Island for close to $8.75 million to Sydney venture capitalist Shayne Smyth.

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