Celeste Mitchell, Escape
January 22, 2017 10:42pmNothing says rock star like renting your own island for the weekend.
And while the world of exclusive-use islands where you can live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasies seem the realm of reality show stars and oil tycoons, Australia’s private islands span the budget spectrum from supermarket snags to lobster ceviche, cured seconds after being caught.
Of all the options available to wannabe castaways, TravelManagers personal travel manager Darren Christensen, representative for Narre Warren South in Victoria, believes family-owned and run Pumpkin, Satellite and Haggerstone islands each have a distinctly Australian personality.
“The personal touches and experiences – by people who love and care about the lifestyles they have created – makes all the difference,” he says. “Clients truly feel that they have their own piece of paradise.
“This is why I believe they are becoming more popular year after year, especially for well-travelled clients who want something unique and different to experience.
“[And] shorter flying times mean there is more time to enjoy your exclusive island getaway.”
Go large at one of these islands for all budgets. (Rates quoted are for hire of entire island.)
The award-winning Satellite Island.AFFORDABLE
Overnight Rate: $1200 (2 guests, minimum 2 night stay)
Think islands are all liquid turquoise and swaying palm trees? The cliche is blissfully shattered at Satellite Island, a blip in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel between the mainland of southern Tasmania and Bruny Island.
Here, the beautifully designed Summer House and Boathouse provide a dreamy escape for up to eight guests on one of Tasmania’s only privately-owned islands. A bell tent also provides an extra glamping touch during summer.
Rates include a stocked pantry, breakfast provisions, as many wild oysters as you can shuck, linen, fishing equipment, kayaks and snorkelling gear.
After a day spent exploring the island’s 34 hectares of ruggedness, catching your dinner and cooking it over a fire on the beach, cosy up beside the fire with a great book and thank your lucky stars for the fact you’ve got the whole place to yourself.
Satellite Island Summer House. Picture: SuppliedMID-RANGE
Overnight Rate: $2110 (10 adults, minimum 3 night stay)
In Queensland’s Keppel Group of islands, Pumpkin Island is the ultimate private island experience when you want to take your entire entourage, accommodating up to 34 guests.
You won’t escape mobile coverage but you can still fulfill your deserted island dreams from the hanging basket chair on the balcony of one of the seven solar and wind-powered cottages.
By day, explore Pumpkin’s tiny 450m footprint, venture out in glass-bottom kayaks to see the Southern Great Barrier Reef below you, go snorkelling and stand-up paddle boarding, and catch your fill of trevally, coral trout and red emperor.
Jump on the 45-minute transfer from Yeppoon’s Keppel Bay Marina and don’t forget to take some firewood so you can build a bonfire on the beach. If you’re not keen on self-catering, a private chef can be arranged, as can helicopter transfers.
Daydreaming at Pumpkin Island. Picture: SuppliedTOP END
Overnight Rate: $6800 (12 adults, all inclusive, minimum 4 night stay)
The price tag is definitely 5-star but luxury takes on an entirely new meaning at this rugged private island off the Cape York Peninsula.
Off the grid, remote and wild, Haggerstone Island is what would have happened if Gilligan had been as enterprising as Roy and Anna Turner who landed here 30 years ago and set about building four jungle huts that are the epitome of barefoot luxury.
Meals are a stream of freshly-shucked oysters, daily hauls of fish and crayfish, and fresh picks from the orchard and veggie patch. The all-inclusive nature means you set the itinerary, menu and drinks list and can opt to fill your days with waterfall chasing, fishing, snorkelling or doing absolutely nothing at all.
To get there, fly to Weipa then join a private charter flight to the island.