Just months after nabbing iconic Australian bootmaker R.M. Williams, iron ore magnate and Fortescue Metals boss Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and his wife Nicola have splashed AUD$42 million on a private island off the coast of Cairns. The powerhouse couple’s private investment company Tattarang has reportedly taken the leasehold on Lizard Island, the luxurious coastal region on the Great Barrier Reef. So, what makes Lizard island worth the price tag?
Comprising of a combined 2000ha of land across three parcels, Lizard Island is billed as the ultimate jet-setter’s paradise, but the history of the area is interesting. Known as Dyiigurra to the Dingaal First Nations’ people, Lizard Island was regarded as a sacred place, however, the history books suggest Captain James Cook gave it its European name when he came ashore in 1770. It stayed relatively under the radar, however in 1975, the stunning region opened as a resort. Promoted as the ideal retreat for cashed-up travellers, Lizard Island boasts 24 beaches, luxury accommodation and an unimpeded view of arguably the nation’s greatest naturally occurring landmark.
Most recently, Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed SEA Group has been in control of the landmark region. According to reports, the property magnate purchased the island back in 1997 for $16 million, with Delaware North currently subleasing the island for around $2 million per annum. However, it looks like Twiggy has got his private island, after all, provided it receives approval from the Queensland Government.
While his private investment firm has yet to make an official statement, SEA Group reportedly announced the deal in an investor statement last week, as per The Urban Developer.
“The buyer has agreed to purchase the property located at Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia at an aggregate consideration of $42 million in cash,” the statement said. “The property comprises three parcels of land located at Lizard Island … with an aggregate site area of approximately 2005ha held under the head leases which will expire on 30 September 2050.”
While Twiggy’s private island marks a big landmark changing of hands, Lizard Island isn’t the only big buy Tattarang has made of late. The private investment firm recently acquired Olivia Newton John’s Byron retreat Gaia, which transacted last month for $30 million. Located just outside Byron Bay, the 8ha Gaia is made up of 22 accommodation suites, complete with a fitness centre, restaurant, and day spa.
Needless to say, Twiggy Forrest has good taste, but just what he plans to do with lizard island remains a bit of a mystery. What we do know, id he’ll have one hell of a way to get there, courtesy of his $98 million private jet. Some people know how to live.