Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and his wife Nicola’s private investment company Tattarang has splashed $42 million for Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
It comes hot on the heels of the company’s acquisition of celebrity Byron retreat Gaia, which transacted last month for $30 million.
Tattarang declined to comment on the Lizard Island deal, but the vendor, Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed SEA Group, announced the deal in an investor statement last week.
“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.”
Delaware North subleases the island for about $2 million per annum, and the sale is conditional on this, as well as the approval from the Queensland government to transfer the head leases to Tattarang.
SEA Group bought the island in 1997 for $16 million and would reportedly notch up an aggregate gain of about $10 million on the sale of the property.
Lizard Island, 250km north of Cairns, was damaged in Cyclone Nathan in 2015 and required repairs.
It opened as a resort in 1975 and lures deep-pocketed patrons with the appeal of 24 beaches, luxury accommodation and the vivid colours of the reef.
Lizard Island was known as Dyiigurra to the Dingaal First Nations’ people and was regarded as a sacred place.
Captain James Cook gave it its European name after the monitor lizards he saw when he came ashore in 1770.
Famous guests have included US TV show host Ellen de Generes and wife, actor Portia de Rossi, and Australian actor Russell Crowe
It is one of a number of island transactions this year, including the troubled Dunk Island, which Sydney music entrepreneur Mark Spillane bought for $20 million in June this year.