My Island Life Posted by Reef Magazine - 25 August 2013 I first visited the island in a professional capacity for a conference in around 1995 and appreciated then how beautiful and unique it was and saw its great potential. After I got married and moved to wintery Melbourne, my husband Otto and I started looking for an investment rental property that we could also enjoy. We flew to Hamilton Island, knowing that it offered an idyllic tropical experience - right here in Australia - and it would potentially offer a sound business opportunity. We bought our first property that same weekend in 2004. It was The Long House on a lovely piece of elevated land in Melaleuca Drive. The Oatley’s had also just bought the island at that time and we wanted to share in their vision to invest time and effort in creating Australia’s premier island paradise. And so today we operate five luxury properties on the island. In addition to The Long House, we’ve purchased three of the Yacht Club Villas and a Pavilions apartment, which faces into the marina. They all have magnificent and uninterrupted views across the Whitsundays, which are particularly fabulous during Audi Hamilton Island Race Week or when the whales migrate south through the waters. Whilst the GFC has affected many property values, our investment properties offer attractive medium term capital upside, with solid rental returns in the meantime. Best yet, we get to enjoy them ourselves. From an investment perspective the island meets most of the important criteria: position, being within the Whitsunday’s 74 islands is an undeniably fabulous place; transport, it’s easy to get to, direct by air or ferry; safety, in our increasingly muddled up world, it’s great to holiday in a family-safe environment; stewardship, the Oatley family have proven to be a fantastic owner, continually improving the island and its facilities; and climate, we have perfect weather for much of the year. Given we operate five properties and our charter boat, AWOL, we have employed our own full time staff. They’re wonderful, appreciating our attention to detail and motto of ‘treating people how they themselves would wish to be treated’. Almost half of our bookings are repeat or recommended visitors. Each property is stocked to chef standard and is immaculate so that people feel the comfort of their own home, but at the same time enjoy the five star luxuries, with everything at hand. For me it’s all about providing the quality of life that I would want and enjoy, from the high count Egyptian cotton sheets to the Riedel glasses. Our staff are on 24-hour call, they will unpack groceries ordered, assist in organising dinner dates or fishing trips, do anything really that’s required, to go that extra mile. p>Whilst we have enough exposure to the island, we constantly review the market and look into further opportunities. The Oatley’s and their management team have been careful not to impact on the environment and are aware of not over commercialising. There will only ever be so much development with two-thirds of the island dedicated to nature. And importantly from a guest perspective the island caters to all budgets from doing things like having a spa treatment to watching the cricket or the races at the Marina Tavern and from high end to low, there are choices. If you are interested in investing I think you have to look at it like this: it’s the Great Barrier Reef and there is only so much of it. The government restricts property development and there isn’t a lot of it, so it is fairly unique. There are some wonderful opportunities, the rental market is very strong and offers a good cash flow. Be smart as to how you market your property, set it apart, have a point of difference and a long-term commitment to reap the capital growth rewards. And while watching your investment mature you get to experience a tropical paradise. I still pinch myself at the physical beauty of it all, it’s stunning, and the wildlife and sealife are just incredible. We’ve been to the Greek Islands; Caribbean; Hawaii; Fiji, all over the world but nowhere is as beautiful as here. And it can be totally private, although it also has a great community with around 1,000 permanent residents. We’ve had some of the best times of our lives here, from just having a BBQ and great sing-alongs with friends to being part of all the other regular island events and festivities. My five top things to do include a round of golf at the Hamilton Island Golf Club (I’ve recently taken it up, the course is incredible and rivals anything in Sicily or the Caribbean); a sunset cocktail on the Bommie Deck of the new Hamilton Island Yacht Club; a long lunch at Pebble Beach restaurant at qualia; playing frisbees at Dead Dog Bay with our daughters; sitting on the water at sunset and watching the dolphins around our boat. The list could go on, there is no limit… and where else can you look out and say “let’s go to Whitehaven for the day” and enjoy a beach that has been ranked as one of the top Eco friendly beaches in the world. About the Author 'REEF Magazine – Hamilton Island & the Great Barrier Reef' is a magazine that showcases all that Hamilton Island has to offer, from events, to an exciting array of activities, attractions and more. You can pick up your complimentary copy of 'REEF Magazine' at any Hamilton Island hotel, and you can also access some of our feature articles right here on The Island Blog.