Private Australian island may become eco-tourism retreat

Waterhouse Island

A private island off the coast of Tasmania may become a hotel going forward. Koh Wee Meng, CEO and founder of Fragrance Group, is rumored to have paid A$5.5 million for the island, which has an airstrip, lighthouse, jetty and colonial-style homestead. 

Koh reportedly plans to use Waterhouse Island as a private retreat before developing an eco-tourism project on it.

A property title search showed Koh bought the freehold island through a Victoria-registered firm of which he is the sole shareholder.

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Waterhouse Island is an appealing spot for development. Much of the island was declared a conservation area in 2011 by state authorities. In addition to a white-sand beach, the island has a permanent power supply and mobile phone reception despite its remote location. It can be accessed by boat or plane.

Currently, the island also has a three-bedroom home and a guest cottage. It was a private vacation home for decades before it went on the market, and Ant Manton, the Tasmanian real estate agent who handled the deal, said the island attracted global interest from potential private owners and developers. Manton said that he could not name the buyer or the transaction price due to a confidentiality agreement.

Koh's net worth is estimated to be US$1.02 billion by Forbes magazine, and his company has purchased several Australian properties in recent years. As of the end of Q1 this year, Fragrance Group owns seven properties located in Hobart, Melbourne and Perth. Melbourne's Premier Tower, which will have a 175-room boutique hotel when it opens, is among Fragrance's collection.

Source: Straits Times

Image courtesy of Google Maps.

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