How to invest on Kangaroo Island

From truffle farms to clifftop golf courses, creative investors on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island can reap unique rewards.

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For Michael Barrett, principal of Century 21 On Kangaroo Island, few places in Australia can rival his home.

Born in Port Lincoln on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, Mr Barrett has lived on Kangaroo Island for 35 years and has worked in the island’s real estate market for over two decades.

According to the principal, it’s the authenticity of island life that keeps drawing visitors back.

“We’ve got no traffic lights, we’ve got no high-rise buildings, we’ve got untainted air,” Mr Barrett said. “It gives this opportunity for people to revisit their values and see what is important, and it creates a real stillness in their mind.”

For some visitors from the mainland, coming to Kangaroo Island is “a step back in time,” he said. “You almost feel the letdown of your worry when you live here.”

Located in the Gulf of St Vincent, just off the heel of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island is a 145-kilometre-long tapestry of scrubland, forests, wild sandy beaches and rain-lashed cliffs. In the language of the Kaurna people, custodians of the island for 16,000 years, Kangaroo Island is named Karta Pintingga, or “Island of the Dead”.

Recently, Kangaroo Island has drawn the attention of investors who are attracted by the island’s “clean and green environment”.

“We do a lot of transactions for mainland vendors to a mainland buyer,” said Mr Barrett, who revealed that over 50 per cent of Kangaroo Island buyers are from the mainland.

High-end tourist accommodation and bespoke agricultural businesses are drawing the attention of investors from as far afield as Sydney and Melbourne.

“We’ve got a wine industry that has grown, we’ve got a chap who has just started growing truffles,” said Mr Barrett.

The agricultural investors who are the most successful capitalise on Kangaroo Island’s green reputation by selling “a product that is as pure as possible: it’s not genetically modified, it’s not over-chemicalised by sprays”.

He shared that one business which has been particularly successful in recent years is Kangaroo Island Wool, a shop and farm that allows customers to follow the product’s journey from fleece to garment.

With a mild climate, spectacular views and abundant land, Kangaroo Island is also about to see “a golf course to be built down towards the south coast that will attract golfers from all over the world”.

“The other thing that has really taken off is remote, high-end tourist accommodation,” said Mr Barrett. “You come, you stay in a luxury-style suite, you’ve got just wildlife to look at, so you’re away from everyone.

“You’re generally nestled in the bushland to see nature at its best,” Mr Barrett concluded.

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