Dealing in paradise

Dealing in paradise Peter Michael - 30th January 2007
(Credit: The Courier-Mail)

Johnny Depp has one. So does Mel Gibson. And fellow private island owner and billionaire Richard Branson likes them so much he bought several.

"Owning an island is the ultimate status symbol," Port Douglas-based island broker Cheyenne Morrison said.

"It beats a knighthood, having a private jet or possessing underwear laced with diamonds."

Mr Morrison should know. He makes a living from selling some of the more than 4000 privately owned islands around the world.

"It is not like selling a house; sometimes I wish I had a normal job," the 43-year-old said.

When he is not working from home in Port Douglas on his laptop, the self-professed "islomaniac" is jetting around the world negotiating multimillion-dollar deals with the world's rich and famous.

His latest deals include the $6 million sale of a Scottish island complete with 13th century castle and a manor house. Yesterday, he sealed a $9 million deal on a luxury resort development project involving the sale of 23 islands in the Louisiade archipelago in Papua New Guinea.

"I really have a unique job. There is only one other person in the world who does the same thing I do.

"Some people think my job is glamorous and exciting and, despite the 15-hour days, sometimes I do step out of a seaplane on to a sandy beach somewhere in the Pacific and think 'wow, this is amazing'.

"I deal with the mega-famous and mega-wealthy, who are not the easiest of clients, and I don't earn as much as some think.

"But I've only got to sell one island a year and I'm doing pretty well."

His latest client, Cairns-based mining magnate Len Miles, yesterday met with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to approve a $US50 million ($64.7 million) gold refinery project in Milne Bay.

Under the deal, his client will develop a luxury diving and game fishing resort in the Conflict Island group on the coral-studded archipelago, about 960km northeast of Cairns.

Three Queensland islands are listed for sale with Mr Morrison's company, Coldwell Banker Australia. They are Keswick Island, with a hefty $33 million price tag; Bamborough Island, for a relatively cheap $3 million; and two luxury villas on the honeymoon destination of the stars Bedarra Island, for an undisclosed sum (if you have to ask you can't afford it).


Cheyenne Morrison


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