Rent an entire tropical island for less than $2,500
Yep, you read right. You can now bag yourself an entire island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef for less than the cost of an average night’s stay in a penthouse.
Perfect for weddings, parties or family holiday escapes, Pumpkin Island can accommodate 10 guests at a mere $2,220 per night (or $222 per person, per night if you split it with 10 of your closest mates). #BargainOfTheCentury
Located just 14 kilometres off the coast of Yeppoon, the six-hectare island is regarded as the first and only carbon positive (inhabited) island in Australia. Each of the seven self-catering units are powered by wind and solar panels, and are scattered around the island to offer plenty of space for the kids to run wild as you relax in peace with bae.
Being able to walk around barefoot and carefree is a childhood memory I cherish. Pumpkin Island is no exception – I didn’t hesitate kicking off my thongs (flip flops to our international readers) as soon as we arrived.
Hammocks, swinging chairs and lounges are dotted around the isle for you to discover and enjoy. Best of all, there’s no need to dress up and rush out at dawn to cheekily reserve your spot with a beach towel as you’re guaranteed to bag the best seat in the house (or the beach in this instance) when you have an entire island to yourself.
Yes I may have spied a hammock and told myself I’d just lay there for five minutes with my book… An hour later I woke to the gentle calls of a bird and realised I had drifted off to sleep.
Island time is a rare sensation I experience, but my golly gosh there’s nothing like waking in a hammock without a care in the world and a stretch of sand all to yourself.
It’s not all snooze time in paradise. No matter the weather (or wind direction) there’s always a protected beach for you and your little ones to enjoy.
The main beach has perfect soft sand ideal for sandcastles and safe shallow water for your tribe to splash and play in. Pumpkin Island also has a great collection of kayaks, SUPs, paddle boats, giant inflatable swans, boogie boards and snorkel gear for you to enjoy. Best of all, they’re all FREE to use!
Hot tip: Speak to the island owners and caretakers, Wayne and Laureth, and ask for their glass kayak for a truly cool way of spotting fish and corals without getting your hair wet.
If you’re getting Bear Grylls urges you can fossick for wild oysters; at low tide, head for the rocks on the North West area of the island to try your luck at shucking your very own.
Win extra brownie points with your plus one and opt to stay at Pebble Point. Nestled on the northern point of the island overlooking a protected beach, this luxury cottage has its very own plunge pool looking out to the ocean.
If you’re feeling social, fire up the family sized BBQ on the deck for the ultimate sunset soiree. Don’t forget, Pumpkin Island is self-catering – there’s no nasty surprises or expensive food bills at the end of your trip. Simply order your groceries online prior to arrival or have the local mainland restaurant, The Waterline, prepare food packs for you.
I looked like a cooking pro as I proudly presented my hungry tribe with seafood platters, fruit platters, and a killer BBQ without raising a sweat. (I may not have told them how easy it was to simply heat and arrange the pre-made food packs.)
There are two easy options to access the island. Make your way to Yeppoon and take the 45-minute, aptly-named Pumpkin Express (boat) or opt for the rock star arrival and chopper to the island.
Self-contained villas start from $280 per night through to renting the entire island like a king (or queen) for $2,220 per night.
Pumpkin Island is self-catering. Food can easily be ordered online prior to arrival and delivered to your ferry transfer. Speak to Pumpkin Island when booking for more information.
Do you like the idea of marooning yourself on your own private tropical island?
*This post was originally published in 2016 and updated in March 2018.