A chance to buy your own island

IT is a rare private island in picturesque Port Stephens. And it could be yours: for a cool $6 million.

After buying the unique property, initially as a joke, in 2001, Ken Derry converted Garden Island from a lantana-infested outpost to a tranquil residential retreat.

He and wife Wendy have enjoyed almost a decade of island life, but have decided it is time to move on.

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The property, which has had only two owners in the past 127 years, is on the market.

Listing agent and the owners’ daughter, Linda Derry, of Derry’s Real Estate, said people seeking privacy from the media, game-fishing enthusiasts and a hobby home builder had shown interest.

Mr Derry, 67, acquired the 1.6-hectare island in 2001 after reading of its impending sale in the Newcastle Herald.

The White family, of nearby Carrington, in Port Stephens, had owned it since an ancestor bought it from the AA Company in 1885 for £30.

‘‘I said, I might buy that island,’’ Mr Derry explained.

Mrs Derry did not take her husband seriously, even when he went for a boat trip to find Garden Island.

‘‘I ended up going to the auction and was stupid enough to buy it,’’ Mr Derry said.

Bought for $480,000, it took two years before the timber and Colorbond home was built, with material shipped over in barge-loads.

The house comprises a master bedroom, spa bathroom, open-plan living, dining and kitchen areas, and a loft bedroom.

A wraparound timber deck connects the main dwelling with a guest cabin.

Large windows showcase the location from every room.

‘‘Even when you’re washing up you’ve got views,’’ Mr Derry said.

Access is via boat, a 10-minute trip from Karuah.

The island has room for a helipad, should a new owner wish to fly there.

It also comes with two jetties, a garage, solar power, tank water, mobile phone service and room for extensions.

Mr Derry said a buyer would get a unique property.

‘‘And it’s probably, well, in my opinion, it’s the best place you’ll ever pick to live,’’ he said.

The serenity, an always changing landscape, visiting birds and dolphins, and lack of neighbours appealed to the Derrys, although the isolation could be a challenge.

Their reasons for selling include family commitments requiring their presence on the mainland, a desire to travel, and age.

The now-retired couple, who previously owned a Central Coast carpet business and never stayed in a house for more than five years, have been through about 15 properties in Sydney, the Central Coast, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens.

Having stayed almost a decade on Garden Island, Mr Derry said a move was due.

‘‘There’s got to come a time when you do actually sell it,’’ he said.

‘‘I always said when I couldn’t launch the boat and get into it and come over here, then I’d flog it. It hasn’t happened yet.

‘‘I’m just getting in early.’’

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