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Where to buy a property on an Australian island for under $500k

Profile photo of Craig Gibson

It’s not news that city living can be noisy, overpopulated and expensive. Simply put, the hustle and bustle just isn’t for everyone. Come to think of it, neither is the mainland.

Are you looking for a bit of peace and quiet? Maybe, a serene seaside setting? You could be looking to work remotely or maybe get out onto the water for a spot of boating? Perhaps you really enjoyed the movie Cast Away?

You may want to consider island living. Australia’s coastline is as picturesque as it is long and most of our islands are so close to shore, even Tom Hanks might consider them. Finding your own corner on a beautiful archipelago doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, in fact it could save you money and could even be a comparable commute time to mainland living.

Kick off those shoes and imagine the sand between your toes - here’s some of Australia’s best island locations where you can still snag a home for under, or close to $500k.


Buying property on Cradle Mountain for under $500k
Just two hours drive from Launceston, Cradle Mountain is widely considered one of Australia's iconic wilderness experiences.

As Australia’s largest island, we may be stretching the concept here, but hey who can ignore all the Apple Isle has to offer. Tassie is known for its spectacular scenery and protected areas cover roughly 42% of the island, including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area - home to the spectacular Cradle Mountain.

Tassie punches above its weight in the culinary sense with boutique cheeses and seafood being star attractions. 

There are weekend markets across the country, which draw tourists and locals in their thousands, all keen to sample fresh produce and handmade goods. Evidently the most populous island on this list, with roughly a half a million citizens, Tasmania has many places that offer a combination of serenity and convenience.

With so many stunning locations to choose from across the island, we are going for Devonport (pop. 30,629) on the north coast. It is riding high on renewed interest from investors and people looking for an alternative lifestyle to the big smoke. Median property prices over the last year range from $355,000 for houses to $302,500 for units. Based on five years of sales, houses have grown +8.6% over the past five years, with units advancing +8.6%.

Phillip Island, Vic

Buying property on Philip Island
Phillip island is known for pristine white beaches and a wonderland of native wildlife

Phillip Island is known for its wildlife, namely the Phillip Island nature park, in fact 3.5 million tourists visit each year, many of whom come to see the large population of resident fairy penguins.

It’s also on the map for its world famous motorsport track. 9000 people call this scenic destination home, which has a particularly convenient land bridge, no boats needed. The island sits 140kms south-east of Melbourne, under a two hour drive.

In terms of property, the median house price in Cowes (pop. 5,000) is currently $615,000, with the median unit price at $460,000. This means you could struggle to find a property near our $500k mark, but you may still be able to snag a 2 bedroom house around that price. But be quick, Cowes has recorded a compound growth rate of +12.2 per cent for houses and +7.9 per cent for units over the last five years - which is pretty hot!

Coochimudlo Island, Qld

Nestled near the southern part of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Coochimudlo Island is a small community with a population of just over 700 people. 

The scenery includes crystal clear waters, wrap around sandy beaches except for rocky cliff faces to the south west and mangroves skirting the western foreshore.

The island is serviced by ferries every half hour between 5:00am and 11:00pm, the ride only minutes to the mainland and an overall commute to Brisbane City in 45 minutes. Featuring a library, gym, tennis courts, football and cricket pitches and even a 9 hole golf course ‘Coochi’ as the locals adoringly call it, feels like a holiday, everyday.

According to realestate.com.au the median house price in Coochiemudlo Island is currently $389,000, while Domain indicates you will be paying in the region of $404,000 for a 3 bedder and $430,000 for a four bedder.

Kangaroo Island, SA

Buying property on Australian island for under $500k
Kangaroo Island is one of the best places to see wild native animals like koalas, sea lions and kangaroos.

Australia’s third largest island behind Melville Island and Tasmania, Kangaroo Island has a lot to offer.

With a population of just 4,702 people a third of the island is dedicated to nature reserves, home to sea lions, penguins, koalas, birds and more than a few kangaroos. Another popular animal, especially with tourists, is the Southern Rock Lobster which is caught on the southern coast. If you like your seafood served with a glass of your favourite drop, say no more, the island is also home to 30 wine growers and 12 wineries. With passenger and vehicle ferries taking 45 minutes to the mainland, this island is as wild as it is convenient.

Kingscote is the main town on Kanga Island, and you can easily beat our budget here as the median house price is a rather reasonable $260,000. Delve into the details and you will be paying in the region of $363,000 for a four bedder in Kingscote.

Macleay Island, Qld

Macleay Island, just south of Coochiemudlo, also sits in Moreton Bay, however it is slightly larger with a population of around 3000. With the larger island comes more facilities including cafes, restaurants, a bowls club, golf course and boat club.

For the creative types there’s an Arts Complex with a studio, gallery and pottery shed; in fact Macleay is home to 250 writers artists and musicians, the amazing scenery a continual inspiration. Other than the beautiful beaches, the island is a significant spiritual site for Indigenous Australians and there are a number of heritage listed sites including a sugar mill.

The median house price in Macleay Island is $265,000, with a four bedder in the region of $363,500. In terms of practicalities MacLeay Island State School caters for Prep-6 and is a CoEd government school.