Buyer appetite for Queensland's Great Barrier Reef islands has not been quelled by COVID-19, with a Sydney hotelier about to pay close to $20m to purchase Long Island in the Whitsundays.

The Sydney hotelier is expected to develop an upscale resort on the island between Hamilton ­Island and Airlie Beach that was this week sold by Sydney-based former investment banker David Kingston, through CBRE agents Wayne Bunz and Hayley Manvell.

The 8ha property had long been on the market.

Local Queenslanders said the deal was struck between the Sydney hotelier and Mr Kingston, former managing director of Rothschild Bank.

A development application is yet to be lodged for the project.

Long Island's resort facilities have been closed since the 2016 cyclone.

While the island, 7km offshore, enjoys mainland power, its sewerage system has been decommissioned.


Long Island in the Whitsundays.
Long Island in the Whitsundays.


The island was originally developed by Contiki. At one stage there were plans for 44 luxury villas, a spa, a restaurant and lounge bar as well as an infinity swimming pool overlooking Happy Bay.

A major Middle Eastern group paid a deposit to purchase Long Island several years ago with plans for an ultra luxe Six Senses Resort. But the cyclone hit and their project did not eventuate.

Mr Kingston would not comment on the Long Island sale, but was effusive about his plans further north.

He is poised to expand his Great Barrier Reef marine fleet Sunlover Cruises with the acquisition of a third boat.

He presently owns two 400-seater cruisers and is looking at acquiring a third 250-seater as he prepares to add more attractions to his marine operations off Cairns, where he also owns the 100-room, 3.5-star heritage-style Hides Hotel.


Daydream Island Resort is said to be quietly on the market.
Daydream Island Resort is said to be quietly on the market.

Meanwhile, sources claim Daydream Island's owner, China Capital Investment Group, which purchased it for about $30m several years ago and which spent at least $100m refurbishing it, are looking to sell the island, having put a $200m price tag on it.

CCIG is yet to appoint an agent.


Originally published as Long Island sells for $20m, Daydream for sale next