Step inside another world
A sprawling Hope Island estate, inspired by the architecture of the ancient Roman world, has hit the market for the first time
IT’S dotted with handpainted frescoes and pays homage to the ancient Roman world.
Welcome to philanthropist Neil Balnaves’ Gold Coast mansion, which will take you back to what time was like hundreds of years ago.
The former chair of Dreamworld operator Ardent Leisure has put his sprawling Hope Island estate, which is inspired by the worldrenowned J. Paul Getty Museum, on the market.
The museum, based at both the Getty Centre in Los Angeles and Getty Villa in Malibu, is dedicated to the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.
Balnaves’ 2834sq m Killymoon Drive estate comes with a raft of luxury features including an outdoor courtyard centred around an 18m pool, fountains, 30ft walls adorned with handpainted frescoes by artist Michael Place referencing Roman mythology and a tennis court.
Balnaves’s son Hamish said the house, which was built by the family in the mid-90s, had only been used as a holiday home for the Balnaves family. “He’s (his father Neil) always had an interest in Roman architecture,” he said. “The idea behind the property was in the centre of Roman villas there was a well and water would run off all the roofs and into the well,” he said. “Water pours down and obviously we have drains there but when it rains that pool area is really beautiful. It creates a focus around the pool.”
Inside, a grand atrium acts at the central hub for the home with high ceilings and commissioned paintings.
Large windows allow plenty of light to flood in while also providing postcard water views of the pool on one side and the canal on the other. On this level there is also a large kitchen featuring marble benches and Miele appliances — it integrates with an informal lounge and dining area that leads to a tiled waterfront terrace.
The property is also perfect for entertaining. “When you walk through the front door and look down at the pool it’s very impressive,” he said. “Every year for 20 years my father has hosted a massive party in that area for up to 80 people.”
All bedrooms are ensuited while the main bedroom has a marble ensuite, walk-in wardrobe, separate retreat and water vistas.
Mr Balnaves said the family chose Hope Island for their holiday home because of the golfing and boating it offered. “It was about being surrounded by golf course and also being in the Hope Island Resort,” he said.
Sydney-based Neil Balnaves worked in the media industry for more than 45 years — he was behind drama shows including Water Rats, Police Rescue and then Big Brother.
He founded the Southern Star Group, was chancellor of Charles Darwin University, a trustee member of Bond University and is a director of the Sydney Orthopaedic Research Institute. He established The Balnaves Foundation in 2006.