There's a little wedge of sand situated over the Great Barrier Reef, some eight miles (14 kilometres) from Yeppoon on the Australian mainland, where it's perpetually sunny, COVID-free, and up for sale. That is, if you have $17 million (AU$25 million).
Technically it's called Pumpkin Island, but to locals it's known as XXXX Island, after a beer that's very famous in Australia and nowhere else. That's because back in 2012 the island was leased by the parent company of XXXX and turned into a kind of interactive marketing campaign. For the three years until 2015 the island was seen as a highly branded mecca for Australian lad culture, to which young men were shuttled back and forth to drink beer, go fishing, and get sunburned.
A 2015 photo of the island's "boat shed." Image via someone on Twitter who wanted to remain anonymous
At the time, property developers John and Sonja Rumble had given the island to their son Wayne for his 27th birthday. A report in the Daily Telegraph claimed Wayne was instructed to turn the place into a business venture.
"His dad actually said 'make it work', so this campaign is certainly a way for him to make it work," explained Wayne's business partner in 2012.
The island's toilet block. Image via the same source
For the next three years XXXX Island became something of a running joke in Australia. Search #XXXXIsland and you'll find an uncountable number of socials photos of young men flexing arms in boardshorts, drinking beer in boardshorts, and standing around an outdoor toilet perched on the island's tip.
Now, the Rumble family have rebranded XXXX Island as an eco-friendly luxury resort, listing the property as "a private island escape for couples, families or groups." The island still sports the same infrastructure (accommodation for up to 34 people in five self-contained cottages spread over six hectares) with the XXXX branding removed. But perhaps the island's notoriety lives on.