As millions of Australians batten down the hatches and lock themselves at home in coronavirus quarantine, a trampolining tycoon is inviting people to come out to his 7,000-acre property in the Blue Mountains and build their own bunkers.
Brent Grundy is the founder of Flip Out, a global indoor trampolining empire that currently boasts more than 90 locations across 12 countries. The 39-year-old entrepreneur—a former rugby league player—launched the franchise in Australia in 2012, erecting his first trampolines in a western Sydney car park without securing proper permits and triggering legal action. Just a few years later, he was included in the 2017 Australian Financial Review’s “Young Rich” list, boasting a worth of $38 million.
"I'm aggressive,” he told the publication at the time, claiming that “if we see someone else doing well in an area, we will open up a bigger place just down the road… I probably do some it out of spite.” In the same piece, Grundy referred to his collective wealth as “fuck off money,” clarifying that fuck off money "means you've got enough money to not to give a fuck about what others want from you.”
Some of that money has apparently gone to Grundy's 7,000-acre lot of land in the Blue Mountains, just outside of Sydney, where he was in the midst of building a theme park when the coronavirus pandemic struck. With his initial plans on indefinite hiatus, Grundy decided to pivot towards a short-term venture that was a little more workable in the current climate. And what he came up with, according to a press release sent to VICE, was something called "Outback Escape."
As the press release explained, Outback Escape is a “Build Your Own Bunker initiative that will give 10 Australian families the chance to spend time together in private isolation on a remote property, far away from the worries of COVID-19.”
This is how it works: each family selects their own isolated part of Grundy’s property where they can camp out and socially isolate while the rest of the world sits through lockdown. A spokesperson for Outback Escape told VICE there are about 10 to 20 spots for different families, each of whom will be given a 40-foot high cube container and 30 days to turn it into a bunker or cabin.
Machinery will be provided to “weld [the box] back together as desired”, apparently, along with an onsite engineer and a team of builders who’ll be available for over-the-phone consultations. Applicants will ideally have some building experience and ability, and the family that builds the most liveable and well-designed bunker stands to win $15,000 in prize money.
Insofar as they’ll be built on his property, the finished bunkers will all technically belong to Grundy, with the potential to be used as accommodation facilities if his dream theme park ever gets off the ground. For a 12-month period though, the runner-up families will be allowed to visit their cabin on weekends.
“Lots of families are facing it tough during this season and with lots of restrictions being imposed daily, many people are seeing their favourite activities and locations prohibited,” said Grundy. “I created Outback Escape as a truly unique experience for families to hit the outdoors and spend time together, but take comfort in knowing they are abiding by the rules.
“Now feels like a good time to be bold and do something out of the box.”
Families will be invited onto the property from this Sunday—although the company is yet to receive any applications.