Kalua and Milk

Finally it appears that summer is well and truly on its way. OK yes, technically it’s still over 2 months away but I’ll take whatever I can get.

Used to be that the Sydney property market went to sleep around early to mid-December and stayed that way until early February but recent years have seen the market active right up to Christmas and kicking back into gear not long after New Year’s.  I doubt this year will be any different especially as the gloomy clouds continue to gather on our economic horizon. 

‘Kalua’, Palm Beach, NSW

So no one’s going to surprised I’m featuring this one. Yes it’s a trophy property for sure but this one is awesome and right up my alley. Would I buy it? I was going to say no but honestly? Yes, I probably would. But I don’t have $25 million so it’s a non-issue. Many of you would be aware of this property due to the famous folk who have rented it in the past. The owner actually lives in Hawaii and while he does stay there occasionally, more often than not this place is rented out to high-rollers. Is it the best house in Palm Beach? Not entirely sure. I know the house next door is certainly on par but perhaps isn’t quite as good as Kalua. And I’ve never been inside the Packer house. In any case this is a Big Deal listing and I’ll be watching it closely. I predict it will either sell quickly to someone who has coveted it for a long time or it won’t sell at all. $25 million dollars is a hell of a lot of money for what would probably be a holiday house. However it's worth noting that there's 60% vendor finance available. That this is even mentioned in the listing is a sign of the times.  From the listing "Unquestionably the most significant and coveted landholding in exclusive Palm Beach, Kalua is a beachfront sanctuary of international stature beyond compare. Comprising three separate houses on an estimated 5,500sqm double block, it sits in a protected cul-de-sac at the prestigious southern end of the beachfront, nestled among the lush vegetation of historic Cabbage Tree Boat Harbour. Gazing over the azure waters of the Pacific, it is secluded amid magnificent sprawling grounds. Kalua presents a once in a lifetime opportunity as one of the Eastern seaboard's most prestigious residential offerings.

Steeped in history

Built c1920, Kalua was one of the first properties constructed in Palm Beach, guaranteeing its historical significance. The main residence was built by the distinguished Hordern family who held the property for 60 years before it was purchased by current owners the Joye family in 1978. Folklore has it that the Hordern family sent their architect by sea to Oahu, Hawaii, to copy "stick by stick and stone by stone" the impressive Dillingham plantation residence. Hence it was named Kalua, which means 'double' in Hawaiian. At the time of construction there were no roads into Palm Beach so all materials, including soil, had to be barged in from Newport. The original sandstone steps still take you up from the beach to the house.

The main residence

Reminiscent of a bygone era and retaining all of its classic appeal, the elegantly relaxed 1920s plantation-style home is a sprawling, flexible family residence framed by wide entertaining verandas. It encompasses six generous bedrooms, five with en suites, including privately accessible helpers' quarters accommodating 1-2 staff. The entire upper level is devoted to the master retreat, encompassing his and hers dressing rooms, a marble en suite, an entertainment cabinet, a private outdoor shower terrace and a second large terrace with premier views. Multiple entertaining spaces include a grand lounge room, a generous atrium-style dining room, a family room and a charming gas kitchen featuring solid timber cabinetry, Carrara marble bench tops, commercial ovens and sitting area with a gas fireplace. The gracious residence is enhanced by touches such as jarrah, tallowood and kauri floors and a wood-burning fireplace in the lounge room.

The caretaker's house

A second completely private residence has been designed specifically to accommodate an on-site caretaker's family. It is also perfect for guests or extended family members. Constructed from Australian hardwoods, the two-storey building has private access through the adjacent parkland down to the beach. It contains three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a black granite kitchen. Enhanced by cathedral glass ceilings, park views and wide recycled blackbutt floorboards, its living space is warmed by a gas fire. To facilitate maintenance work, there is a large dedicated workshop, a second utility room and a washroom for tradespeople.

The cabana house

A self-contained beach cabana is located down by the property's beachfront entrance, enjoying level access across to the water. Set up as a bunkhouse to accommodate multiple beds, it provides a wonderful teenager's retreat or recreation area, complete with its own kitchen and bathroom. New planning laws make it highly unlikely that new properties would be able to build anything of this nature in a position so close to the beachfront, making it a prized asset of the estate.

The spectacular grounds

Kalua's meandering, idyllic grounds are nothing short of breathtaking. They provide a secluded oasis in which you can entertain your guests or relax in total privacy, complete with sprawling front and rear lawns, towering trees and a variety of alfresco living spaces. Set adjacent to the house, a gas-heated pool is framed by a large timber deck soaking up the northerly sun. Original sandstone steps take you down to the north-south tennis court - the only championship sized court in the Palm Beach area. The property is dotted with a multitude of significant flora, including angophoras, cabbage tree palms and Washington palms. Additional amenities include a Jacuzzi, a children's playhouse, a swing set, an outdoor beach shower and four-car covered security parking with plenty of room for additional vehicles.

An idyllic recreational playground

 An exclusive coastal haven renowned for its picturesque beach and clear turquoise water, Palm Beach is considered a playground for the rich and famous yet exudes a quintessentially laid back holiday ambience. It provides a wonderful retreat from city life within easy commuting distance of the CBD, which is less than an hour's drive away. The Eastern Suburbs are also accessible by a 10 minute seaplane journey. Bordered by the ocean to the east and the calm waters of Pittwater to the west, Palm Beach offers an endless array of recreational pursuits."
Now for the good stuff.

(click pictures to enlarge and try not to drool all over your keyboard)

You can see why this place rents for upwards of $30,000 per week in the summer.

Imagine this on hot summers nights. Delicious.

Honestly, I'd never leave.

A better view of the floorplans is available at http://www.kaluapalmbeach.com/ 



  1. Great writeup and all and I love plantation stuff but as I'm deluded enough to dream I'm deluded enough to think my opinion matters.

    I can't bring myself to like it. It gives the impression of being exactly what it has been for a long time: a trophy rental.

    It's meant to be a beach house. In my old-school standards he/she who owns the land makes the rules. That means knockout ocean views, direct beachfrontage uninterrupted by roads and massive treelines. Like being able to throw a stone from the balcony into the sea kinda direct.

    Some people like that national-parky communal feel that the Palm Beach has cultivated. I think it's phoney - the rich clubby feel is inescapable, irrepressible and they only fool themselves, much like Byron.

    I think it's a huge tragedy that the ocean to intracostal property on the Barrenjoey headland is national park and golf course. THAT would be truly world class oceanfront stuff - it would put some of Florida's and NY's finest to shame.

    With places like this does the 80 year old history of the property really impact on the sale? I don't get it, but that could be my aforementioned disrespect for Palm Beach's supposedly vaulted history shining through.

    The block next door has been empty aka run out of money for ages. You could probably buy one of the north-facing houses with knockout northerly views a few doors down. If a tennis court is a must then buy that vacant block, put the tennis court on that and still have nearly $10m change from the asking on this.

    Newport anyday.

  2. After panning the place, sure enough I find myself today at Palm Beach, parked out the front of this place. Bit of a surf then I'm ready to leave, then the car won't start, for 40 mins; NRMA eta 2 hours.

    It was a lovely dusk/sunset and I got a good look at it and the whole strip there. There's another similar house a few doors north of it. Though it is a good beach, I stand by what I said above.

  3. Aah I'm glad Palmy's not developed North of Beach road plus from a geological standpoint, that's not a good place to build houses, especially not the big houses we tend to see in Palm Beach. Kalua is indeed a bit tired on the inside. Well it was, maybe this has been addressed but the lack of bathroom pics says to me that the house was tidied up for marketing. That said, I do love it although do agree with you about the Surf Club crowd down there being largely quite pretentious. Kiddies Corner brings back memories of my childhood, swimming lessons in Palm Beach pool (trying to make us little Olympians) and playing slippy slides on the lawn in front of the pink palace.
    Not entirely sure what's happening next door. Last I heard it had sold but they were having a bugger of a time with Pittwater council. Still don't have access to rpdata....


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