Inside Cate Blanchett’s dazzling real estate portfolio
It may come as no surprise to fans of Cate Blanchett’s wild red carpet fashion that her real estate portfolio is just as stylish. The Australian-born actress is best known for her roles in films as diverse as Elizabeth, The talented Mr Ripley, Lord of the Rings, nightmare alley, and last tar, but before she found fame in Hollywood, Blanchett had built quite a following on the Sydney theater scene. She studied there at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and is married to the celebrated Australian playwright Andrew Upton.
After 10 years in Brighton, UK, the couple invested in several properties in their native Australia in the 1990s. In recent years they have also expanded their populations across the pond. “Our spirit is to get in and then just keep going until you can make this thing work or you can’t,” Blanchett once said The New Yorker. “If it doesn’t make sense, you rip it apart and try to put it back together.” Here we offer a glimpse into the couple’s enviable properties, from their first beachside apartment to their current English mansion.
Blanchett and Upton met in 1996 while working on the set of one of their lesser known Australian films. Thank god he met Lizzie. Upton tells The New Yorker that they were both “surprised” by the relationship that blossomed from their friendship, and that “after three weeks of our relationship, Cate thought, oh god, he’s going to ask me to marry him.” (He did, and the couple got married Late 1997.) At the time, Blanchett was living in her first apartment, a modest one-bedroom beachfront apartment in Coogee, Sydney, which she sold five years later.
The newlyweds then bought a slightly larger two-bedroom apartment, also in Coogee, which they eventually sold in 2011.
Blanchett and Upton then moved to Brighton, UK, where they enjoyed a quiet life in a four-storey Georgian house by the sea for almost a decade. Although few details are known about the couple’s home there, Blanchett has often spoken of her fondness for the city. “I miss Brighton enormously,” she previously told Culture Calling. “There’s so much I miss, including the rain. I miss the green landscape.” According to reports, there was a marble bathtub in her house that had to be lifted in with a crane. The family moved back to Sydney in 2006 – by then the couple had added sons Dashiell and Roman to the mix. (In the following years they would add another son, Ignatius, and a daughter, Edith Vivian.)
Back in Sydney, Blanchett and Upton purchased a circa 1877 Gothic-style mansion on Hunters Hill for approximately $6.5 million. The couple wasted no time renovating the original sandstone mansion, spending a total of three years transforming the riverfront home into an eco-friendly home with the help of architect Steven Lesiuk and architect and interior designer Nadine Alwill. The result was a five bedroom, four and a half bathroom condo with a heated pool and spa, tennis court, trampoline platform and a separate guest house. Blanchett once called the property, known as Bulwarra, her “oasis,” noting that the place “feels like it’s completely in the bush.” The couple listed the refurbished masterpiece for $14.73 million in 2015 and eventually sold it in 2017.
Although already living in a self-proclaimed oasis on sleepy Hunters Hill, Blanchett and Upton next bought a luxury island retreat in the Republic of Vanuatu (situated between Fiji and Australia) called Matanara. Located on Efate Island, the beach house is set back from the road and hidden behind palm trees, with a private strip of beach overlooking Undine Bay. The mansion consists of two pavilion-style buildings connected by a large wooden terrace. There are a total of four bedrooms and two bathrooms with glass walls that can be fully opened for optimal indoor-outdoor flow. The couple put the property up for sale in 2019 with a list price of $1.4 million, and it’s unclear whether or not the home has found a buyer.
A few years later, the couple bought a three-story vacation home near Berowra Creek, a creek that is part of Sydney’s Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, for around $1 million. Accessible only by boat, further increasing its appeal for the private couple and their family, the five-bedroom apartment overlooks the Hawkesbury River and was furnished in a modern coastal style with clean lines and wooden decks. Pictures from inside the house show bright white interiors and lots of natural light; There’s even a detached bunkhouse for guests. The couple eventually sold the pad in 2019 for a very small profit.
That same year, they spent around $1.3 million on a waterfront apartment in Elizabeth Bay, Sydney, reportedly a generous investment for their children, who they still own.
After putting their Hunters Hill estate on the market, Blanchett and Upton downsized to an approximately $5.2 million five-bedroom apartment in the historic Astor Building in the heart of Sydney. Overlooking Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Royal Botanic Garden, the property impressed with its location; Additionally, it was also the landmark’s largest apartment of 1923, and featured a striking staircase connecting two expansive floors. Interior photos show oversized windows, a cavernous formal dining area, and modern light fixtures. The couple listed the home for around $8 million in early 2020 and sold it in the fall for an undisclosed amount.
The following year, the couple bought a $4.5 million English mansion on 13 acres in East Sussex known as Highwell House. Victorian mansion built in 1890 previously owned Sherlock Holmes Author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and today’s celebrities like Kate Winslet and musician Bryan Ferry are among the couple’s well-heeled neighbors. The main house has seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms and two half bathrooms, and five reception rooms. There are also about a dozen antique fireplaces, a game room, and even a 40-foot salon that’s outfitted with crystal chandeliers. The couple and their four children currently call this property their primary residence.