ISLAND PARADISE: There’s no place better to do nothing than Great Keppel Island.
ISLAND PARADISE: There’s no place better to do nothing than Great Keppel Island. Contributed

Island's doors always open for the opportunity to do nothing

JUST because it's the best place in the world to do nothing doesn't mean there is nothing to do.

Nestled at the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef, the jewel in the crown of Capricornia, Great Keppel Island, always has been a world of its own.

But owner and manager of Great Keppel Island Holiday Village, Geoff Mercer is one of many business operators battling to promote the fact that the island has always been and always will be open.

When asked what visitors can do on the island, Geoff said "nothing".

"It's the best place to do nothing. Best atmosphere to do nothing. I leave the guests to their own," he said.

The island screams for locals to explore its white sandy beaches, pocket reefs, fishing, nature hikes and animal watching.

Residents speak of whales travelling past the island twice a year, dolphins and turtles that call the island reefs home and the great fishing.

There is plenty for the adventurer or the family to do and you can still experience the luxuries of shopping at the Rainbow Hut, enjoy beachside dining at Island Pizza or Great Keppel Island Hideaway Bar and Bistro.

With so much to experience on the island it's hard to understand how an island could close.

But through growing confusion with development plans and focus on the GKI Resort, a mass of people believe that there isn't anything on the island.

The perception began when the island resort closed seven years ago and then has continued as the Tower Holdings development struggles to fund its project.

Business owners are shouting that the island never closed and with the help of CEO of Capricorn Enterprise, Mary Carroll, they are trying to enlighten the locals.

"It is very difficult to reverse mass media that occurred when the resort closed several years ago," Ms Carroll said.

"We do not have the marketing budget to equal the mass media. We can only help the operators that we have."

Even with a humble marketing budget Ms Carroll was comforted with the increase in sales during the September school holidays.

CAPRICORN Enterprise, in collaboration with Tourism and Events Queensland, promoted Great Keppel Island and its business operators recently by organising Better Homes and Gardens chef Fast Ed and presenter Johanna Griggs to visit the island and spark new interest and tourism.

"It was all good stuff, but just a splash in the ocean," Mr Mercer said of the TV show's visit.

"Business is awful. People in Rocky don't believe anything is out here. It's all confusion and people read what they want to read. Big developments reach the front page of the paper. It's been a tough gig."

Ms Carroll is also frustrated that visitors and new residents explore the region more than locals and endorses the business operators' attempts to spark local interest in the island.

"You don't have to travel far to have an exceptional island experience. You have an exceptional island in our own backyard," she said.

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