Bribie Island a hidden gem, says Whitsundays tourism veteran
THE former owner of one of the Whitsundays' biggest cruise operators said Bribie Island was Queensland's best-kept secret.
Paul and Kim Mansbridge spent the past 32 years in Airlie Beach, before moving to Bellara in June because they thought it had strong potential.
They opened Bribie Island Hire Hut and Tours in September with their son Simon, an experienced kayak guide.
Mr Mansbridge said Bribie had many assets that made it just as attractive for tourism as Airlie.
"I think Bribie's the best kept secret we've ever come across, to be perfectly honest with you," he said.
"You've got an island that you can drive to in South-East Queensland, which is less than an hour to an international airport, less than an hour to spectacular hinterlands.
"You've got protected waterways and magnificent beaches. The natural attributes of Bribie, whether cruising up the beach on a four-wheel-drive, boogie boarding over at Woorim or just lazing in the protected water and having a swim on the passage side, there's just so much to offer."
With the summer school holidays fast approaching, it's this natural bounty that Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce president Rhonda Cockinos wants to see businesses across the island and nearby mainland taking advantage of.
She called on non tourism-specific businesses, such as coffee shops and restaurants, to do their part by staying open over holidays and weekends to make the island a more attractive destination for visitors.
Mrs Cockinos also urged the Moreton Bay Regional Council and Tourism Queensland to do more to sell tourism in the region.
Division 3 councillor Greg Chippendale said the council was in ongoing discussions with caravanning groups and other organisations in attempts to attract visitors, and council-run major events, such as the recent Decades Festival in Strathpine also boosted tourism.
Mr Mansbridge said he could not speak highly enough of the council's support.
Member for Pumicestone Lisa France said the state government recognised the whole Moreton Bay Region's tourist potential and offered various grants and other assistance, like the $25,000 given to the Medieval Jousting Spectacular in Caboolture on Saturday.