Business couple spend $90K to restore Boyne Island Motel

LOOSE lips may sink ships but Boyne Island Motel and Villas owners Helen and Dick Grant are willing to test the idea that Tannum Sands is the region's best kept secret.

And is it any wonder the couple want to let the cat out of the bag when Tannum is the closest beachside town from the Bruce Hwy between Rockhampton and Brisbane.

From the Bruce Hwy it's only 9.3km or an eight-minute drive to the surf which nudges out beaches on the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg and Agnes Water/1770.

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Not that there are any signs pointing to this fact at or before Tannum Sands Rd.

Two years ago, and looking for a lifestyle change, the couple moved from Ballina in New South Wales to take on the monumental task of bringing the Boyne Island Motel and Villas up to scratch.

"When we first turned up it was very run down," Mr Grant said.

"We spent $90,000 which nearly broke us to get it up."

"It was neglected, very exhausted and in need of a lot of TLC to make people come back," Mrs Grant said.

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Richard and Helen Grant, owners of Boyne Island Motel and Villas.
Richard and Helen Grant, owners of Boyne Island Motel and Villas. Paul Braven

Since taking over the couple have taken the motels booking.com rating from zero to 8.9 --- something they are very pleased about.

In that time the couple have also taken the motel's occupancy rate from 22% to up around 50-60% ---of which the majority are tourists, not workers.

"We've got tourists coming from Biloela, Gracemere, Blackwater, Rockhampton as well as people stopping off from travelling between Mackay and Hervey Bay," Mrs Grant said.

"People are finding out that we aren't booked out by workers and we're only an hour away."

In their time the couple have opened a café at the motel and hold live music on Sunday.

"We just try new things to attract new people," Mrs Grant said.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development chairman Darryl Branthwaite said the likes of Tannum Sands and Boyne Island were ideal as tourist destinations but acknowledged more needed to be done to put Tannum firmly on the tourist map.

"There's a lot of product there… [and] it's not necessarily overlooked but [as a tourist destination Tannum Sands and Boyne Island] needs developing," Mr Branthwaite said.

"From GAPDL we're constantly plugging Tannum as a short stay for people within that 400km radius.

"[But] what we need to encourage are people starting up activities," he said.

Richard and Helen Grant, owners of Boyne Island Motel and Villas.
Richard and Helen Grant, owners of Boyne Island Motel and Villas. Paul Braven

Both Mr and Mrs Grant said they were ready to put in the effort to kick start the area and are looking into linking up with other tourist businesses in the area to create day trips and facilitate the flow of information.

Mr Branthwaite said activities involving kayaks, boats, paddle boarding, beach sports and Segways could help to give the area a boost.

"We've got great facilities, good tackle shops, supermarkets, great motels and caravan parks," Mr Branthwaite said.

"And it's an ideal jumping off point for the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

"We need to promote those kinds of activities," he said.

Although Mr Branthwaite said GAPDL could only encourage people to visit the region and not force them to visit, he acknowledged the "love" could be spread around more.

"I want these businesses to make money because when they're making money, they're spending more money and employing people," he said.

"We'd like nothing more than people coming over."

With the Boyne Tannum Hook up on over the weekend Mr and Mrs Grant said they were fully booked.

Mrs Grant said there was a great vibe around the place and that people staying at their motel were more than happy to come back and explore the region further.

"We've just got to stay positive," Mr Grant said.

"It's not hard to know about 1770 but what about Tannum?"



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