Sunday Mirror (UK), January 6, 2002


£200,000 bill as star hires entire island for his friends

by Ian Markham-Smith

GENEROUS Keanu Reeves spent 200,000 on an amazing 10-day adventure break for himself and 28 famous friends including fellow Hollywood heart-throbs Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.

The 37-year-old actor rented out the entire exclusive Double Island resort off the coast of Far North Queensland in Australia for his private party - at almost 7,000-a-person.

Reeves, who is Down Under filming the next two Matrix movies back-to-back, took over the 40-acre holiday retreat on Boxing Day and later threw a lavish New Year's Eve party.

Joining in the fun were Pitt's wife and Friends star Jennifer Aniston, Kiefer Sutherland, Drew Barrymore and TV actor Wallace Langham.

Everyone involved in the holiday, which included jungle trips and sky-diving, was sworn to secrecy as Reeves and his guests arrived by helicopter with a small army of bodyguards. Even the tour operator had to sign a secrecy clause.

The highlight was the New Year party on the secluded island off Palm Cove, 15 miles north of Cairns, which included a spectacular fireworks display.

Daredevil Reeves, who stands to earn 35million from the Matrix films, faced danger when he fell overboard twice on a white-water rafting expedition.

But the heart-throb, who played a sky-diving FBI agent in the 1991 film Point Break, earlier pulled out of a parachuting excursion when officials at Paradise Palms golf course refused to let him to land on a green.

John Rentoul, of Paul's Parachuting, said: "They wanted to jump on to the green - I'm not sure why - but we weren't allowed to."

Despite that, 16 of Keanu's pals completed a 14,000ft jump while others had a round at the course. Reeves did enjoy a day on the Great Barrier Reef and a gambling outing at the Reef Casino. Later, the action-man star took on the Tully River for a day's rafting with adventure firm Raging Thunder. Owner Fred Ariel said: "There were other stars with him out there and they really got stuck into it.

"They let their hair down and misbehaved because no one was watching. Keanu thought the river was great - although he fell out a couple of times and we dragged him back in."

Reeves and nine friends also rode Harley-Davidson motorbikes around the Whyanbeel Valley on Boxing Day. He returned with 25 others a few days later to lunch at High Falls Farm on barramundi - a succulent local fish - chips and salad.

Farm owner Helen Steley said: "We weren't allowed to get photos or autographs, though we were dying to."

The resort has 24 luxury bungalows with private pools plus 10 eco-lodges in the style of safari tents. The island, once a private retreat for the wealthy Holmes Acourt business family, was bought by a Sydney entrepreneur for 1.5million in September 2000.

Reeves and his party left Cairns on Thursday in a chartered Boeing 727.


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