Great Keppel Island is the largest island in the group of fourteen islands of the same name. It’s also known as Wappaburra, which means “resting place.”
The 1,400 hectare island is located 15km offshore from Keppel Bay town of Yeppoon, in Central Queensland, or 55km from Rockhampton.
Great Keppel can be visited for a day trip or an extended trip, and has something to offer all types of visitors – single travelers, families, and couples. The island’s economic centre is along Fisherman’s beach, where the vast majority of businesses are located.
Great Keppel boats 17 sandy beaches on its shores (the most beautiful are located on the island’s eastern shores), beautiful natural tropical gardens, coves, and turquoise water with pockets of fringing coral reef. 90% of the island’s landmass is bushland. Long Beach offers mounds of “middens,” sought-after preserved shells. The island is surrounded by beautiful coral, a highlight being off of Monkey Beach, south of the resort.
Activities (Nature and Wildlife Interest)
The island offers many activities for its guests:
- Snorkeling: Snorkel off the beaches (the best spots are The Shelving at the southern end of Fisherman’s Beach, and beyond that at Monkey Point), or take a tour to reach snorkeling spots that are further afield. Look out for dolphins and turtles.
- Parasailing or sky diving
- Water skiing
- Scuba diving: Catch sight of manta rays, coral, colourful fish, among other sea life.
- Bushwalking: Enjoy one of Keppel Island’s 10 walking tours, take in the island’s scenery, and keep a look out for goannas and possums. One of the most popular walks is the challenging Bald Rock Point Walk.
- Birdwatching: Take a birdwatching tour so that bird watching experts can help you see many of the island’s over 100 bird species (which include kookaburras, drongos, and rainbow lorikeets).
- Camel trekking: Soak up the vistas from atop a camel as an experienced guide leads guests along the island’s sandy beaches.
- Boating: Enjoy a water-based tour, such as a cruise, sea kayaking tour, motorized canoe tour, jetski tour, or sunset cruise with a gourmet dining experience; or hire out a boat or catamaran for more independent explorations
- Beach sports: cricket, soccer, volleyball
- Land activities: bocce, lawn bowling, tennis (2 courts), badminton, volleyball, Frisbee, touch football, archery, yoga, golf
Great Keppel Island resort has been closed down indefinitely, ostensibly for extensive rebuilding and refurbishing.
An alternative to the Great Keppel Island Resort is the Great Keppel Island Holiday Village. The holiday village offers a variety of accommodation styles to suit different guests’ needs, from budget backpackers, to traveling groups, to families.
The Holiday Village offers various accommodation style options, from tents, to shared dormitories for budget travelers or groups, to basic twin and double rooms, to ensuite cabins with a private verandah, to dorm-style rooms for larger groups, to two private houses – Dolphin House and Keppel House. Dolphin is near the beach, accommodates six people, and offers a full kitchen, living area, private bathroom, and a patio. Keppel is a two-storey solar-powered house located amidst gardens area near Fisherman’s Beach, accommodates six people, and offers a full kitchen, lounge area, private bath, verandah, and barbeque.
There are camping options available within the parks on the island, but campers must purchase a permit in advance. The Holiday Village offers a luxury tent option as well. Svendsens Beach offers a luxury tent village as well, for those seeking an eco-holiday retreat but with more luxury than basic camping.
Chartered flights service Great Keppel Island from Rockhampton, which is 55km from the island.
Freedom Fast Cats offer catamaran trips to the island, departing from Rosslyn Bay Harbour. Alternatively, visitors can organize a private water taxi from the Keppel Bay Marina.