Great Keppel Island should be high on your bucket list when visiting Queensland. Only a 30-minute boat ride from the coastal town of Yeppoon, you can choose to visit for a day trip or for an extended getaway. Either way, this is an affordable island paradise with so much to see and do once you arrive.
Here is everything you need to know before you go to Great Keppel Island
There are two ferries running transfers to the island from Rosslyn Bay marina in Yeppoon. We chose Keppel Konnections to get to/from the island and they were fantastic! This is a smaller boat with fewer passengers, a very smooth trip both ways. The other company, a bigger ferry is Freedom Fast Cats.
Both companies charge around the same fare and have a similar ferry schedule. See Keppel Konnections ferry schedule here. Keep your eyes peeled on the ferry transfer between the mainland and the island. During the right season, you might be able to spot some humpback whales.
Best time of year to visit Great Keppel Island
The best time to visit Great Keppel Island is between May-August. We stayed on the island for 3 nights in August and the weather was perfect! Outside these months, the days can be very hot and humid. The bonus of travel during this time, of course, prices for accommodation are cheaper.
Where to stay on Great Keppel Island
There are some fantastic options for accommodation on the island.
A good mid-range option is Great Keppel Island Hideaway. We stayed here and we can highly recommend this place. Situated right on Fisherman’s Beach with a range of cabins to choose from to suit every budget and a restaurant on-site, it ticks all the boxes.
Keppel Konnections ferry arrives very near to this resort so it’s easy to walk a few minutes to your accommodation, which was super convenient.
Another option for accommodation here is Great Keppel Holiday Village. You can rent a cabin with two large beds, a whole house, or even a tent.
On a budget?
Great Keppel Holiday Village offers an option to pay for a parking spot and set up your own tent. Ideal for travellers who wish to spend more than a few days on the island.
The rate includes a communal kitchen, showers, toilets, and snorkelling equipment.
Which are the best beaches on Great Keppel Island?
17 gorgeous beaches to choose from to be exact! You’ll be amazed at the pristine white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters in this rustic paradise.
There are two main beaches on the island – Fisherman’s Beach and Putney Beach. These are the busiest hubs of the island, and where you’ll find most accommodation options. For visitors seeking a little more seclusion, we’d recommend you head to Long Beach on the southern side of the island or Monkey Beach & Shelving Beach.
How to explore Great Keppel Island on foot
Over 90% of this island is walking trails and bushland, so exploring on foot is the best way to see it. It’s also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 90 species of birds here. See how many you can spot along the way.
There are many walks to choose from. I’ve listed the most popular walks below.
#1 Leeke’s Beach walk
Leeke’s Beach circuit is a good walk if you’d like to learn a bit more about the history of the island. Check out the Old Homestead which was home to the Leeke family back in the 1920s. Leeke’s Beach is one of the best beaches on the island. Make sure you time your walk to allow yourself at least an hour to spend there.
Distance: 4km. Allow approximately 2-3 hours for the walk.
#2 Lighthouse walk
Lighthouse walk in Great Keppel Island is renowned for being the hardest hike on the island.
Distance: 3 hours return
Recommended to take a detour to Wreck Beach for some snorkelling and relaxing time.
#3 The Lookout Trail
An easy walk that will only take an hour of your holiday time. The Lookout Trail will reward you with views to the west side of Great Keppel Island. I’d recommend doing this toward the end of the day, perfectly timed to return to a happy hour drink on the beach at sunset.
Distance: 2.6km. This walk takes approx 1 hour.
#4 Long Beach & Monkey Beach trail
Locals recommended we do these trails if we enjoyed walking and we wanted to visit two of the best beaches on Great Keppel Island. They were right! Long Beach is stunning, the kind of beach you see splashed across postcards.
Once we reached Monkey Beach, we couldn’t believe how gorgeous it was too. The turquoise water is stunning.
Distance: Around 10km. The walk takes approximately 2-3 hours.
#5 Mount Wyndham
Do the hike to Mount Wyndham for the best views on the island. This is a challenging hike and best suited to those with good fitness and hiking experience. This hike climbs to the highest viewpoint on the island. From here, you’ll get some amazing views of many of the island’s beaches.
Distance: Allow yourself approx 3 – 4 hours.
Can you Snorkel or Scuba Dive on Great Keppel Island?
Should you bring along your own snorkelling gear? Absolutely! Great Keppel Island is a great place to go out there and explore the underwater world on your own.
These are the best beaches for snorkelling:
Shelving Beach, Clam Bay and Monkey Point are the island’s most popular snorkelling spots. At these spots, you can easily see fish, turtles, colourful coral reefs, and starfish.
If you’re only on Great Keppel Island for a day trip or want to get out to some of the better parts of the reef, I’d recommend you get in touch with Keppel Dive. These guys offer snorkel and scuba dive trips on Great Keppel Island. We spent a day with them doing both activities and the marine life was awesome.
Are there any watersports and activities?
The team at Keppel Dive is your go-to for watersports and activities on the island. Find them at the blue hut on Fisherman’s Beach, once you depart the ferry.
Book a jet-ski tour around the island (28km) or hire a stand-up paddleboard or kayak for the day. If time isn’t on your side, Keppel Dive can arrange boat pick-ups/drop-offs to different beaches. It’s up to you to decide which ones you’ll visit and which ones you’ll leave for next time. Take it from us, the struggle is real!
More Tips for Great Keppel Island
Plan on staying on Great Keppel Island for longer than a day? Here are a few things I’d recommend:
Bring some food supplies with you
There are no supermarkets on the island. I’d recommend that you bring some food with you. Your accommodation provider may provide a private or communal kitchen where you can cook or prepare something easy to eat. Of course, this depends on where you stay. If you don’t bring food with you, you’ll need to eat out. This can quickly add up if you’re not prepared for it.
And that’s it! Everything you need to know about Great Keppel Island in Queensland, Australia. Let us know if we missed something in the comments below.
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Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 187 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.