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The Great Keppel Island is indeed a picturesque destination to spend a day or two on a weekend. Traditionally known as Wop-Pa, it is one of the southern Great Barrier Reef islands located 30 minutes away (15 Kms) by ferry from the mainland in Central Queensland. Regular ferries departing from Rosslyn Bay and Keppel Bay Marina make it easier to consider a day-trip here unlike some of the other Great Barrier Reef islands like Heron Island where you have to inevitably spend the night due to ferry timings.
One of the major attractions of this Island is its 17 unsullied beaches, plenty of which you can get all to yourself. Get your picnic basket for a beach side lunch or enjoy the restaurants and bistros at the visitor precinct (close to where you get off your ferry).
You’ll need more than just hiking boots if you enjoy bushwalking and would like to explore the island. There are 6 hiking trails ranging from 2.5Km return tracks to 15Km taking up a whole day. You will be relying on your water and food once you set out hiking. After exploring Fisherman’s beach and walking to the unnamed lookouts near the wetlands, we walked back to relax on Putney Beach. Alternately you could also get to Leeke’s beach. We were then able to do the long beach circuit before having to head back to catch the ferry on time. I recommend not walking beyond Mt Wyndham if you’re here for a day.
It can be quite disorienting without a map as the trails are not well marked. It is useful to grab a copy of the walking map where you buy your tickets, before you get started.
Keep an eye out for the wildlife, especially rainbow lorikeets, blue-tongue lizards, brush tail possums and goannas on the bushwalking trails. You can expect to spot them, deeper inland.
You’ll need much more than a day if you’re keen to explore every corner of this island, but there’s very little vista to gain with the longer trails, unless you want to spend more time snorkeling, kayaking or paddle-boarding.
Refurbishment plans for the Island have been ongoing for a WHILE now, so don’t be surprised if you find piles of dilapidated rubble every now and then. Hopefully, by the time you visit this Island next, it would be remarkably unrecognizable.
- Ferry prices usually start from $45 per adult. There are more than one ferry services to lookout for. View the prices and timetables here. Be wary of the amended options due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- If you want an action-packed ride to the Island, you can explore the boomnetting adventure that’s available.