Great Keppel Island is one of the east coast’s more accessible islands. From Rosslyn Bay Harbour (a 40-minute drive from Rockhampton), it is just 30 minutes by ferry to the island. This is a place to truly escape, to idle away days on the beach without any interruptions. Most of the island’s 14km2 are uninhabited and there are no paved roads on the island. The resort and Holiday Village Backpackers are both tucked into the bush in front of Fisherman’s Beach, where the ferries come into shore.
The beaches here are superb. From Fisherman’s Beach, there are hiking tracks that lead to the other four beaches on the other side of the island. Svendsen’s Beach is heralded as the most beautiful and secluded, with just one small bed & breakfast near the beach. Though it is not on the Great Barrier Reef, the snorkelling here is great. The Watersports Hut hires out sailboards, catamarans, and fishing tackle and the hostel has snorkelling gear. There is a dive centre on the site of the old Keppel Haven that organises diving and supplies gear.
Coming & going
Great Keppel Island is located 17km off the coast from Rosslyn Bay, which is near Yeppoon – about a 40-minute drive north of Rockhampton. You’ll need to take the Young’s bus from Rockhampton to Rosslyn Bay, which costs $6.70 for the trip with buses departing from the corner of Bolsover & Denham Streets in Rockhampton.
Freedom Fast Cats run ferries to Great Keppel Island and the return ferry trip between Rosslyn Bay and Great Keppel Island costs $55.
It’s worth checking the package deals offered by the hostels in Rockhampton before you book your transport to the island. There are often good deals that include both transport and accommodation on Great Keppel Island.
Eating & drinking
Everyone will tell you the same thing when you are planning a trip to Keppel Island: bring your own food. Not only is there a severely limited selection of dining options on the island, but it is very expensive. Island Pizza is just around the corner from the hostel and they have good food but it is pricey. The resort also has snacks, a restaurant, and a bar (with a surprisingly good happy hour). The hostel has a few canned goods and snacks, as well as a large selection of frozen meats which you can buy.
The best option is to stop at the Coles or Woolworths supermarket in Rockhampton or Yeppoon and buy everything you need.