If you were looking for the glamorous luxury of tropical island high life, Great Keppel Island at the southern end of Australia's Great Barrier Reef is not the place for you — at least not for now.
But if you were after peace, relaxation and leisure activities on land and in the water in a terrific setting of beach and bush, Great Keppel Island is not only conveniently close — 30 minutes from the Capricornia Coast by fast ferry — but also one of the most economical Great Barrier Reef islands to visit and spend invigorating leisure days and nights as close to Nature as you dare.
For a day trip, there's the Freedom Fastcats ferry at Yeppoon to take you there and back, just make sure you keep track of departure times, but if you miss your boat back to the mainland, well, there are always other options.
On Great Keppel Island the ferry lands at — and departs from — Fisherman's Beach, a short walk to the Great Keppel Island Holiday Village, where accommodation is available in cottages and tents.
Village accommodation is simple and basic which adds to that sense of adventure where roughing it is more than just a phrase with bragging rights.
Don't have watersports equipment? You can hire what you need right on the island.
Getting unwrecked on Great Keppel
From an image of tropical near-hedonistic playground to today's reality of fewer visitors — but still the same 17 beaches of such enticingly pristine beauty — Great Keppel Island is moving on from the disrepair of its great resort to being a friendlier, kinder place.
Take off your shoes and walk or cavort on the beach in the sun. Or go bushwalking inland.
Go on a bush island tour in an electric buggy, go kayaking and canoeing, walk up to Mt Wyndham and be tempted to snorkel in the waters.
And when you get famished, there's some of the best Queensland pizzas at Island Pizza just off Fisherman's Beach.
Great Keppel Island is 1400 hectares of beaches and bushland at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, 30 minutes by ferry from Yeppoon on the Capricornia Coast.
In the heyday of the Get Wrecked on Great Keppel campaign, the island was a destination of choice of young people with its images of beach and underwater fun and games.
Today the Great Keppel Island Resort is in disrepair but plans are afoot to build a new resort complex which would include apartments and villas, a marina, golf course and yacht club.
Larry Rivera visited Great Keppel Island as part of a familiarisation tour organised by Tourism Queensland.