Australia, Queensland

Great Keppel Island – Perfect for holidays with kids!

Great Keppel Island

Perfect for holidays with kids!

Where you can find your own deserted stretch of pristine sand and snorkel for hours.

Where if you go for a walk or hike you might run into some wild goats and echidnas.

Where you can swim stark naked and not get arrested. (Disclaimer: Don’t try this on just any beach, there is a specific beach for it).

Where there is an eerily deserted resort behind a large fence that seems a little out of place for this island.

great keppel island
Monkey Beach with its lovely white sand, blue water and fantastic snorkeling.  This beach is worth the hike in to reach it (or motorised boat trip depending on much you feel like exerting yourself whilst on holidays)

Great Keppel Island turned out to be awesome!

“We work on an unusual system here”, said Geoff, the long term owner and manager of Great Keppel Island Holiday Village.  “Its called an honesty system”.

He told me this with a cheerful smile as he explained how to purchase items from his small shop at reception. Basically, I just pick what I want and put the money into the small metal tool box on the shelf.

If I don’t have the cash, apparently it’s alright to fix him up before we leave.

great keppel island
Geoff’s “honesty system” for purchasing things from his small shop at Great Keppel Island Holiday Village

How awesome is Geoff?

Geoff is also a genius when it comes to accommodation for families.  The cabin we stayed in, as well as some of the glamping tents are set around a giant sand pit.

There are three hammocks, a small tree for climbing and a ball tied to the tree with some plastic cricket bats lying around for wacking it.




He even supplies sand toys for the sand pits. You just have to grab them from the honesty shop and return them when finished.

great keppel island
The sandpit at the front door of our cabin among the trees.  

This means that you can sit on the striped wooden chairs on the cute veranda of your cabin and relax, whilst the kids are playing contently a few metres away.

The fully equipped shared community kitchen (should you wish to cook instead of forking out for meals at the nearby restaurant) is also right next to this sandpit which makes dinner time a breeze.

great keppel island
Those striped chairs are a great way to pass the afternoon whilst the kids play in the sandpit right in front

You don’t come to an island to hang around your room!

There is a lovely stretch of beach out front and lots of great walks to do. With 17 stretches of sand to choose from, it’s not hard to discover your own deserted beach.

Unfortunately,  I only managed to visit five due to time. You don’t have to hike to them if you don’t want to, you can hire a motorised canoe or a paddleboard; or even ask Jeff to take you on a tour.

great keppel island
If you hike for long enough, you will eventually come to this sign.  Are the hooks for hanging your clothes on?

Great Keppel Island is part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef which basically means that the snorkeling here is awesome.  It’s also within easy reach, as in right off the beach.

The sea life is abundant and includes sea turtles, clown fish and giant clams.

Great Keppel Island
Views from the first lookout when doing both ‘The Lookout Trail’ and ‘Leeke’s Beach Circuit’ walk. We saw three wild goats and an echidna within 15 minutes of starting this walk.

How to get to Great Keppel Island:

Great Keppel Island is a short 30 minute trip across the water from Rosslyn Harbour in Yeppoon, Queensland.

We went over on Freedom Fast Cats.  There are a few other operators but I get sea sick from just looking at a boat so the larger the boat the better for us!


Costs of visiting Great Keppel Island:

There are two main fast cat services and both charge around $45 per adult return and $30 per child return.  Under 4 years of age is free. Total of $120 for us with kids aged two and four.

Accommodation at Great Keppel Island Holiday Village in a Cabin set us back $170 for the four of us per night.  If you are travelling as a couple without kids the price is lower than this.

There are cheaper options if this is out of your budget….see the section below on reducing costs!

great keppel island
This cheeky little thing stared me down the WHOLE time I ate my dinner at Great Keppel Island Holiday Village

Activities were free  as we didn’t hire any equipment.  We spent our time bushwalking/hiking into the different beaches in the morning and relaxing in the afternoons around the sandpit.

If you stay at Great Keppel Island Holiday Village, Geoff has some equipment you can use for free.

We visited the Great Keppel Island Hideaway Cafe and Bistro for one meal, and whilst it’s in a lovely location it was a bit pricey at just over $50 for chips and gravy, beef nachos and a few drinks.

This is to be expected being that we are on an island.  All other meals were cooked in the communal kitchen at Great Keppel Island Holiday Village and we brought our own food over.

great keppel island
The main stretch of sand on Great Keppel Island…..terrible isn’t it? Apparantly everyone else has kids that sleep in (mine think 5am is acceptable) because we had the beach to ourselves long after the sun came up. To the left hiding behind those trees is an eerily abandoned resort!

You can reduce costs on Great Keppel Island drastically by:

  • Choosing cheaper accommodation options.  Check out out the Great Keppel Island Holiday Village website here.  There are cheaper options of camping and rooms with shared bathrooms.
  • Don’t eat at the restaurants.  Bring your own food over and cook it.  Apparently Woolworths will deliver to the fastcat back over on the mainland.
  • Bring your own water fun equipment over.
great keppel island
View of the main stretch of sand on Great Keppel Island whilst hiking over the headland to Monkey Beach and Long Beach

For more blog posts, photographs and information on my travels through Central Queensland and the Capricorn Coast, please check out this page: Central Queensland


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