Just a 30 minute glide across the waters from Yeppoon, Great Keppel
Island is one of the most famous islands on the Great Barrier Reef and
the biggest of the Keppel group of islands. Fringed by stunning, coral
gardens, turquoise waters and sun drenched beaches. The island's
interior abundant with native wildlife and acres of bush land scattered
with winding walking trails. The island has a Resort and Holiday
The tropical climate and numerous beaches attract tourists from all
points, and a number of accommodation houses cater for them including
Keppel Lodge and various houses. There are 17 white sandy beaches with
some of the highest cover of hard coral reefs on the Great Barrier
Reef. The coral diversity of these reefs matches that of the
Whitsundays with clear waters most of the year around. Great Keppel
Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The island is
served by ferries and aircraft.
Great Keppel Island is surrounded by Keppel Bay Islands National Park,
which is made up of a group of continental islands that lie within
Keppel Bay, adjacent to the Capricorn Coast of Central Queensland.
There are seven islands within this National Park that are available
for camping, ranging in size from North Keppel Island (580ha) through
to Conical Island (7 ha). No part of Great Keppel Island is National
The Keppel Islands are habitat for many bird species, particularly
those dependent on marine and tidal areas for feeding and roosting. A
wide range of reptiles can be found on many of the islands. Paperbark,
livistona palm and schlerophyll forests, together with grasslands and
low shrublands in exposed areas can be found on the islands.
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The mainland terminal for boat access to Keppel Bay is the Rosslyn
Bay Boat Harbour near Yeppoon. Regular commercial ferry services
operate to Great Keppel Island from Rosslyn Bay. It is possible to
arrange transport to national park camping islands with ferry operators
and commercial charterers from Rosslyn Bay. It is also possible to
arrange transport to camping islands from Great Keppel Island.
The islands were named by Captain James Cook in 1770 after the then
First Lord of the Admiralty, Admiral Augustus Keppel. Prior to European
settlement, the island was home to the Woppaburra and Ganumi people of
the Darumbal nation, with centuries old middens testifying to the
quantity of seafood found in the surrounding waters. European settlers
killed or removed most of the indigenous population by the end of the
19th century. During its early European history, the island was used to
raise sheep, however it is now a tourist destination.