A bed in Rockhampton
Rockhampton YHA is a little hike from the centre of Rockhampton, but it's still a good budget option.
I stayed in a large and airy 6-bed dorm. Bathrooms were shared and there's a big kitchen aswell as a tv room for common use.
The YHA organizes trips to Great Keppel Island and tours to Myella Station.
There's a free pick-up/drop-off servive from the Greyhound/Premier stop.
A place to relax
This is the perfect place to go if you want to unwind and are a budget traveller. You can either stay in a multishare dorm, a tent or the luxury cabins with ensuite bathroom. I had a bed in a 4-share which was quite big and clean. Bathrooms and communal kitchen are fine.
The whole village is powered by a generator which is turned off between 10.30pm and 6am, so better bring a torch!
Another good idea is to bring enough food for your stay as the choice on the island is very limited.
The place is just a few steps from the beach, but that goes for nearly all accommodation on Great Keppel..
One of the Best Located YHA's in Australia
While visiting the gorgeous Great Keppel Is, I based myself out of the YHA tent village, which offers a really nice setting. If you plan on visiting the island for more then one night, then go ahead and book a room at the YHA through the Downtown Backpackers Hostel (not affiliated to the YHA) in Rockhampton. I bought their 3 day package to the GKI and so saved more money then purchasing it separately. -Free snorkel equipment with selected packages
-Excellent kitchen facilities
-Ample dinning area
Great Keppel Island
Great Keppel Island was one of my favourite stops during my last trip to Australia. It's just 13km offshore (ferry from Rosslyn Bay takes 45min, three times/day) and has stunning beaches. There are a few accommodation option on the island, all located at Fisherman's Beach, the rest of the island is covered with native bush. If you like bushwalking, there are a couple of trails to lookouts and other beaches.
There's a watersports shed on Fisherman's Beach where you can hire snorkelling gear, kayaks and other equipment.
It's possible to visit Great Keppel just for the day, but I recommend to stay longer and enjoy the gorgeous sunsets aswell.
Great! Keppel Island
I am almost embarrassed to tell this story. Not because the story itself is humiliating or obscene, but, rather, I am embarrassed because of how profoundly the story reflects upon my own life; on truths that I only begrudgingly admit to myself, let alone others. The story both begins and ends on a tiny little island, an island so small that few ever pass even though it lies just off of Australia’s great backpacker circuit near Rockhampton. That island is Great! Keppel Island and it is where Mother Nature, striking me both with her simplicity and her splendor, taught me something of the perils of my career.
The funny thing may be that upon arriving at Great! Keppel Island I was so bound within my western focus that I was profoundly unimpressed. Frankly, on first glance I thought the accommodations, consisting of a few odd old buildings surrounded by a ring of tents and utilizing rows of hay bales to mark paths in the sand, to be a dump. The man at the front desk, though he decides not to check us in yet, leads us to a room in the older building and tells us “There is only collected rainwater for cooking and drinking and the electricity will be turned off every night at 11:00.” Our room had no lock. There was no Internet; not on the whole island. And there were birds. One does not normally wince at the mention of birds, but these birds, though beautiful, have some of the shrillest and most violent calls a human has ever heard. “What have I gotten into?” I wondered. But, we had taken the last boat to get here. So, like it or not, we were here for the night. Tension and impatience oozed from my pores. Little did I know, Keppel was already working hard to transform me.
It did not even take 24 hours before I had changed. Soon I came to understand that these pieces of the island, wrapped together, made Keppel a sanctuary. I can honestly say that I cannot remember another time when I have ever been so relaxed. Wrenched from email, worrying about far off dilemmas becomes without use. Mobile phones and electricity give way to silence and stars. With limited provisions, meals become simple, prepared with friends in a communal kitchen. The ring of accommodations acts a village as travelers meet around the tables for dinner and to share tales and, in the center of the ring, lies three beautiful hammocks; beautiful not because they are pretty, although their faded rainbows are, but beautiful because on a hot day, lying beneath the trees, they wrap you in a veil of serenity. The staff of the hostel lives such a truly relaxed lifestyle that it would take an iron will not to follow suit. In fact, it was very hard to tell the staff from the guests. Incidentally, we never would check in. They simply gave us the room, and we paid them before we left. Australians are quite fond of saying “No worries.” On Keppel it is not a saying, it is a way of life.
All of this is on top of some of the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Building on the island is concentrated around the single marina, which is only a long gentle beach with a water sports kiosk. Most visitors stick to that or one of the two adjacent beaches. Those who are more adventurous may easily find seclusion on any of several beaches that are only a short hike away; beaches where it is possible to be totally alone.
White coral sands stretch out to be met only by forest and every beach has coral reefs just offshore. Although much coral was killed by fresh water when the island flooded several years ago, the snorkeling is spectacular and new coral is making a steady recovery. Snorkeling is the islands most common activity and fish stories often dominate the dinner conversations. Located near the south end of the Great Barrier Reef, the abundance of fish here is astounding. Turtles and rays of many kinds are frequently spotted. There are even several species of sharks in these waters, which can make for an exhilarating or terrifying encounter, or both, depending upon your perspective.
On my third trip to the reef, off of a beach called monkey beach, I had my own encounter, with a large shovel nosed shark. The encounter came as we were exiting, and I was all alone. Making my way for the shore, the shark was lying camouflaged in the sand below. At that point the water was less than five feet deep and I did not notice the shark until it was right below me, a giant set of eyes looking up. Gemma, an Australian woman who had been swimming with us but was already out, could here me gasp through my snorkel. The sight of the shark, with its ray like head and long gray body, both alarmed and fascinated me. After my initial shock, I calmed down and was able to slowly make my way around the shark and watched him swim slowly away. Though I later learned that they are mostly harmless, the encounter lent some real excitement to contrast with the otherwise relaxing nature of my stay. It also made me king of the dinner table storytellers that night.
That same night I told my brother, who was my traveling companion, about how profound the effect of the island was on me. It took relative isolation and technological depravation to teach me about how hectic and frazzled my life had really become. The natural splendor of Great! Keppel Island first provided the shock I needed and then began to cure my wounds. Ironically, we had planned to stay on Keppel for only a day, to use it to break up the drive from Noosa to Mackay. Four days later, we found ourselves absolutely at peace and sorry to be leaving.
Long Beach, Great Keppel Island
Spectacular scene off the Great Keppel Island
YHA Backpackers Village Great Keppel Island
Koala at the zoo
Great Keppel Island
I'm travelling with my friend to Australia in the end of this August. We are staying for a week in Brisbane and then heading down to Sydney and Melbourne. But we actually want to see some of the Great barrier reef and the closest to Brisbane seeems to be the Great Keppel Island. However on couple of sites and youtube I read that it is closed for some time now and that you can only go at the camping grounds. Can anyone please tell me if that's true? And if someone has any impressions on the island,please share it.
Would be very thankful for each answer:)
Re: Great Keppel Island
The most southern part of the reef (capricorn section) is well offshore from Rockhampton and Gladstone which is quite a long way north of Brisbane.Great keppel island is just a normal close in offshore island and is not a coral island or part of the reef whatsoever.You wont see anything of the reef there. You need to take a special trip out to the reef. They run tours from the major towns nearby and from the more southern town of Seventeen Seventy.Light plane flights over this most southern section of the reef some of which land on lady Musgrave island (coral isle)and most southern island of the reef are quite popular. But as mentioned Brisbane is not in the ball park for the barrier reef.You would need to drive a few days further north first. A great drive i might add to Hervey Bay (Fraser island nearby) and Bundaberg then onto Seventeen Seventy where you could pick up a tour to the reef.
Fraser Island, moreton island, great keppel island???
I will be finishing up my travelling in Australia in July, I have most of my travel plans set, but i have a few days in mid july that i haven't decided on yet. I have narrowed my options to spending a couple days at either fraser island, great keppel island or moreton island. Right now i am leaning towards going to moreton island because i heard it is essentially the same as fraser island but with more dolphins and less tourists, as well as the fact that i have family in brisbane i can see before/after i head out to the island. My only concern is that maybe it will be too cold in july to fully enjoy the island. Any comments or suggestions for me?
Re: Fraser Island, moreton island, great keppel island???
I have worked on Great Keppel Island and Fraser Island and have been to Moreton Island.
Fraser Island in Mid July is just before the official start of the Whale Season, the island itself is great but the whales are incredible and you won't see them at Moreton Island the same way as you will in the waters of Fraser Island.
The whales have come early for the past 2 years so if you are there in mid July there is a good chance you will see them.
There are some great photos on this web site
Have a look for yourself and then maybe you can compare what is available.
Great Kepple is a backpackers resort and you don't get to drive along the beach there it is a totally different sort of island. Fraser offers more opportunity to get around the island and have a look around whereas Kepple is more of a party in a resort place.
Has anyone recently been on the contiki Great Keppel island holiday?
Would you recommend it?
Our family were regulars of Great Keppel Is until they changed it to Contiki and our age was not "encouraged". However our son has since reached "the age" and has just come back and he feels it's much the same as before but for the fact that everyone is young and he liked it. You are encouraged to join in all the activities that they offer and the more daring ones cost a fair bit of course, but you can still have a gret time without over-spending. His recommendation for accommodation is Beach side South if you can stretch to that and not the Hilltops as they are just too far away from the "action". Hope this helps.
I have done two Contiki tours, not the one you mention, however, they all have a similar feel to them. If you enjoy meeting new friends and traveling then you really can't go wrong. I'm planning another trip with them this summer, they are so much fun! You get to see the world and meet new friends for life doing it. I'm also planning a trip to Australia so I can visit friends I've made on trips in the past. It's a great way to go, I certainly recommend it!!
Hi Beebay - thanks for the comment... however my original post was from seven years ago... wow it's been awhile!
I ended up going my own way for my travels and went to Fitzroy Island instead of Great Keppel. I decided Contiki tours - while they sound fun - are not my style, I prefer to go my own way, have my own adventures and meet local people.
I'm glad you like them though! Hope you continue having fun!
haha I guess I got caught up in perusing and wasn't paying any attention to the dates of postings. That's awesome that you went solo, I've booted around Europe with a friend and it was definitely a great time. Both ways are awesome! Hope you're still traveling!