The ultimate family escape to Great Keppel Island

18 islands forming the Great Keppel Group – part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef – have a shining star, the largest jewel in their family crown: Great Keppel Island.

If you were lucky enough to spend any time in Queensland as a kid, Great Keppel Island might flood back some family holiday memories. If you didn’t, kick off your shoes and imagine your toes sinking deep into the softest sand. With its beach arrival there’s no need for a jetty here, so the kids are already splashing about in crystalline waters before you’ve even checked in. When you do, you’ll discover affordable, family-friendly accommodation and a warm welcome. Sounds good right? We don’t blame you if you’ve already started packing.

For families flocking to Great Keppel island, expect to find a simple, relaxed oasis, and supremely affordable Queensland island getaway.

Getting there

From Rockhampton, travel around 40 kilometres to the seaside town of Yepoon on Queensland’s Capricorn Coast.

Join Keppel Konnections from Keppel Bay Marina, or Freedom Fast Cats from Pier One at Rosslyn Bay Harbour for the quicker-than-most 30-minute crossing to Great Keppel Island. Just 15 kilometres off the coast of Yeppon, both also offer a range of day cruise options you can join from the mainland, or island to see sunsets, whales (in season), fish, swim, or snorkel.

When you’re there

At Great Keppel Island, a family sanctuary awaits, with 1500 hectares of native flora and scampering fauna, including laughing kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, wallabies, kangaroos and all sorts of sea birds.

Surrounded by sea and part of the low-lying coral cays that make up the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Great Keppel Island really comes into its own when exploring below the surface, which is easy to do here with kids. Find plenty of sandy-bottomed beaches (17 in fact), clear waters, and an abundant array of colourful marine life and coral your kids will be thrilled to explore.

For the best snorkelling areas on Great Keppel Island with kids, try Shelving Beach, Monkey Point and Clam Bay, all within easy walking distance of accommodation.

Speaking of accommodation…

There’s a number of places to stay, with Hideaway Resort offering a range of accommodation options to suit families, from bunkhouses with shared bathrooms to fully self contained cabins and even houses that will fit a whole tribe of families and friends together.

Great Keppel Island Hideaway

Great Keppel Island Hideaway overlooks stunning Putney Beach, the perfect spot to let the kids play in the sand as the sun sinks over the mainland while you enjoy a beer, wine or mocktail. And as the only resort with a restaurant and bar on Great Keppel Island, this is a great choice for families who enjoy the convenience of having the option of meals made for them. Pre-book meal packages with breakfast, lunch and dinner, or self-cater if you prefer.

If you’re on the island on a Friday night, the Parilla Argentian Barbecue is a great way to enjoy great food and company while the kids make some new friends.

Complimentary activities are offered to in-house guests, including mini-golf, basketball, beach volleyball and archery, and for water babies, paddle skis, sailing and water sports gear too.

For an additional charge, head to see the friendly crew at Keppel Water Sports to sign up to join guided kayaking tour, snorkelling and bush walks. Like to mix a bit of adrenaline into your family adventure holidays in Queensland? Jet skiing, skydiving, water skiing and tube rides are all on offer here too.

Great Keppel Island Holiday Village

Great keppel island holiday village

Photo by @geoffaquino

Nestled underneath swaying palm trees and less than a minute’s walk to the best beaches on the island is Great Keppel Island Holiday Village.

You’ll find comfortable accommodation and a choice of tents, cabins and Keppel House (which sleeps up to six) to choose from, but all imbue that stress-free, affordable, beachside bliss that’s perfect for families. Snorkel, swim, and explore the island at your leisure – nothing is rushed here as Great Keppel Island Holiday Village operates on island time. Simply in tune with the tides, the sun and the sea.


Keppel Haven Bar & Bistro (located at Hideaway Resort), serves breakfast lunch and dinner, and while Tropical Vibes is a great place to grab a juicy burger (try the Hawaiian for run-through-your-fingers delicious) while the kids enjoy a toastie or hot chips. Another family favourite close to all accomodation is Island Pizza: a real tribe-pleaser after energy-sapping snorkel sessions, or picnicking under a palm tree watching the sun set.

Families who have their own boat can moor at Fisherman’s Beach’s safe and secure sandy beach anchorage. But even if you don’t have a boat and still love fishing, you can join one of the local fishing tours, or just do as the locals do and fish off the beach. Be sure to check the fishing zone before casting your line in – we like to keep our fish stocks healthy here on the Reef.

Get active

For a look around the Great Keppel Bay National Bay, there are a number of bush walks rated easy through to advanced.

Suggested walking tracks:

  • Find a deserted stretch of white sand only a short stroll from Fisherman’s Beach.
  • A 30-minute walk south along the headland leads to Monkey Bay.
  • A walking trail from the southern end of the airfield takes you to Long Beach, one of Keppel’s best.
  • A three-hour return bush track from Fisherman’s Beach leads to the lighthouse on Bald Rock Point. This is the island’s most challenging walk, but you’ll be rewarded with incredible views.

You can also circumnavigate the island by kayak. Be sure to let someone know you’re going before you take off, or join one of the guided tours instead for a local’s insight into this incredible island and the stories that include Indigenous history and sacred sites, interior wetlands and creeks to quietly explore.

Locals on the island love to share the best places to spot dolphins, dugongs, turtles and whales (in season) and won’t hesitate to point you in the direction of the best snorkel spots teeming with colourful coral and even more colourful fish. We’re all friends here in Queensland.