Day Trips

How to do Great Keppel Island In a Day

Never visited Great Keppel Island before? Time poor and can't spend the night? Well you're in luck, welcome to our locals guide to Great Keppel Island in a day.

Great Keppel Island is not a national park and is not privately owned so happily welcomes day visitors as well as in-house guests to island accommodation. We depart the mainland at 7:30am and 9am daily. The journey to Great Keppel is a quick 30 minute ferry crossing before you are welcome to beautiful white soft sandy beaches and pristine, untouched natural flora and fauna.

Be sure to flick your havi’s off (thongs/flip-flops or jandals) prior to departure as GKI does not have a jetty so the stunning white sand of Fisherman’s beach works as our arrivals and departures land: ferry pulls in, ramp goes down and that soft sand is straight between your toes.

Great Keppel Island for Water Babies

A day in the life of a real tropical island mermaid! Welcome to Great Keppel Island. As you disembark off the ferry, to your left hand side you’ll see a sandy track that has a sign to Great Keppel Island Hideaway – head this way and visit the GKI Water Sports & Activities beach shack.

These guys are the ultimate Great Keppel Island adventurers by both land and sea and have all the know for your day. Their activities vary depending a little on wind and tide but they generally offer guided kayak tours, beach drop offs to explore the reef to yourself or guided snorkel tours. Their discover scuba dive is also available daily – bookings essential. Alternatively, jump in a kayak or hop aboard a SUP and head off to find your own beach for the day, snorkelling and swimming to your heart’s content.

Great Keppel Island by Foot

(Please always take a map from reception and let someone know where you're headed)

Those active hikers that love a good bush walk, you are in for a treat! Great Keppel Island is one of the most magical places to explore by land. You can walk all day, not seeing another soul and always find a beach to yourself.

Our top tips (if you only have the day and need to get back by the 4pm ferry!) organise a picnic lunch with the Hideaway prior to your day of travel and head off towards Leekes Homestead. Originally home to Lizzy Leeke and her husband Ralph, the Homestead is great example of the white European history of Great Keppel Island and a beautiful space, located on an open space inland but still with sea views from the veranda.

Not tired yet? We dare you to try Mount Kanute. Head over the paddock from the Homestead following the grassy track and over a little bridge. Once you hit the first red dirt of the island, you’ll start to come up a little hill and there’s a right turn up a BIG hill. If you make it to the top (not for the faint hearted) turn left and you’ll be treated to a further little hill and this little gem is the top of Mount Kanute, offering magnificent views out towards Wreck beach and the Lighthouse.

Follow this track down and soak in the panoramic views towards Middle Island, Leekes Beach and well as Second, Butterfish Beach and straight ahead will be Secret Beach. Follow the track as it wraps around onto Butterfish Bay. You need to head left on Butterfish and look for the white footprints painted on the rocks there – this track with lead you home via Svendsen’s beach and becomes the same track you turned off for Mount Kanute.

Congratulations, you’ve completed one of our favourite walking tracks!

Ultimate Flop & Drop

Looking for a super laid back, relaxed, lazy day? Add on your lunch with GKI Hideaway – this can be done upon booking, once you’ve selected your return transfers, a page of optional extras comes up which includes “lunch & refreshment”.

When you arrive on the island, duck into the Water Sports beach shack, set up camp on Putney beach under the wonderful Melaleuca trees and only move to have your lunch (choice of burger or caesar salad) and a coldie (choice of XXXX or Great Northern). Maybe washed down with a Pina Colada dessert, you’re overseas after all. 

Have a different Keppel experience? We’d love to hear it!
Share your Great Keppel love stories with us here.