Keppel Bay Islands National Park and Keppel Bay Islands National Park (Scientific) Capricorn | Gladstone

Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Qld

Things to do

    Reef Protection Marker at Big Peninsular, Great Keppel Island. Photo: Oliver Lanyon, Queensland Government.

    Reef Protection Marker at Big Peninsular, Great Keppel Island. Photo: Oliver Lanyon, Queensland Government.

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    Camping is allowed on North Keppel Island, Humpy Island, Miall Island, Conical Island, Divided Island, Pelican Island and Middle Island. Camping permits are required and fees apply.

    Other accommodation

    There is a wide range of accommodation available in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Emu Park. For more information see the tourism information links.

    Walking

    North Keppel Island

    Three walks on North Keppel Island, with optional return segments, allow you to discover the island's diverse plant communities, wildlife and spectacular views of Keppel Bay and surrounding islands. All walks depart from the Considine Beach's camping area. Tracks are posted with directional and information signs.

    There are two grades of walking track on North Keppel Island:

    • Walking track grade 3: rough formed track suitable for most ages and fitness.
    • Walking track grade 4: rough track with some steep sections, bushwalking experience required.

    See the Keppel Bay Islands National Park map (PDF, 136.2KB) for the locations of North Keppel Island's walks.

    (1) Considine-Mazie Bay Track

    Distance: 4.1km return
    Time: about 1.5hrs
    Grade: easy (grade 3 track)
    A gently-sloping walking track winds past sandy shores and dunes, mangrove forests, through a variety of open forests and palm-dominated wetlands. Signs along the way identify key plants and their traditional uses. At Mazie Bay's Woppaburra shelter, descendents share their stories of life on Ko-no-mie.

    Return via either or both optional sections.

    * Wetlands Track

    Distance: an additional 0.5km
    Grade: moderate (grade 4 track)
    Walk east along the beach about 200m, to where a totem directs you over the dune to a shady track through large paperbark trees and weeping palms. After prolonged rain this section may be closed.

    * Banksia Track

    Distance: an additional 0.5km
    Grade: moderate (grade 4 track)
    Turn east at the Keppel Bay Lookout junction, then north to wind through a forest of banksia and wattle, before reaching the mangroves where the track crosses Considine Creek—do not use at king tides.

    (2) Keppel Bay Lookout Track

    Distance: 3.6km return
    Time: allow 1.5hrs
    Grade: moderate (grade 4 track)
    For views of the island, Mazie Bay and other northern islands, turn left 700m along the Mazie Bay track to take a short 850m walk uphill to the Keppel Bay lookout.

    (3) Ko-no-mie Trail (Circuit via lookouts)

    Distance: 7.8km circuit
    Time: allow 3hrs
    Grade: moderate (grade 4 track)
    The trail is rough, with steep sections, for experienced walkers. Winding through woodlands and open grasslands this track offers spectacular 360-degree views of Keppel Bay.

    Take the Considine-Mazie Track to Keppel Bay Lookout. Cross the island’s highest point to view forbidding heath-covered cliffs on the eastern shore and wide outlooks toward Bayfield. Return descending the steep inland track to the Banksia Track and over Considine Creek. On king tides take the Considine-Mazie Track.

    Humpy Island

    Ridgetop Trail

    Distance: 1.9km
    Time: allow 1hr
    Grade: easy (grade 4 track)
    A rough track with an intial steep section, leaves from the camping area and takes you through the island's different habitats. Views from the island's high points are spectacular. Don't forget to look for marine life such as whales, dolphins and large fish in the surrounding waters. Looking north from the ridge top you will see Halfway Island and Cathedral Rock between Humpy and Great Keppel islands.

    Reef walking

    The fringing reefs at Mazie Bay are exposed at very low tides and are accessible to reef walkers. Although coral on these reefs is less diverse and luxuriant than on reefs further from the mainland, they support a variety of fish, invertebrate and plant life.

    You can also go reef walking at Olive Point headland (Middle Island), and at Humpy and Miall islands.

    If reef walking please remember:

    • Move along sand channels, watch where you walk and avoid walking on any coral or other marine life.
    • Look but don't touch! Some marine life can deliver painful and dangerous stings. Check with an experienced guide before handling anything.
    • Set out on the ebbing tide. Allow one hour either side of the predicted low tide time for adequate walking time. Keep watch on the incoming tide during the walk.
    • Use a pole or stick for balance only. Do not poke or probe sea life.
    • Return boulders to their original position if over-turned. Many animals and plants shelter on the undersides of boulders and will soon die if they are exposed.
    • Don't pick up or remove animals which are attached to the reef flat as they won't survive!
    • Avoid walking among coral colonies in water deeper than your knees. This makes seeing into the water and balancing difficult.
    • Don't stand on the edges of coral pools. Corals in this area are often fragile and easily damaged, particularly if you step in and out of the pool.
    • Be aware of marine park collecting restrictions.
    • Don't litter. Cigarette butts and plastic can be especially harmful if swallowed by marine animals which mistake them for food.

    Guided tours and talks

    Education Queensland operates the North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre. Access to the centre is by appointment only. For further information, contact the centre on (07) 4939 2510.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    The following national park islands are recommended for picnics and day use.

    • Humpy Island has toilets, bush showers and picnic tables.
    • North Keppel Island's Considine Beach has toilets, rainwater bush shower (occassionally water is not available) and picnic tables.
    • Conical, Middle and Halfway islands have picnic tables.
    • Corroboree, Pelican, Divided, Miall and Hummocky islands have no facilities.

    Boating and fishing

    Boating and fishing are popular activities for visitors to Keppel Bay Islands National Park. Boat launch facilities and charters are available from Rosslyn Bay Harbour.

    There are public moorings in the waters around Keppel Bay Islands National Park. Moorings reduce coral damage from anchors and provide safe and sustainable access to popular reefs and islands. They suit a variety of vessel sizes and are accessed on a first-come-first-served basis. Time limits may apply during the day, but all mooring are available overnight between 3pm and 9am. Learn more about moorings and responsible anchoring and see maps and mooring locations.

    The Keppel Bay islands and surrounding reefs are important sea turtle habitat. Be vigilant when out on the water to avoid injuring turtles and marine life.

    Conditions on the bay can be extremely dangerous. Always file a trip sheet with the Australian Volunteer Coastguard. Please take note of the advice given in Staying safe.

    When boating remember:

    • Anchorages around most islands are exposed and have limited holding ability. The best anchorages are at North Keppel and Great Keppel islands.
    • Anchor with care, on sand when possible. If you cannot avoid coral, use reef picks and motor towards anchor when hauling in.

    If fishing:

    No anchoring areas

    Four locations around the Keppel Bay islands are no anchoring areas.

    • Great Keppel Island—Monkey Beach Reef and Big Peninsula
    • Barren Island—northern side
    • Humpy Island—west of the camping area.

    No anchoring areas are defined by white pyramid shaped buoys called reef protection markers (RPMs) with blue marine park labels. You cannot anchor inshore of the imaginary line these buoys create. RPMs must not be used to moor vessels.

    For further information, including maps of the Keppel Bay island’s No Anchoring Areas, visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority website.

    Viewing wildlife

    Birds of prey are often seen above the bay and beaches, and some nest on the islands. Terns and cormorants hunt for fish at sea, while waders such as pied oystercatchers and beach stone-curlew forage along the beaches and small estuaries. Many land birds including honeyeaters, rainbow bee-eaters, pheasant coucals and friarbirds are permanent residents of the islands' woodlands and heaths.

    Sea turtles, which are vulnerable to extinction, breed and feed in the waters around the Keppel Bay islands. Flatback turtles migrate from as far as Torres Strait to nest on Peak Island beaches—the most important breeding rookery for these turtles on Australia's east coast. When out on the water, keep your eyes open for green turtles popping up for air while feeding over seagrass areas.

    Diving and snorkelling

    Diving and snorkelling are popular in this area. You can snorkel on the fringing reefs at Mazie Bay (North Keppel), Olive Point headland (Middle Island), Humpy Island or Miall Island. Diving is particularly good on reefs surrounding North Keppel, Middle, Miall and Conical islands. Please take care not to damage the fragile coral.

    You must be either a certified diver or under instruction with a registered diving company to dive on the Keppel Bay reefs.

    When diving please remember:

    • Be careful with your fins—careless kicking can damage coral.
    • Don't stir up sediment—murky waters stress plants and animals.
    • Spearfishing while using scuba gear is prohibited.

    See Looking after the park for more information.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.