Ever dreamt of camping on a gorgeous tropical island? Waking up just metres away from the warm waters of the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef? Well, you may be surprised that you can actually camp on the various Keppel islands – and it’s pretty cheap!!
As well as Great Keppel Island camping, various islands make up the Keppel Islands and most of them are available for campers. So if this sounds like your next dream camping trip – then this is the perfect guide for you!
In this guide, we’ve going to cover not only the camping Great Keppel Island offers but also how you can camp on various islands that are part of the Keppel Bay Islands National Park. This guide covers not only the Great Keppel Island camping sites and the Great Keppel Island glamping sites – but it also covers some absolute back to basics, dirt cheap tropical island campsites – where you may well be the only person around!
So let’s get into it and find you the perfect camping on Great Keppel Island and the surrounding islands!
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Great Keppel Island Camping Map
Here is a map showing you where all the different campsites are on Great Keppel Island as well as the surrounding islands.
Camping: Great Keppel Island and Surrounding Islands
Out of the 14 islands that make up the Keppel Island group – 8 have campsites. If you prefer to camp where there are plenty of facilities available then you best book into a private site on Great Keppel Island. Whereas those who prefer to get back to basics are best to camp at one of the sites in the Keppel Islands National Park where facilities are limited and in some cases non-existence.
Below we go through each of the various islands and provide details of each of the available campsites on the islands so you can choose the perfect spot for your next camping adventure.
Great Keppel Island
Great Keppel Island is the largest of all the Keppel Islands and while all of the other islands that offer camping are part of National Parks (so come with National Park camping rates), only private camping options are available on Great Keppel Island.
Great Keppel Island Holiday Village
Located on Fisherman Beach, which is the main tourist area of the island is the Great Keppel Island Holiday Village. This resort offers laid back, basic style accommodation in a stunning setting on Great Keppel Island.
As well as holiday homes, cabins and rooms, the Holiday Village also offer a range of glamping tents and campsites.
Campsites are great for those that are happy to cart across their camping gear to the island. There are just six sites available, starting at $25 per person per night.
If you like the idea of camping but not carting all your gear across, then you can glamp in one of the safari tents on site. These tents are suitable for two people in either a double bed or two singles and include linen, lights, fans and a small outdoor deck. Prices start at $120 per night per tent.
There are great facilities at Great Keppel Holiday Village, including a fully equipped communal kitchen and BBQ area which includes everything you could possibly need to cook your meals while on the island.
Svendsen’s Beach Eco Retreat
If you’re wanting to camp on Great Keppel Island but prefer to be away from the crowds, then Svendsen’s Beach Eco Retreat is a great option. Accessible only by a 6.5km walking track or boat, this small and secluded resort is far from all the other island guests and day-trippers.
First up though – this retreat is only available for families with children aged 14+, if your children are younger then this, you’re going to need to stay at Great Keppel Holiday Village or camp at one of the other islands mentioned below.
Accommodation options at Svendsen’s are fairly limited with a two bedroom house, studio cabin and then a gorgeous safari tent. The safari tents are simple but lovely coming with solid timber beds, lamps, fans and an outdoor deck with chairs. Prices start at $120 per night.
There is no restaurant on site or anywhere nearby, so you will need to bring all your own food to Svendsen’s. However, you do get access to cooking facilities to prepare all your own meals. You’ll also have your own private beach hut down by the beach.
There is only ever a maxim number of 6 guests at any given time – with either a group in the house or another group in the other area. There is also no staff on site, so you’ve pretty much got the place to yourself.
To reach the retreat, it is a 1.5 hour, 6 km walk from the ferry at Fisherman’s Beach. Another option is to arrange transfers with the retreat owners who will pick you up in their private boat for a cost of $15 per person each way.
You can book Svendsens via Airbnb – to check availability and current pricing click here.
North Keppel Island (Considine Beach)
Located 18km northeast of Rosslyn Bay Harbour, North Keppel Island offers campsites at Considine Beach. The campsites here are grassy and among the Livistona palms and the native hibiscus or cotton trees. Camping is limited to a maximum of 75 people at any one time.
While camping here, you can explore the island via 3 different walking tracks as well as spend your days swimming, snorkelling, kayaking or fishing.
Facilities at North Keppel Island include composting toilets, picnic tables, taps (but not drinking water) and some cold shower facilities (but please note there are times when water is not available).
Generators or open fires are not permitted, but gas or fuel stoves for cooking are allowed.
While mobile phone coverage is not too bad on North Keppel Island, two way marine radios and satellite phones are recommended.
Just south of Great Keppel Island is Humpy Island, only 13km east of the Rosslyn Bay Harbour. The campsites here are sandy and sheltered by stunning Casuarina groves with gorgeous views across Keppel Bay. Camping is limited to a maximum of 60 people at any one time with a maximum of only 8 people in any given group.
Humpy Island is perfect for those who enjoy spending their days swimming, snorkelling, kayaking or diving.
Facilities at Humpy Island include composting toilets, picnic tables, taps (but not drinking water) and some cold shower facilities.
Generators or open fires are not permitted, but gas or fuel stoves for cooking are allowed.
While mobile phone coverage is not too bad on Humpy Island, two way marine radios and satellite phones are recommended.
If you want to have an entire island all to yourself, then Miall Island is for you! With only 1 campsite on the entire island and limited to just 6 people, this is the ultimate tropical island camping getaway.
Miall Island is located just north west of Great Keppel Island, around 11kms east of the Rosslyn Bay Harbour. This small 20 hectare island is said to have some of the very best snorkelling and diving in Keppel Bay.
There are no facilities whatsoever at Miall Island so you will need to bring absolutely everything with you. Also please note that generators or open fires are not permitted, but gas or fuel stoves for cooking are allowed.
While mobile phone coverage is not too bad on Miall Island, two way marine radios and satellite phones are recommended.
Conical Island is the northernmost island out of all the Keppel Bay Islands, located just north of North Keppel Island and 3kms north west of Great Keppel Island. It is a tiny island with stunning views and with just one campsite for a maximum of 6 people, it’s ideal for those looking for an intimate camping destination.
The island has a small sandy beach on the southern side, with rugged, rocky outcrops on the north and west side of the island. Large coral bommies on the island’s west are within easy snorkelling distance from the beach.
Facilities at Conical Island are limited and only include picnic tables. Generators or open fires are not permitted, but gas or fuel stoves for cooking are allowed.
While mobile phone coverage is not too bad on Conical Island, two way marine radios and satellite phones are recommended.
Divided Island is located in the south of Keppel Bay, around 10kms southeast of Emu Park. Divided Island is home to Ospreys and white-bellied sea-eagles, who use the island as a roosting and feeding site.
This is a tiny island just 6 hectares in size and there is just the one campsite for a maximum of 6 people. The campsite is located on the western side of the island where the beach is rocky and great for beachcombing.
There are no facilities whatsoever on Divided Island so you will need to bring absolutely everything with you. Also please note that generators or open fires are not permitted, but gas or fuel stoves for cooking are allowed.
While mobile phone coverage is not too bad on Divided Island, two way marine radios and satellite phones are recommended.
Despite being just 5kms east of the mainland, Pelican Island is one of the least visited islands in the Keppel group. The island is 15 hectares in size and is rugged and covered in grassland with low vine thickets.
However, if you want an island all to yourself, this is it as Pelican Island just has the one campsite which is for a maximum of 6 people. The campsite is on the western facing shingle beach, which is ideal for fishing and beachcombing.
There are no facilities whatsoever on Pelican Island so you will need to bring absolutely everything with you. Also please note that generators or open fires are not permitted, but gas or fuel stoves for cooking are allowed.
While mobile phone coverage is not too bad on Pelican Island, two way marine radios and satellite phones are recommended.
Located just off the shores of Great Keppel Island and just 11kms from Rosslyn Bay, Middle Island is a popular choice for campers looking for a tropical island getaway. The island has two main beaches – Sunset Beach and Turtle Beach. Sunset Beach is surrounded by a coral reed, while Turtle Beach has a rocky point which is ideal for snorkelling and the best beach on the entire island!
This island is home to an old underwater observatory which operated for some 20 years before closing in the early 2000s. The underwater structure is still is home to some great marine life.
There are three different camping sites on the island, all located at one of the island’s gorgeous beaches. Each campsite has a limit of 6 people, so you really will have your own slice of paradise.
Campsites are situated behind the foredunes, which make it easy to spend your days swimming, snorkelling and diving. However, keep in mind that there is no fishing allowed on Middle Island.
Facilities at Middle Island are limited and only include picnic tables. Generators or open fires are not permitted, but gas or fuel stoves for cooking are allowed.
While mobile phone coverage is not too bad on Middle Island, two way marine radios and satellite phones are recommended.
Booking Permits for the Keppel Bay Islands in the National Park
Apart from the campsites at Great Keppel Island, all of the other campsites are within Queensland National Parks and so permits are required to camp there. The good news is this means super cheap camping prices!
The best way to book your camping permits is online here – you’ll need to set up an account with Queensland National Parks before you can book. However, you can also make your booking by calling 13 74 68 or in person at one of the booking offices.
A permit cost $6.75 per person per night or $27 per family per night. The family rate is for a maximum of two adults and up to 6 children under the age of 18. Children under 5 are free.
Be sure to print out your permit before arriving and make sure you display your tag with your booking number on your campsite at all times.
How to Get to the Keppel Islands for Camping
The only island that has a ferry service is Great Keppel Island. It is pretty simple to reach Great Keppel Island either with Keppel Konnections or Freedom Fast Cats.
However, if you are bringing all your own camping gear, I’d recommend Freedom Fast Cats as they are the only company which allows you to bring additional gear (although at a fee) whereas Keppel Konnections is fairly strict in the luggage you can bring with you.
Click here for our detailed guide on getting to Great Keppel Island which we wrote for our sister site Thrifty Family Travels.
However don’t worry – there are ways of getting to other islands, you will just have to take a water taxi – better yet if you have your own boat, this is, of course, the best way to get to the various islands.
If you need to arrange a boat to drop you off at your island campsite, contact Freedom Fast Cats. They have a water taxi which can accommodate up to 10-15 people as well as all your camping gear.
What to Bring Camping on the Keppel Islands
Unless you’re camping on Great Keppel Island, you will need to bring absolutely everything with you as there are very limited facilities on the islands and in some cases there are none. In fact, even on Great Keppel Island, there is nowhere to buy food, expect a few restaurants, so you’ll need to bring all your own food as well. However, on Great Keppel Island, you will have access to cooking facilities, water, toilets and showers.
If camping on the other Keppel Islands, as well as food, you’ll need to bring all your own water, toilet, cooking facilities as well as garbage bags to take all your rubbish with you.
Staying Safe While Camping at the Keppel Islands
How fun does camping on one of the Keppel Islands sound? Pretty awesome right! However, it is important to note that camping at the Keppel Islands does come with some risk, and it’s important that you’re aware of this and put a few measures in place to stay safe.
Here are a few things to bring or consider while camping at any of the Keppel Islands:
- Bring enough food, water, a broadcast radio for weather forecasts, spare batteries and medical supplies in case you become isolated in bad weather. This area is prone to strong winds, rough seas and cyclones so be prepared for the worse.
- In the case of impending severe weather conditions, all camping permits will be cancelled and you will be required to evacuate from the islands.
- It is recommended you file a trip sheet with the local Australian Volunteer Coastguard. Boating can be extremely hazardous in Keppel Bay and it is important that you check your safety equipment before your trip to ensure it is in good working order.
- While mobile phones tend to have good reception from hilltops, it is recommended you bring a two-way marine radio in case of any emergency.
- Make yourself familiar with local procedures, navigation charts, radio frequencies and call signs.
- Unfortunately, marine stingers may be present in the water around the Keppel Islands. Particularly between October and May. To protect yourself from stingers it is recommended that you wear a full-body lycra suit, or something similar when going in the water.
- Never touch any marine life as a lot of marine life can deliver painful and dangerous stings.
- Death adders have been seen on Middle and Miall Islands so please stay particularly vigilant in these areas.
Hopefully, you found this guide on camping on the Keppel Islands helpful and you’re now all set to go. Click here for other accommodation options on GKI. You might also be interested in our things to do on Great Keppel Island guide here or our Yeppoon Caravan Parks guide here.