There are many things to do on Great Keppel Island (Wop-pa) for nature lovers. If you’re there for a short time, it may even be overwhelming! We had the chance to enjoy most of the activities on the island. Here’s a selection of our favourite ones.
1. The best beaches on Wop-pa (Great Keppel Island)
Most people stay on one of the two beaches next to the resort (Fisherman’s Beach and Putney Beach) and they can get very busy during weekends or school holidays. Hence, nature lovers will want to find more secluded spots. You don’t have to walk far to leave the crowd behind.
If you don’t want to walk, you can ask Keppel Dive for a transfer to secluded beaches.
2. Scuba diving
Scuba diving is quite cheap once you’re on the island, considering the trips include boat transfers to dive sites around The Keppels. It’s only $180 for a double dive including all equipment hire, whereas we most of the time pay more than $200 in other destinations.
We did 10 dives around the Keppels. We didn’t plan to do that many but the conditions were good (although the visibility was average) and we had opportunities to explore sites we hadn’t dived yet.
Corals looked quite healthy and growing and some sites had amazing fish life. Read this post about scuba diving on Great Keppel Island for further details.
Do you find scuba diving scary? I know the feeling. I have now done more than 200 dives, so I’ve shared my experience about overcoming my fear of scuba diving in this article; I hope it can help!
3. Hiking Wop-pa (Great Keppel Island)
I loved hiking Wop-pa (Great Keppel Island) and I will tell you all about it in another article coming soon. There’s no road or vehicle on the island, so hiking is the best way to explore most of it. I read about a 4WD tour from Great Keppel Island Holiday Village* on TripAdvisor but didn’t find advertised on their website or while on the island.
To put it in a nutshell, we tried to explore as many trails as possible and all took us to stunning views of the island. Bring good footwear and be ready to walk uphill, you’ll be rewarded. This is the tourist map we found with all the trails, but it is not precise and I’m glad we asked locals for tips. If you’re planning to tackle the long trails, I recommend seeking more information than just looking at this map.
Keep your eyes open for wildlife on Wop-pa (Great Keppel Island). We saw echidnas a few times during our hikes and at the resort. It’s one of the best places in Australia to spot this iconic animal.
There are a few spots where you can snorkel coral reefs from Wop-pa (Great Keppel Island). The easiest one to reach is Shelving Beach (a short walk from where the ferry drops you and the resorts) and Monkey Beach is a little bit further. If you don’t want to walk, the dive shop may be able to organise a drop off for you. We found it was better to snorkel there at low tide to see the corals from closer.
On the northern part of the island, Wreck Beach is quite reputed for snorkelling. We found it better than Monkey Beach and Shelving Beach. If you can find the huge coral bommie, look for the turtle that is often nearby. We stopped there during a hike. It was a nice way to refresh after crossing the dunes and before going to the lighthouse. You can also ask Keppel Dive for transfers. It seemed you could snorkel Wreck Beach at any time as there were corals at different depths.
If you don’t have your own snorkel gear, you can hire equipment from the dive shop. Remember to ask them for tips as the weather conditions can impact your experience. The current wasn’t a problem when we were there. But if you want to avoid it, aim for slack tide (around high tide or around low tide).
5. Kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding
We didn’t paddle as much as we wished because we spent extra days scuba diving. You can hire kayaks or SUPs and pay by the hour, or take them for the day ($70 from 9 am to 3 pm).
The best is to decide your itinerary (towards Monkey Point or Putney Beach) on the day according to the weather conditions (wind), and tides.
We went north towards Putney Beach. We quickly spotted dugongs and turtles. At high tide, you can explore the wetlands, which is a great spot to spot birds. We came back around Middle Island. We stopped there for lunch on an empty beach visited by a turtle and a blacktip reef shark.
6. Watch the sunset from the beach
When you live on Australia’s East Coast, you don’t often get to watch the sunset from the beach. Wop-pa (Great Keppel Island) is a perfect place for sunset lovers. You can chill on the beach or at the bar during the magic hour and watch the colours change. If you’re lucky, you may even spot dugongs or turtles.