7 Reasons I Love to Scuba Dive at Great Keppel Island

Great Keppel Island (Woppaburra) – a hidden treasure nestled on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Great Keppel Island will always hold a special place in my heart as I first discovered the fabulous sport of scuba diving on GKI. At the age of 55 years, I thought I was beyond many things until I was given a Discovery Dive with Keppel Dives. Little did I know my Discovery Dive would change me in more ways than I could imagine as I began to look at my life through the lens of a dive mask.

Known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, GKI is only a 30-minute ferry crossing from my hometown, Yeppoon, on the beautiful Capricorn Coast.

A seagull overlooks the view from Great Keppel Island

I have enjoyed exploring the underwater wonders of Great Keppel Island, with colorful fish, turtles, pelagics, rays, and many more underwater marvels. The vibrant coral reefs, intricate patterns, and stunning colors are a sight to behold. As a Scuba Woman, it is truly a unique and awe-inspiring experience to witness the diversity of marine flora and fauna in their natural habitat.

1/ I love to Dive at Great Keppel Island because of the White Beaches

Technically I am not scuba diving on the white sandy beaches, but there is something special about stepping off the ferry and onto the white sands of Fishermen’s Beach. Instantaneously my being is flooded with joy and anticipation.

As I walk across the beach to the little blue dive hut and meet the team from Keppel Dives and Watersports, I know I am in for a good day. Scuba tanks are waiting on the deck for divers as we sit under the shade of an umbrella, toes in the sand, and discuss the dive plan. My whole body sighs and feels liberated as I walk across the pristine sand to board the dive boat to begin my day of diving.

Great Keppel Island beach with a dive boat in the water.

2/ I love to Dive at Great Keppel Island because of Keppel Dives

I have to admit I am biased when it comes to Keppel Dives. I put myself in their skillful hands when I learned to dive at 55. Keppel Dive and Snorkel are a PADI dive shop with a professional and well-trained crew. Locals and tourists alike are looked after, have the opportunity to make new friends, and always have a good day out.

Laughter is a part of our day, and I always feel safe in Keppel Dives’ competent hands. Our guides know where to find the cool stuff and share tips and techniques. (“Stop flapping about Tanya”) – my favorite tip when I couldn’t maintain my buoyancy on the safety stop.

If I don’t learn something about scuba diving, I learn about Great Keppel Island. Its history, its habitats, and its many pristine dive sites. We can always rely on the guys at Keppel Dives to get us to the best dive spot for the conditions.

Diver at the the blue Keppel Dive Hut

3/- I love to Dive at Great Keppel Island because of Egg Rock

Egg Rock is a world-class dive site, though not popularly known. Egg Rock is part of three rock pinnacles, the other two being Bacon and Toast!. At 30 meters, it is one of the few deep dives around The Keppels. Currents can be strong and strong currents mean an abundance of life—giant pelagic cruise by as you explore the rock walls, caves, and crevices.  

Egg Rock is often a drift dive, which is always fun as the current gently pushes divers past striking formations with a wealth of sea life and beautiful scenery. It is scarce to dive Egg Rock and not see sizeable olive sea snakes, often curiously weaving their way through divers. A real treat is to see the elusive barramundi cod, sweetlips, coral trout, wobbegong sharks, turtles, eagle rays, and red emperors.

Egg Rock, The Keppels

4/- Many Dive Sites are a Quick Boat ride from Great Keppel Island

The weather impacts scuba diving, and many sites cannot be dived in certain conditions. Catching Keppel Konnections to Great Keppel Island gives divers a world of freedom. Approaching the dive hut at Great Keppel, I know the team will have endless choices for us to dive. There will be the perfect dive site, sheltered from the wind and right for the tides.

The Keppel Dive and Snorkel crew knows the best places for diving and continues to find more. As locals, we sometimes get to participate in exploring a new site or follow along and learn as they map and research areas of the reef.

A Scuba Woman, Empty Nest Diver on a dive boat with an island in the background.

5/- Humpback Whales and Dugongs visit Great Keppel Island

Magic happens at Great Keppel Island, especially in winter when Humpback Whales visit. The only thing better than watching whales at play is being serenaded by whale songs while scuba diving. Each year more whales seem to visit the Keppels. We often spot whales as we head to a dive site, once even on the ferry between Yeppoon and Great Keppel Island.

We are fortunate on the Capricorn Coast to be able to watch whales breaching or feeding their calves as we head to dive on picturesque coral reefs. Calm water 10 minutes from land, 25-meter visibility – The Keppels are a Scuba Woman’s paradise.


Shy dugongs are hard to spot but live just off Great Keppel Island. I have been fortunate to see them in the bay a few times, once while having lunch at The Hideaway.

6/- I love GKI because I can Sneak a Snorkel at Monkey Beach

Depending on your group’s dive and size, divers generally return to GKI by 1pm. Of course, you can always catch the early ferry back, but who wants to do that?

I regularly sneak in a snorkel, especially if it’s low tide. My buddy and I snorkel to either Shelving Beach or Monkey Beach. Sometimes we hike across the hill to the beaches, but we prefer snorkeling from Fisherman’s Beach. Some days can be as good, if not better, than a dive; there is so much to see.

The variety and size of the fish so close to shore amazes me. I have a couple of favorite bommies that are always hiding surprises. It is common to swim with a turtle and see giant rays, anemone fish, sea urchins, nudibranchs, turtles, sweetlips, coral trout, giant clams, and spotted rays.

A large ray partially covered in sand

We often overstay our time in the water and have to make a quick dash to the Keppel Konnections ferry, legs burning from our rapid swim to get there in time. The crew laughs at us as we board the ferry last minute, panting and clutching our gear.

7/- I love GKI because I can Finish the Day at The Hideaway

Another post-dive option is to follow the sandy track to The Hideaway to enjoy a relaxing lunch with new and old dive buddies. The thought of a cold drink and a burger is very tempting.

In fact, I think it is the perfect way to finish the afternoon. Salty skin, ocean breeze, good company, and good food as we relive our dives and plan our next escape to our favorite hidden treasure on the Great Southern Barrier Reef.

I am fortunate and grateful to have Great Keppel Island on my doorstep.

It’s Never Too Late – Take the Dive with Tanya – Helping Women Scuba Dive Confidently.

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Published by emptynestdiver

Learning to dive in my fifties has been a great adventure, I am a senior scuba diver but young at heart.

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