Australia: The Land Where Time Began
Keppel Bay Islands National Park
What's special?The broad sweep of Keppel Bay from Curtis Island to Corio Bay on the central Queensland coast is dotted with a scenic group of 18 islands. Most are protected in Keppel Bay Islands National Park. Steep hills, plunging cliffs, secluded beaches, crystal-clear waters and diverse plant communities are some of the park’s attractions.
North Keppel Island has a wonderful variety of plants and vegetation communities including mangroves, palm forests, rainforest, paperbark woodlands, open forests and woodlands with a grasstree understorey, heath, grasslands and dune vegetation. This is the only island in Queensland with such dense stands of weeping cabbage-tree palms. Lemon-scented gums also only occur on this continental island. Humpy Island is mainly covered in windswept grasslands and stunted heath.
The surrounding waters are protected in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Aboriginal people lived on North Keppel Island about 4500 years ago. Remains of the seafoods they gathered and ate are scattered around the shoreline and some of the most significant archaeological sites in the Great Barrier Reef are located on North Keppel Island. Cook named the islands after Rear Admiral Keppel in 1770.
Exploring Keppel BayYou can bush camp on North Keppel, Humpy, Middle, Miall, Conical, Divided and Pelican Islands. Campers must be self-sufficient. Take drinking water, food, a fuel stove and two-way radio or mobile phone for emergency. If camping on North Keppel, take insect repellent. Remove all rubbish from the park.
The camping areas at Considine Bay, North Keppel Island and the northern beach of Humpy Island have toilets, tap water and cold bush showers. Please do not feed the brushtail possums on North Keppel and store food securely. Middle, Miall and Conical Islands have picnic tables. Divided and Pelican Islands have no facilities.
Discover the different plant communities along a self-guiding trail between Considine Beach and Mazie Bay on North Keppel Island. Walk to the Keppel Bay Lookout for a view over Mazie Bay and other Keppel islands.
Go birdwatching. See white-bellied sea-eagles, brahminy kites or collared sparrowhawks overhead, terns and pied oystercatchers along the shore and honeyeaters, rainbow bee-eaters and pheasant coucals in the heaths and woodlands. Listen for the mournful cry of the bush stone-curlews.
Go snorkelling or reef walking over the fringing reefs at Mazie Bay (North Keppel), Olive Point headland (Middle Island), Humpy Island or Miall Island. Be careful not to damage the coral. Beware of marine stingers which may be present in the sea from October to May. Restrictions apply to fishing, spear fishing and collecting in the marine park waters.
Education Queensland operates an environmental education centre on North Keppel Island. The centre provides residential educational programs for schools. Contact the centre for details and bookings (07) 4939 2510, www.nkieec.qld.edu.au
WalkingWear a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent when walking. Take drinking water.
Getting thereKeppel Bay Islands are 15km offshore from Yeppoon. Access is by private boat or water taxi from the Keppel Bay Marina.
|Author: M.H.Monroe Email: email@example.com Sources & Further reading|