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Keswick Island

Most visitors to Mackay are surprised to learn that one of the southern-most Whitsunday Islands can be visited directly from the Mackay coast.

Keswick Island is situated 32 kilometres from Mackay and is accessible via the water from the Mackay Marina, or by air. Keswick Island has a privately owned airstrip, so it is possible to arrive by plane or helicopter direct from Mackay. Enjoy a day on the tropical island or choose to stay on the island at a welcoming guesthouse.

A spectacular jewel in the Coral Sea, Keswick Island is truly a tropical paradise. Most of the island is national park and sub-tropical rainforest, therefore is home to an abundance of colourful flora and fauna. Many bush walks throughout the island provide the opportunity to gain spectacular views across the Whitsunday water. The island is fringed by white sandy shorelines, with coral reefs within swimming distance, perfect for snorkelling.

The nearby reefs are teeming with marine life, including vibrantly colourful coral gardens. Keswick Island also offers divers a unique experience, as there are three shipwreck sites all from within half an hour of the island to explore. These wrecks are a fascinating piece of the region's history.

Meals and basic grocery needs can be purchased on the island and golf buggies, kayaks and snorkelling equipment are also available for hire.

Humpback whales can be frequently seen around Keswick Island during their annual migration through the Whitsundays between the months of July to September.

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Queensland
Australia

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Whale Watching on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Humpback Whales can be frequently seen around Keswick Island during their annual migration through the Whitsundays between the months of July to September. Seeing the whales frolicking nearby, or guiding a newborn calf through the protected waters of Egremont Passage, is a truly magical experience. There are many spots on Keswick from which you can watch the whales - be it from the deck of the Keswick Kiosk, from Basil Bay beach or from any of the prominent headlands. If you are watching whales from your boat, be sure to comply with the Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching.

Bees on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Keswick Island is home to thriving hives of purebred Caucasian bees. Unlike bees on the Australian mainland, these bees are free of many other diseases and are sometimes used as breeding stock for the mainland colonies. The bees were brought to the island in 1986. The bees are supported by aparists, John and Des Covey and Keswick Developments encourages this operation as a means of preserving a valuable part of the natural ecosystem. The Bee Hives can be found on the walking trails towards Langton Point and Connie Bay. Keswick Island honey is available to purchase at the Keswick Island Kiosk, the Mackay Visitor Information Centre and at other stores stocking local produce around the Mackay Region.

Birdwatching on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Keswick Island is a bird watcher's paradise. The island is home to many different bird species, with sightings of at least 33 different birds documented to date - an impressive variety for an island of Keswick's size. The ground dwellers are easy to spot, often crossing the road up ahead or making their way along the grassy verges as you drive along in your buggy. Curlews and Lapwings will lay eggs just about anywhere, not even bothering to build the most rudimentary nest. Spectacular Sea Eagles and Kites can be regularly seen on Keswick. They build large nests, usually on cliff tops, and are known to re-use the same nest year after year. Notable nests on Keswick have been seen at Langton Point and near Singapore Bay. Eagles' nests are best viewed from a boat. To find out more about which bird species are able to be seen on Keswick Island, visit their website.

Bushwalking on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Bushwalking on Keswick Island is a great way to marvel at the natural treasures that change with the seasons. You can wind through tropical vegetation, climb hills that reward you with spectacular views, or stroll along sandy beaches and fringing reef at low tide. Notable walks include trails to the spectacular Langton Point lookout and to Connie Bay/Sarah Point lookouts - these walks pass the hives of the fascinating honey bees. At the other end of the island, the Coral Gardens Lookout is a nice spot to walk to for a picnic lunch, with majestic grass trees and vast views across to St Bees and beyond. And the rainforest walk to Arthur Bay is often a magical walk through swarms of vibrant blue butterflies.

South Cumberland Islands National Park

St Bees Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
South Cumberland Islands National Park encompasses nine islands. Rocky, rugged, hoop pine-dominated headlands stand out from open eucalypt woodland and extensive grasslands of the wind-exposed slopes. Protected coves shelter long, sandy beaches, while deep gullies hide remnants of dry rainforest. Ringed by fringing reefs, many of the islands are important rookeries for flatback and green turtles. Camp at Scawfell, St Bees, Cockermouth, Keswick or Penrith islands. Scawfell Island has basic facilities. Camping fees apply and bookings are essential. Book in advance for school holidays. Take water and a fuel stove. Check restrictions on activities such as spearfishing, anchoring, fishing and collecting.

Fishing on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Deep sea and reef fishing at Keswick Island is legendary. The nearby coral reefs, mangrove habitats and protected waters of Egremont Passage attract a vast array of fish. The proximity of the outer reef also boosts the diversity of fish species. For the keen fisherman, Keswick Island is a perfect base. Keswick Kiosk offers basic provisions, bait and fuel, and can assist with accommodation and moorings - everything you need for your overnight or multi-day fishing adventure. For those less experienced, Keswick Kiosk has hire of fishing equipment, bait and some fishing tips.

Llewellyn Dive Site

East Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Exciting wreck diving is to be had at the historic 'Llewellyn' site, east of Mackay on the Great Barrier Reef. The steamer was last seen departing Cape Capricorn Lighthouse on 17 July 1919 and disappeared during heavy gales as it sailed from Rockhampton to Bowen. The location of the vessel remained a mystery until 1997, when the shipwreck was located 35 kilometres east of Mackay.

Snorkelling on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
The Great Barrier Reef coral fringes Keswick and provides magnificent snorkelling, especially at Connie Bay and Coral Gardens. Keswick's coral reef offers something for everyone, from swim-through caves and deep canyons to wide shallows, teeming with marine life. Green, Hawksbill, Flatback and Loggerhead turtles can be found in the waters around Keswick Island and these are also home to some of the most exciting, exotic and rare marine life in the world. Whilst snorkelling, spotting a manta ray is an unforgettable experience. These gentle giants, measuring up to four metres wide, are at times found swimming gracefully around Keswick. Snorkelling equipment (snorkel, mask, fins and stinger suit) available for hire Saturdays and Sundays.

Scuba Diving on Keswick Island

Keswick Island, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Keswick Island is a stepping stone to numerous exciting and diverse dive sites. Boat and shore dives can be hand-picked to match the abilities of divers. Shallow-depth shore dives can allow you to explore the spectacular reef, discover shipwrecks that lie off the shores or indulge in great night diving. So whether it's diving within secluded bays, exploring the wrecks, enjoying the company of Maurie Wrasse and Queensland Groper, spotting a graceful Manta Ray, listening to the sound of migrating Humpback Whales, or drift diving along a high wall of coral, you'll be sure to marvel at the spectacular underwater world around Keswick. Diving tours and training available through Keswick Island Day Trips or Megaforce Charters.
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The Cremer was a 50 metre passenger and cargo ship that was employed in trading with Indonesia, Singapore and China. It ran aground off St Bees Island (nearby Keswick Island) during a major storm in September 1943. Luckily, there were no casualties. The ship was stripped of all major equipment and then abandoned. It is suggested that there were even picnics held on the wreck whilst it was aground; however, after a few major storms the ship was finally taken from the shore, and laid to rest in waters nearby St Bees. A wreck, believed to be the Cremer, was discovered in September 1984. The remains of the iron hull, engine blocks, propeller shaft, flywheel and deck machinery can be seen. The engine area is mostly intact, with two engines (each about 8 metres long) and a propeller shaft still attached. It is now a popular site for snorkelling and diving site, home to Brown Sweetlip, Honeycomb Grouper and turtles. This wreck site provides amazing diving within a short distance from Keswick Island. Diving tours and training available through Keswick Island Day Trips or Megaforce Charters.
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