Brampton, Keswick & Carlisle Islands
Sitting at the southern end of Whitsunday Passage just off Mackay, Brampton Island’s golden beaches, coral gardens and meandering walking tracks are a delight. Almost entirely National Park, Brampton is so close to neighbouring Carlisle Island, where camping is permitted at Sandy Pt, that it’s possible to walk to it across the reef at low tide.
The beachfront Voyages Brampton Island Resort was sold in 2010 and while new owners planned to reopen a refurbished resort in 2011, nothing has happened leaving it open to intrepid yachties and walkers.
Keep an eye out for kangaroos on the walking track through native bush to the lookout, and cast yourself away on one of the island’s 12 private beaches.
South of Brampton, the hilly islands of Keswick (www.keswickisland.com.au) and neighbouring St Bees Islands are dissected by the fishermen’s favoured spot, Egremont Pass.
Keswick Island Guesthouse (07 4965 8002) invites visitors to enjoy island nature and wildlife just a few klicks from Mackay. Though Keswick may become slightly urbanised if developers have their way, with housing developments earmarked for Basil Bay.
Getting There: Coach and boat transfer from Mackay Airport via Mackay Marina, or 20min air transfers from Mackay Airport. Ferries to Keswick from Mackay start in April ’09, or via light plane.