Yeppoon, Qld: Destination Guide

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Words and pics: Ben Murphy

This laid-back coastal town is the perfect place to while away the summer days.

About Yeppoon

When it comes to coastal towns that are worthy of spending some serious relaxation time in the summer sun, Queensland is definitely not in short supply. One of the best I’ve come across is the town of Yeppoon, known as the gateway to the Capricorn Coast. This little cracker of a town is located about 675km north of Brisbane and 40km east of Rockhampton. It sits on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and is the launching point for the Keppel Island group.

Small in size but with plenty to love, Yeppoon oozes that laidback coastal vibe that we love, offering breathtaking views of the offshore islands. The sub-tropical climate makes the town perfect for visiting at any time of year as the winters are mild and the summers are hot, but without the extreme humidity of the far north. The town centre is a picturesque waterfront oasis, bustling with shops, cafes and restaurants, yet it’s still small enough to make you feel like you’ve escaped the rat race for an easier way of living. 

Things to do

Swimming and snorkelling in the clear, calm waters of any of the bays is absolutely first rate outside of stinger season.

Main Beach is the first of many small bights out of the coastline that you’ll come across and there’s a walking track that runs along the esplanade from the town centre. The outlook across the water, dotted with islands, is simply spectacular, especially in the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. It’s just one of the many sensational beaches that provide clear, calm waters, protected from large surf by the Great Barrier Reef.

As you move down the coastline, you come across more beautiful little beaches, each with its own perspective on the town and the islands offshore. Cooee Bay is a great beach for swimming, snorkelling or simply enjoying a picnic lunch overlooking the water. This was one of our favourite snorkelling spots and there was plenty of marine life to be seen, including a school of whiting.

At the southern end of the beach, Wreck Point Lookout provides a spectacular panorama of the entire coastline and the best part is you can drive your rig right up to it to snap a few shots. The lookout itself was being reconstructed at the time of our visit, but was still usable.

Driving a little further south along the coast you will reach Rosslyn Bay, the launching point for the island cruises and ferry that head out to Great Keppel Island. Known as Keppel Bay Marina, this is the hub for most of the local water traffic including commercial fishermen, cruise ships and private boats. There’s also a restaurant and service station here. 

If dry land is more your thing, there’s plenty to do without venturing offshore and the islands that lay scattered across the horizon, in plain view from the mainland, still give you that tropical oasis feel without even having to set foot on a boat. Rosslyn Bay offers the best views of the islands from the mainland and it’s well-worth the short trip south from Yeppoon to catch a glimpse. The headlands of Double Head in the Capricorn Coast National Park, just to the south, are also a popular rock fishing location.


Great Keppel Island

Great Keppel Island is a popular tourist destination and you can head over on the ferry for a day trip, or there are numerous accommodation options for an extended stay – from high-end resorts through to self-sufficient tent camping. If you want to explore on water, there are glass bottom boat tours, coral cruises and adventure cruises offered by Freedom Fast Cats as well as ferry transfers.

Kemp Beach

Kemp Beach is just south of Rosslyn bay and another great swimming spot. The kids loved exploring and collecting shells on this pristine stretch of beach. At the southern end of the beach is Bluff Point, which also forms part of the Capricorn Coast National Park. There’s a picnic area with barbecues and a great walking track up over the headland with some amazing views of the nearby Bluff Rock Reef. From here, there’s a nice drive down the coast along the aptly named Scenic Highway to the town of Emu Park.

Byfield National Park

It’s not all about pristine beaches and island getaways on the Capricorn Coast, though. Just north of Yeppoon is Byfield National Park, where there are some great camping, bushwalking and 4WDing opportunities. Take a packed lunch for a day trip or leave the van behind and pitch a tent for a couple of nights in one of the many campsites within the park.

The 4WDing here ranges from easy to difficult and includes some beach driving along Nine Mile and Farnborough Beaches. There are plenty of walking tracks, too, also ranging in difficulty. If that’s not enough, you can venture into the adjacent Byfield State Forest for more camping and bushwalking options.

Getting to Yeppoon

Yeppoon is located 40km east of Rockhampton. Follow the signs to Yeppoon off the Bruce Highway at the northern end of Rockhampton. 

Where to stay

There are plenty of accommodation options in Yeppoon, including some pretty neat caravan parks. The Beachside Caravan Park is located almost right in the heart of Yeppoon and, as its name suggests, puts you right on the waterfront with beach access literally at your caravan door. It’s located north of the town centre and fronts Farnborough Beach. There are plenty of other camping options, including Byfield, all within easy access to beaches and other tourist attractions. Nearby Rockhampton is a much bigger centre with plenty more accommodation options and places to stock up on supplies.

While just about everyone has heard of Rockhampton, Yeppoon tends to fly under the radar – yet it offers such a wonderful Queensland coastal experience, right on the doorstep of one of the state’s larger cities. You could easily spend a summer in the sun here, lazing around and exploring this beautiful area, and if you’re anything like us you will find it extremely hard to leave when it’s time to go home.

For more accommodation options in and around Yeppoon, click here.