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After travelling in our caravan for six months around Australia we returned to the East Coast and the captivating Capricorn Coast. This region stretches 95 kilometres from Stanage Bay to the north, to the mouth of the Fitzroy River to the south, and takes in the city of Rockhampton, seaside villages of Yeppoon and Emu Park and the amazing Keppel Bay Islands. The Capricorn Coast is roughly on the central Queensland coast and is not named after the Zodiac sign, but is named for its location on the Tropic of Capricorn.
It is also part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef with clear pristine waters that provide excellent underwater visibility for viewing of all kinds of colourful marine life. From the coastline at Yeppoon you can see the Keppel Islands offshore. These beautiful islands are surrounded by shallow fringing coral reefs and vast abundant marine life, that are only a 30 minute boat trip from Rosslyn Bay in Yeppoon.
We stayed just outside Rockhamption at a town called Gracemere and took the time to explore the region. Known as the ‘beef capital’ of Queensland, Rockhampton is the hub of the Capricorn Coast and is ideally located on the Fitzroy River. Plus it is only 38 kilometres from the coastline with some of Queensland’s most unspoiled beaches. With a population of over 100,000 Rockhampton offers the best of both worlds – city and country life, mixed with a city steeped in cultural heritage.
The National Trust and the Heritage Commission, have listed many of the glorious sandstone buildings in Quay Street, Rockhampton as a ‘historical streetscape’. There are many buildings of historical significance, including cathedrals, hotels, hospitals, the courthouse and the old post office. We strolled through the city taking in these lovely historical buildings.
During our stay in Rockhampton we found the best things to do are:
We spent a day exploring the once regarded sleepy little seaside village of Yeppoon, just a short drive east of Rockhampton. It is the gateway to the Capricorn Coast and nowadays is bursting with life. With a backdrop of the offshore Keppel Islands, sparkling azure seas, a picturesque esplanade, a wide array of boutiques, surf stores and trendy cafes, is it any wonder that tourists flock to this area.
We marvelled at the array of luxurious yachts moored at the Rosslyn Bay Harbour that is the departure point for boat cruises to the Keppel Islands. There is also a licensed restaurant overlooking the harbour where you can enjoy a delicious meal or just take a leisurely stroll out onto the jetty.
We drove along the beachfront stopping at the lookout at Kemp Beach that gave us magnificent views of the beaches, the harbour and the Keppel Islands. We watched hang-gliders soar effortlessly off the bluff and tried to spot a dolphin or turtle in the crystal clear waters below.
The pristine beauty of the Keppels is a cruising yachtsman’s dream come true with protected calm waters surrounding the islands that makes it perfect for all types of water sports. Ferries depart from Rosslyn Bay Harbour to Great Keppel Island or there are a number of charters and full day cruises available.
Camping is allowed in the Keppel Bay Islands National Park of North Keppel, Humpy, Miall, Middle, Conical, Divided and Pelican Islands. Or you can stay in a tent or cabin at Great Keppel Island at the Holiday Village or maybe a private beach house. There are 17 gorgeous white-sanded beaches on Great Keppel Island so you are bound to get one all to yourself. Otherwise bushwalking is popular as the island covers 240 hectares in the interior that is rich with native flora and fauna.
We set off on a scenic 20 kilometre drive along the coast from Yeppoon, to Emu Park. This peaceful seaside village has a laid-back feel. It is home to the famous ‘Singing Ship’ sculpture that was built in honour of Captain James Cook to commemorate his visit to the region when exploring the Queensland coastline in 1770. It’s a great photo opportunity sitting on the ship.
Emu Park is an idyllic holiday destination with lovely shady parks and pretty beaches to enjoy. The local estuaries are renowned for good fishing so grab a line and try your luck.
Rockhampton with its elegant streetscapes, fully verandered Pubs and the mighty Fitzroy River felt very welcoming and hospitable. The Capricorn Coast truly is an undiscovered paradise with stunning stretches of coastline with warm waters lapping the sands of secluded beaches. If this is a sample of what the Great Barrier Reef has to offer, then I can’t wait to see what else it has up its sleeve.
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Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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