Tropical Coast of Queensland

Emu Park

Emu Park is home of the famous Singing Ship Monument, a musical sculture. It sings almost constantly because of the on-shore breezes. The Singing Ship was created to celebrate the bi-centenary of James Cook's exploration of the Australian east coast in 1770. The small, peaceful town of Emu Park is a popular tourist spot overlooking the islands of Keppel Bay, including the Great Keppel Island.

Location: Emu Park is 681 km north west of Brisbane; 48 km north east of Rockhampton; 21 km north west of Yeppoon.

Emu Park, reflecting on its past, formed a history society and opened a museum in 1984 in a building that had been the Mount Chalmers police station and the Yeppoon court house.

The town is located in lee of low Emu Point, with attractive beaches either side. The two main surfing beaches immediately south of Emu Point were called Ladies and Mens Beaches. The small Ladies Beach still goes by that name, while Mens is better known today as Emu Park and is the site of the surf lifesaving club. The main surfing beach is Emu Park beach, located on the south side of the point. The main surfing beach is Emu Park beach, located on the south side of the point, and offering a usually low beach break. A lifesaving reel was placed on the beach in 1917 and the Emu Park Surf Life Saving Club was founded in 1925. The modern club house is located at the northern end of the beach and is fronted by a seawall. It is surrounded by an extensive grassy foreshore reserve and parking areas. The reserve runs the full length of the beach, with houses set well back from the shore.

South of Shoal Bay the coast trends more to the south and a series of headlands and rocky shore dominate the coast. The first two beaches, Tanby and Fishermans, are both 2 km long, face east and are bounded by rocky headlands. The protection afforded by Emu Point has long been used to launch fishing boats, thereby giving the beach its name. Today the southern end is backed by a large, grassy foreshore reserve and caravan park, with a long boat ramp protected by a groyne in the southern corner. Fishermans Beach is by far the more accessible, popular and safer beach in the area, servicing the Emu Park township and the influx of holidaymakers. Both beaches offer generally low, spilling waves for surfing that are usually higher on Tanby Beach. Fishermans Beach is the focus of boat fishing, however there are plenty of rocks and rock platforms to fish at high tide.

Kinka Beach
Kinka Beach, to the north of the town, occupies the southern half of Shoal Bay, the name referring to the extensive sand and tidal flats that lie off the beach. It has five low energy beaches, three of which lie beside the main road and are bounded by three small headland national parks. The main beach is backed by the main road, with parking areas and access provided at each end, and a caravan park, motel and houses along the western side of the road. The protected southern end of Kinka Beach ends at a mangrove-fringed tidal creek. There is a vehicle track off the main road to the rear of the beach. Kemp and Mulambin are two relatively popular and very accessible beaches at Kinka. Their usually low waves and very low gradients also provide relatively safe swimming.

Mulambin Beach
Mulambin Beach lies on the south side of Bluff Point and runs due south for 2 km to Pinnacle Point, between Rosslyn Bay and Emu Park. Like Kemp Beach, Mulambin also receives low waves and has a low gradient, fine sand beach with waves spilling across a wide, shallow surf zone at low tide and a moderately steep beach at high tide. The beach is backed by dunes and the main road, with a caravan park and camping reserve located between the road and the beach. There is also access at the northern end for launching boats off the beach at high tide. The northern slopes of Pinnacle Point comprise a small national park and also provide excellent views of both Mulambin and the southern Kinka Beaches.

Keppel Sands
Keppel Sands is a quiet older style beach settlement located 15 km off the Emu Park Road and 40 km from Rockhampton. The road ends at the Sands and, apart from the locals, not many tourists make it out to this quaint, older style settlement. The Sands are surrounded by wide Cawarral Creek to the north, extensive tidal flats to the east and the long, swampy beach ridges of Cattle Point to the south, while mangrove-filled tidal creeks make up much of the backing land. It is essentially a land island by the sea. There are four beaches around the settlement; two are essentially tidal flats and two are main beaches. The first beach ends at a small car park, beyond which it grades into mangroves. West of the car park and behind the mangroves is the Keppel Sands caravan park. There is vehicle access to the beach, which is used at high tide to launch small boats.

Keppel Sands is a fishing community, with most fishing taking place in the creeks and the bay. The best boat access is via Pumpkin Creek, where there is a boat ramp and a few jetties. You can only fish from the shore at high tide.

Capricorn Coast
Emu Park is on the Capricorn Coast is a coastal strip of deserted beaches, sparkling white sands and small seaside villages. The region is spared the higher temperatures and humidity of North Queensland. As a result visitors in summer often find the more temperate climate easier than the extremes further north. The Capricorn Coast is so named after the Tropic of Capricorn that runs through the centre of the area. The tropical area is generally considered to include Shoalwater Bay in the north, Fitzroy River to the south and Rockhampton to the west. Since Yeppoon is the largest town on the coast, we are going to concentrate our efforts on spending the day exploring the town and its surrounding area.

Emu Park's European history dates to the 1860s when the Jardine family established a cattle grazing property south of the current town, at Zilzie, an anagram of Lizzie Jardine. Emu Park township was established in the 1870s when several Rockhampton families built seaside holiday houses on the hills overlooking the two beaches that are a feature of the town - Fisherman's Beach and Pine Beach. Emu Park was connected to Rockhampton by train in 1888 and became a popular, but fairly select, seaside resort from that time on. A branch to Yeppoon, further to the north was opened in 1910.

Island near Keppel Sands

Kemp Beach