An attractive resort and residential centre situated to the east of Rockhampton, Yeppoon is the step-off point to the Barrier Reef resort of Great Keppel Island. Yeppoon os on the Capricorn Coast, a region 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.
Where is it?: Queensland: Capricorn Coast. Yeppoon is 681 km north of Brisbane; 40 km north east of Rockhampton.
Yeppoon has traditionally been the main surfing beach for Rockhampton and inland mining towns like Mount Magnet. The Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club was established in 1926, although a reel was placed on the beach as early as 1917. The railway line used to bring the holiday makers, however now they arrive on a four lane highway that makes it a fast 40 km drive out from Rockhampton.Today Yeppoon is a thriving residential and tourist area, offering all the facilities of a Queensland tourist centre. There are several good beaches in the area, with the main Yeppoon Beach, site of the surf lifesaving club, located at the end of the main shopping street.
The surf club is located in the reserve toward the northern end of the beach and the Keppel Bay Sailing Club toward the southern end. Yeppoon is a relatively safe beach; just be careful at low tide when you have to walk a long way to reach the water, and near the southern Ross Creek entrance which has both deeper water and strong tidal currents. Fishing is best in Ross Creek; the beach is usually too shallow.
Protected from the elements behind an enormous volcanic outcrop, Rosslyn Bay is just seven minutes' drive south of Yeppoon on the beautiful Capricorn Coast. The steep volcanic outcrop that shelters the bay was formed over 70 million years ago and is one of the most fascinating geological formations in the area. A short, but vigorous walk to the summit reveals magnificent views of the Keppel Islands, the surrounding coastline and volcanic formations.
Rosslyn Bay Harbour is a hive of activity with ferries regularly departing for Great Keppel Island, along with Keppel Bay cruises, local fishing trawlers, bareboat charters and recreational fishing cruises. North Queensland's largest marina, Keppel Bay Marina, is also located at Rosslyn Bay, boasting 400 berths. Enjoy a scrumptious lunch at the Marina cafe as you look out over the cool blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Nearby Statue Bay and Double Head are renowned fishing destinations where you'll find Black Jewfish, Cod, Tuna and Mackerel.
Emu Park (18km south) 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.
North of Yeppoon is the Byfield State Forest and National Park. The State Forest consists largely of pine plantations and is home to the Byfield Fern (Bowenia Serrulata). The National Park is largely coastal and sand dune based geographical areas. It is popular with Four Wheel Drive enthusiasts. Outstanding coastal scenery, massive sand dunes, rugged pinnacles and remote camping opportunities are highlights of a visit to Byfield National Park and Byfield Conservation Park. Picturesque recreation areas surrounded by rainforest-edged creeks, rugged mountains, pine plantations and ancient cycads are highlights of a visit to Byfield State Forest.
Byfield is approximately one hour from North Rockhampton, or 30 minutes north of Yeppoon. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is needed throughout the main section of Byfield National Park and to access Byfield Conservation Park. A four-wheel-drive is recommended to access Sandy Point section of Byfield National Park.
Step onto an island paradise at one of the Keppel Islands. With 20 islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef boasting the best of reef, pristine white sand beaches and sparkling blue sea - you'll be begging to get castaway!
With the protection of a fringing reef, the waters surrounding the Keppels are amazingly calm, making it perfect for all types of water sports such as snorkeling, sea kayaking, water-skiing and tubing. An abundance of tropical fish, and colourful coral fills the water only a short swim away. Accommodation on Great Keppel Island ranges from tents and cabins or even a private beach house on the water's edge. The island is approximately 240 hectares in size and is home to 17 pristine white-sand beaches and an interior rich with native flora and fauna, all waiting for you to explore. Take a short beach walk or two hour hike up to the island's lighthouse.
This park is ideal for bushwalks where you may encounter some Australian native animals. The six coastal reserves of Capricorn Coast National Park protect a wide range of coastal plant communities including heath lands, open eucalypt forest, vine thickets and open tussock grasslands. Each of the four sections open to visitors - Double Head, Rosslyn Head, Bluff Point and Cocoanut Point - has something different to offer. There is no formal access to Rosslyn Head section but the area may be accessed on foot.
From Yeppoon, travel south along the Scenic Highway. Double Head and Rosslyn Head sections are very close to the Rosslyn Bay Marina and are accessed via John Howes Drive. Continue south along the Scenic Highway to the signed turnoff for Bluff Point section. Cocoanut Point section is the most southerly section and accessed via Reef Street, Emu Park.
For those looking for a unique island experience, Pumpkin Island offers an island getaway with a difference. With only five eco-friendly cottages on the island, privacy and relaxation are assured, whilst visitors can enjoy a range of activities. Camping is allowed in the Keppel Bay Islands National Park of North Keppel Island, Humpy Island, Miall Island, Middle Island, Divided Island and Pelican Island. Visitors must bring their own drinking water and campers require a camping permit. Details and bookings can be made through the National Parks.
Pumpkin Island has a proprietary launch service, offering transfers to the island which take 45 minutes. The boat seats up to 36 passengers and is called Pumpkin Xpress. Transfers to Pumpkin Island leave from Yeppoon s Keppel Bay Marina, which is situated at 1 Waterline Way, Yeppoon.
Rockhampton (40km south west), the centre of a prosperous agriculural and mining region, is a city of considerable charm, with many fine stone buildings dating back to the late 19th century.
Yeppoon is an Aboriginal word from the Darambul tribe, either meaning 'wetlands' or being the Aboriginal name for the wetlands here. The first European settlers, the Ross family, arrived in 1865. The town of Yeppoon was surveyed in 1867 but the road from Rockhampton was completed until the 1870s. The Yeppoon Sugar Company was established in 1883. By 1910 the railway arrived.
Yeppoon developed as a seaside resort in the late 19th century, being particularly popular with working-class people from Rockhampton, in contrast to Emu Park, 20 kilometres south along the coast, which had a more select reputation. Many large company picnics and day outings organised by Rockhampton businesses, such as the Railway workshops and administrative staff, Lakes Creek Meatworks and James Stewart & Co. were held at Yeppoon, particularly after a branch line of the Rockhampton - Emu Park railway was opened in 1910.