If you’ve not been to the Capricorn Coast recently you might be surprised at the diversity of things to do in Yeppoon and the surrounding region.
Yeppoon is located on Queensland’s central coast, northeast of Rockhampton and just below the Tropic of Capricorn. It’s a 5-hour drive north of Hervey Bay, 8-hours from Brisbane and an essential stop on a road trip up the Queensland Coast towards Cairns.
Stay for a week or two and you’ll have time to discover the white-sand beaches, beautiful coral, tropical fish, native birds and wildlife, rainforests, geological formations dating back to prehistoric times, fun family attractions, National Parks, art, history and a fabulous food bowl region.
Table of Contents
- 1. The Yeppoon Lagoon Pool
- 2. The Kraken water playground
- 3. Hang out on the Yeppoon beaches
- 4. Visit Great Keppell Island
- 5. Koorana Crocodile Farm
- 6. Explore Kemp Beach
- 7. Chill out over coffee or brunch
- 8. Watch the sunrise
- 9. Enjoy a BBQ with a view
- 10. Lammermoor beach and native gardens
- 11. Self drive the Capricorn Coast food trail
- 12. Visit a working Permaculture Farm
- 13. Sundowner drinks on the beach
- 14. Sunday live music at Waterline
- 15. Street art
- 16. Emu Park
- 17. Yeppoon Community Markets
- 18. Chill out at your beachfront accommodation
- 19. Capricorn Caves
- 20. Mount Archer skywalk
1. The Yeppoon Lagoon Pool
A key attraction on the Yeppoon waterfront is the fabulous infinity lagoon pool complex. This stunning spot is completely free to use, you can relax here for the day or stop by for a quick dip to cool off whenever you feel like it.
Most people just chill out, chat and have a refreshing soak while enjoying the view. You’re able to swim and play too but there’s no jumping or diving into the pool and there are lifeguards on duty to make sure everyone is playing safe. There is also a zero-depth area for toddlers with seating for parents on the edge.
There are large sun shelters positioned over the grass area so you can put down a blanket overlooking the pool and sun loungers to relax while you dry off. Directly behind the lagoon are more parklands, a skate park and a big picnic and BBQ area. In front of the pool is Main Beach providing the ‘infinity’ view out to the Keppel Islands.
The complex includes a ground floor juice bar and cafe with a restaurant and bar upstairs. There are immaculately clean changing areas, showers and toilets available, the only thing we really felt were missing are a few lockers, just somewhere to secure water-sensitive items like phones and keys would be great.
2. The Kraken water playground
If you are travelling with younger children they will love the Kraken water playground with the safe zero-depth water spouts. There are toilet and changing facilities nearby and plenty of seating and picnic spaces for the family to keep a close watch.
The Kraken of course is a giant sea monster depicted in Nordic folklore as something like a giant octopus. The Kraken playground is super cute and a popular hangout for families. The shaded seating around this area was one of our favourites for our morning coffee with stunning views out over the beach. Being elevated there’s a little bit of breeze there too on a hot day.
3. Hang out on the Yeppoon beaches
While Yeppoon has one long expanse of sand stretching further than the eye can see to the north, technically it’s only Yeppoon Main Beach near the town and turns to Farnborough Beach at these rocks near the campground. Farnborough beach then continues on to the north for around 17 km up to Sandy Point just below the Byfield National Park.
Walking this stretch of sand into ‘town’ each day was just beautiful and especially pretty like this with the warm glow on the horizon at dawn and dusk.
The main question we are asked, and kind of wondered ourselves when we arrived, is whether there are crocodiles around Yeppoon? The locals were swimming here and the surf life-saving club is active including nippers in the water each week so we were inclined to think the crocodile line was actually further north than we’d believed.
In reality yes they do get salties in the ocean along the Capricorn Coast, it’s rare but a couple of months before our visit a 3.5-4 metre croc was confirmed floating off this southern part of Farnborough beach. I love walking along the sand and spending time on the beach but we headed down to the lagoon pool whenever we wanted to take a dip.
4. Visit Great Keppell Island
The Keppel Islands are a group of 18 islands located around 15 km off the Capricorn Coast. Great Keppel, as the name would imply, is the largest and very easy to visit from the Keppel Bay Marina just south of Yeppoon.
Two companies run daily ferries out here, we went with Keppel Konnections on a day trip and got the ticket that included lunch at the bistro, you can also stay out here in the cabins that are dotted around. It is a rustic unspoilt paradise but keep in mind that means the accommodation and facilities are basic.
With 17 beaches and a range of walking tracks, you aren’t going to be bored out here. The waters are crystal clear and beautiful for swimming, being in the southern Great Barrier Reef the snorkelling is also popular with tropical fish, coral and turtles.
You can hire snorkelling gear from the beach shack and hike to some of the better snorkelling spots like Monkey Beach or join one of the snorkelling trips that head out to Middle Island or the more sheltered beaches depending on the weather and tide. There are also kayaks to hire from the beach as another way to get around the rocky heads to different beaches.
You can see the hiking trails on this map, there are some signs and markers along the way but they are limited so make sure you are confident navigating before heading deeper inland or out onto the longer trails.
Even if you confine yourself to a snorkelling tour and the two beaches around the visitor precinct, Putney Beach and Fishermans Beach, or perhaps take the walk up to the lookout you are going to have more than enough to keep you busy for a day trip.
The waters are crystal clear and perfect for swimming. The long sweeps of sand and few people mean there’s plenty of space to spread out and the Bistro and bar are conveniently positioned to wander in off the sand for something to eat whenever you feel like it.
Read More: Planning your visit to Great Keppel Island
5. Koorana Crocodile Farm
Visiting the tropic of Capricorn means you are now in crocodile country and the more you know about these fascinating apex predators the better it is for them and you. Koorana Crocodile Farm is first and foremost a farm, not a wildlife park but its multi-faceted approach to the business means that they also provide crocodile handling training to wildlife staff, safety training to those who work in and around crocodile habitats, and tours for locals and visitors.
We joined their morning tour which involves meeting several of their breeding stock from a safe distance. These big boys and their girlfriends are impressive animals, seeing them fed during the tour you appreciate how invisible they become even in shallow water close to the bank and how fast they move getting clear of the water.
The tour focuses on the animals, not the nitty-gritty of farming them, there are around 3,000 crocodiles on the farm and we meet maybe a dozen of them on the tour, almost all are fully grown. The only exception is a young crocodile brought out at the end that we had the opportunity to hold and take a photo with.
An interesting insight for me was seeing what a crocodile nest looks like, it’s not something you see in a wildlife park. You could easily mistake it for a brush turkey nest if it wasn’t for the nearby wallow to collect fresh water and a slide into the waterway.
At the right time of year, you might also witness the egg collection process on the tour, every egg must be removed and incubated, a skilled and nailbiting job to be sure but while the fencing is substantial to keep the big crocs in, the hatchlings would have no issue walking through them and into local waterways. Not the way to stay on good terms with the neighbours.
After the tour we stayed on for lunch in the restaurant, you can read more about our experience dining here and our reviews on other local restaurants around Yeppoon in this article.
6. Explore Kemp Beach
Directly southeast of the Keppel Bay Marina is the gorgeous Kemp Beach. The 2 kilometres of sand are bracketed by the Capricorn Coast National Park. At the northern end is the Double Heads section with walkways to Pebble Beach, the Rosslyn Bay lookout and Fan Rock lookout. At the southern end is the Bluff Point scenic walk with more lookouts from the summit over Bluff Rock and the Keppel Islands in the distance.
It’s a great spot for a beach day with the sheltered bay having a shallow drop off and minimal waves. Soft white sand, a backdrop of the dunes and a walk into the national park make this one hard to beat.
There are two great restaurants nearby, Beaches is across the road with their menu based around fresh organic produce from the High Valley Dawn permaculture farm and Waterline is also within easy walking distance with great food, views out over the marina and live music on a Sunday afternoon.
If you are self-catering on your travels the Rosslyn Bay Fish Market is also located on the water’s edge here with an excellent range of local fish and seafood. They are open 7-days and in addition to running their own boats, they partner with local fishermen to ensure a consistent fresh supply.
7. Chill out over coffee or brunch
Yeppoon and the surrounding Capricorn Coast have some fantastic places to eat, we’ve shared our favourites cafes and restaurants in the region in an earlier article but it really does deserve a mention here. Not only is local produce and culinary creativity high but many of these spots really are beautifully positioned to take in the best views and casual relaxed vibe.
Do click through to the full article to get all the details but brunch spots like Whisk pictured above offer an extensive and delicious menu, baristas at spots like Lure Living are as good as you’ll find in any capital city but with a spectacular beachfront location and others like Waterline Restaurant overlooking Keppel Marina are great spots for everything from a romantic dinner to a chill Sunday afternoon of live music.
8. Watch the sunrise
We always find a walk on the beach is a great way to start the day, with the motorhome parked overlooking this gorgeous stretch of sand we took the opportunity to spend as much time on it as possible. Nothing quite beats the serenity of watching the sunrise on a new day over an unending expanse of ocean.
If you really can’t get up for the sunrise, it is early in Queensland especially in summer, you can get some very pretty pastel skies from the reflected sunset in the afternoon.
9. Enjoy a BBQ with a view
There are some great picnic and BBQ facilities across the Capricorn Coast, many of them with incredible views. This one was a favourite coffee spot at The Kraken overlooking Yeppoon Main Beach with a choice of sunny or shaded tables, BBQs, toilet facilities and a zero-depth water playground for the kids.
We also love the Yeppoon Lagoons and there’s a huge bank of BBQs and picnic tables in the park next door or bring a blanket and find a spot under a shady tree. Again there are toilets and changing facilities, a children’s playground and a skate park so it’s fun for the whole family.
Another worth a mention is the BBQ and picnic facilities at the Rotary Park on Farnborough Beach, there’s also a shaded and gated children’s play area and direct access to the beach at this one. Being slightly out of the main town area you can park directly next to it which is handy if you have someone who is less mobile or just a lot of BBQ gear. The picnic pavilions are a good size if your group is a bit larger too.
I’ll link a full list of the council provided BBQ facilities and we noted without exception during our stay that they were kept clean and the areas well maintained.
10. Lammermoor beach and native gardens
Lammermoor Beach is less than 4km from Yeppoon but again it offers something a bit different making it worth a stop. The beach itself is a 2.5 kilometre stretch of white sand with a backdrop of dunes covered in casuarina trees and views out to the Keppel Islands. It sits between Wreck Point and the Keppel Bay Marina.
The parking, BBQ and picnic area for this one are elevated above the beach giving great views and yet it’s a very easy walk back up from the sand. You can get to Lammermoor Beach by public bus and it’s only a few minutes from Yeppoon.
Across the road from the car park is the entrance to the Lammermore native gardens, this is a 14-hectare area of native coastal forest that is maintained by a group of local volunteers. If you follow it through to the end on that side of the road you come to traffic lights, cross there and head down towards the beach and you can rejoin the gardens on that side of the road or return along the beach.
The gardens feature over 120 plant species across foreshore dunes, mangroves, littoral rainforest, melaleuca swamp, and eucalyptus woodlands with native grasses. Wildflowers bloom at various times of year bringing in butterflies and a variety of insects and 95 bird species have been recorded.
There’s no cafe or restaurant on the beachfront but plenty of options to set up your own picnic and the adorable vintage coffee caravan ‘Gather 4703’ is usually parked here. In addition to good coffee, you’ll find delicious juices and treats like cookies, doughnuts and freshly baked croissants from Keppel Bakery.
11. Self drive the Capricorn Coast food trail
Discovering fresh, locally grown food as we travel is always a tasty treat and there are plenty of options for this as you explore the Capricorn Coast region. Many, like Brooks pineapples pictured below, are a simple cart and honesty box left by the side of the road or outside the farm gates. The fruit was sweet and delicious and you can find other produce like this using the farm gate trail on the Taste Capricorn website.
Not all growers and producers are affiliated and on the list, so keep your eyes open as you drive around, we found more delicious pineapples as we headed through Tanby on the way to Keppel Sands and huge beautiful pawpaws on our way up to the Capricorn Caves. Local stores like the IGA in Yeppoon, Keppel Ko-op and Drakes in Emu Park support local growers and small batch producers too.
12. Visit a working Permaculture Farm
Permaculture is a concept that many travelling foodies are interested in and we were no exception so we made sure to inlcude the High Valley Dawn permaculture farm on our itinerary. It’s owned by Ross and Judy who also run the Rosslyn Bay Resort and adjacent Beaches Restaurant in Kemp Beach.
The permaculture concept was established by two Australians, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the mid-70s but by the number and diversity of people who turned up on Sunday morning for the tour, it’s clear it’s now well and truly in the mainstream.
Permaculture is about more than principles of soil health, garden structure and plant selection although you will get a good introduction to that on the tour. There are 4 fundamentals that underpin the movement as practised here at High Valley Dawn – earth care, people care, fair share and community.
The tour runs for a couple of hours as you see behind the scenes on the farm, learn about the crops, understand what the 7 levels of a food forest look like in practice, meet some of the animals and get the low down on compost.
Tours run on a Sunday morning at 9, there is no fee but a donation is appreciated. Bookings are essential and can be made online.
13. Sundowner drinks on the beach
After a day out exploring in the fresh air, we enjoy watching the sun go down with a drink before dinner. There are some great bars and restaurants to do this in Yeppoon but overlooking the beach from your holiday apartment, or in this case the motorhome might be even better.
While the sun sets in the west and the beach, of course, faces east the reflected sunset is very pretty here in the early evening as it turns the sky to hues of pastel pink and purple.
14. Sunday live music at Waterline
One of our favourite restaurants in the Yeppoon area is Waterline, it’s right on the marina and perfect for alfresco dining out in the garden or in the shelter of the patio. During our dinner here we had so much trouble narrowing down the selction of starters and share plates that we knew it had to go onto the list for a return visit.
A chill Sunday afternoon with live music, a few plates of house made dumplings and an ice cold beverage sounded to me like the perfect way to fit in a return visit. It’s also very conveniently located adjacent to the Keppel Konnections ferry that goes out to Great Keppel daily, it could be a great breakfast or easy dinner option to combine with a day on the island.
15. Street art
We noticed a dozens of street art pieces around Yeppoon and the Capricorn Coast. We’d regularly stumble upon it adorning surf clubs, toilet blocks, car parking buildings, cafes and alleyways around town. If you are a fan of the art form you’re going to want to keep your eyes peeled for some of the better hidden pieces.
I loved this fun one of Busby Marou and unfortunately just missed seeing them perform down in Bundaberg later in our trip. If they are playing somewhere you’re headed this summer make sure to check them out too.
16. Emu Park
A 15 to 20 minute drive down the coast from Yeppoon is Emu Park and it’s an area we really love. They have a fabulous ANZAC memorial that follows a coastal walkway from ANZAC Court through an open sided interpretive centre overlooking the ocean and on towards the Singing Ship memorial.
There’s a boat ramp and jetty on Fishermans beach and there’s parking here too that’s ideal if you are stopping with a motorhome or larger vehicle. The surf life saving club and most popular swimming beach is around the point on Emu Park Main Beach. There’s a fabulous little coffee shop called the Honey Bee Collective under the surf club right on the beach, grab a coffee and pull up a mat and cushions under the palm trees, it became our go-to spot down this end of the coast.
The waterfront is made up of parklands all the way along with plenty of BBQ and picnic facilities, children’s playgrounds and lookouts. There’s also a campground in Emu Park right on Fishermans beach. The little town has a range of cafes, an excellent supermarket, bakeries and other shops that supply everything you are likely to need if you’re staying here. or for an impromptu picnic if you’re not.
17. Yeppoon Community Markets
On a Saturday morning the community markets are held at the Yeppoon Showground. These are great especially if you are self-catering during your stay in the area. The markets exclusively host growers and producers so you’re sure to find the best of what is grown locally and in season.
Be prepared for an early morning start, it’s open by 6.30 am and is all over by 10.30, perhaps a little earlier if stalls are sold out. There is street parking right outside the gate and a diverse range of fruit, vegetables, honey, flowers, baked goods. jams and chutneys.
18. Chill out at your beachfront accommodation
There were a couple of holiday apartment options that I narrowed it down to in Yeppoon that are perfectly positioned close to the beach, lagoon pool and town, plus they have great reviews. Echelon Apartments are across the road from the Yeppoon Kraken waterpark, they are self contained with a pool and recreation area on the roof. The other one is Salt Yeppoon situated opposite Main Beach. Again the apartments there are modern and self contained with 2 rooftop pools.
On this trip we were in a fully self contained motorhome so we were looking for a great place to park that for a couple of weeks. The Beachside Caravan Park on Farnborough Beach in Yeppoon turned out to be perfect for us. We got this great site backing onto the beach so each night we went to sleep looking up through the skylight at the stars and listening to the sound of the waves.
It’s about a kilometre down the beach to town and all the cafes, shops and services that offers. The campground itself has plenty of clean toilets and showers, a coin operated laundry, multiple camp kitchens and BBQ facilities. They also have a booking office for local tours, some with transfers and there is a bus stop right outside that goes into town..
19. Capricorn Caves
Dating back 390-million years the Capricorn Caves in Rockhampton are part of the diversity that the Capricorn Coast region is known for. Just a 40 minute drive from Yeppoon and you arrive at the distinctive dry rainforest and karst landscape.
The main tour here is a walking tour up through the dry cave system including the magnificent acoustics of the cathedral cave but for those with adventure in mind, you can don a helmet and headlamp and squeeze through the narrow gaps to the less accessible caverns.
If you choose to stay overnight in the campground or cabins during school holidays make sure to head out for a walk at dusk to get great viewing of the flocks of little bent wing bats and wallabies grazing around the grounds.
20. Mount Archer skywalk
The Mount Archer skywalk also called the Nurim Circuit is in Rockhampton, a 40-minute drive from Yeppoon. It offers some fantastic views over the range in one direction and over the city with the river snaking through from the other side.
The drive up is easy and there is plenty of parking at the top along with short walks, picnic and BBQ areas.
The walkway extends 25 metres off the side of Mount Archer and is great at any time of day although sunrise and sunset from here are especially popular.
There really is no shortage of things to do in and around Yeppoon on the Capricorn Coast but if we’ve missed one of your favourites please do share it in the comments below.
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