The coastal town of Yeppoon is a popular holiday spot on Queensland’s tropical coast for many reasons. It’s located between the Southern Barrier Reef and Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia, so it’s not surprising that it’s easy to find some fantastic food experiences here.
We recently spent several weeks in the area enjoying some of the best Yeppoon restaurants and cafes, these are some of the favourites we discovered and a few other options you might want to consider for enjoying local produce around the region.
As always, we’ve only included places we’ve visited personally on the list so we can genuinely review and recommend them based on our own experience. Conversely for those that didn’t make the list so far, it’s quite possible we just haven’t made it in to try them out yet.
Table of Contents
1. Waterline Restaurant
The Waterline Restaurant has an attractive position on the marina in Rosslyn Bay. It offers a fusion menu of modern Asian and Australian flavours crafted from fresh ingredients with strong support for local producers.
The tropical climate is well suited to dining alfresco at casual tables under the veranda or amongst the gardens overlooking the marina. Service is friendly and efficient, a comfortable mix of regional warmth and professionalism.
They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they also have a Sunday afternoon sesh with live music out on the lawn, you can sit back with a drink and soak up the atmosphere while enjoying the great views and tasty share plates. We headed down on a Saturday night and despite being busy each dish was impeccably prepared and presented.
The dumplings with local Keppel Bay bugs are served with a flavour-packed XO sauce and were a stand out of the night for me. The steamed wrappers were light and translucent encasing a generous chunk of the delicately flavoured crustacean.
Not having eaten crocodile before but knowing it’s farmed just down the road at Koorana Farm I made the decision to try the smoked crocodile spring rolls. Another excellent decision, they were succulent and packed with flavour. If I hadn’t just picked it from the menu, I probably wouldn’t have guessed it was crocodile but for those that had told me crocodile tastes just like chicken, I wouldn’t have picked that either. It’s a very light seafood flavour somewhat like squid but with a texture similar to chicken, it paired perfectly with the chilli and ginger jam.
For mains, we choose to try both the reef and beef that the area excels at but in separate dishes. All beef served in the restaurant is locally sourced from the family farm at Banana Station, the rib fillet was paired with yakiniku sauce and Japanese potato salad and we added the kimchi coleslaw which was delicious and went well with both mains. We paired that with the market catch, which was pan-fried King Snapper served on a green papaya salad with chilli jam and crispy shallots. I love the presentation and pairing it with a nod to Thai flavours was delicious.
Waterline was an excellent choice for dinner and with more time I’ll definitely return for a leisurely lunch overlooking the marina or a chill Sunday blues session to try more of their house-made dumpling selection.
Location: 1 Waterline Way, Rosslyn QLD 4703
2. Whisk Cafe
Whisk lives up to its byline of ‘simply good food’ with a modern cafe menu, great atmosphere and relaxed setup on James Street just a short walk up from the beach in the heart of Yeppoon.
Open from 7-2 it serves all-day breakfast, lunch options, a decadent cakes cabinet, good coffee and a solid drinks menu. They even offer multiple options on the puppy menu if you’re here with your fur family.
In the end, I settled on the smashed potato benny with wilted spinach, a generous serve of bacon, 2 poached eggs, hollandaise and a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze that cut through to balance out the richness perfectly.
Drew went with the chicken, bacon and potato pancakes served with poached egg and chutney. The spice blend used on the crispy chicken tenders is delicious and it pulled everything together into a cohesive and delicious dish. The serving sizes are generous here, definitely sized to keep us going throughout the day.
As a lover of a good benny I was spoilt for choice with an entire section in the menu dedicated to the brunch staple but there was also a range of other delicious savoury options and sweet breakfasts for those who prefer that.
I don’t often opt for a sweet breakfast (Indulge Cafe in Bundaberg being my exception) but if it wasn’t for the eggs benedict lineup I think their banoffee doughnut french toast would have won the day. The entire menu came across as interesting and creative, based on good quality fresh ingredients that were well prepared. Definitely, a spot that would be on regular rotation if we lived closer.
3. The Honey Bee Collective
Emu Park is a gorgeous spot about 15 minutes south of Yeppoon. The ANZAC memorial follows a scenic clifftop walkway, the singing ship monument stands at the top of the hill, there’s a children’s park, a popular local swimming beach, picnic and BBQ spots and a surf lifesaving club on the waterfront.
The Honey Bee Collective is our favourite cafe here. It’s right under the Surf Club and makes a darn good coffee or chai and it has some of the best cafe views and ambience you’ll find anywhere. We liked to pull up a blanket and cushions under the palm trees and look out to the Keppel Islands and sparkling water beyond.
Open from 7 am until 2 pm they were our pick for a morning cuppa several times during our visit but if you are looking for something more they also serve a few food options including hot toasted banana bread, muffins, savoury croissants and toasties.
Location: 1 Keppel St, Emu Park QLD 4710
4. Lure Living
Something we are often on the lookout for when we are travelling is a lighter lunch option. As much as we enjoy a full-on brunch or lunch menu, sometimes there is just something else you want to be doing or maybe you don’t have the appetite for restaurant portions in the middle of the day.
Lure Living has a fabulous spot across the road from Yeppoon beach and a gorgeous casual coastal vibe. It has a reputation for serving incredible coffee which is always a good reason to try it out but its unique and inviting styling is equally what initially tempted me to stop by.
The coffee is great, the hot chocolate was pretty darn good too and these toasties were just what we wanted after a morning exploring Lammermore beach and native gardens. Simple and fresh, these are nothing like the nasty toasties you get in many places. They were on wholemeal bread, loaded with juicy chicken, cheese and a thick layer of fresh-cut avo. Seriously yum and the location opposite Yeppoon Beach is pretty darn good too.
They have an all-day breakfast menu with a healthy twist to most dishes. There’s a range of acai bowls, the waffles are free of lactose and refined sugar, the rosti stack is made with cauliflower, not potato and you’ll have no trouble finding keto, dairy-free and gluten-free options on the menu.
Location: 14 Anzac Parade, Yeppoon QLD 4703
5. The Bungalow
The Bungalow has a super cute beachy aesthetic all whites, light wood and aqua. It’s open from 7 am through to the last call in the evening. Whether you stop in for a morning coffee, breakfast, happy hour, dinner or drinks it’s got something for everyone.
The location beneath the Echelon Apartments is right across from the beach so it’s super convenient and tempting to stop by.
Their coffee is great and it is a lovely spot to sit out in the morning. If you’re passing by in the afternoon there’s happy hour from 3 pm until 6 pm with an interesting range of discounted beers on tap. Then there are nightly themes like Thursday is parmy with a paddle, there’s a taco night and an Asian Street food night and on the weekend it’s Tiki Sunday with all your favourite colourful island cocktails from 3 pm. Basically there’s something here to keep you entertained most nights of your stay.
Location: Shop 9, 18-22 Anzac Parade, Yeppoon, QLD 4703
6. Koorana Crocodile Restaurant
We have a strong interest in knowing where our food comes from and in minimising food miles as much as possible so we were excited to join the morning tour at the Koorana Crocodile Farm followed by lunch at their restaurant. The tour here is excellent and I’ll link the article about our experience but it’s the restaurant I specifically want to call out for a mention here.
The only option for dining at Koorana is as an addition to the tours, it’s not open independently, so if you just want to try their crocodile you can do that at some other local spots like Waterline Restaurant and the Keppel Sands Co-op. If you have the time however I’d suggest you make your way out here.
When we travel, I will generally try any local dish or unusual produce at least once, some become favourites, others not so much. I hadn’t actually eaten crocodile before this trip so the farm was the perfect spot to get to try it with zero food miles, they are hatched, raised and processed on the property.
With crocodiles, the skins are where the main profit is but the meat is lean and tasty. We were fortunate enough to sit down with the founders, John and Lillian Lever who have been working in the industry for 40 years. Over that time Lillian has become the expert on getting the best out of the delicate meat and it’s her recipes that feature on the menu. She explained that like fish, the crocodile is either perfectly cooked or it’s ruined, there is no middle ground.
We had the crocodile platter, it comes with a taster of most things on the menu. The tail is generally considered the most delicate and premium cut and is included on the menu as steaks, these and the kebabs are served with an Asian spiced coconut cream sauce that brings out the flavour of the delicate meat. The burgers are served with the house plum chilli sauce but surprisingly I think my favourite was the pie with chunks of crocodile in a creamy bechamel sauce encased in golden flakey pastry.
Location: 65 Savages Rd, Coowonga QLD 4702
7. Beaches Restaurant
Another great Capricorn Coast restaurant is Beaches just a 10-minute drive south of Yeppoon at Kemp Beach. Beaches Restaurant and the adjacent Rosslyn Bay Resort are managed by local personality, Ross O’Reilly. Ross is also a big proponent of permaculture and the restaurant is supplied with organic locally grown produce from his farm just up the hill.
The chef and farm manager work together to feature what’s available and at its best that week. The farm is productive all year round and that ensures an interesting and diverse menu.
If you have an interest in permaculture the Sunday morning farm tour is excellent and we followed up with lunch at Beaches. Whether you are just wanting to know what permaculture is all about or looking for some detailed tips along the way on techniques and plants for developing your own patch you are likely to enjoy the tour, there was a pretty diverse group and experience levels on the day we went.
Location: 34 Vin E Jones Memorial Dr, Yeppoon QLD 4703
8. Hideaway Bar and Bistro
The Keppel Islands are clearly visible up and down the Capricorn Coast just tempting you to come on out for a visit. The easiest island to get to if you don’t have your own boat is Great Keppel and it’s an absolutely stunning spot to spend the day, we’d highly recommend making the trip out. It’s only a 30-minute ferry trip across from the mainland and is probably the most affordable island on the Great Barrier Reef to visit.
Once on the island facilities are limited, this is a back to basics spot that you love for the fact it is pristine and rustic. That said you’ll find the Hideaway Bistro not far from where you disembark the ferry onto the sand. It serves as both restaurant and bar for the island and is a casual and relaxed space. There’s no issue here wandering in from your morning’s snorkelling or after hiking to the lookout, it’s literally right off the sand with the most spectacular views out over the water.
The menu is limited and relatively simple, typical family favourites including burgers, fish and chips, chicken wings or salads. There’s beer on tap, house wine and soft drinks and a barista who doesn’t appear to stop from when the ferry arrives in the morning until it leaves in the afternoon.
We did notice that the Keppel explorer package with lunch offered a bit of a discount unless you are planning to self-cater, it includes a drink (alcoholic or soft drink) and your selection from the menu.
Great Keppel won’t always be like this, the week after we visited it was announced that it had been sold again for the development of a high-end resort so I’d highly recommend getting in while you can and enjoying the genuine laid back Aussie experience. I’m sure we’ll love the new Great Keppel resort too but there is something really special about the chilled-out island vibes here right now.
9. Yeppoon community markets
The markets take place on a Saturday morning at the showgrounds. These are a genuine farmers market so you are going to meet the farmers or producers, not a distributor and you’ll be able to buy what is currently in season. That means it’s best to turn up with a plan to buy what takes your fancy on the day, not shop to a list.
It runs from 6 am until around 10.30 am or earlier if a supplier is sold out so it really is worth getting an early start to head along and check them out. We easily got a street park near the entrance and came out with our market bag stocked with a variety of produce.
In the outside stalls, you’ll find fruit and vegetables in season, local honey, flowers and then inside the hall there was bread, baked goods, preserves and other treats.
10. Farm Gates in the region
If you are going to be exploring the Capricorn coast by car, camper or motorhome we highly suggest you keep an eye out for farm gate sales in the region. There is a map with some of them marked on the Taste Capricorn website but we also found other just driving past. We kept a well-stocked coin purse in the front of the motorhome and I scanned the roadside for anywhere convenient to pull off the road.
We got huge and delicious pawpaw from an honesty cart on the way to the Capricorn Caves that lasted us for days, there were pineapples for sale the same way from Brooks and sons and others like Cap Coast Vegies welcome you to drive in for your free-range eggs, tomatoes and a range of delicious vegetables grown in polytunnels on the property.
11. BBQ with a million dollar view
If you are self-catering part of your trip you will definitely want to check out the fabulous BBQ and picnic facilities that have been set up around the Capricorn Coast. Stock up on some local goodies, Jaques Coastal Meats has an excellent selection, you are in the beef capital of Australia after all, or if your BBQ preference runs to seafood there is the fish market down at the marina.
Yeppoon IGA, Drakes in Emu Park and Bake on 44 all stock products from local growers and artisan producers that make great additions to your table.
We’ve had a consistent supply of locally grown pineapples and vegetables and I picked up a delicious pineapple sweet chilli sauce by Delishus Dollops that’s become a staple on our grazing boards and grilled meats.
Then all you need to do is pick a picture-perfect BBQ spot. The Lions Park on Farnborough Road is popular with beach access and a huge undercover children’s play park next to it, another favourite is the park behind the gorgeous Yeppoon Lagoon Pool which is a fabulous spot with loads of BBQs. There’s a full list of the public BBQ facilities on the Taste Capricorn Coast that covers the region from the coast to the caves.
12. Coffee Society (Rockhampton)
This one is a little off course, it’s actually in Rockhampton, not Yeppoon which is around a 35-minute drive away. Most visitors to the Capricorn Coast will head into the city at some point to enjoy the bush walks and treetop walkway on Mount Archer, discover Quay Streets extensive run of heritage buildings along the newly redeveloped riverside or explore the free zoo, botanic gardens and extensive parks. To get through that little list, you are going to need good coffee and sustenance.
Our pick for the inner city in Rockhampton is Coffee Society. It’s an inviting alfresco space with friendly smiling staff, a good base of regulars eager to recommend their favourite dish which is always a good sign and the wafting food smells as we walked past drew us in enough that we were happy to wait for an outside table. Of course, I’d done my usual Instagram research and knew we were going to have no trouble choosing dishes from the menu.
We hope that has given you some inspiration on where to eat in Yeppoon. We were really impressed with many of the restaurants and cafes that the region had to offer.
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