Over 550 kilometres of magnificent Australian coastline, all ours to explore.
With international and interstate travel currently not an option in Australia as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it was time to focus our travel adventures on our own state of Queensland. Our three week journey by caravan has seen us touring outback southern Queensland then making our way north to the Capricorn Region and to Yeppoon on the Capricorn Coast just north of Rockhampton.
Dinah and I had never been to Yeppoon, though we had heard much about it. Most famously in the late 1970s, the then Queensland National Party had supported a development by Japanese entrepreneur Iwasaki to build the multi-million dollar Capricorn International Resort at Yeppoon, guaranteeing its position as an international tourist destination. At one time a shining jewel of Australian tourism, today the resort is deserted with an uncertain future.
There is much more to Yeppoon than an abandoned resort
Driving in from Rockhampton to Yeppoon, we were immediately impressed by the natural beauty of the area. A meandering coastline with beautiful wide beaches and world-famous resort islands off-shore framing the horizon. The only thing missing was the surf. The islands off-shore effectively block the swells coming in across the Pacific Ocean. But no surf doesn’t mean no surf club. Serving the community since 1926 the Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club sits proudly on the foreshore and is a great spot for lunch and dinner. Across from the surf club is the shopping heart of Yeppoon, including any number of excellent cafes for that take-away coffee to enjoy as you meander the beachfront promenade. A drive around the coastline to Emu Park is a must. Beautiful costal vistas, tranquil bays and near-deserted beaches looking out on the southern-most point of the Great Barrier Reef. The marina here is impressive and is the departure point for the sea trip to Great Keppel Island, a great day trip or an extended tropical island getaway vacation.
Our destination in Yeppoon was the Beachside Holiday Caravan Park on Farnborough Road. The park is located right on the beach front (so not just a clever name!) and is one of the nicest parks we have ever stayed at. Well laid out allowing easy caravan access with sites that literally back right on to the beach. Any closer to the sand and we would have been bogged! Great facilities, amenities and friendly and helpful staff. Definitely the place to stay in Yeppoon. Visit: www.beachsidecaravanparkyeppoon.com.au
Making tracks south
We had a great 3 days in Yeppoon, but now it was time to make tracks south. Our next stop was Tannum Sands. A nice, easy half day trip of a little under 200 kilometres down the Bruce Highway (also now known as Pacific Coast Way) via Gladstone to Tannum Sands. Our destination, the Discovery Park Tannum Sands. Tannum Sands and neighbouring twin town Boyne Island is an idyllic holiday destination offering year-round swimming and myriad water sport activities. It is also a very pretty town. The landscaped and lush green of the foreshore and esplanade make this a family-friendly area, with barbecues, playgrounds and fitness stations dotted along nearly 20 kilometres of Turtleway Bikeway connecting all the major facilities of the twin towns. Discovery Park is located on the esplanade, offering easy and direct access to the beachfront through protective coastal vegetation. The lakes formed by the tides on the beach provide an excellent and safe location for a spot of fishing. But a word of caution – we were told by locals that crocodiles have been spotted in the area, so it’s best to take care when transversing the beach tracks. The caravan park was open and spacious and a great location adjacent to the beach. And yes, within walking distance of the Surf Life Saving Club! Check the Discovery Park out at: www.discoveryholidayparks.com.au
We loved Tannum Sands, everything to do and nothing to do. The perfect place to holiday and relax in a beautiful environment right on the coast.
Kilometres of pristine white beach
If white beach sand as far as the eye can see is your idea of paradise, then Woodgate is for you. A sleepy seaside town on the Frazer Coast south of Bundaberg, Woodgate was the next destination on our Queensland coastal odyssey. A 16 kilometre stretch of protected beach offering calm clear waters, ocean views and ample space to set up the beach chair and relax watching the waves gently lapping the shore or enjoy a spectacular sunrise. Sounds romantic? It is. This is a beautiful stretch of Queensland coastline. It is, however, very quiet. How quiet? Wild kangaroos graze peacefully on the extra-wide footpaths of the seaside properties as people walk by. There is little or no infrastructure at Woodgate, save for a convenience store and a couple of real estate offices and a pub. The Woodgate Bowls Club is the closest watering hole to where we were staying and is a great place for an evening meal. We had dinner at the Club one evening…a seafood platter at under $25 per person. Extraordinary value, fresh and delicious. With the current Coronavirus restrictions on the number of patrons at restaurants, you do need to book ahead. The NRMA Woodgate Holiday Park is right on the beachfront esplanade and offers large, shady caravan sites. Great access to the beach and yes, the Bowls Club is within easy walking distance, though we did take their courtesy bus home. Visit: www.nrmaparksandresorts.com.au
The turnoff to Woodgate is on the Bruce Highway just south of the charming country town of Childers. We spent a half day in Childers exploring the main street of the town which is lined with historic colonial building reflecting the past prosperity of this picturesque pastoral area. The surrounding countryside is lush and green and the streets are a-buzz with activity. While some country towns we have visited on our travels are obviously struggling with declining economies due to drought, bushfires and now the pandemic, this is not apparent in Childers. A tip – don’t just drive through Childers. Stop, explore and enjoy one of Queensland’s most beautiful towns.
From Woodgate, south to Hervey Bay and to the seaside township of Urangan. I’d been to Urangan as a child with my parents on holidays and have a somewhat hazy memory of a giant jetty. Yes, there is stands. At just under a kilometre long , it is one of the longest jetties, or piers in the southern hemisphere. This is a beautiful stretch of coastline. Little wonder that Hervey Bay and Urangan are favourite destinations for Australian holiday-makers.
We stayed at the Pier Caravan Park, a short stroll from the beach esplanade and pier. This is a fabulous park, a little over 2 years old and immaculate in every way. Beautiful facilities and great sites where you can choose to park on concrete driveways adjacent to concrete pads. The sites are large enough to leave your caravan hooked up. Just as well for it rained on our first night here, the first rain we had in over 2 weeks of travelling. By midday the following day, back to clear blue skies. We had dinner one evening on the terrace at the Bayswater Hotel Restaurant on the Esplanade. Great food and stunning evening views across the bay to the lights of the jetty. I’d absolutely recommend the Pier Caravan Park as the place to stay for we caravanners in Hervey Bay. Visit: www.caravanparkherveybay.com.au
Somewhere over the Rainbow
Our final stop before home was one of our favourite destinations, Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point. Our oldest son Christopher, his wife Nikki and sons Finlay and Felix had driven up from their home in Bathurst on their annual pilgrimage to Rainbow Beach and we were due to meet them there for a few days on our way home. Our two other sons, George and James were also catching up with Chris and family; George and his wife Sara in Byron Bay on Chris and family’s way to Rainbow Beach, and James and his wife Shelby at Rainbow Beach. While we couldn’t be with our boys in Byron Bay, we were able to spend time with James, Shelby, Chris and family at Rainbow Beach.
As usual, we stayed at the Rainbow Beach Holiday Village overlooking the beach and bay. This is a great location in the centre of Rainbow Beach village and close to shops, the Rainbow Beach Hotel and the Rainbow Beach Surf Life Saving Club. A great three days spent four wheel-driving and exploring the beach and world-famous coloured sands between Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point, beach fishing and generally catching up and chilling out. Visit:www.rainbowbeachholidayvillage.com
Twenty one days after leaving home, it was time to make the short 130 kilometre trek home to the Sunshine Coast. We’d made tracks across a considerable amount of outback and coastal Queensland, met interesting people along the way, enjoyed great local food and caught up with our family. A great escape!
Main picture: Making tracks on a beach somewhere on the east coast of Queensland
- Sunrise from our caravan site at Yeppoon – nice way to start the day
- Any closer to the beach at Yeppoon and we’d be bogged!
- Quirky Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club mural
- Magnificent Emu Park coastline
- The marina at Yeppoon
- Fishing at Tannum Sands
- Are those croc marks in the sand?!
- Woodgate…says it all
- Spectacular sunrise at Woodgate
- Great way to start a Woodgate day
- 16 kilometres of near-deserted beach
- Near deserted!
- Historic Childers architecture
- There’s just something about an old country pub
- Craftsmanship on display in 19th century architecture
- The original Childers pharmacy
- And the cash register still works
- I can still remember the saying “Take a BEX and have a lie down.”
- Urangan Pier – almost a kilometre long
- Great fishing off the pier at Urangan
- The Pier Caravan Park at Urangan – one of the best we have stayed at
- Double Island daybreak
- On the beach at Rainbow Beach
- The world-famous coloured sands on Rainbow Beach
- View from the Rainbow Beach Surf Life saving Club
- the family fishing at Double Island Point
- And that is the end of the story!