Yeppoon Lagoon.
Yeppoon Lagoon.

Keppel’s an island paradise

IT LOOKS like a swim-up infinity pool at a luxury resort, but there's no entry fee and everyone is welcome to swim, barbecue or relax under the tropical foliage.

On the beachfront in the foreshore precinct, the oversized Yeppoon Lagoon is loved by locals and has visitors sideswiped by its style. I'll take a lounger overlooking the Keppel Islands here any day.

Battered by Cyclone Marcia in 2015 and bushfires in 2018, Yeppoon has bounced back, capitalising on the area's natural beauty. There's gourmet dining, a range of water-view accommodation and play parks that invite family picnics followed by beach cricket.

This is like the seaside you used to know before coastal centres meant high-rise developments that block the sun on the sand, and more time in traffic jams than surfing. It is the sort of place where relaxation comes with a proper intake of a sea breeze.

I took a 30-minute drive from Rockhampton City to Yeppoon,stopping at Emu Park to see the award-winning Centenary of Anzac Memorial Walk. It tells moving stories about Gallipoli, the Anzac legend, the Somme and other extraordinary war campaigns, highlighted by silhouettes of soldiers and horses overlooking the shoreline.


Emu Park art.
Emu Park art.


Public art is a constant throughout Emu Park and Yeppoon, so look out for street art in carparks, laneways, surf lifesaving clubs and roadside walls.

Wreck Point Lookout is another scenic stop, providing 380-degree views of Keppel Bay and the Capricorn Coast and a walking trail down to the rocky point.

There are more headland views at Rosslyn Bay Resort, which overlooks Kemp Beach. Surrounded by harbour, hinterland and headland, the resort is also home to Beaches Restaurant, which serves owner Ross O'Reilly's locally grown organic produce from the High Valley Dawn permaculture farm.

Before you jump on the ferry to Great Keppel Island at Keppel Bay Marina, enjoy a meal at award-winning restaurant The Waterline.

The beef here comes from the owner's central Queensland cattle properties. For breakfast try the Cowboys Benedict with Banana Station rib fillet, smoked belly bacon and a poached egg with black-bean tomato salsa. Now that will set you up for the day!


Island picnic from Great Keppel Island Hideaway.
Island picnic from Great Keppel Island Hideaway.


If you are wearing shoes, you are definitely overdressed at Great Keppel Island Hideaway. Even thongs are optional at this low-key island paradise. It doesn't have and doesn't need a pool or spa because you'll be spending your time on the beach or in the water.

Instead, I hitched a boat ride to an isolated beach on a tropical island.

Floating in the crystal-clear water watching the clouds float by, it is easy to imagine life as Robinson Crusoe on Great Keppel Island.

A joy flight with Rockhampton Helicopters will show you the island, and the coastline has many more beautiful spots to explore.

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- The writer visited as a guest of Capricorn Enterprise.