A country town by the sea – that’s how residents describe Yeppoon, 40 minutes drive north-east of Rockhampton, where pristine beaches line the coast, Great Keppel Island beckons offshore and southeasterly breezes temper the humidity. Natural charms are matched by an easy lifestyle, an exceptional food scene geared towards regional produce and paddockto-plate dining, as well as lots of places to grab a good coffee. Here’s how to make the most of your time in Yeppoon.
7.00: Coffee at Chapter
This nook on Hill Street is known for its Fonzie Abbott coffee and natty books. Settle on Chapter’s shaded timber balcony or grab a takeaway and head for Lammermoor Beach, a few minutes out of town. A pre-breakfast stroll on this quiet crescent of sand offers the chance to get your feet wet.
8.00: Breakfast at The Bungalow
Greg Mclean and Caity Jones moved from Brisbane to transform an old Coffee Club on Anzac Parade into this immaculate café with tiled counters, white wood and mintgreen banquettes. The quality of the food matches the digs: try housemade sweet potato breakfast gnocchi or eggs Benedict with pink hollandaise and za’atar and a coffee by Melbourne’s Inglewood Coffee Roasters. The eatery’s also open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Sunday.
9.00: A walk in Capricorn Coast National Park
A series of coastal reserves between Yeppoon and Emu Park to the south, Capricorn Coast National Park is key to understanding the geological history of the region. The remarkable Fan Rock at Double Head paints a clear picture of these headlands’ past as prehistoric volcanoes but if you only have time to visit one reserve, make it Bluff Point. The 2.3-kilometre trail around this enormous natural bulwark goes through eucalyptus forests and tussock grasslands and past lookouts.
13.00: Lunch at The Waterline Restaurant
Arguably Yeppoon’s most celebrated restaurant, The Waterline sits on a sunny stretch of grass overlooking the boats at Keppel Bay Marina and its brilliant location is paired with a menu brimming with local produce. Seafood is brought from the trawlers each morning and the restaurant’s owners are fifth-generation cattle farmers so you know the beef is outstanding. What to order? A prosciutto-wrapped eye fillet with prawns and rice wine hollandaise gives you a taste of both specialties.
15.00: A refreshing dip in Yeppoon Lagoon
Right on the foreshore, this 2500-square-metre lagoon is a public pool done right, with an informal lap-swim area, kids’ play pool and 70-metre infinity edge. Best of all, it’s free and popular with locals who come to cool down after work. An afternoon spent paddling about as a breeze blows in off the Coral Sea is bliss.
17.00: Pre-dinner drinks at Pie Alley Blues
This brick-lined bar, restaurant and live-music joint pays homage to the site’s previous life as O’Grady’s Bakehouse, which once did a thriving late-night trade selling pies out the back door to patrons leaving nearby bars. Pie Alley Blues captures that spirit with an all-day casual menu of New Orleans-inspired barbecue and burgers, and live music Thursday to Sunday. Stop in for a beer or a pre-dinner Margarita.
19.00: Dine at The Rocks
The Rocks (pictured top) brings gourmet dining to the Capricorn Coast in a contemporary indoor/outdoor space on Yeppoon Lagoon. Chef Roel Van Camp peddles an evolving paddockto-plate menu that might include pork and crab dumplings with XO dressing or lamb neck pasta with roasted pumpkin and garlic-fermented honey. Indulge in a cocktail or a drop from the wine list that features both Old World and New.
21.00: Sleep at Oshen Holiday Apartments
On a hill looking over town, only a three-minute walk from Anzac Parade, Oshen boasts some of the best sea views in Yeppoon. The one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments (with a couple of smaller studios) are decked out in a modern minimal resort style with tiled floors, stone-countertop kitchens and coastal-inspired furnishings. Book a top-floor penthouse to make the most of that priceless outlook.
Image credits: Mark Fitz