Approaching Rockhampton from Emerald, you face huge mountains that diminish to rolling hills as you pass them and the town, itself, seemed quite hilly and winding. Our destination was 45km from here, so we continued without a backward glance. From this approach, we were in our park and had not seen any water, even though the ocean was less than 50m away. The warm air hit us as soon as we got out of the car and we thought, finally, we had escaped winter.
Our camp was in Cooee Bay (a very Australian name) and the beach only a 5 minute walk away and the main town only about 20 minutes. Yeppoon has been a popular holiday spot for decades and people come here for fishing, walks, nature and a quiet beach location.
There are cafes and a general shopping area, but the esplanade screams family fun. A tiered park, water park and endless lagoon draw crowds.
The yacht club has been here for years, so the whole waterside vacation theme is enhanced by the murals on public amenities.
There are national parks and nature parks nearby and we visited Byfield State Forest and Bluff Point at Kemp Beach. Byfield State Forest has a few accessible areas and getting to Upper Stony Creek, we passed pine trees, quite obviously planted, which I wasn’t expecting. Upper Stony Creek is a popular section for people to visit and swim in the creek, but it is pretty small, so perhaps set out early. Camping is available here and at Water Park. If you are an experienced 4WD enthusiast, then there is Byfield National Park, mostly sandy tracks that lead out to stunning views and fishing (I read). We were content with the aforementioned sites, but the walks were incredibly small and easy, so don’t go for that.
I did learn, on one of these walks, that trees grow buttress roots to trap water and soil and nutrients, that would otherwise go sliding down the slope in heavy rain. In tropical forests, it is very common and apparently any tree can do it.
Our purpose in travelling to Kemp Beach and doing the Bluff Point walk was to see turtles. A friend accompanying us thought it was unlikely, but guess what – turtles. From high on the cliff above we could see them surfacing for air and swimming down again. The walk to the top gives an amazing view of Keppel Bay and the various islands and is a moderate level. I highly recommend it, but it is pretty hard to find Kemp Beach, as the only unsigned Beach in the region, so look for the toilet block with turtles painted in them!
I came across a variety of bird life in the region and we would definitely come back here. The nights were cold, but the days were lovely and warm.
Safe travels. Take water and sun hats.
I, too, would like Yappoon. It doesn’t seem as crowded or touristy. Just a pleasant place to spend a day.
Or a few days. Yes, I think it has the character of your Pawleys.
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Wish I could see it!