By RACQ food writer Kerry Heaney
Take a 30-minute drive from Australia’s beef capital, Rockhampton, and you can feel the sand between your toes at Yeppoon.
This relaxed village, about 38km north-east of the beef capital, wraps itself around the lazy coastline with long beaches and the Keppel Island group beckoning offshore.
The beachfront boulevard of Anzac Parade is the place to start exploring the town. Stop for a healthy breakfast at Lure Living and meet a few of the friendly locals. They also have an interesting range of home wares and artworks produced locally.
Feast on fish fresh from the trawler at Afishionados, also on Anzac Parade, or head to Flour in Normanby Street where it’s almost impossible to resist the delicious, freshly baked cakes that fill their cabinets.
Want to see more? Take a one-hour ride along the palm and pandanus tree-lined coastline and through the Lammermoor native gardens with Capricorn Segways. Enjoy an alfresco coffee at the retro Ruby Caravan near the Information Centre just off the highway.
After a stroll along the foreshore, you might be inclined to take to the water and sail into the sunset. Anthony and Vicki Lomasney’s catamaran Sail Capricornia plies the waters of Keppel Bay while you relax with the ultimate ocean view.
On Saturday morning, head to the Yeppoon Community Market at the Showgrounds, Stevenson Park where local farmers bring their produce for sale from 6am. Don’t miss the fragrant, sweet strawberries and pineapples, juicy mandarins and local honey. It’s worth the early start to pick up some genuine bargains and chat with the locals.
Yeppoon has a range of good dining choices. Waterline Restaurant is the only place where you’ll be able to dine on Banana Station Beef produced on the Wilson Family’s group of beef cattle properties located in central Queensland. It’s accompanied by seasonal produce sourced locally.
When the Argentinean-style parilla grill fires up on a Sunday afternoon at Roslyn Bay’s Beaches Bistro, the deck with its water views is the place to be. Next door the Rosslyn Bay Fisherman’s Market is where you’ll find fresh, sustainable seafood caught by local fishermen.
Byfield is about 25 minutes’ drive north of Yeppoon and is home to the rolling sand dunes and rainforest-edged creeks of Byfield National Park. Its rich eco system provides homes for a diversity of native birds and animals, plus opportunities for picnics, canoeing and beach driving.
Stop in at Nob Creek Pottery and see what Steve Bishopric and Sue McBurnie have made lately. This craft gallery in the Byfield rainforest is a working studio producing fine ceramics.
Nestled beside a rainforest creek in 40ha of paradise, Ferns Hideaway has a restaurant open for lunch Friday to Sunday and dinner on Saturday night. You’ll soon be singing along with resident musician Marto and his friends who perform every weekend.
Take the long way back to Rockhampton and stop at Koorana Crocodile Farm, which is appropriately located on Savages Road. You’ll meet crocodiles such as Harley who, at just two years old, is worth $2500 and can run 28km/h. Try their crocodile steak and pie at the restaurant.
Yeppoon is the sort of place where the pace is a little slower and a weekend getaway seems longer and more relaxing than you might have dreamed.
Look out for more on the Capricorn Coast with a story on Pumpkin Island in The Road Ahead December 2016/January 2017 edition.