For more than two thousand kilometres the Great Barrier Reef stops the surf from breaking on Queensland’s shores. So if you’re a keen surfer making your way north, make sure you hunt down the last wave on the east coast.
One of the main reasons we set off on our trip around Australia was Emu’s passion and love of surfing. Australia is home to some of the most famous waves and surfers in the world. Whilst I don’t froth on reef cuts, salty hair and using Aqua Ear drops as much as he does, I do love the adventure and lifestyle that comes with having a surfer boyfriend.
After months (and months) of heading down 4WD tracks, sitting on the beach with March flies chasing me, and keeping myself company while Emu’s out in the surf, I was secretly looking forward to heading north to Queensland, where crocs, stingers and outer reefs block the surf from hitting the coast. Emu is stoked to tell you I was premature in my hopes, as we just got out of a fun beachy all the way up on the Capricorn Coast.
Where is this mythical place?
After getting some waves down at Agnes Water—supposedly the East Coast’s last wave— Emu was ready to pack away the boards and wetsuits for the next few months as we head north to the Cape and across to Darwin. We started chatting to a friendly local, who hinted that we should keep them out for a little longer and to head to Yeppoon, a coastal town about 45 minutes out of Rockhampton. We came across a little area just south of Yeppoon called Emu Park, and decided with a name like that it was bound to be the perfect spot to base ourselves for the week.
An Epic Day Trip
The coolest thing about travelling in a Troopcarrier is the massive community that follows and supports its fellow members all around Australia. We have met some amazing people since leaving Perth, and have since made some lifelong friends.
We met Jaz (@jazminecallaghan) and Cam (@camsmush) in Agnes Water, who ended up being in Yeppoon at the same time as us, and a local Troopy legend Jacob (@dustaa) hit us up and offered to take us exploring for the day. We jumped at the opportunity, and all met at his house early one morning. After seeing surfboards strapped to his roof racks, we were really excited to see what he had planned for us.
We drove to Byfield National Park, about an hour out of Yeppoon, and let the tyres down ready to tackle the famous “Big Sandy” 4wd track.
Unfortunately, we had a really overcast and rainy day, and while we heard great things about Five Rocks, we decided to save that track for another time, and instead took the beach track along Nine Mile Beach. For the whole drive Emu had his head out of the window looking at the ocean, but it didn’t appear too promising. The southern point was protected from the southerly winds though, and this was all the boys needed to suit up and head out.
Conditions weren’t perfect, but there are plenty of options around for point breaks when the winds are more favourable. It was pretty cool to see surf up this far north and to give Emu that last bit of ocean fix.
After all the activities, Jacob took us to Sandy Creek, a beautiful blue lagoon, to cool down and have some lunch. I couldn’t believe the colour of the water here, and we even saw a curious turtle swimming around. I should remind you that we are in croc territory up here, so make sure to always read the signs around for the crocodile warnings before you go swinging from trees like Tarzan AKA Jacob!
Surfing and off-roading not for you?
The Capricorn Coast has far more to offer besides 4x4ing and surfing. The most popular and highly rated tour is to head over on the ferry to Great Keppel Island. It looks absolutely stunning with beautiful white sandy beaches for snorkelling and swimming. It is one of the more budget-friendly islands to visit along the Great Barrier Reef, with ferry fares starting at $45 per adult. There are a range of accommodations on the islands, from cabins, to camping, to luxury resorts. Pack your swimmers and your camera as you may never want to leave.
Closer to Camp
If you’re looking for activities closer to where you are staying, we’ve found a few that might tickle your fancy.
We’ve visited many ANZAC memorials on our trip so far, but The Centenary of ANZAC Walk at Emu Park is a must-see. It is a short walk along the coastline overlooking the islands. A highlight was the glass artwork, based on a piece from the troops landing on Gallipoli. By lining up horizons you can visualise what that would have looked like from land. Being a music teacher, I found the Singing Ship really interesting. It added an eerie effect to the memorial walk.
We don’t like to miss many national parks, and even though we didn’t have the greatest weather, we loved the short 2.3km Bluff Point Circuit in the Capricorn Coast National Park. It was a relatively easy, albeit steep, walk—Emu did it in his thongs (insert rolling eyes emoji)—that takes you past a turtle lookout to the tip, with panoramic views of the coastline and surrounding islands.
What’s a holiday without a touristy photo shoot and a yummy drink to top it off? We don’t splurge very often, but after visiting the stunning Yeppoon Lagoon, a free, resort-style infinity pool along the foreshore, we were obviously thirsty from all the hard work we’d been doing and just had to get a delicious drink and a bite to eat. We loved the coastal vibe and décor at the Yeppoon Sailing Club Clubhouse.
While you’re driving around town, make sure to keep an eye out for the really groovy wall art.
Where we stayed
Fisherman’s Beach Holiday Park is hands down the friendliest park we have ever stayed at. Park managers Kellie and Andrew go out of their way to make sure your experience on the Capricorn Coast is as pleasant as possible.
We timed our stay along with a bunch of people from NSW and VIC who return to the park year after year, with daily activities organised. We even got to listen to a lovely acoustic show from some of the tourists in the park who gathered in the communal area to jam. It was school holidays, and Kellie had made sure that all the kids had access to board games and arts and crafts. The park has direct access to the beach, and it’s only a three-minute walk to the Emu Park town centre where you can stock up on your holiday needs.
They offer several accommodation options to suit everyone—including dogs! The powered and unpowered sites are large and grassy, with water and waste facilities. If you were looking for a more comfortable stay, they also offer modern, self-contained cabins. They are currently getting a new ablution block put in, but the three onsite were always kept sparkling clean.
At only 15 minutes drive to Yeppoon, it was the perfect place to base ourselves on the Capricorn Coast, and to return to after our big days of searching for surf and exploring the area. We will be back!
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