Yeppoon, 40km north-east of Rockhampton, Queensland, is the gateway to long-loved Great Keppel Island and the southern Great Barrier Reef.
But don’t leave town too soon, for this is a happening spot. Built beside the Capricorn Coast, its streets are full of restaurants and cafes looking out across the Coral Sea. Perfect for families, it’s just as suitable for couples.
Where to sleep
If you like an ocean view, you’ll love Salt Apartments located in town alongside the Yeppoon Lagoon. Every apartment (you can choose from one- to three-bedroom apartments) has a stunning water view, whether you’re on the ground or fifth floor. There are also two pools on-site.
Where to eat
For the best food – and coffee – don’t go past The Waterline Restaurant, which overlooks Keppel Bay Marina. The breakfasts are legendary – but it’s the beef that’ll really hit home: the owners source it straight from their cattle farm. The restaurant’s won a stack of awards too.
Best spot for a picnic
Drive 20km south of town to Emu Park and have a picnic by Main Beach. There’s a huge covered kids’ playground, barbecue hotplates, changing rooms, and picnic tables looking out across a calm, patrolled beach.
Byfield National Park is 20km north of Yeppoon – take a day to see it properly. Follow inland creeks you can swim in surrounded by thick rainforest to massive sand dunes on the coast. There are also rugged mountains, and beaches to visit.
Most romantic spot
What could be more romantic than your own private beach? Great Keppel Island is only 15km off the coast and there are 17 beaches on it that are totally empty. Take the 3.8km hike to Leekes Beach through bushland and you’ll feel like you found your own deserted island.
If you like cocktails, there’s no choice: Vue Wine Bar & Restaurant makes the best in town (there’s 32 to choose from). This is the sort of bar that wouldn’t look out of place in the coolest part of a capital city; though you might prefer to turn your back on the funky design for a seat outside looking over the water.
Best boutique shopping
Yeppoon has some great shops, many within sight of the ocean. But the best one sells a bit of everything. Coastal Funk is right on the beachfront and stocks everything from handmade soy candles to stuffed animals for kids to chic dresses and leather bags and wallets.
Best place to see wildlife
You’ll see turtles and whales (between July and October) from just about everywhere, but if you want to get really close to an Australian creature, it’s absolutely guaranteed at Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary, 10km out of town. Get up close with Australian creatures like koalas, snakes, kangaroos, emus and big crocs.
Best day spa
Rosslyn Bay Wellness Spa offers all sorts of spa treatments though the body wraps are legendary and the facials will get all the sunscreen off. But the spa’s only the start, there’s also yoga, wellness retreats, even an organic farm to visit.
You can spend the whole day at Mulambin Beach, 10km south of Yeppoon. The beach is 2km long and is the best place for beach cricket at low tide. Fishermen love it as much as families do. And at the southern end there’s a rocky outcrop full of small caves to explore.
This article originally appeared on Escape