Tourism and Events Queensland
CapricornExtending from the Southern Great Barrier Reef to the Central Highlands, Capricorn is as diverse as it is laid-back. Swim, dive, hike, unwind, and eat seafood until the sun goes down, you're now in the southern tropics.
Nestled along Queensland's picturesque coastline, the region of Capricorn beckons intrepid travelers to embark on a sun-soaked adventure in the heart of the southern tropics. With its pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and captivating hinterland, Capricorn seamlessly blends natural wonders with coastal charm, creating a destination that is both enchanting and idyllic. At the heart of Capricorn lies the sparkling gem of Great Keppel Island, an island oasis that invites visitors with its turquoise waters and powdery white beaches. As you step off the ferry, the sensation of sand between your toes sets the stage for an exploration of hidden coves and secluded bays. Dive into the mesmerizing underwater ballet of vibrant coral gardens, where tropical fish dart and play amidst the kaleidoscope of colors. Alternatively, let the warm sun embrace you as you bask on the pristine sands, indulging in a refreshing cocktail and immersing yourself in the blissful island vibes. From Great Keppel Island, venture to the secluded paradise of Pumpkin Island, floating gracefully in the sparkling waters of Keppel Bay. This eco-friendly retreat offers a haven of untouched beauty, with pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking sunsets that will leave you in awe. Unwind in beachfront accommodations, allowing the island's serene ambiance to wash over you. Dive into vibrant snorkeling spots, kayak through calm waters, or simply find solace on the sandy shores. Indulge your taste buds in farm-to-table dining experiences, savoring the freshest local flavors that tantalize your senses. Returning to the mainland, the region's stunning coastline continues to captivate with its rugged beauty. A leisurely drive along the Capricorn Coast reveals dramatic cliffs giving way to stretches of golden sand, inviting you to pause and appreciate the raw splendor of nature. Delight in the warm welcome from the locals in charming seaside villages such as Yeppoon and Emu Park, where the laid-back ambiance sets the perfect tone for relaxation. Take leisurely strolls along palm-fringed esplanades, savor fresh seafood at local eateries, and witness the sky ablaze with hues of pink and gold as the sun bids its daily farewell. For those seeking underwater adventures, the Southern Great Barrier Reef awaits just offshore, an aquatic wonderland waiting to be explored. Slip into the crystal-clear waters and immerse yourself in a world teeming with marine life. Swim alongside graceful manta rays, encounter playful dolphins, and marvel at the intricate coral formations that create this awe-inspiring ecosystem. Snorkelers are treated to a tapestry of vibrant corals and curious fish, an experience that will stay with them forever, truly immersing themselves in the wonders of the reef. As you venture inland, the wonders of Capricorn continue to unfold. The rugged peaks of Byfield National Park stand as an invitation to hikers and nature enthusiasts alike. Lace up your boots and traverse the rainforest-clad trails, where ancient cycads tower overhead and cascading waterfalls provide a refreshing respite from the tropical heat. Keep your eyes peeled for native wildlife, from colorful lorikeets to elusive rock wallabies, as you uncover the hidden treasures of this untouched wilderness. Delve into the depths of Carnarvon Gorge, where nature's grandeur takes center stage. Embark on captivating hikes through towering sandstone cliffs, where lush greenery and cascading waterfalls create a serene oasis amidst the rugged landscape. Discover ancient Aboriginal rock art, a testament to the rich cultural heritage that permeates this timeless land. Allow the tranquility of Carnarvon Gorge to envelop you as you explore its hidden wonders, feeling a deep sense of connection to the land and its ancient stories. The region of Capricorn truly is a coastal haven where natural wonders meet laid-back charm.
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Things to do
Yeppoon is situated 38 kilometres northeast of Rockhampton and is the gateway to Great Keppel Island and the wonders of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Meander down Yeppoon’s main street or stroll the esplanade to browse beach-chic boutiques and surf stores and keep an eye out for one of the many new street art murals adorning local walls. The Capricorn Coast also delivers with ease when it comes to sourcing a fine feed with specialty produce like premium, export quality beef, seafood, and tropical produce. There is a wide range of restaurants, cafés and clubs catering to all tastes and budgets. Families are well catered for in Yeppoon, with the foreshore also boasting the fantastic ’Keppel Kraken’ zero-depth water park, open daily with lots of fun and free activities for the kids on those hot sunny days. The new lagoon pool at the southern end of Yeppoon Main Beach also has a children’s play area and dining areas.
Explore Capricorn Coast National Park
Capricorn Coast National Park has four separate accessible sections that can be enjoyed in a 30-minute drive between Yeppoon and Emu Park. Mangroves, dry rainforest, tussock grassland and open eucalypt forest provide a wonderful contrast to the blue waters of Keppel Bay. Rocky outcrops along the Capricorn Coast are the result of violent volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Enjoy a beachside picnic at Bluff Point day-use area and take the 2.3-kilometre walking track for fabulous views over islands and hinterland. Watch sea turtles from the high cliffs of Turtle lookout. Explore Double Head along a sealed 365 metre walking track and visit Fan Rock lookout, a fan-shaped cliff formation with hexagonal basalt columns.
The Beef City of Rockhampton is booming; a modern throwback to the heydays of Queensland’s colonial past, offering all your cosmopolitan conveniences in a contemporary riverside setting. There are plenty of places to keep the kids occupied including the newly redeveloped Riverbank Precinct, the beautiful Botanic Gardens and Zoo, which is proudly home to more than 70 species of native and exotic animals, and a must-do for families is a visit to the recently opened Kershaw Gardens Central Precinct - Playground and Water Play area! And when the sun sets on the mighty Fitzroy River, premium dining can be found along the heritage-listed streets, with some of the best steak houses, restaurants, pubs, clubs and cocktail bars found anywhere in regional Queensland. Rockhampton is the heart of the Fitzroy Basin, Australia’s second-largest river system, and bordered by the brooding Berserker Ranges, ultimately delivering the best of both worlds for outdoor and adventure buffs. Visitors to Mt Archer National Park can now enjoy outstanding views of Rockhampton from the new Nurim Circuit Elevated Boardwalk extending 25 metres outward and 7.5 metres high on the mountain top. The Southern Great Barrier Reef prides itself on quintessential Queensland heritage and you simply can’t experience the Rockhampton of today, without an appreciation of days’ past. Once upon a time, Rockhampton was Australia’s northernmost city and even touted as the future state capital, thanks largely to the region’s thriving resource and beef industries, which continue today. You need only look out the window when driving into town for proof of our pastoral pedigree, with six iconic bull statues standing proud throughout the city, and an undercover rodeo arena with live bull rides every Friday night to boot. With direct flights from Brisbane, as well as first-class road and rail connectivity, there’s no point reading about it... It’s time to experience the Beef Capital for yourself!
Stay at Capricorn Caves
Capricorn Caves is a tranquil bush retreat, located just 23 kilometres north of Rockhampton, just minutes off the Bruce Highway. The 33-hectare property offers a range of accommodation options which can cater to the individual right through to large groups. Spacious one and two-bedroom deluxe cabins are fully self-contained and air-conditioned with large decks for outdoor dining. The caravan park has large van sites, a spacious undercover barbecue area and immaculate amenities. Guests can enjoy easy walking guided tours through the spectacular limestone caves or a wild caving adventure. Cook up a barbecue, swim in the pool or photograph the kangaroos and other native animals.
Have an island holiday on Great Keppel
Great Keppel Island is almost 1500 hectares and is a sanctuary to extensive native flora and fauna including more than 100 species of birdlife including kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets and a diverse range of seabirds. There are seventeen white sand beaches to discover – inviting swimming, snorkelling and diving. The island’s crystal clear tropical waters are teeming with brilliantly coloured fish, turtles, giant clams, soft and hard corals and numerous other marine life. Between July and September each year, Humpback Whales can be seen cruising the waters on the annual migration along Australia’s east coast. The best snorkelling spots are Shelving Beach, Monkey Point and Clam Bay, all within easy walking distance. Bushwalk the island’s interior where native flora, fauna and rich Aboriginal heritage are waiting for you to discover. For a longer walk hike up to the lighthouse where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views over the Keppel Islands. Great Keppel Island, is just a thirty-minute ferry ride from the mainland and regular ferry services depart from Keppel Bay Marina and Rosslyn Bay, providing easy access for day trips or overnight visits. There are many types of accommodation available on Great Keppel Island making it a desirable island holiday destination.
See the towering cliffs of Carnarvon Gorge
You’ll need at least a week to fully appreciate the beauty and diversity of Carnarvon Gorge, in Carnarvon National Park, set deep in the Central Highlands. Walk, drive, hike and camp in the park's four sections and be captivated by the diverse landscapes and rich wildlife of the Sandstone Wilderness. Spend days immersing yourself in Carnarvon Gorge. Marvel at the vastness of the Amphitheatre, the cool quiet of Mickey Creek Gorge, and the prehistoric life in Ward’s Canyon. Let the world-renowned Art Gallery whisper stories of ancient cultural connections. Climb the gorge walls and watch the pastel-pink dawn tones dance across the creamy sandstone cliffs on the Boolimba Bluff walk. If adventure is more your style, pack your gear and head out on the 87 kilometres Carnarvon Great Walk—an experience not to be missed if you love a challenge. Towering multi-hued cliffs, basalt-crested tablelands, sandstone escarpments and plateaus, cool streams and a colourful mosaic of plant life are waiting to be explored.
Escape to a private island at Pumpkin Island
Escape to a private island paradise and one of Australia's most amazing, tiny hidden gems. This best-kept secret is nestled in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, a short ferry ride 14 kilometres from coastal Yeppoon. Your holiday on Pumpkin offers a blissful retreat from stresses of modern-day life, a chance to partake in pristine nature, relax and unwind. Choose from five eco-friendly self-catering cottages or two beach bungalows all powered by wind and sun, each accommodating between four to six guests. Alternatively, book the entire island for your exclusive use. There’s so much to discover on this incredible treasure. The wildlife will delight you; expect to see dolphins, turtles and whales in season. Fish the rich waters, snorkel or experience the coral reefs from a glass-bottom kayak, harvest your oysters off the rocks or simply wander the secluded beaches. Afterwards, perhaps spend the afternoon relaxing in a hammock, then enjoy the sunset from your deck overlooking the crystalline beach. Whatever you choose - Pumpkin Island is wonderful for families, utterly romantic for couples and fabulous for groups of friends. Plan your island getaway today.
Byfield National Park
Outstanding coastal scenery, massive sand dunes, rugged pinnacles and remote camping opportunities are highlights of a visit to Byfield National Park and Byfield Conservation Park. In Byfield State Forest, picturesque recreation areas are surrounded by rainforest-edged creeks, rugged mountains, pine plantations and ancient cycads. The area supports Massive parabolic sand dunes (the oldest reaching more than five kilometres inland) and rugged pinnacles feature in the national and conservation parks. Enjoy outstanding coastal scenery and explore coastal features along walking tracks ranging from easy to difficult. Spend some time fishing and birdwatching. Enjoy remote coastal camping opportunities, if you are well-prepared and self-sufficient. You need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to access the national and conservation parks. In the state forest, pockets of rainforest thrive on the coastal range and along Water Park Creek along with an exotic pine plantation and native forest. Enjoy camping, picnicking, walking, four-wheel driving, boating and fishing in the State Forest, which is accessible by two-wheel drive, but caution is required as timber trucks share the forestry roads.
Just 25 minutes north from Yeppoon, you can discover the lush rainforests of Byfield and spectacular scenery of the surrounding parks and forests. The Byfield National Park and State Forest abounds with wonderful scenery, rolling dunes, beaches, rainforest-edged creeks and rugged mountains. Byfield is rich with diversity and forms one of the largest unspoiled eco-systems on the east coast of Australia and is the exclusive home of the rare Byfield Fern. The small village of Byfield is a haven for craft and nature lovers. It has an attractive cafe, small school and numerous attractions and accommodation houses. The area is also home to the locally renowned Ferns Hideaway Resort. Nestled in the rainforest, this resort has a rustic charm and will appeal to all ages. Also not to be missed is the world-class rainforest gallery, Nob Creek Pottery, a must-see attraction when visiting Byfield. In the surrounding state forest, you’ll find picturesque water holes and picnic spots where you can paddle a canoe or take a dip in the freshwater creeks. Stony Creek and Water Park Creek are popular spots for day-trippers, with several bushwalking tracks and camping is also available. Red Rock Campground offers the best caravan access with individual fire pits and tables at each site. Only accessible by four-wheel drive, Five Rocks is a favourite weekend getaway for locals and visitors alike. Located in Byfield Conservation Park, visitors will discover one of the largest parabolic dunes in Australia. These beaches boast a good surf break, and there are plenty of bays and creeks to throw in a line. Camping grounds also provide basic facilities and permits are required to camp in the National Park and State Forest (fees apply, no dogs).
Keppel Bay Islands National Park
Keppel Bay Islands National Park, off Central Queensland's Capricorn Coast, protects 13 islands in the Keppel Group and is surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The islands are the traditional home of the Kanomi-Woppaburra people. Secluded beaches, sheltered bays, plunging cliffs and diverse plant communities are just some of the attractions on offer. Sea turtles breed and feed around the islands. On North Keppel Island, discover wildlife and enjoy the views on several walking tracks. Don your mask and snorkel and plunge into the tropical water to discover the underwater world. Wet a line to catch fish for your meal (remember your fishing regulations!) Enjoy spectacular views from the walking track on Humpy Island. Enjoy self-sufficient camping on seven of the Keppel islands. Boating and fishing are popular activities around the Keppel Islands and several islands have picnic facilities. Go birdwatching on the beaches. Find out how to stay safe and be pest-free by reading the detailed information on the national parks website before you go.
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