We got our first proper taste of winter this weekend past – clear cold days with gusty, chilly winds. It had the entire family reaching for thick jumpers and woolen hats and there were ample golden leaves to crunchily walk through, with the breeze almost stripping some trees bare.
The way the weather was, it’s hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago we were in Queensland on our first proper beach holiday, where our days were spent, trying to a catch a breeze, swimming in the ocean and eating outside as often as we could. While daydreaming of that lazy week by the seaside, I realised I never shared with you what we did, so today I thought we’d skip back in time briefly and reminisce…
We flew up to Queensland to visit my parents, who had recently relocated to the small coastal town of Yeppoon. It’s an area of Queensland I’d never really spent much time in, a lot quieter than perhaps some of the better known tourism hot-spots, but as I discovered full beauty and relaxed charm.
The community of Yeppoon has around 20, 000 residents and while there is a thriving main street full of independent retailers, the town’s main service centre is the city of Rockhampton, about half an hour’s drive west and the self-proclaimed beef capital of Australia. Yeppoon sits within Keppel Bay and virtually every suburb of town has its own beach – so you are never short of choices when it comes to sand and sea.
We didn’t plan a real lot before we arrived – we let Paul’s mood guide us day to day and just enjoyed being in the company of my parents, who we hadn’t seen in around 15 months due to COVID state border closures.
After our first full day in town, we headed down to Causeway Creek, where the Mulambin Creek meets the ocean and had a sunset picnic dinner of fish and chips. It was warm and still and it was such a hoot watching Paul cautiously watch the seagulls – a bird he’d never really seen before.
We quickly fell into a routine of languid mornings around home and after lunch and Paul’s nap, heading down to the beach in the afternoon. We weren’t really sure how Paul would react to the ocean, but he loved it! Being the shoulder season for holidays, we often had miles and miles of sand… and sometimes whole beaches to ourselves. He relished being able to explore and showed next-to-no fear of the waves and water. We had lovely outings at both Farnborough and Lammermoor beaches, and the views with islands of the southern Great Barrier Reef really were just stunning.
Yeppoon boasts an amazing splash-park for children called Keppel Kraken, but the day we decided to go there it was closed for its weekly maintenance. We ended up at the nearby Yeppoon Lagoon – a swimming enclosure right on the ocean-front, but free of the stingers and jellyfish that inhabit much of the Coral Sea. It was clean, patrolled by lifeguards, had ample shade and a coffee shop – pretty much a parent’s dream.
One day we jumped in the car and headed north towards Byfield National Park, which is home to a number of four-wheel-drive tracks as well as tracts of stunning bushland and rainforest. It was a last-minute, ‘we should’ve probably thought this through a bit better’ trips and while we squeezed in a short bushwalk and lunch at the characterful Byfield General Store, rainy weather and hundreds of fat, hungry mosquitos cut short our visit. There are a few picnic areas within the National Park, which from what I’ve researched online look absolutely amazing. They were closed due to recent flooding when we visited, but are definitely now on my ‘must see list’ for next time.
By the time our week was up, the weather had turned cooler and greyer (to be expected in April), but we didn’t managed to sneak in a couple of long walks on the beach on those days. Although nothing beats glorious, sunny days by the water, I do love the drama of choppy water, brooding skies and windswept dunes.
It felt like our week was a great introduction to the area, and given we’ll hopefully be visiting on a fairly regular basis I’m excited to be able to explore this part of Australia a little more.
Have a wonderful week.