Capricorn Coast Rainforest to Reef


A rainforest to reef adventure is an iconic Queensland Itinerary…some say the best the state has to offer! Now, you’re probably thinking about the Daintree, Cairns or The Whitsundays. But scoot down the coast a little further south and you’ll find a region that’s got it all – rainforest, reef, untouched islands and plenty of adventure! It’s a gem knows as the Capricorn Coast, in the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

The town of Yeppoon is 38 kilometres north east of Rockhampton, and is the gateway to the Capricorn Coast, the rainforest of Byfield and a pristine paradise known as the Keppel Bay Islands.

It’s also a great place to have a stranger strapped to your back at 12000 feet (we’re talking about skydiving). Skydive Capricorn helps visitors take in scenic views of the Capricorn Coast and crystal clear water from above. It’s one of the few places where you can land directly on the beach.

Once your feet are firmly back on the ground, you should spend a bit of time checking out this down-to-earth town. Yeppoon is well known for its laidback vibes. The seaside holiday spot is dotted with cool cafes and boutiques that reflect the relaxed village atmosphere. The promenade and free waterpark is a favourite for families, and there’s a new visitor experience a little further south. The Centenary of ANZAC Memorial Walk winds along the headland at Emu Park. The interpretive works tell the stories of World War One’s many major battles. It worth spend a little time to stop, learn and reflect.

Follow the sea-breeze up the coast to Anzac Parade, where you’ll find Salt Yeppoon – a great base for exploring the region. The town’s newest 4 and a half star apartments are perfectly positioned on absolute beachfront, with views over to Keppel Island. It’s a great base for exploring the region. If you’re looking to rent a car, get a lift from the airport or join a local tour, get in touch with Little Johnny – he’s always up for a yarn and knows everything going on around town.

Rainforest Encounters

Capricorn Coast Rainforest to Reef

Chris heads north of Yeppoon, and meets some of the more hairy locals on the Capricorn Coast… Visit the Queensland Weekender website for more details about our trip to the Capricorn region:

Posted by Queensland Weekender on Saturday, 16 June 2018

Fifteen minutes north of Yeppoon, on the way to Byfield National Park, is the town of Cooberie. It’s a great place to stop to meet a few of the locals…and they’re friendly locals at that! Cooberie Park Wildlife Sanctuary offers hands-on encounters with cheeky, inquisitive marmosets (check out the video). This is one of only three places in Queensland where you can interact with monkeys. This isn’t the only hands-on experience at Cooberie Park – visitors can cuddle a koala, hand feed kangaroos, emus, wallabies, ducks, and at the 1pm animal show (included in admission) guests can learn about and hold snakes, birds, lizards and sugar gliders.

The park is free-range (so don’t worry, the animals haven’t escaped) they’re just waiting for a scratch and a selfie. Cooberie Park also rehabilitates sick, injured and orphaned animals from all over Queensland.

For another incredible experience in nature, head further north, into the heart of the rainforest. Ferns Hideaway is set among the trees at Byfield, 45minutes north of Yeppoon. Owners John and Genevieve Martin fell in love with this beautiful property the first time they saw it and they just knew they had to share it. What John and Gen have created is really something special. They’ve hand-built a colonial style resort and caravan park for guests to reconnect and recharge. John even milled the timber for the log cabins himself, so it’s certainly a labour of love. They offer kayaks for guests to explore the beautiful creek, and along with the pool and gardens, it’s a lovely place to wind down.

John, or Marto to his mates (which is pretty much everyone), is seriously one of the nicest blokes around. He sure knows how to make guests feel welcome, and come Saturday night he puts on dinner and a show. Not only do they serve up delicious home-cooked meals, but John’s famous for his one-man-band and jam sessions. Queensland hospitality at its best!

Sailing the Keppel Islands

Capricorn Coast Rainforest to Reef

The Great Keppel Islands are often called the Great Barrier Reef’s best kept secret, and after spending some time soaking up the beautiful white sandy beaches and fringing reefs, we couldn't agree more! Learn more about our adventure to the Capricorn Coast on our website:

Posted by Queensland Weekender on Saturday, 16 June 2018

There’s so much to explore on a Capricorn Coast Rainforest to Reef adventure.

Our itinerary will have you seeing it from above, on the ground, even canoeing through the rainforest…all that’s left to conquer is the reef! Well, it just so happens that the largest coral reef in the world is waiting on Yeppoon’s doorstep…and a beautiful lady named Grace can get you there! She’s a lovely catamaran that sets sail from Keppel Bay Marina – the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Her owners Anthony and Vicki run Sail Capricornia, and they share their patch of paradise with visitors daily. There are 18 islands marked on the treasure map that is the Keppel Island Group. According to them, it’s the Great Barrier Reef’s best kept secret. Great Keppel’s the biggest island, but they all offer up big rewards – like white sandy beaches and fringing reefs, so you can step off the sand and snorkel among amazing coral and sealife. It’s easy to see why Anthony and Vicky were drawn here from Brisbane – 11 years ago they quit their jobs as nurses to peruse their sea-change. Today they offer a variety of half and full day tours, and see visitors from all over Australia and the world. It’s certainly an enviable lifestyle, and the closest way you can feel like a boatie is to hangout where they do. The Waterline Restaurant at Keppel Bay Marina is a speccy spot to round out a cracker day, with live music on Sundays and magic views over the marina.

Great Keppel Island

Capricorn Coast Rainforest to Reef

If you're looking for paradise, we have found it! At Great Keppel Island, you will find crystal clear water, perfect white beaches, magnificent coral reefs, and best of all? No crowds!For more information, visit our website at

Posted by Queensland Weekender on Sunday, 17 June 2018

What do you look for in an island escape?

Sparkling blue water? White sandy beaches? Coral reefs? No crowds?

Tick, tick, tick and tick!

You don’t have to travel too far north to have it all…just 30 minutes off Yeppoon, you’ll find paradise!

Welcome to Great Keppel Island. It offers 28 kilometres of beaches – 17 white sandy beaches to be exact – which is more than any other Great Barrier Reef island. It’s a dream destination for those who love snorkeling, swimming, adventure or just lazing about.

Great Keppel Island Hideaway offers a range of accommodation options for an affordable Great Barrier Reef stay. It’s perfect for families, couples, groups and solo travelers – with a restaurant, bar, garden cabins and absolute beachfront villas. Our tip – come on a Friday night when they throw on an Argentinian BBQ.

Another tip is to track down Brett and Amie Lorraway. They live on the island with their three water-babies. You’ll find them down by the beach running Great Keppel Island Adventures – offering snorkel, kayak & stand-up paddle hire a well as guided tours. Their newest adventure is one of the best ways to explore the island. Brett’s guided Jet Ski Tour zips you around to the top spots on the island, and a few secluded places, like Leeks Creek. Brett also knows where to find the best snorkeling (we’re talking 400 year old brain coral bigger than the jet skis) and spots teaming with life! Local knowledge is key and Brett has plenty of stories having grown up on the island. He’s incredibly passionate about this place – where you can have an entire white sandy beach all to yourself for a picnic, or step off the sand and snorkel over incredible coral…not to mention enjoy a cold beer by the water during a colourful sunset.

It’s hard to believe it’s just an hour flight, or day drive, from Brissy to Rockhampton…and a 30minute ferry ride from Yeppoon.

Great Keppel Island is one of those magic places that really gets into your soul.

While part of us wants to keep this place a secret, you really should experience this special part of the world for yourself.

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