Goodness knows why in the year of COVID-19 I am running low on annual leave, but with no work trips and the need for a change of scenery, my family took a week in November to decamp to Yeppoon. From there we could work from our temporary home, or commute as required. And when not working we could treat the place as if we were on holiday. What a success it was!
With a commanding view, Oshen apartments offered an immaculate and spacious 3-bedroom unit, with ample area to sit outside on the balcony. There can be a lot of wind noise in a beachside unit, but the windows at Oshen are fitted with multiple latches that completely seal. Coming home from work in the evening, the views are breathtaking. You can see right up to Manifold Island, down to Yellow Patch and east as far as Outer Rock and Barren. Closer in, the beaches of the Keppel group expand and contract with the tides and right below Bluff Rocks provide opportunities for exploration, and at high tide is a convenient perch for Pelicans and other birds.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about our stay at Yeppoon, was the realisation that the whole beachfront area is more or less, a self-contained resort. From modern beachfront units (Salt, Echelon, Oshen, Villa Mar Colina, and others), you can easily walk to any number of bars and restaurants, entertainment venues, beaches and water parks.
Vue Restaurant provides high quality dining in a relaxed setting. Originally seated at the back on a pokey table next to the drink machine, we soon had that sorted and my rack of lamb was beautiful. The Rocks Bar and Restaurant offers a more formal setting overlooking Keppel Bay. We went for a lunch, enjoying a wonderful view, attentive and friendly service, and lovely food. Located in the Echelon building, Afishionados offers breezy, café style dining and a hostess that is on a mission! Being a keen angler I was delighted that she actually picks the fish herself, and more than that, knew the real name for the “Snapper” that was on the menu (Rosy Job Fish in this case). Beautifully cooked, I was sorry to have to rush off without talking more.
Looking to combine a few drinks and a meal we found Pie Alley Blues (PAB), where live music meets with a casual menu. Interestingly, PAB has just instituted a system where you order online from your table. It’s efficient, sort of, but I think it denies a personal touch. Over the road you’ll find the Yeppoon RSL, which offers an outstanding verandah and local craft beers on tap. Money Pig Brewing’s Dragon Stout is a hands-down prize winner! Back at the foreshore, we were pleased (and lucky) to find a table at Poppies Beachside. Located on the top floor of the Yeppoon Surf Club, the entrance is a bit hidden away. It doesn’t grab you from the street, but it’s very friendly and the food is great.
There are several other interesting options not mentioned here, but on Monday’s and Tuesday’s you’ll be looking at the Strand or having takeaway. The rest of the time be warned, you’d better book. My only criticism was that staff in some places lacked polish. Then again that’s part of the real experience of a place, so maybe I’m being too much of a local.
With all that food and drink under your belt, you’d probably be wise to fit in some exercise. You can do a 5km beach run from Bluff Rocks to Barwell’s Creek and back, or along the Yeppoon Parkrun trail which comprises a portion of the old rail line. Yeppoon Lagoon provides splash and swimming opportunities for all ages, while the Keppel Kraken waterplay area rings with the excited squeals of smaller kids. One fellow spent at least 6 hours hang-gliding off the bluff, I was just a bit envious; I have to say.
Getting out for the day, it’s a simple matter to drive or catch one of the regular busses to Rosslyn Bay for the ferry to Great Keppel Island. There’s several services offered by two ferry companies, and on arrival have a coffee at Tropical Vibes before taking off for snorkelling, bushwalking or both. You’ll be hungry after that so hit the Hideaway for lunch and a refreshing Mojito.
For another day trip, jump in the car and head 40km north to the Byfield store, Knob Creek Pottery and Ferns Hideaway. For those who love the outdoors, Upper Stoney and Waster Park creeks offer BBQs and amazing freshwater swimming opportunities. Those with a 4wd can continue onto Five Rocks, although it requires some know-how in terms of tracks, especially if the weather is dry.
As local since 1970, they say familiarity breeds contempt. Yeppoon is changing and I can think of few places where top class accommodation merges so effortlessly with social, dining and outdoor opportunities. It’s right on our doorstep and gets my vote for a week away, or even as I did, a temporary home away from home.