CAPRICORN COAST +
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JOURNEY: Rockhampton, Yepoon, Byfield National Park- 80 kms
Day 2: Byfield to Benaraby -300kms
WEATHER:Fine, windy and sunny
The Capricorn Coast stretches 150 kms north, from Rockhampton and is situated on the Tropic of Capricorn; there are small towns, including Yepoon and islands scattered along the coast.
There was some controversy in the early 80's when a Japanese developer was permitted to buy a huge area of land near Yepoon to build a resort; despite protests and negative publicity the resort went ahead but when the Japanese economy went bad later in the 80's it was sold to other interests- the resort survives today under the Mercure label.
Just as contentious and more recently, a huge redevelopment on the nearby Great Keppel Island was halted after public opinion forced the government to demand stricter environmental controls; not sure if the go-ahead has been given but an internet site invites people to approve. Some of us remember Great Keppel as the Contiki resort for young people to party themselves silly!
We reached Yepoon around 4pm to get camping passes to the Red Rock campground in the Byfield National park- oh dear the e-booking site had bombed during the renovation of its booking system and it took well on 20 minutes to get a manual pass from the attendant!!! Why did we bother????
National Parks Qld are making camping very complicated and inaccesible to people without internet access.
The 80 km drive to the park was on a road in excellent condition and the landscape went from cattle grazing land to hilly forest. Byfield NP is mostly 4WD only but our destination was described as 2WD smooth and was part of the forestry section. Further towards the coast there are massive sand dunes and virgin forest!
The Red Rock camp ground was just 1km off the main road, neat and quiet; a few families were camped around their fires as dinner time approached. We checked out the creek, noted beware the crocodile sign and turned back.
There are no walking tracks here and all in all it was just a camping spot and we were not tempted to spend more time here. Toilets, untreated water and bbqs are provided. $5.30pp pn.
Friday: We didn't investigate the Water Park Creek section but after a lovely cool and peaceful night we decided to move on!
From Yepoon we took the Capricorn Coast Scenic Loop and on this sunny morning the coast looked impressive and you understand why it is a popular holiday destination.
The beaches were clean and expansive and the national park rewarded a steep climb with tropical vistas.
After this scenic journey it was back onto the Bruce Highway through Rockhampton and the mining town of Gladstone. This busy industrial city is Qld largest port and centre of coal and gas mining with a population of around 60,000. We drove through for a look only!
It was a longish side trip to Tannum Sands but we had been advised not to miss it. We stopped there for lunch and rest and receation! The beach is attractive and the infrastructure for recreation is impressive and lots of holiday makers were taking advantage of the sunny weather.
At this stage the driver was keen to park and rest so after some navigational challenges we located Boyne River rest stop close to Benaraby and the journey of nearly 300 kms was over for today. Time to chill riverside and close to the highway.
Overnight was the first time ever that we slept with the door and all windows closed to block out the highway noise and it worked- we had a restful sleep.