I never intended to live in Central Queensland. It was an area I drove through on my way between Cairns and Brisbane – an epic, almost-2000 km journey that took this solo traveller three days to complete. I only ever explored Rockhampton through a rear-view mirror, and never stayed long enough to discover the nearby Capricorn Coast. But a 3-month Rockhampton job turned into a 10-year love affair with Yeppoon – the place I now call home.
I'm not that solo traveller any more. I'm not that bright-eyed, naive lass who spotted her first green turtle from a local lookout well-known for spotting those ancient travellers that resemble brown dinner plates. No. I'm no longer single and carefree. I'm a late-thirtysomething writer, wife, mortgage payer and mum to a three-year-old girl. And I can not think of a time or place in my life that I'd rather be.
Our weekends no longer have many hangovers now. They involve exploring our hometown, impromptu play dates with friends and sand permanently hiding in all my pockets. Through our daughter's eyes, my husband and I can experience our home with a renewed optimism and our hearts firmly planted in this soil.
Please. Take a seat. Let me show you why Yeppoon is so special to me. To us. To all of us who call this regional town — with its miners and hippies and greenies and retirees and families — home.
Have morning tea at Tanby Garden Centre
Oh, how our girl loves Tanby Garden Centre! She sings happily to herself in the car on the way there, then grabs the hands of her little friends to show them the tadpoles hiding in various water features scattered throughout. She cheerfully points out the strawberry and blueberry plants, and takes enormous pride in selecting the perfect flowers for her fairy garden.
I'm a caffeine addict, so although the iced chocolates and juices look appealing, a long black espresso helps me sustain enough ‘oomph' to keep up with our spirited lass. A quick run to the chook pen is too inviting, and if they're lucky, kids can give the beautifully fat chickens some additional feed (although I'm sure they don't need it!).
Everything here is spread out and level, or has gently sloping ramps, so it's suitable for people with strollers, as well as those with mobility issues.
Tip: If you head towards the back, you will see the centre's fantastic vegie patch, resplendent with heavy tomatoes, cheery nasturtiums and a squat compost bin sitting proudly.
Tanby Garden Centre is open 7 days a week, but their hours vary each day.
They have a massive selection of trees, flowers and shrubs, as well as turf and landscaping supplies.
Visit their website for more information.
Explore Fig Tree Creek Markets
It's a great Sunday indeed when the monthly Fig Tree Creek Markets are on. Held under the deep shade of native fig trees and organised by Keppel Coast Arts, these local markets are perfect for a feast of locally grown, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables. Free art and craft workshops are a particularly lovely feature of these beloved markets.
From vintage costume jewellery, hand-woven alpaca scarves, home-cooked treats and the obligatory sausage sizzle, it's worthwhile spending an hour or two to soak up the village atmosphere. And if you keep an eye out, you most likely will see me (or my husband) keeping a watchful eye on our girl bouncing gleefully on the jumping castle.
Tip: Like many village markets, most stall holders do not have Eftpos machines, so it's best to take some cash with you. Coins and small notes are particularly appreciated.
Play with friends on Farnborough Beach
As the sun sinks low in the sky, and shadows grow long fingers desperately trying to touch the ocean, the squeals of laughter peel out in the afternoon air. Low tides reveal acres and acres of gentle flat sand, perfect for that spot of beach cricket. Or footy. Whatevs.
It doesn't matter if it's Summer or Winter here. When you're three, a quick dip in the sea is mandatory. Chasing a ball, building empires with bucket and spade, or simply admiring the way the sand flecks my rolled-up jeans, there is no better place to enjoy the remnants of the weekend. A quick stroll from the rocks, towards the Surf Club always reveals unexpected delights.
Tip: Low tide is the best time for exploring the rock pools along all Yeppoon's Beaches. There's plenty of room to play and run and explore. But if it's winter, don't forget to pack a jumper for when the fun is over!
Enjoy the beach -- safely
Please supervise your kids around water, and don't let them touch any marine creatures. Marine stingers and blue-ringed octopus make their home here too.
Visit the Surf Ed website for more information on staying BeachSafe.
So you know where to go…
Fig Tree Creek market
Yeppoon's Fig Tree Creek Markets are held on the first Sunday of every month, from 9am until 1pm.
You can contact the organisers via the Keppel Coast Arts website.
Tanby Garden Centre
Tanby Garden Centre is open from 8.30m to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.00pm on Saturdays and 9.00am to 4.00m on Sundays.
You can contact them at www.tanbygardencentre.com.au.
Farnborough Beach Rocks
The rock pools are just north of Yeppoon Surf Lifesavers Club House on Main Beach.
Low tides are the best time for exploring. You can get tidal information from the Bureau of Meteorology website.
Yeppoon is approximately 45 kilometres north-east of Rockhampton. It overlooks the Keppel Islands and Great Barrier Reef. Both QANTAS and Virgin Australia offer daily flights to Rockhampton. To make the most of your visit, hire a car at the airport as you'll need it to get to Yeppoon and explore it.
This post was produced as my entry into the Kidspot Voices of 2015 #ShareAustralia competition. Please visit Kidspot to see the very best Australia has to offer.