Yeppoon to the Capricorn Caves
A short way up the coast from Rockhampton is Yeppoon, a pretty seaside town with a long safe sandy beach and close to Rosslyn Bay, the departure point for Great Keppel Island, a short ferry ride away where you can visit for just a day or stay longer to really chill out. We stayed on the island with Ben at the Great Keppel Island Holiday Village during his time in ‘The Best Job in the World’ and thought it was a magical place, with good snorkelling, beautiful white beaches and wonderful safari-style accommodation.
Before arriving at Yeppoon, we stopped for lunch at Emu Park, a quiet seaside town, where there is a memorial to Captain Cook, who sailed past here in 1770, and named the Keppel Islands. The ‘Singing Ship’ memorial made from drilled tubes and pipes emits a mournful whistle and moan when the wind blows through them, but it wasn’t blowing when we were there! From the memorial there are excellent views of Great Keppel and the surrounding islands
The BIG4 Capricorn Palms Holiday Village where we stayed is just a 10 minute drive along the coast from Yeppoon at Mulambin Beach, here you find a swimming pool, a jumping pillow for children, en-suite cabins, plenty of space to park your caravan, tent or motorhome and a bird watchers paradise.
Yeppoon has some great cafes and eating places where you can sit and watch the world go by.
Our next visit was to the spectacular Capricorn Caves, where we stayed in one of their spacious cabins which was fully self contained with a large deck overlooking the beautiful natural bush. There is also a peaceful caravan park with a BBQ area and laundry facilities. Capricorn Caves were discovered in 1882 and guided tours offer visitors an insight into the natural beauty of these ancient caves.
Dan hosted our Geotour, a new and very informative cave experience, which showed us an ancient geological landscape formed from underwater coral beds over 360 million years ago. We donned hard-hats and head torches for this tour, and clambered our way through caverns and labyrinths to see ancient marine fossils encrusted on the cave walls. We saw the site where Queensland Museum are in the process of a dig discovering evidence of mega fauna thousands of years old, sifted though some of the tailings and saw small animal bones brought into the caves by owls whose descendants still use the caves today. We then climbed to the surface ridge for a marvellous panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. The rock surfaces in this area had been worn smooth over many years by the rock wallabies who shelter here at night.
The following morning we joined the Cathedral Cave tour, a little less energetic than the Geotour but equally interesting, seeing stalactites, stalacmites, amazing dangling fig tree roots and little insectivorous bats. The highlight of the tour is the rock cathedral cave where we listened to a recording of “Phantom of the Opera” which demonstrated the cavern’s near perfect acoustics, a haunting and beautiful sound. Wedding services are held in the Cathedral cave and twice a year the Underground Opera company present here a selection of favourite arias, a very popular event and always well attended. If your visit coincides with the summer solstice, the overhead sunlight penetrates through a 14 metre vertical shaft to the Belfry Cave at midday creating an electrifying light show reflecting colours all around the cave walls.
Many other adventure tours can be arranged for groups, including wildcaving, abseiling and scaling the climbing wall with a challenge to be the first to ring the victory bell at the top.
We had a delicious supper at the Caves Tavern with Ann Augustyn, the owner of the caves, where we met her friends Sue and Geoff Horne, a super couple from the Gold Coast, who enjoy travelling Australia with their caravan and experiencing the beauty of the outback. Sue is the talented illustrator of the popular children’s books written by their daughter Megan, The Aussie Outback Party and The Aussie Outback School. We bought the ‘Party’ book for our grandchildren last time we were in Australia and they loved it, so we have now bought them the ‘School’ book as well.
We said goodbye to Ann and left Capricorn Caves to travel north on the Bruce Highway for more adventures in our Apollo Motorhome.
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