From the Beef Capital of Australia to an idyllic private island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Capricorn is a region of contrasts. Meet laid-back locals in small coastal communities, snorkel and dive on fringing reef, and get away from the crowds on the undiscovered islands of the Keppel Group.
Dating back to 1853, Rockhampton – the capital of Capricorn – is known for its classic Queensland architecture, grand sandstone pubs and sprawling Botanic Gardens (one of the best in regional Australia). It’s also the nation’s beef capital, with about 2.6 million cattle in the region.
Rockhampton is 40km inland from the Capricorn Coast and sits on the Fitzroy River. Rockhampton Airport is 10 minutes from the centre and has direct flights from Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns and the Gold Coast.
Just off the Capricorn Coast are the blissfully uncrowded islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Great Keppel Island is the most developed, with resort and camping accommodation options and 17 idyllic white sand beaches. Or get away from it all on Pumpkin Island, a private retreat with seven cottages offering space for a maximum of 34 guests.
Transfers to the islands depart from Yeppoon, about 40 minutes north-west of Rockhampton. Ferries to Great Keppel depart from the Rosslyn Bay Marina and take about 30 minutes. Boats to Pumpkin Island depart from Keppel Bay Marina and take 45 minutes.