The Capricorn Coast is one of the lesser known coasts in Australia and that may be what makes parts of it so attractive. It straddles the Tropic of Capricorn in Queensland on the east coast of Australia and lies between the Fraser Coast and the Whitsunday Coast both of which are well known tourist destinations.
At the southern end of the Capricorn Coast lie the twin towns of Agnes Water and the Town of 1770. Historically the town of 1770 is famous as the first place that Captain Cook landed in Queensland, not surprisingly in the year 1770. Nowadays Agnes Water is famous as the most northerly surf beach in Queensland and both of the towns are small, quiet seaside resorts. Agnes Water has more facilities than the Town of 1770, you will find more range in Agnes Water Accommodation than in the Town of 1770 and it has a wonderful sandy beach.
As you move up the Capricorn Coast the next town of note is Gladstone which is a pretty little town with a large marina and a nice Yacht Club. It is a major shipping port and is also the main place to catch a boat to Heron Island. There is no other real reason to visit Gladstone but one thing we did notice was that it has a lot of pubs in comparison to other Australian towns and has a lively buzz about it in the evening. We were here while on a sailing trip.
Rockhampton is the next major place as you go north on the Capricorn Coast, although it isn’t actually on the coast, and the Tropic of Capricorn passes through it. It claims to be the beef capital of Australia but is not a huge tourist destination.
The Capricorn Hinterland is fairly diverse from the plateaus of the Great Dividing Range to the Gemfields west of Rockhampton to the amazing scenery around Carnarvon Gorge.
Carnarvon Gorge is part of the Carnarvon National park and is a wonderful place for walkers to spend a few days. There are lots of Carnarvon Gorge walks ranging from the 10km along the Gorge to Big Bend and going in to explore the off shoots of the gorge to shorter walks around the Visitors Centre. The more adventurous can go beyond Big Bend but should get advice from the park rangers first.
The Gemfields town of Anakie, Rubyvale and Sapphire are all very close together about 300km west of Rockhampton. They are all very small but are well geared to tourists who come to this area to visit mines and to try their hands at fossicking. Fossicking involves buying buckets of dirt that you can wash and sieve by hand and hopefully find some “precious gems” and there are plenty of places where you can try this. If you want to visit a mine the best place to do it is around Rubyvale as this is the largest of these towns and has a few different mines that are open to tourists.
Emerald is the main town in the Capricorn Hinterland and is a good place to stock up with supplies if you are heading to Carnarvon Gorge. Lake Maraboon is a large artificial lake 18km from Emerald and there is a lovely caravan park just next to it which is a very relaxing place to stay.