Summer Holiday
in Yeppoon

Having bitten the real estate bullet and purchased a block of land in Yeppoon, we decided that we owed it to ourselves to experience the area's climatic conditions over summer - arguably its most challenging season for us.

16 Bethlehem Terrace Lammermor - 4kms from Yeppoon CBD and 700m from beach

The Capricorn Coast being on the Tropic is only very occasionally affected by cyclonic weather but for the most part escapes such menaces and instead tends  to experience alot of sultry weather in summer punctuated by regular to ad hoc mild showery conditions.

During November one has to put up with the annual coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef.  However, this generally clears by mid December and the coastal waters resume being clear blue and warm.  We have been able to swim on most days during December and January with only very moderate seas with up to 1 metre waves.  With tides reaching only a maximum of 4m movement one does not have to walk miles for decent swimmable  water.

We took our boat across to Great Keppel Island to see the resort and also do some snorkelling from the boat - there is quite good coral reefs all around the islands in Keppel Bay.

Beach in front of the resort on Great Keppel Island

Our boat moored at the resort's beach

Maria bids farewell to the Resort and its expensive bar prices


Xmas was, as expected, a rather lonely time being away from family and friends.  We made the most of it and put on a brave face. Dianne and Bill, our hosts at Gumnut Glen Cabins put on a Xmas Barbecue which was very considerate of them. 

Xmas 2005 at Gumnut Glen Cabins

JWB, Dianne & Bill Linneman

A little jaded Xmas Morning???

Nevertheless, it certainly gave us time to wonder, yet again, as to whether we were doing the right thing and moving away from Darwin - our home for 30+ years.  We had a flying visit from Mick and Caroline Holdstock enroute from Darwin to their new home at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast.  It was great to see them and have an opportunity to bounce some of our plans and fears off them.  Then came Harry Stapleton who had originally planned to join us earlier but had been caught up by a series of distractions.  Harry also plans to move here.

Mick & Caroline Holdstock at Yeppoon

Mick, Caroline, Maria & Harry at Emu Park

Sea wasps, apparently make their appearance on the beaches sporadically but so far this summer have failed to make their presence felt.  The local SLSC usually give plenty of warning of their presence.  Yeppoon hosted the national Sabot class yachting championships over the New Year break and the hundreds of youthful competitors involved seemed completely oblivious to any 'stingers'.  Nevertheless the local ABC Capricorn Radio did have reports of sightings  of  'Irukandji'  a much smaller variety of  'stingers'  on the beaches  of Gladstone to our Sth and Mackay to our Nth. We took a trip out to see Bill's cattle property some 25 kms out the back of Yeppoon where he runs  couple of hundred head of mixed Brahman cattle .

Bill feeds some molasses to his 'pets'

Bill's dog enjoys a cool off in the cattle trough

We continued to explore the town of Yeppoon and got to know a little bit more of its history, main players and its 'pineapple' politics. There already exists two entrenched camps of those in favour and those against further development in the area and newcomers such as us  have to tread carefully between the two.

Yeppoon Esplanade concert facility

The Strand Hotel - this 'icon' is to be knocked down and replaced by four storey hotel and apartment development

Yeppoon SLSC boat in trouble during some rough weather

Maria & Darren prepare a fine fish meal for us.

We commenced negotiations with the local Livingstone Shire Council about development and building applications on our land at Bethlehem Terrace (a name the Catholic Church felt unable to resist when subdividing this hillside land).

There was also a soil test for engineering purposes to be arranged.  However, the real challenge for us is to get our  get our heads around the Shire's brand new Town Plan with its myriad of eco friendly guidelines and the not so friendly dozen or so planning overlay instruments with which one has to comply. Rumour has it that the Shire's Plan was drafted as a bulwark against unruly developers but has unintentionally caught up individual home builders in its bureaucratic labyrinth.

All the while we have had to continue to negotiate with our Kit Home manufacturer designer who was in Beenleigh (half way between Brisbane and the Gold Coast). All was not plain sailing.  Basically the Kit comprises of a two story structurally self sufficient steel frame complete with roof and underfloors.  All the client then has to do is 'fill in the gaps' ie external and internal walls, windows, doors, plumbing, electrical, plastering, tiling and cabinet building and concreting the ground floor and laundry.

We were initially alerted to some unavoidable extra costs of our Kit home which were associated with the stronger cyclone building requirements here, the freight to transport the Kit here (free within 50kms of Brisbane) and the extra costs associated with the Kit's 3 man rigging  team.  Then there were some of our own making ie extra balcony space.  Our dealings with the manufacturer were further complicated when they closed for two weeks over the Xmas - New Year period - how dare they!!

We were greatly heartened by a revisit to a similar Kit Home being built in Gladstone.  This home was half finished and gave us a good idea of what the finished product would look like.  Plus we had the opportunity to chat extensively to the builder who was able to advise us of some of the shortcomings to be on the look out for with the manufacturer.

As January drew to a close we were still waiting for final cost estimates of our Kit.  I had already made plans to fly to a Darwin for a couple of days to finally pack up our contents in the  downstairs room and to put them into storage in Darwin plus try and arrange a sale strategy for the house.  In the interim period I had enrolled in the Open Learning Institute of TAFE and completed an Owner Builder Course to enable me to eventually  coordinate the building of our new home in the event we stuck with the Kit option.

We were then introduced to a steel frame builder and fabricator in Gracemere  who suggested that he might be able to build us a home incorporating  our basic requirements  locally at a competitive price.

The 5 day flying visit to Darwin proved very hectic centred around the  quite complex logistical  exercise of removing our remaining contents from the house to a U Store in Winnellie.  Without the fantastic assistance of son Ben, and friends Richard O'Sullivan and George Dunn I would have been sunk.

The Removalists

I had imagined that returning back to Darwin would bring on waves of doubts and emotional attachments bringing into question the wisdom of moving away to Central Qld.  However, after a quick familiarisation tour of  the town, I was not overwhelmed and quickly came to the realisation that it would be only family and friends that would be missed by our impending move. Darwin certainly looked like a place on the move with many tall construction  cranes in evidence, an LNG tanker already moored at the new LNG Plant across the harbour, head works on the new convention centre down at the wharf well underway.  The Parap Tavern on Saturday lunchtime was much the same and filled with pretty much the same faces as when I left it.

Catching Up - Trish Hansen & Maureen O'Sullivan

Maureen, Richard, Mark & Trish

Ben , Sarah, Tom & Darcy Feb 2006

Amy arriving home just prior to flying back to her school at Millingimbi

It was of course good to catch up with a couple of friends  as well as see and talk to our own children.  But my resolve to move was not shaken by the experience, least of all by the 120% humidity which pervaded the period of my short stay nor by the 4hr night flights to and from Brisbane.

Its now early February and its time to shuffle down South to catch up with some friends in NSW, SA, Vic and Tas.  Its taken the best part of two days to re-pack the boat and camper but we are at last ready for an early get away.  We are both keen to resume some nomadic travel after the hectic stay in Yeppoon.  We hope to be able to put building plans and hassles to one side for a while.



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