One day in Emu Park

A stay on Australia’s Capricorn Coast

After spending New Year’s Eve in Sydney, I’d spent a few days in Airlie Beach to explore the Whitsunday Islands, Townsville and Cairns before beginning my journey south back to Sydney. I was travelling with flexi-tour group Loka Travel and after visiting Tully Gorge National Park and returning to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, my next stop was on the Capricorn Coast in the town of Emu Park.

Meeting a baby crocodile at Koorana

We were travelling to Emu Park, a small town on Australia’s Capricorn Coast, on an evening train that already wouldn’t get us to Rockhampton station until the early hours. So, arriving at Proserpine station just outside of Airlie Beach, to find out our train was indefinitely delayed, wasn’t ideal!

Despite choosing a Loka flexi-tour in the hope that I’d get to meet and travel with others on the same route as me, I had once again found that there was a lack of passengers heading southbound and this time, found myself the only traveller heading to Emu Park.

Above, and below, meeting the residents at Koorana Crocodile Farm

While a couple of others would be on the train with me, they were continuing further down the coast so while we waited for the train to arrive, I spent some time with my Loka guide – who’d be at Emu Park with me – what the options were for my full day there.

One of the options was to take a boat out to Great Keppel Island for the day to explore and snorkel on the reef but as I’d spent a lot of time on my trip on islands – I’d already visited the Whitsundays, Magnetic Island and Green Island – I decided I didn’t really want to do this, especially as I’d be visiting by myself. Another option was a tour of a nearby cave system but as I’d been to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the USA, I was told I’d probably be disappointed by these! So instead, I decided I’d spend some time in and around Emu Park itself for the day.

The train eventually arrived almost an hour late and we settled in for the long journey. As the train was a long distance sleeper train, each seat was equipped with an entertainment system so I passed the time watching films before falling asleep.

Emu Park Beach

We arrived at Rockhampton station in the early hours and were met by someone from our Emu Park accommodation to take us to Emu Beach Resort. I was pleasantly surprised by the rooms which, for budget accommodation, felt like absolute luxury after the series of hostels so far.

The next morning, we began our day in Emu Park with a visit to Koorana Crocodile Farm.

After an introductory talk about the farm, we were taken on a guided tour in small group to see some of the huge crocodiles that lived there. An interesting way to spend an hour!

Above, and below, memorials, monuments and the Singing Ship at Emu Park

After our croc farm tour, we were dropped back in Emu Park itself where my Loka guide gave me a brief tour before we grabbed lunch at a local cafe then in the afternoon we got dropped at Bluff Point to go on a ‘turtle walk’, following the walking track up on to the cliff top from where there were beautiful views across the bay to Great Keppel Island and we could spot turtles swimming in the surf below.

We had to cut the walk short due to the stifling summer heat and rather than following the track round in a loop, instead retraced our steps back to the car park to meet our left back to the hostel. That left us with a few hours of free time to spend around the pool and relaxing before we headed out again in the evening.

Above, and below, an evening at a ranch

My Emu Park stay included a visit to a local ranch. On the northbound trips, one of the 2 nights in Emu Park is spent camping at the ranch but the train times travelling southbound didn’t allow for that so instead we’d just be spending the evening there.

Upon arriving, I made friends with the extremely cute farm dog and was kitted out with a cowboy hat to wear then shown how to make traditional ‘beer bread’ which we’d be eating with our beef stew dinner later that evening.

A sunset stroll

Then, while the stew was being prepared, we took a walk through some of the local land and I was told some of the indigenous history of the area before we watched the sunset and walked back to the farm. After eating our beef stew dinner sat out around a camp fire under the stars, we were dropped back the hostel where there was the option of going for drinks at the hostel bar.

As it had been a busy day and we had a 5am start the next day, I decided to get an early night instead.

Emu Park had been a fun, if a little random, stop on my southbound trip along Australia’s East coast and one of those places I would probably never have thought about visiting otherwise. From here I’d be travelling to my next stop at Rainbow Beach from where I’d be setting off for a trip to Fraser Island, part of the trip I’d been looking forward to for a while!