Towering sand dunes, breathtaking coastal scenery, rockstars, artisans and great aussie barbecues appear, at first glance, to have little common ground. But, in fact, that's exactly what they have – and it's called Byfield.
Byfield is a patchwork of national park, state forest, and eclectic attractions that form the largest undeveloped area on the Queensland Central Coast.
Located 25 minutes north of Yeppoon, the area is a favourite destination for locals, featuring a diverse array of experiences and welcoming, quirky locals.
Byfield National Park and Conservation Park are popular remote camping and bushwalking spots. Their rugged pinnacles and towering parabolic sand dunes provide dramatic backdrops for the sweeping open beaches that also attract four wheel drivers and fisherman.
These parks conserve large areas of coastal heath. Tall eucalypt woodlands flourish in sheltered areas and rainforests thrive where there is abundant water. The area is home to a mass of migratory and resident birds.
The neighbouring Byfield State Forest has three designated camping sites and includes dense pine plantations bordering rugged mountain ranges. The ranges are dotted with prehistoric cycads and the endemic Byfield fern and Byfield grevillea can be found along serene rainforest walks. Waterpark Creek is a renowned spot for birdwatching.
The small village of Byfield is the area's social hub and it epitomises the locals' irreverent and laidback character. The store has also gained notoriety for Central Queensland's best fish and chips and homemade tartare sauce.
Just down the road is Ferns Hideaway Resort. Hosts John and Genevieve Martin have developed a restaurant, campground and cabins within their pristine 40 acre schlerophyl forest. Weekends at the resort echo with laughter and song, as Marto belts out rock and roll tunes to restaurant guests and kids take to the tennis courts, cricket pitches and beach volleyball courts. Peaceful respite from the frivolity can be found paddling down Waterpark Creek in a Canadian canoe.
The nearby Nob Creek Pottery is a passion of New Zealand born artist Steve Bishopric. Steve and his partner Sue McBurnie have created a world class gallery that demonstrates their own art, alongside the work of others. Steve moved to Byfield 30 years ago and uses the locally grown pine to fire his eight kilns. Self described as a Woodstock refugee, Steve and his partner have built Nobb Creek Cottage from locally milled recycled timber to provide guest accommodation. The cottage is perched on 25 hectares and affords panoramic rainforest views.
Visitors to Byfield have a plethora of activities and accommodation alternatives to choose from, but each different option complements the others, providing a complete experience of this very unique and beautiful part of Central Queensland.
Getting there: Byfield National Park and State Forest is 25 minutes drive north of Yeppoon, which is 42 km north east of Rockhampton. Qantas, Virgin Blue and Tiger Airways operate regular flights to Rockhampton.
Word Count: 473
Author: Jo Brosnan
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