Rockhampton, the centre of a prosperous agriculural and mining region, is a city of considerable charm, with many fine stone buildings dating back to the late 19th century. Rockhampton experiences over 300 days of sunshine each year, which lends itself to tourism activities all year round and an abundance of outdoor activities.
Where is it?: Rockhampton is on the Tropic of Capricorn 797 km north west of Brisbane on the Bruce Highway. Rockhampton, on the Fitzroy River, is 40 km from the river mouth.
Quay Street is an outstanding street of late 19th century buildings and is one of the best examples of commercial streetscape in Australia. The mostly two or three storey buildings, of rendered brick, were built to accommodate a great variety of uses mostly associated with the life and development of the port. The Quay Street precinct occupies three consecutive city blocks.
Riverbank Parklands, a riverfront parkland attraction located on the banks of Fitzroy River.
Rockhampton Botanic Gardens and ZooRockhampton Botanic Gardens have been lauded for containing some of the most extensive examples of indigenous flora and fauna in Australia. The Rockhampton Zoo, located in the Gardens' grounds, has chimpanzees, koalas, several bird species, and much, much more.
Rockhampton Zoo is nestled within the Botanic Gardens and adjacent to the Murray Lagoon in Rockhampton. Here you'll discover more than 70 species of native animals from across Australia, exotic animals from around the world, tropical rainforests and outback Australia exhibits. The Zoo can be accessed via Spencer Street or Ann Street, Rockhampton. Just follow the signs from the turnoff along the Gladstone Road section of the Bruce Highway, South Rockhampton.
Archer Park Rail MuseumArcher Park Rail Museum is for everyone, but especially train buffs and anyone who likes the history of railways in Australia. Housed the gortgeous old Railway Station precinct, there are various statues around the station platform showing various stages in history such as a sweetheart farewelling partner. The Archer Park station apparently has a number of ghosts. One of those ghosts is that station master Joseph Dickson-Bogie who shot himself in the station office. You also get a short tram ride on a restored Purrey Steam Train. It was one of the nine tramcars that operated in Rockhampton between 1909-1939. Light refreshments, drinks and water are available in the station tea room.
Archer Park Rilway Museum, 51-87 Denison St, Rockhampton, Queensland.
Mt ArcherMount Archer National Park lies on Rockhampton's north-eastern outskirts. It is just a short drive from the city, offering great views The National Park protects bushland remnants in the Berserker Ranges, a scenic backdrop to Rockhampton. At 604 m above sea level, Mount Archer is the highest peak and provides spectacular views of the city and the surrounding ranges. Facilities include benches and tables as well as barbecues, making it a great spot for a picnic or afternoon tea. It has two entrances and both are accessible via sealed roads suitable for conventional vehicles. Follow Dean Street north and turn right at the roundabout into Frenchville Road. Follow this road for 3 km and turn right into Pilbeam Drive, a steep 5 km drive featuring lookouts with easy roadside access. This road will lead you to Mount Archer's summit. The park's lower entrance is off Old Norman Road and German Street and not easily seen.
Rockhampton Art GalleryIts modern building on the banks of the Fitzroy River is a great setting for the Rockhampton Art Gallery. It contains a huge collection of all styles of art from the early masters to the present modern exponents. As new exhibits come to the gallery they are widely advertised and the flags fly along the highway to let one know what is on. The Gallery is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council. Open daily l0am - 4pm (Open public holidays bar Good Friday).
Location: 62 Victoria Pde, Rockhampton, Queensland.
C.Q. Military and Artifacts MuseumC.Q. Military and Artifacts Museum is an extremely well-detailed exhibition of various military paraphernalia from two world wars - ammunitions, transport and pristine uniforms to the tear-jerking tableau of a soldier's wife and her infant waiting at home for news of his welfare in letters and news items. The museum holds an interesting display of valuable examples of historical "Trench Art". C.Q. Military and Artifacts Museum, 40 Archer St, Rockhampton, Queensland.
Rockhampton Heritage VillageStep back in time at Rockhampton Heritage Village, a friendly township museum showcasing the rich, colourful history of the Rockhampton district 1850 - 1950. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll and look through the school, wagon works, fire station, timber cutters camp, woolshed, cottages, printing works and more. There is also an impressive array of timepieces in the Hall of Clocks, a display of dolls and a great collection of vintage vehicles. There are many events hosted at the Heritage Village throughout the year. The most popular events are market days, which are held bi-monthly (January, March, May, July, September and November).
Rockhampton Heritage Village, 296 Boundary Rd, Rockhampton, Queensland.
The Capricorn Coast is a coastal strip of deserted beaches, sparkling white sands and small seaside villages between Yeppoon (40km north east) and Emu Park. The Capricorn Coast region is spared the higher temperatures and humidity of North Queensland. As a result visitors in summer often find the more temperate climate easier than the extremes further north.
Capricorn CavesCapricorn Caves are located 23 kilometres north of Rockhampton. It was first discovered in 1881 by a Norwegian migrant John Olsen. He went on to claim the land under a lease hold title and open the attraction publicly in 1884. The property was later reclassified to free hold land and is today one of the largest privately owned caves system in Australia. The attraction is still open to the public and is one of the longest-running tourist attractions in Queensland. All caves are well lit and Cathedral Cave is wheelchair accessible. Goup bookings welcomed.
The tours are run hourly from 9 am till 4 pm with adventure tours run with advance bookings. The Cathedral Tour lasts for one hour and consists of a 1 kilometre walk through the caves with an adventure option at the end negotiating your way through a zigzag water-formed passageway by candlelight or fairy lights. The Cathedral Cave Tour allows for wheelchair access.
Abseiling, rock climbing, fossicking and animal viewing can be experienced at the 33 hectare property. An adventure course features a climbing wall and rope obstacle. A range of accommodation facilities are available to visitors. The complex contains a geo-discovery building which is used for school education programs in biology, geology and environmental studies.
Capricorn Coast National ParkThis park is ideal for bushwalks where you may encounter some Australian native animals. The six coastal reserves of Capricorn Coast National Park protect a wide range of coastal plant communities including heath lands, open eucalypt forest, vine thickets and open tussock grasslands. Each of the four sections open to visitors - Double Head, Rosslyn Head, Bluff Point and Cocoanut Point - has something different to offer. There is no formal access to Rosslyn Head section but the area may be accessed on foot.
From Yeppoon, travel south along the Scenic Highway. Double Head and Rosslyn Head sections are very close to the Rosslyn Bay Marina and are accessed via John Howes Drive. Continue south along the Scenic Highway to the signed turnoff for Bluff Point section. Cocoanut Point section is the most southerly section and accessed via Reef Street, Emu Park.
Dreamtime Cultural CentreDreamtime Cultural Centre (6km north) is Australia's largest indigenous attraction. The Centre provides great insights into Aboriginal and Islander cultures. Guided tours throughout the centre include a highlight of watching a didgeridoo performance inside a cave and learning the different techniques that are used to produce the fascinating animal sounds.
Dreamtime Cultural Centre, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton, Queensland. Ph: (07) 4936 1655
YeppoomAn attractive resort and residential centre situated to the east of Rockhampton, Yeppoon is the step-off point to the Barrier Reef resort of Great Keppel Island. Yeppoon is 681 km north of Brisbane; 40 km north east of Rockhampton.
Great Keppel IslandStep onto an island paradise at one of the Keppel Islands. With 20 islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef boasting the best of reef, pristine white sand beaches and sparkling blue sea - you'll be begging to get castaway!
With the protection of a fringing reef, the waters surrounding the Keppels are amazingly calm, making it perfect for all types of water sports such as snorkeling, sea kayaking, water-skiing and tubing. An abundance of tropical fish, and colourful coral fills the water only a short swim away. Accommodation on Great Keppel Island ranges from tents and cabins or even a private beach house on the water's edge. The island is approximately 240 hectares in size and is home to 17 pristine white-sand beaches and an interior rich with native flora and fauna, all waiting for you to explore. Take a short beach walk or two hour hike up to the island's lighthouse.
Pumpkin IslandFor those looking for a unique island experience, Pumpkin Island offers an island getaway with a difference. With only five eco-friendly cottages on the island, privacy and relaxation are assured, whilst visitors can enjoy a range of activities. Camping is allowed in the Keppel Bay Islands National Park of North Keppel Island, Humpy Island, Miall Island, Middle Island, Divided Island and Pelican Island. Visitors must bring their own drinking water and campers require a camping permit. Details and bookings can be made through the National Parks.
Pumpkin Island has a proprietary launch service, offering transfers to the island which take 45 minutes. The boat seats up to 36 passengers and is called Pumpkin Xpress. Transfers to Pumpkin Island leave from Yeppoon s Keppel Bay Marina, which is situated at 1 Waterline Way, Yeppoon.
Rosslyn BayProtected from the elements behind an enormous volcanic outcrop, Rosslyn Bay is just seven minutes drive south of Yeppoon on the beautiful Capricorn Coast. The steep volcanic outcrop that shelters the bay was formed over 70 million years ago and is one of the most fascinating geological formations in the area. Rosslyn Bay Harbour is a hive of activity with ferries regularly departing for Great Keppel Island, along with Keppel Bay cruises, local fishing trawlers, bareboat charters and recreational fishing cruises.
Emu ParkEmu Park is home of the famous Singing Ship Monument, a musical sculture. It sings almost constantly because of the on-shore breezes. The Singing Ship was created to celebrate the bi-centenary of James Cook's exploration of the Australian east coast in 1770. The small, peaceful town of Emu Park is a popular tourist spot overlooking the islands of Keppel Bay, including the Great Keppel Island.
Mt MorganAn historic, somewhat eccentric place that is one of the most charming mining towns in Australia. Rising and falling over the hills and valleys, Mt Morgan is full of wooden houses and a history reaching back to the late 19th century. Mount Morgan is 679 km north of Brisbane; 38 km west of Rockhampton.
Small amounts of gold were found at Canoona, to the north of the site of Rockhampton, in 1859. Miners rushed to the new field, using the site of Rockhampton on the Fitzroy River as the nearest navigable port. The Canoona field proved to be very disappointing and thousands of would-be gold seekers were left stranded at Rockhampton. Although many returned south, others stayed, adding to the infant town's population. Although the Canoona gold rush of 1859 proved to be short-lived, it established Rockhampton as the seaport for Central Queensland and the centre for the growing pastoral industry. In 1882, following the discovery of gold at Mount Morgan, Rockhampton entered a new phase of its development as a port for the export of gold. As a result, Rockhampton experienced a boom. Rockhampton had been surveyed and laid out in 1857 in a rectangular grid pattern with the principal streets parallel to the river bank and the minor streets at right angles. From the opening of the railway to the south in 1903, the problems of silting combined with the diminished importance of the port, and the wharves fell into disrepair.