Rockhampton owes much of its past and present fortunes to the beef industry and the “big bulls” statues that are scattered around town are a tribute to the city’s Beef Capital of Australia title. You can experience livestock sales for yourself at Gracemere Saleyards, on the outskirts of Rockhampton, which handle the largest throughput of export beef cattle in Queensland, and is the largest stud-selling venue in the Southern Hemisphere.
To really appreciate being in Australia’s Beef Capital, a visit to the Great Western Hotel is a must. This iconic hotel right in town holds weekly rodeos in the arena located at the back of the pub. Experience the thrill of watching professional bull riders while you tuck into a juicy steak!
A river run through it – the mighty Fitzroy River.
The wide, tidal river know as “Toonooba” had been home to the Darambal people for tens of thousands of years before being named the Fitzroy by Charles and William Archer on 4 May 1853. Both geographically and historically the Fitzroy defines the city just as the wider basin supports and gives definition to the Central Queensland communities that straddle its flow.
Step back in time with Rockhampton’s rich history.
To appreciate the Rockhampton of today really requires some comprehension of the city’s colonial past. Following the banks of the Fitzroy, Quay Street and its stretch of significant sandstone buildings is a visual testament to the heritage and tradition which have influenced Rockhampton’s development throughout the decades since colonisation. Many fine public and private buildings, including the Customs House, old Post Office, Cathedrals, banks, business houses and homes, are constant reminders of the city with an exciting background.
A terrific avenue for gaining further insight into Rockhampton’s historical roots is to head to the Rockhampton Heritage Village where the rich and colourful history of the district between 1850 and 1950 is showcased in a friendly, township museum.
Likewise, the Archer Park Rail Museum is a great conduit for learning about how the region progressed from a rail-based transportation perspective. Set in the 100-year-old Archer Park Rail Station, this beautiful building with its delicate cast iron filigree is a treat in itself.
Nature right on your doorstep
Rising out of Rockhampton's north-eastern suburbs, Mount Archer National Park provides magnificent views of the city, and showcases a spectacular range of native Australian flora and fauna. Pack a picnic and take the short scenic drive to the summit of Mt Archer, where you can enjoy stunning views of the city sprawling below and the surrounding volcano plugs jutting out of the landscape. If you are feeling energetic there are walking paths that will also get you to the top, where you can hike through the beautiful Australian bushland and see native plants and animals.
For a more relaxing nature experience a visit to the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens is a must. The heritage listed gardens are over 130 years old and are regarded as one of the best provincial gardens in Australia. Enjoy a stroll around the Japanese Gardens, enjoy a a bit to eat at the cafe located under ancient fig trees and let the kids run riot on the large playground. The gardens are also home to the Rockhampton Zoo where you can get up close with a range of animals, and the best bit it's free!
See for yourself!
Explore further in the Rockhampton Region.
Just 23km north of Rockhampton, The Caves Township is home to some of the most spectacular caves in Queensland. The Capricorn Caves are the state’s oldest tourist attraction and display incredible above ground limestone caves formed from an ancient coral reef over 400 million years ago. Visit Mt Etna Caves National Park at dusk from December - February and experience one of the few places in the world where you can witness the flight of thousands of tiny, bent-wing bats at feeding time.
Just a short trip down the road is Mount Morgan. After yielding over 225, 000kg of gold in a gold rush of epic proportions, as well as a wealth of silver and copper, the bustling township is now home to plenty of tourist destinations, dining and tours, so sit back and take a journey through time.