Located in the centre of the Pacific Coast Way (Bruce Highway), where the Australian Country Way and Leichhardt Highways meet, Rockhampton is the perfect destination to curb your caravan for a few days as you make your way up the East Coast on your next winter escape to the Sunshine State.
But where do you start?
HISTORY & HERITAGE
Take the road less travelled and head inland to the Burnett Highway, making your first stop in the quaint historic town of Mount Morgan. Nestled in the Dee Ranges 40 minutes from the Rockhampton CBD, Mount Morgan is home to one of Australia’s richest gold mines. Pull up to one of the pubs for your favourite counter meal served with a side of country hospitality before stepping back in time at one of the many museums like the Mount Morgan Railway Museum to relive what life was like in the 1900’s.
Make your way towards the Riverside Precinct and enjoy a sundowner over the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) at Boathouse, taking in the boat dotted vista.
For your first night in town, enjoy a world class steak for dinner at Rockhampton’s most iconic pub, The Criterion Hotel (you are in the beef capital after all). If you prefer a finer dining setting, head to Headricks Lane.
CAFES, CAVES & CANVASES
You have a smorgasbord of quirky cafes to choose from across Rockhampton, all serving up your favourite brew and breakfast bite. For a bit of breakfast flare, head along to Dingles Café Bar, a favourite amongst locals with a menu dedicated to local food producers.
35 minutes north along the Pacific Coast Way, the ancient chambers of Rockhampton’s oldest playground, the Capricorn Caves await you. There are a number of tour options to suit all adventure levels, however the 45 minute all accessible Cathedral Cave Tour showcases the largest and most spectacular caves and will leave you with lasting memories of the ancient geological history, early explorers, the wonders of wildlife and special cave acoustics.
Pay a visit to the recently opened and largest gallery in regional Queensland, the Rockhampton Museum of Art. Home to one of the finest collections of modern Australian paintings from artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Russell Drysdale, John Coburn and Charles Blackman and contemporary artists including the likes of Michael Zavros, Del Kathryn Barton, Richard Bell, Sally Gabori (Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda) and Ben Quilty, the Museum honours and celebrates the rich and vibrant collection that has defined Rockhampton’s cultural scene for the past 45 years. There are four exhibitions on show in 2022, free of charge, as well as a range of great paid programs like yoga on the deck or wine and watercolour nights – perfect for soothing the soul.
FISH & FURRY FRIENDS
Catching a trophy sized barra in the heart of the city should be on top of your Rockhampton bucket list. Pronounced “bardda moon di” by the Darumbal people, the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) runs through the heart of the city and is defined as the genuine Home of the Barramundi in Australia. No boat? No worries! For a guided experience with the local fishing the Fitzroy experts, book a half day or full day all-inclusive tour with an expert fishing charter.
Jump aboard a sunset river cruise with River Cruises CQ to experience the city from a different perspective, and soak in the sights of the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) and local wildlife that call the river home.
Located within the heritage listed Botanic Gardens, the free Rockhampton Zoo is home to more than 31 different species of native and exotic animals. The cheeky chimps and mischievous meerkats definitely steal the show but venture a little deeper and you’ll meet lazy kangaroos, sleeping koalas and ‘The Colonel’, a 4.3m salty croc.
Wander down to the Botanic Gardens and learn about the 100 year old trees with a self-guided tour, discover tranquil Japanese Gardens, The Central Queensland War Memorial and shady bamboo lined avenues. Treat yourself to something nice from Gardens Tearooms and relax under the canopy of the 150 year old Banyan fig trees.
BOARDWALKS AND BEAUTIFUL VISTAS
A Rockhampton itinerary isn’t complete without visiting Mount Archer (Nurim) National Park. For a relaxing morning or evening, take the 25 minute scenic drive up the winding road, parking at Fraser Park. Follow the accessible path to Nurim Circuit, a 500m elevated treetop boardwalk offering up some of the best views you’ve ever seen. Nurim Circuit is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike capturing the spectacular sunrises and sunsets so don’t forget your camera!
You may need to stay longer than a few days to experience all that our frontier town to bustling river port to gold rush city has on offer so we have a feeling we’ll be seeing you again soon.
Head to explorerockhampton.com.au and start planning your stay.