Also known as the cattle capital of Australia, Rockhampton is one of the oldest towns in Queensland. The city takes you back to the colonial past of Queensland but with a very contemporary setting of the riverside. With big hats and even bigger bulls, this beef capital is also called "Rocky" by locals. The city's stunning Victorian architecture showcases its rich history. The town's open streets are lined with the statues of bovines to remind you that you are in the beef capital. Rockhampton lies on the tropic of Capricorn, which makes the town even more glorious. "Rocky" is a famous tourist destination that garners people from all over the globe to explore its culture and witness its history. This delightful town has one of the best regional art galleries in Australia. However, the city has a lot more to offer. Here are the 20 best things to do in Rockhampton, Australia.
Visit the stunning Rockhampton Art Gallery
Established in 1967, Rockhampton Art Gallery is one of the finest regional art galleries of Australia. The art gallery is a top-rated tourist attraction and is a must if you want to witness Australia's culture and history. The gallery features several noted and revered artists' works, including Jeffrey Smart, Sidney Nolan, James Gleeson, and Arthur Boyd. It is mostly known for its collection of Australian paintings of mid 20th century. However, the Rockhampton Art Gallery has more than 1700 pieces that include artifacts, British art, Japanese art, sports memorabilia, and a lot more. The gallery also displays a unique exhibition from its extensive collection and works of local artists. It hosts several different activities such as Quiz Nights, Come and Try Drawing and Painting evenings, BYO vinyl record Sunday, and much more. The estate also has a small cafe where you can eat wholesome treats after cruising through the gallery.
Enjoy Watching Animals At Rockhampton Zoo
Located in grounds of Rockhampton Botanic Gardens, Rockhampton Zoo is a zoo specializing in Australian fauna with more than 70 species of animals. The zoo's entry is free, and the council and volunteers run the zoo, and every donation goes towards the zoo's upkeep. The zoo's Australian and international species include kangaroos, dingoes, macaws, chimpanzees, lion-tailed macaques, koalas, crocodiles, cassowaries, emus, and much more. You can see animals being fed at a feeding time show that starts at 2 pm. You can also take an educational tour of the zoo to learn about the zoo's different animals. Rockhampton Zoo is a fantastic place to spend your day gazing at beautiful animals in peace.
Catch A Show At Pilbeam Theatre
Established in 1979, Pilbeam Theatre has a position of prominence in the regional arts and entertainment industry. Pilbeam Theatre is one of the most highly admired stages of Queensland. It provides a venue for local entertainers as well as international shows and showcases culture and entertainment in the city of Rockhampton. The site can accommodate just about 1000 people at once. It also has a wine bar and confectionary kiosk for you to grab a drink or a treat before or during a show. The Pilbeam Theatre's location is terrific; it overlooks the Fitzroy River and offers a sweeping view of the surroundings. Make sure to catch a show or two at the Pilbeam Theatre when you visit this delightful town.
Go Back In Time At Rockhampton Heritage Village
Rockhampton Heritage Village is a township museum set in 12 hectares and showcases the history and culture of Rockhampton from the 1850s to the 1950s. The Village has a school, fire station, cottages, woolshed, and a collection of antique machinery and vehicles. The town museum also houses several admirable displays of timepieces in the Hall of Clocks and an expansive array of dolls. All the buildings in the Village were reconstructed from the photographs of the old original buildings. The heritage village hosts many events, such as market days, Halloween, and many other activities. It also has a tourist center to help you plan the itinerary of your visit to Rockhampton as well as a gift shop to buy souvenirs to remember Rockhampton.
Emu Park Anzac War Memorial Boardwalk
Emu Park Anzac War Memorial Boardwalk is rich in both history and nature, like the rest of Rockhampton. This war memorial honors the ANZACs who fought and died in World War I. This 175m boardwalk overlooks the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, which contributes to the beauty of the estate. You can also see the Keppel Bay group of Islands from here. It is also wheelchair friendly. This war memorial also has a gallery that showcases the history of the ANZACs. The spectacular beauty of nature surrounds this beautiful and respectful tribute is a place to be when you're in Rockhampton.
Enjoy Secluded Beaches At Keppel Bay Islands National Park
Keppel Bay Islands National Park is a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and surround yourself with tranquil surroundings with the blue ocean and golden sunshine. It is located just a short bus and ferry ride away from Rockhampton. Keppel Bay Islands National Park consists of 13 islands with clean beaches and water. The Keppel Bay Islands are surrounded by the heritage-listed Great Reef Barrier, which makes the beauty of this scenic place even more breathtaking. The national park is of national and scientific importance and provides shelter to several endangered plants and animals. You can camp on limited islands with permits. Keppel Bay Islands National Park offers a peaceful environment with secluded beaches to enjoy the much renowned natural beauty of Australia.
Appreciate Nature At Mount Archer National Park
Making up the stunning backdrop of Rockhampton, Mount Archer National Park is located in Central Queensland. It is located just half an hour's drive away from Rockhampton. The national park covers an area of 4250 hectares of woods and forests. Archer brothers first explored these woods, and that is why the national park is named after them. The highest peak of the national park is Mount Archer, and it is 604m above the sea level. You can participate in bushwalking and rock climbing at the national park. It also has a number of species of plants. You can spend a perfect day by picnicking at the park amidst the natural beauty and a serene environment.
Underground Adventure At Capricorn Caves
Located mere 23 kilometers away from Rockhampton, Capricorn Caves are on the biggest privately owned caves in Australia. They are limestone caves that were first discovered in 1881 and are home to several wildlife and plant species. It is popular among tourists in Rockhampton and the longest-running tourist attractions in Queensland. You can take a guided tour to explore and to know the history of these limestone caves. The cathedral cave has amazing acoustics that will win your heart over. After exploring the caves, you can eat at the cafe to reenergize yourself for further adventure.
The Charming Quay Street
Quay Street is the perfect place to start exploring the city of Rockhampton. This commemorated street boasts approximately 30 historic buildings of historical importance. Quay Street is the longest National Trust heritage-listed street in Australia.
Pay A Visit To Kershaw Gardens
Also known as Rockhampton's big backyard, Kershaw Gardens are delightful and well maintained 50 hectares of parkland in Rockhampton. It also has a well-kept play area for children along with picnic tables and benches to enjoy BBQ with friends and family.
Worship At St Joseph's Cathedral
Built from 1893 to 1982, St Joseph's Cathedral is a Roman Catholic place of worship in Rockhampton. It is a magnificent church and is listed on Australia's National Heritage List. It has fantastic stained glass windows and ravishing architecture that will win your heart.
Take A Stroll To Get To Know The Secrets
Walking is one of the best ways to explore any city. Rockhampton is a small town, and this makes it perfect for exploring it on foot. You can stroll around the city to take in the scenic glory of the charming town and discover what the town has to offer while gazing at the magnificent architecture of the city. You can walk in the broad streets lined with the statues of bovines in the beef capital of Australia. You can find the town's little secrets that you wouldn't have known if you were exploring the city in any other way like every other tourist.
Go To The Gorgeous Rockhampton Botanic Garden
One of the oldest gardens of Queensland, Rockhampton Botanic Garden, is a heritage-listed garden and zoo that offers free entry to the visitors. The garden is stunning with beautiful greenery all around. You can bring your own food to enjoy a picnic in the delightful garden.
Go To Your First Rodeo
Established in 1862, the Great Western Hotel is a Rockhampton institution and hosts Rodeo Nights every Wednesday and Friday. The best cowgirls and cowboys compete in the ring to ride live bulls. Along with the rodeo, the Great Western Hotel serves excellent food to complement the great atmosphere. There are ringside tables available to enjoy the rodeo up close.
Visit A Thrift Store
Rockhampton is a gold mine of thrift stores, and you can find good bargains and deals. The stores and neat and clean with nicely organized clothes and accessories. Some good thrifty stores around the town are William St Secondhand, Speedi Cash, and Classy Seconds. You can find more stores around the city.
Where to Stay
The accommodation is not going to be the problem when you're in the delightful city of Rockhampton. The city has a wide range of hotels, from budget to luxurious. Some of the most comfortable hotels in the town are- Quality Hotel Regent, Travelodge Hotel, Quest, Cosmopolitan Motel & Serviced Apts, and Southside Holiday Village. These hotels are conveniently located overlooking the ocean and provide many amenities to make your stay more comfortable.
Koorana Crocodile Farm
Koorana Crocodile Farm is a commercial crocodile farm located half an hour's drive away from Rockhampton in Coowonga. The farm has a fun guided your which is very informative and entertaining. You can know fun facts about crocs, and after the tour, you can enjoy delicious crocodile meals.
Where To Drink
You just cannot miss the bars and clubs when you're in Rockhampton. The city has some fantastic bars and clubs where you can drink and enjoy yourself and enjoy live music as well. The great coastal bars are a must to enjoy drinks with a stunning view. Some famous places to drink in Rockhampton are O'Dowd's Pub, Allenstown Hotel, Criterion Hotel, Ginger Mule, The Spinnaker Keppel Bay Sailing Club, and Rosslyn Bay. Visit these venues to have a good time and to enjoy yourself.
Where To Eat
Rockhampton offers a wide variety of cuisines, but it is known for its Australian cuisine and various vegetarian and vegan options. The popular cafes to grab sandwiches and coffee in the town are Coffee Society, Coffee House Restaurant, and Café Bliss. You cannot miss steaks when you're in the beef capital. Visit The Criterion and Headricks Lane to enjoy hearty steaks and other meaty dishes.
Get To Know Railway At Archer Park Rail Museum
Listed on Australia's National Heritage List, Archer Park Rail Museum was built in 1899 and showcases the railway's history in Rockhampton. It displays beautifully arranged memorabilia and also offers steam train rides for both adults and children.
Rockhampton is a perfect destination to get away with loads of activities and things for you to explore. From national parks to art galleries, this city has it all. Ballarat is undoubtedly going to win over your hearts with its Victorian architecture and historic charm. What are you waiting for? Visit this magnificent picturesque town to experience the classic Australian lifestyle. Do not forget to tell us your favorite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit "Rocky."