Rockhampton, the Beef Capital, is located on the Tropic of Capricorn astride the Fitzroy River. The Berserker Ranges and Mt Archer provide an imposing backdrop to the city.
Founded in 1853, Rockhampton’s examples of colonial architecture dating back to the early pioneering days. 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. The listing of Quay Street facing the river as a "historic streetscape" is unique in Australia.
Rockhampton’s restored historic Customs House operates as a true ‘tourism hub’. The Spirit of Rockhampton exhibition tells the story of the city’s rich history, the early life in Rockhampton, and the discovery of gold in the area. Make sure you visit the Discover Centre in the Customs House. Touch screens add to the experience. Remember to input all you know of your own family’s history.
Six bull statues representing the main breeds of the area are situated throughout Rockhampton. Two major abattoirs in Rockhampton and a number of smaller operations in regional centres process in excess of 7,000 animals a week. Gracemere Saleyards, on the outskirts of Rockhampton, handle the largest throughput of export beef cattle in Queensland and is the largest stud-selling venue in the Southern Hemisphere.
Discover the wonders of nature at the Botanic Gardens and nearby wetlands, at Kershaw Gardens, at Capricorn Caves and Mt Hay, where you can dig for thundereggs. Learn about Queensland’s earliest history at the Dreamtime Cultural Centre, the Rockhampton Heritage Village and at Archer Park Railway Station Museum. Stroll historic Quay Street where historic sandstone buildings recall pioneer days.
See the city in all its glory from Mt Archer Lookout in Mt Archer National Park.
Get up close (but not too personal) with the crocodiles at Koorana Crocodile Farm.
It may be called Australia’s beef capital, but with some clever changes to the rules, Rockhampton is set to become Australia’s barramundi capital. The vast, grassy floodplains that sustain the livestock also hold hidden gems in the billabongs and lagoons that sparkle like jewels as you fly into town. Barramundi. Tens of thousands of them. Australia’s iconic sport fish. Whenever the mighty Fitzroy River floods, the barra depart these hidden backwaters and enter the river proper to complete their life cycle.
City of Heritage
The National Trust and the Heritage Commission have listed many of Rockhampton’s heritage buildings with Quay Street being listed as a ‘historic streetscape’ - unique in Australia.
Rockhampton, established in 1855 by the pioneering Archer Brothers, sits on the Tropic of Capricorn and astride Queensland’s largest river, the Fitzroy, only 40km inland from the Pacific Ocean. To the west stand the Berserker Ranges and Mount Archer (607 metres high) as an imposing backdrop.
Historic buildings are a constant reminder of the city’s history, as is the heritage-listed Rockhampton Botanic Gardens (open from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm all year), 130 years old and acknowledged as one of the best provincial gardens in Australia. Rockhampton Zoo is located within the gardens.
The more recently developed Kershaw Gardens in north Rockhampton reveal the beauty of an Australian natural bush environment. Dedicated to native plants, the gardens feature a large waterfall.
Summer solstice spectacular
Each year, in the Capricorn Caves, just north of Rockhampton, nature creates an amazing event.
During December and early January, the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at midday. Deep underground, 14 metres underground in fact, in a limestone cavern known as the Belfry Cavern, a beam of sunlight penetrates the cool darkness. To witness this solstice event, cave visitors can take a tour which departs at 11 am from December 1 right up until January 9, 2001.
The beam is brightest and longest on December 22, the day of the Summer Solstice. Those caught in the beam of light, which slowly intensifies to its peak at the time of the solstice, will see the colours of their clothing reflected on the walls of the cave.
Above ground limestone caves offer other special attractions, maintaining a maximum temperature of 24 degrees celsius even in the midday heat. For the more adventurous, ‘wild caving’ tours can be booked.
Be prepared to get dirty, squeeze through small holes and chimney up shafts.
For more information contact Anne Augusteyn on 4934 2883
Capricorn Caves is the premier nature-based attraction in Central Queensland. Here you can explore spectacular caves set in a limestone ridge and even spot little insectivorous bats in certain seasons. These magnificent caves are located north of Rockhampton and are winners of many major tourism and environment awards, they are also eco-tourism accredited.
City of Smiles
A relaxed and casual lifestyle with all essentials within easy reach makes Rockhampton a city known for its smiles. The region's climate averages over 300 days of sunshine each year, giving new meaning to the term: lifestyle.
The Fitzroy River ensures fishing and water recreation plays a major part in Rockhampton living, as does the fact that Rockhampton is only a half hour's drive from the Capricorn Coast and Yeppoon beaches.
The Pilbeam Theatre and the Rockhampton Music Bowl host major productions ranging from quality drama and orchestral presentations to rock concerts. The city’s Rockhampton City Art Gallery is one of the leading provincial galleries in Australia with the Walter Reid Arts Centre providing a home for cultural groups and a venue for exhibitions.
And with the rural sector firmly integrated, the city is known for its rodeo extravaganzas, Lee Kernaghan's Great Western Hotel has its own indoor rodeo arena, making it one of two in the world. Drop-in for a steak, or practice for free every Wednesday night.
City of Industry
The major industry in the region is coal, and Rockhampton is well known for its beef industry, ranging from the grazing of cattle to the processing of beef to a huge export industry.
Rockhampton is known as the Beef Capital of Australia, sustaining three and a half million head off in an average season
Rockhampton services coal country, with the nearby Bowen and Surat Basin coalfields, believed to hold deposits in excess of 10,000 million tonnes. Magnesite (the largest and purest deposit in the world), limestone and salt are also mined and processed.
Central Queensland University (CQU) offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in on-campus and distance modes across disciplines such as business and law, arts, health and sciences, education and creative arts, engineering and physical systems, and informatics and communication through an international network of campuses in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Emerald, Fiji, Gladstone, Hong Kong, Mackay, Melbourne, Rockhampton, Singapore and Sydney.
Barra is the fish of choice between February and November each year. The area’s fishing industry is noted for its seafood, which includes - in addition to barramundi - salmon, mackerel, coral trout, red emperor, scallops, prawns and mud crabs.
To know more about Rockhampton make sure you visit the Rockhampton Tourist and Business Information Centre Quay Street, Rockhampton, (07) 4922 5339 or go to www.rockhamptoninfo.com
Capricorn Coast - Get away from it all.
On the Capricorn Coast, there are rainforest retreats which are close to creature comforts. There are hideaways which are wealthy in their solitude but not in their price tag. ??And then there's the ocean. And when you can say g'day to the ocean you can say goodbye to boredom.
The main town on the Capricorn Coast is Yeppoon, which provides a great base to head out from each day to enjoy the delights of the coastal area.
To the north is Byfield state forest which is crisscrossed by creeks and streams with colourful names and which contain some excellent examples of Australian flora and fauna - including the elusive and rare Byfield Fern.
There is a swimming pool and shaded picnic areas for family entertainment.?? Not all the local creatures are cute and cuddly, though, and for a close-up look, you can visit one of Queensland's premier attractions - Koorana Crocodile Farm.?? Informative and interesting tours of the farm will give visitors an insight into these magnificent and deadly creatures which grace some of Australia's tropical waterways.