Rockhampton is another of Queensland's many stunners. Sitting just inland from the Capricorn Coast, it offers visitors numerous outdoor activities, close proximity to beach and marine pursuits, and plenty of entertainment, day and night. With a massive 300+ hours of sunshine in a year, every time is a good time to visit Rockhampton.
Rockhampton is not a coastal town. It lies 40 kilometres inland, but is an ideal base for anyone wanting to see more of Queensland than the beaches. Located on the Fitzroy River, and within the Berserker Ranges which includes Mount Archer, Rockhampton and its immediate area, it really is a showcase of Queensland. It has gorgeous national parks, stunning beaches within decent reach; it's not too far from the Great Barrier Reef, has scenic beauty and of course, loads of good Aussie food and wine. The area caters equally well to young and old, so is ideal for family vacations whether you're a group that just want to chill, or strap in for a trip of a lifetime.
The closest international and largest domestic airport is at Brisbane, 636 kilometres away. Rockhampton has however, its own regional airport. Rockhampton Airport handles flights from local airports, and Brisbane and Sydney.
Rockhampton is the Beef Capital of Australia, and there are six bronze statues of the main breeds located throughout the city.
Mount Etna Caves National Park - A mass of limestone caverns amidst dry rainforest, the park is home to a colony of more than 100,000 bats, 80% of whom amazingly live in one cave. Take a night time tour to see their emergence - one of nature's truly amazing sights.
Kooroona Crocodile Farm - See more than 3,000 crocodiles, but, this is a commercial operation rather than a conservation enterprise, so you can eat croc meals in the restaurant and buy croc products in the shop.
Mount Archer National Park - There's a trail to walk the 11 kilometres from the summit of Mount Archer (at 604 metres) to German Street in Rockhampton. The park itself is a conservation area, and home to protected flora and fauna, including the glossy black cockatoo, so it's a great wildlife viewing opportunity for visitors. The sunset views from the summit are also spectacular.
Kershaw Gardens - Gorgeous bushland gardens that stretch for one kilometre, planted to celebrate Australia's Bicentenary.
Rockhampton Botanic Gardens - Planted for 130 years and heritage listed, the grounds are considered to be one of the finest regional gardens in the country.
Rockhampton Zoo - Located in the Botanic Gardens and with free entry, the zoo is home to many native and exotic animals. Feeding time in the afternoon is always fun for the kids.
Rockhampton Heritage Village - Step back in time at the friendly township museum which showcases the history of Rockhampton between 1850 and 1950. See an extensive collection of vintage vehicles, the hall of clocks, homestead animals and numerous heritage buildings including cottages, a blacksmith shop, and the timber cutters camp. Also home to the annual Multicultural Festival.
Dreamtime Cultural Centre - Get in touch with Aboriginal culture at the Torres Straight Islander village - play the didgeridoo, learn to throw a boomerang and take part in a Djarn Djarn Dance.
Big River Jazz - An annual jazz festival held over three days, every September.
Great Western Hotel - For a real taste of the countryside in the city, the hotel dishes up rustic fare; but much more fun, it holds a rodeo each week, at the back of the pub.
Great Barrier Reef - Tours leave for the reef from Rosslyn Bay Boat Harbour on Great Keppel Island, giving visitors the chance to see one of the world's most astounding natural attractions. The distance from Rockhampton to the marina is 55 kilometres.