Rockhampton is an Australian city with a rich cultural history. There is so much to do and learn when visiting Rockhampton, which is why we’ve made your 2020 guide to Rockhampton.
From the free downloadable CBD Heritage walk to abseiling through the limestone caves nearby, there’s no such thing as a boring day in Rockhampton. This guide will help you plan the perfect trip to Rockhampton and give you insights into what we recommend.
In our 2020 guide to Rockhampton, there are random facts about this famous Queensland city, in addition to many options to suit anyone. Island hopping by the nearby Great Barrier Reef to strolling through the Botanic Gardens, there is something for everyone to do in Rockhampton. If you’re in Queensland, this may be the perfect getaway for you, but if not then you’ll have to save this gem for later…
Image by Joshua_Willson from Pixabay.
5 Random Facts About Rockhampton
- Rockhampton is one of the oldest cities in Queensland, established in the 1858.
- There are ancient limestone caves just 30 minutes from Rockhampton.
- Rockhampton was nicknamed “The City of the Three S’s,” being “Sin, Sweat and Sorrow.” The name was dubbed after thousands came to Rockhampton after gold was discovered nearby at Canoona, leading to the first gold rush in Queensland.
- Rockhampton experienced extreme flooding in 2010-2011.
- The 2010/2011 Queensland floods brought a lot of snakes and some crocodiles into Rockhampton.
7 Top Things to Do in Rockhampton
1. Adventure around the city.
There is plenty to see in this historic city, so why not check it all out!
Rockhampton is well known for Victorian architecture, due to its gold rush history, which makes it a beautiful city to explore.
You can spend hours walking around the CBD, or using the CBD Heritage Walk map (downloadable on smartphones) for a shorter two kilometre stroll along Quay Street, which is “Australia’s longest National Trust heritage-listed street”. The walk takes you past 20 heritage sites, including the Old Fitzroy Bridge, Criterion Hotel and the Rockhampton Club.
Established in 1967, the Rockhampton Art Gallery is found next to the Fitzroy River boasting pieces by artists like Charles Blackman, Del Kathryn Barton and Arthur Boyd. Famous for displaying pieces from Australia’s 20th-century Modernist movement, the Rockhampton Art Gallery is admired by thousands of people each year. There is no entry fee and the gallery has permanent collections accompanied by ever-changing exhibitions and modern works.
The gallery also offers free educational activities and public programs for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to stop by the gift shop on your way out for unique artisan pieces!
*The Rockhampton Art Gallery is currently closed as it’s undergoing renovations, becoming the new Rockhampton Art Museum in late 2021.
2. Explore Rockhampton’s beautiful Capricorn Caves.
Arguably the most extraordinary site in Rockhampton, the Capricorn Caves are only 30 minutes away from the city centre. Discovered in 1881, the caves now offer so many activities for everyone to enjoy.
The caves can be seen through a variety of tours, which take you through parts of the underground limestone cave system. You can abseil or walk amongst the gorgeous limestone, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. There is so much to see, from passing by the Cathedral Chamber, famous for its natural acoustics, to the fossil tour, which allows you to explore the natural beauties of prehistoric fossils found in the caves. However, if you’re looking for alive animals, no need to worry — there are plenty of bats in the caves, so remember to look up!
3. Visit the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens.
Another famous site is the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. From picnics to exploring the 130-year-old oasis, there is so much to enjoy here. Built from the 1870s to the 1930s, the site is now a Heritage-Listed Botanic Garden. It’s free to explore the gardens and is the perfect place for families, couples and friends alike to explore, picnic and enjoy any sunny day.
You can find the Gardens Tearoom within the gardens which offers a great atmosphere to dine in with indoor and outdoor seating options.
4. Island hop.
If you’re looking for something even more adventurous, you can opt-in for a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Only 40 kilometres from Rockhampton, Great Keppel Island is the perfect island getaway, in addition to Pumpkin Island. A short 40 minute drive from Rockhampton to Yeppoon and you can hop on a boat to either of these beautiful islands. With unbelievable aqua blue water, it’s the perfect occasion to take advantage of the vast aquatic activities available. From snorkelling to kayaking, there is plenty to enjoy when visiting the Great Barrier Reef.
5. Explore Kershaw Gardens.
Kershaw Gardens reopened just two years ago, after recovering from the damages of the 2015 Tropical Cyclone Marcia. The park now covers 50 hectares of land, filled with palm trees, walking tracks, playgrounds and a waterfall. The perfect parkland for families, a must-see is the five level Wyatt’s Wonder Web, which was originally designed for Central Park, NYC. Additionally, there’s nine metres of obstacles for parents and children to adventure through, making this a must-do for families.
6. Visit Dreamtime Cultural Centre.
Dreamtime Cultural Centre is Central QLD’s cultural centre. Learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a guided tour. Besides the important knowledge of their history and culture, you can also experience a live didgeridoo demonstration, learn how to throw (and hopefully receive) a boomerang and visit the Torres Strait Islander Village. You will learn interesting facts about their culture, explained in-depth with the aid of visual displays and artefacts. Lastly, you can gawk at the incredible stories told through stencilled rock art and the meaning behind them.
If you opt-in for a self-guided tour, you can admire the native Australian plants which played a vital role in Aboriginal life. There’s 12 hectares of beautiful land to explore, so make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen!
7. Enjoy the views from Nurim (Mount Archer).
Nurim Circuit is a beautiful treetop boardwalk, offering some of the best views of Rockhampton and Fitzroy River. The 500 metre boardwalk hugs the perimeter of Nurim, giving you so many angles and views of the city. It’s a beautiful spot to watch the sunset and if you’re feeling fancy, why not settle down with a picnic to watch the setting sun?
There are also plenty of hiking trails nearby, which is ideal for those looking for extra adventure.
Looking for somewhere to stay in Rockhampton? Check out what other visitors to Rockhampton have to say about the top spots on localsearch.com.au.