February 17, 2023
6 mins Read
Rockhampton is one of the oldest cities in Northern Australia. If you’re a fan of heritage buildings, modern history and great natural surroundings, then you’ll find plenty of things to do in Rockhampton, whether you’re pottering around town or keen to take a day trip a bit further afield. Here, we’ve listed our picks for the best things to do in Rockhampton below.
There’s no better place to immerse yourself in gold-rush-era Australia than the Rockhampton Heritage Village. Here, you’ll find authentic vintage automobiles, old machinery and homesteads that bring to life the atmosphere of rural Queensland in the days of yonder.
The Heritage Village is an interactive and immersive way to learn about local history, and one of the quintessential things to do in Rockhampton if you consider yourself a bit of a history buff.
Rail enthusiasts will find lots to love at the Archer Park Rail Museum, where artefacts and displays tell the story of Rockhampton and Central Queensland through its locomotive past.
Featuring a restored Purrey Steam Tram from the 1930s, digital soundscapes and life-like mannequins, Archer Park Rail Museum charts the quaint yet fascinating rail history of one of the state’s oldest cities.
It’s all but Aussie instinct to make a beeline for the coast. And if you opt to do so from Rockhampton, you’ll certainly be making a great call. The closest beach town, Yeppoon, is a taste of the good life. Perched alongside pristine beaches, the town combines laid-back local vibes and the ebullience of holidaymakers in the know about this coastal gem.
The 40-minute drive to Yeppoon from Rockhampton is a scenic trip through the luscious expanses of Darumbal country. When you arrive, hit the beach, chill out at the lagoon or explore the laid-back cafe scene.
Capricorn Caves are Rockhampton’s local caves, located just 30 minutes from the township. On a tour of this above-ground cave system, you’ll witness ancient geology, eerie cave acoustics and if you’re lucky, a glimpse of microbats flitting about the caves.
The more adventurous can opt for longer, immersive tours, where you’ll don a helmet and torch as your guide leads you into the depths of the winding cave system.
Explore Rockhampton’s scenic backdrop and hit the trails at Mount Archer National Park. Wander among towering eucalyptus and dry rainforests and stride up to scenic lookouts where you can admire the beauty of Darumbal country.
Ramble through bluegums and swamp mahogany on the relatively easy First Turkey trailhead to Mugul, or opt for something a little more challenging like the Nurim summit walk where you’ll be met with rewarding vistas as you reach the top.
Relax in the rolling hinterland of rural Queensland. Just 30 minutes southwest of Rockhampton, the quaint village of Mount Morgan is a time capsule of Aussie mining history.
Strolling around Mount Morgan is like walking in an interactive museum, where you can admire streets full of heritage-listed architecture including the school, police station and the old mine.
Check out the Mount Morgan Historical Museum, where you can pursue the impressive collection of relics that are sure to paint a picture of early local history.
Embrace Central Queensland’s sub-tropical climate at Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. Mosey around groves of Banyan figs, a tropical fruit arboretum, a Japanese garden and much more.
If you’re a keen botanist, the Rockhampton self-guided audio tours app will have plenty to pique your curiosity. The Gardens Tearooms is the perfect pit stop to refuel as you soak up the blissful atmosphere.
When you’ve recharged, check out Rockhampton Zoo situated within the gardens where you’ll come face-to-face with cassowaries, chimpanzees and meerkats.
If you want to soak up even more serenity, head uptown to Kershaw Gardens. This is the go-to spot for locals and families to gather and kick back. Kids will love Wyatt’s Wonder Web, a five-level playing sphere originally designed for New York’s Central Park.
Fitzroy River water play area is also popular, especially on balmy days. Or, pack a picnic lunch and relax in the shade surrounded by green.
Staffed by a friendly and passionate group of modern history aficionados, CQ Military and Artefacts is the place to head if you’re a modern history enthusiast. Here, you can examine an impressive collection of artefacts and exhibits that detail Australia’s involvement in various wars. Explore the history of Australia’s armed forces through historic photographs, medals and badges, diaries and dioramas that shine a light on Australia’s military past.
You’re bound to find the stalls at Rockhampton markets teeming with colourful produce and sumptuous local fare. There are multiple markets in Rockhampton, from Doblo’s Farmer’s Markets open daily to Rocky Sunday Markets where you can find plenty of arts, crafts and food vans to grab a bite. Head down to peruse handmade knick-knacks, enjoy artisanal produce and farm-fresh flavours, or stop for a chinwag with one of the friendly stallholders.
The Rockhampton Museum of Art is the largest regional art gallery in Queensland, pulling together the best of local and international talent.
Fronting the Fitzroy River, this new gallery is ‘where creativity and community come together’. The museum is one of the most significant in the country, and the only one to contain a collection of mid-20th-century Australian art.
Browse the core collections and the fascinating carousel of temporary exhibitions on display.
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