What to do in Rockhamptton

Ahh, Rockhampton. It is easy to think there is nothing to do in the beef capital of Australia. However, after being raised here and living here my whole childhood I have learnt that a good time is what you make of it. However, there is plenty to see with beautiful nature, great beaches down the road and plenty of good food. You just need to go looking for it. Or, read this article, I guess.

10 things to do in Rockhampton:

  1. Mount Archer National Park
  2. Capricorn Caves
  3. Coffee and Breakfast
  4. Rockhampton Botanic Gardens and Zoo
  5. Climb Bluff Point
  6. Archer Park Rail Museum
  7. Emu Park Beaches
  8. Koorana Crocodile Farm
  9. Rockhampton Heritage Village
  10. Great Keppel Island

Rockhampton is a city in Central Queensland and is most famous for its beef, known internationally as the beef capital of Australia. The city is home to over 75,000 residents. Located 40 kilometres inland on the Bruce Highway, Rockhampton is a great spot to stop and explore if you are travelling through up to Cairns or down to Brisbane.

Pre warning that some of these things are technically not IN Rockhampton. However, I consider them part of the Rockhampton region. So, there will be some suggestions in Yeppoon and Emu Park. But exploring is half the fun, right?

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1. Mount Archer National Park

Mount Archer Rockhampton
Mount Archer is the best spot to see the sunset in Rockhampton

About

Mount Archer is a peak overlooking the city of Rockhampton, with national park bushland attached. Standing at 604 metres high, the mountain is a great spot to catch the sunset over the city. Access to the summit is via a sealed road which leads you right to the top. Or if you are feeling particularly energised and want a good workout you can walk to the top also.

At the top there is a great lookout, as well as picnic spots. Bring some snacks and drinks and relax as the sun goes down over the cattle city. A great view of the Fitzroy river can be had from here and you can see past the airport on the other side of town.

There is plenty of wildlife to see in the national park including black cockatoos and rock wallabies. The best place to get glimpses of the wildlife is near Moores Creek which is at the base of the mountain. Early morning or late afternoon is your best time to visit.

Location

Mount Archer is located a short drive from Rockhampton CBD on the northern side of town.

Address – Pilbeam Dr, Mount Archer QLD 4701

You can read more about Mount Archer National Park here.

2. Capricorn Caves

Capricorn Caves Rockhampton
Capricorn Caves are the largest privately owned limestone caves in Australia

About

Stunning limestone caves are within 20 kilometres of Rockhampton. The Capricorn Caves are the largest privately owned limestone caves in Australia, and is full of abseiling, rock climbing, fossicking and animal viewing.

Discovered in 1881 by a Norwegian migrant, the site was opened to the public in 1884 and has served the public since. Along with the activities that are on offer at the caves, a number of education programs in geology, biology and environmental studies are available in the purpose-built geo-discovery building which is also on the site.

There is several different tours and experiences to discover at the Capricorn Caves. The Cathedral Cave Tour is the most popular with walks through the most spectacular caves. The cave even has a cathedral which is a popular wedding spot in the region and a very unique way to get married. There is fossil and geology tours also which explore the history and how the caves were formed.

Capricorn Caves Tours and Prices

The Cathedral Cave Tour
Adults $35, Children $17, Seniors $31.50, Family $87 (2 Adults and 3 Children)

Fossil Experience – ‘Bringing Lost World to Life’
Adults $40, Child $20, Seniors $36, Family $99 (2 Adults and 3 Children)

Geotour – ‘A Journey of Discovery’
Everybody $80

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm
Saturday and Sunday 8:30am – 6pm
Public holiday trading hours may be different

Location

30 Olsens Caves Rd, The Caves QLD 4702

Visit the Capricorn Caves website here for more information.

3. Coffee and Breakfast

Coffee and Breakfast in Rockhampton
You will be surprised how good the coffee is in Rockhampton

Rockhampton has some seriously good coffee. So good you will think you are in Melbourne. The meals are fantastic too. These are my recommendations for where to check out.

The Two Professors

Started in 2014, The Two Professors saw a gap in the coffee market and decided to bring their brew to town, and they brought it in style. They do coffee right, well balanced, rich taste and a smell to die for. Along with a solid menu with plenty of healthy options including acai bowls and granola, as well as the usual bacon and eggs, The Two Professors have truly brought a unique experience to Rockhampton.

Location – 49 William St, Rockhampton QLD 4700

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 5:30am – 4:30pm
Saturday 6am – 2pm
Sunday 6:30am – 1:30pm
Public holiday trading hours may be different

Check out their Facebook page here. Their menu is also online here.

Archer Brothers

Named after early Australian explorers, the Archer Brothers Coffee and Bar is beautifully laid out with majestic bricks and cladding from the 20th century restored into the purpose-built cafe it is today. On top of the gorgeous interior, the service at Archer Brothers is fantastic, not to mention great coffee and food also. If you are after a few quiet drinks kick back and enjoy the atmosphere here, it is a truly beautiful spot.

Location – 180 East St, Rockhampton QLD 4700

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday 7am -2pm
Sunday 7am – 12pm
Public holiday trading hours may be different

Check out their Facebook page here. Their menu is also online here.

The Green Eat

Fresh and healthy food lovers rejoice, this is the perfect cafe for you. The Green Eat is is the best healthy focus cafe in town, boasting a huge range of acai bowls, juices, smoothies and buddha bowls. There is plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options at this cafe also, topped off with great service and coffee. Check it out if you want a healthy alternative. The only negative is that they are closed on Sundays.

Location – 49 Archer St, Rockhampton QLD 4700

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 6:30am – 2pm
Saturday 7am – 12pm
Sunday Closed
Public holiday trading hours may be different

Check out the Green Eat Facebook page here. Their menu is pinned on their posts.

Whisk Yeppoon

If you are visiting the coastal city of Yeppoon, you must stop in at Whisk. Amazing cold pressed brews and breakfast options that will have your mouth watering and serving sizes that are very generous. This is a great spot to come after an early morning walk up Bluff Point. I have been to this cafe several times and the service and food has been outstanding each time.

Location – 17 James St, Yeppoon QLD 4703

Opening Hours:
Every day 7am – 2pm
Public holiday trading hours may be different

Check out the Whisk Yeppoon website here. Their menu is also online here.

4. Rockhampton Botanic Gardens and Zoo

Rockhampton Botanic Gardens and Zoo
The Rockhampton Zoo has over 60 species of animals.

About

Discover over 60 animal species including plenty of Australian locals such as kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, wombats and a huge saltwater crocodile named ‘The Colonel’. Apart from the natives, the zoo is also home to chimpanzees, otters, macaques plenty of reptiles. There is bird aviaries and enclosures that will keep you occupied for hours. Oh, did I mention that the zoo is free?

The Botanic Gardens is a fantastic tourist attraction in its own right. Regarded as the best in regional Australia, the Botanic Gardens is a great place to explore around after visiting the animals in the zoo. Featuring over 20 different gardens including Japanese gardens and rainforests, the Botanic Gardens is beautiful heritage listed area that is not to be missed.

Opening Hours

Botanic Gardens Opening Hours:
Every day 6am – 6:30pm
Public holiday trading hours may be different

Rockhampton Zoo Opening Hours:
Every day 8am – 4:30pm
Public holiday trading hours may be different

Rockhampton Botanic Garden and Zoo Price:

FREE!!!

Location

93 Spencer Street, The Range, Queensland

Visit the Rockhampton Zoo website here for more information.

5. Climb Bluff Point

Bluff Point Yeppoon
The summit of Bluff Point provides some amazing scenery. Photo by Kenrick Jones

About

Get active in the morning and climb Bluff Point. Located halfway between Yeppoon and Emu Park along the aptly named Scenic Highway, Bluff Point is one of the best spots in the region to catch an amazing sunrise whilst getting some great exercise in along the way.

Bluff Point has a 2-kilometre walking trail that leads around the point. There are several stops and lookouts along the way to gaze out at the ocean and admire the Great Barrier Reef. If you are lucky you might spot the turtles in the waters below. The summit has a picturesque 360-degree view of the ocean and land where you can see all the way back to Yeppoon.

After you have finished climbing the trail, reward yourself with breakfast in Yeppoon or Emu Park or utilise the free picnic areas at the base which is great for the whole family. Kemp beach is only a short walk from the trail and is a great swimming spot in the summer.

Location

Bluff Point Walking Track, Rosslyn QLD 4703

6. Archer Park Rail Museum

Archer Park Rail Museum
Archer Park Rail Museum is a great spot to check out the history of trams in the region

About

History and train buffs will love the Archer Park Rail Museum which features a restored Purrey Steam Tram identical to the ones run in Rockhampton in the early 1900’s.

Take a trip back in history and find out how people travelled before the rise of airplanes. A fully restored steam tram provides great insight into how the railway station operated. With section cars, trolleys and a railway tractor you will get a fantastic lesson into how railway workers operated back then.

The Archer Park Rail Museum is located conveniently near the city centre of Rockhampton, close to a shopping centre and the Fitzroy river.

Archer Park Rail Museum Prices

Adults $9.50
Children $5.80
Seniors $6.80
Families $28 (2 adults and 2 children)

Location

51-87 Denison St, Rockhampton QLD 4700

Visit the Archer Park Rail Museum website for more information.

7. Emu Park Beaches

Emu Park Singing Ship
The Singing Ship is a monument to explorer Captain James Cook in Emu Park

About

This may be a controversial opinion to the Rockhampton locals. However, I believe that Emu Park has better beaches than Yeppoon. Both towns are located on the coast about 30 minutes from Rockhampton.

Emu Park is a small coastal town but is still a magnificent stop on your trip to Rockhampton. Stunning beaches and a very small-town feel sums up Emu Park with Yeppoon the bigger and much more commercialised town. Two Emu Park beaches are perfect for swimming, Fisherman’s Beach the main Emu Park beach.

Fisherman’s Beach is great for swimming peacefully and relaxing in the parks surrounding it. The beach is not patrolled. Emu Park Main Beach is just around the corner and is the more popular beach, which is patrolled and home to the Surf Life Saving Club.

While in Emu Park, don’t forget to check out the rich history of the area including the famous Singing Ship is a structure honouring the explorations of Captain James Cook who discovered the bay in 1770.

Location

Emu Park is located a 30-minute drive from Rockhampton. There is two ways to get to Emu Park. The first is to take Emu Park Road out of Rockhampton. The second, which I recommend is to take Yeppoon Road out of Rockhampton towards Yeppoon. Once there, you can take the Scenic Highway to Emu Park. Once you have explored the town, take Emu Park Road back to Rockhampton. This is a great way to explore the area and see a lot of scenery.

8. Koorana Crocodile Farm

Koorana Crocodile Farm
Get up close and personal with some saltwater crocs at Koorana Crocodile Farm

About

If you like giant prehistoric reptiles who like flesh and meat, Koorana Crocodile Farm is just the place to visit. The farm is home to absolutely staggering 5000 crocodiles and has been operating since 1981. Starting with no crocodiles, the owners went out and caught them from areas with the public around.

See a crocodile hatch, hold a crocodile or go on a feeding tour at the farm. There is plenty to do and explore and is a great way to see some large saltwater crocodiles.

The Koorana Crocodile Farm also makes their own crocodile leather products including belts, hats and handbags.

Koorana Crocodile Farm Prices

  • Adults $30
  • Concession $25
  • Children (under 16) $13

Location

Koorana Crocodile Farm is located off Emu Park Road travelling towards Emu Park.

65 Savages Rd, Coowonga QLD 4702

Visit the Koorana Crocodile Farm website for more information.

9. Rockhampton Heritage Village

Rockhampton Heritage Village
Go back to the 1800’s at the Rockhampton Heritage Village

About

Be like Marty McFly and travel back in time at the Rockhampton Heritage Village. Offering a rich insight into the Rockhampton district in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the village is set on over 11 acres of land.

With highlights such as Hall of Clocks, a fire station, blacksmith’s workstation, doll display, country hospital, military display and working print shop there will be no shortage of things to see and do.

On top of the building attractions there is plenty of memorabilia, artefacts, stage coaches and restored vintage cars which can be taken around the village. There is also a restored general store to grab a snack and drink.

Rockhampton Heritage Village is one of the most popular attractions in the city and is a must see when you are visiting. The village turns into a bustling market twice a month (except December) and offers plenty of food, arts and crafts, plants and clothing for the whole family.

Rockhampton Heritage Village Prices

  • Adults $15
  • Concession $12
  • Child (3 to 14 years) $9
  • Family $40

Location

Rockhampton Heritage Village is located just north of the city on the Bruce Highway heading towards Mackay.

Boundary Rd, Parkhurst QLD 4702

10. Great Keppel Island

Great Keppel Island
Great Keppel Island is located on the southern Great Barrier Reef and is a haven for turtles and stingrays.

About

I left the best until last. Great Keppel Island is a tropical paradise located just off the coast of Yeppoon, 40 kilometres from Rockhampton. White and sandy beaches surround the island and coral reefs containing turtles, stingrays and tropical fish protect it.

Great Keppel Island is truly a snorkelling, swimming and beach paradise. This is the perfect way to spend a summer day with family and friends. Located at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, which is hands down the best attraction in Australia, this island is the MUST see place of the Central Queensland region.

There is ferries which do return trips each day for a single day out or stay in one of the holiday villages on the island to explore the area for longer. Bring your gazebo, esky and drinks and enjoy a wonderful day out.

Ferry Prices

Freedom Fast Cats

  • Adults: $45 ($30 for early bird special)
  • Child (4 – 14 years): $30 ($15 early bird special)
  • Infant (under 4): Free
  • Family (2 Adults and 2 Children) $135 ($80 early bird special)

Early bird specials are only available during certain times of the year. Check the Freedom Fast Cats website for more details.

Location

Located off the coast of Yeppoon, Great Keppel Island can be accessed by several ferry companies operating charters to the island. Ferries depart from Keppel Bay Marina which is along the Scenic Highway 10 kilometres from Yeppoon CBD.

Keppel Bay Marina – Waterline Way Rosslyn Bay, Yeppoon QLD 4703

Great Keppel Island Hideaway

Great Keppel Island Hideaway is the perfect spot to stay overnight on the island. A wonderful resort which is very reasonably priced. Check out the rates on Agoda here.

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