"Meat" Me In Rockhampton: Best Things To Do In Rockhampton, Australia

things to do in rockhampton australia

When you find six bull statues dotted around a town, that means you are in Rockhampton, the “Beef Capital of Australia”. The town has over 2.5 million cattle within a 250 km (155 mile) radius and its charming historical architecture has captured the hearts of visitors for many decades. And whether you’re looking for dog & pet-friendly accommodations or the top Airbnb vacation rentals in Rockhampton, lodging is easy to find here.

Located 493 km (306 miles) from Brisbane and straddling the tropic of Capricorn, Rockhampton can be aptly scorching. It’s 40 km (25 miles) inland and lacks coastal sea breezes; summers are often unbearably humid. Pack your holiday luggage and get ready to step back in time and discover the region’s rich history, and to feed your appetite. Check out these best things to do in Rockhampton, Australia.

1. Get your “meat” experience at the best steak restaurants

things to do in rockhampton australia | get your “meat” experience at the best steak restaurants
Source: hongs_style on Instagram

The best way to enjoy the “Beef Capital of Australia” is through its great steaks. Meat lovers will be spoiled with the variety of beef cuts to satisfy any appetite. From rump, rib fillet, T-bone, eye fillet and porterhouse, all are from Australia and just waiting to be sent to your table.

The Stonegrill restaurant at the Ascot Hotel is home to one of the best steaks you will ever eat. The Stonegrill offers a promise of quality with the healthiest method of cooking. Enjoy the fun and unique opportunity of grilling your own meat atop your very own natural, volcanic stone that will remain at prime cooking temperature for 30 whole minutes. Choose from a selection of prime, aged eye fillet, sirloin, rump, or beef mignon, and eat at your leisure.

The award-winning Great Western Hotel Steakhouse not only serves you the best steak in town, but also gives you an amazing cowboy experience with a live rodeo show. With a selection of meat from rump, rib fillet, t-bone, eye fillet, and porterhouse, indulge your appetite with the best steak in town.

Don’t just eat the meat, get up close to the source, at the livestock sales at Gracemare Saleyards. The Gracemere Saleyards, located eight kilometers (five miles) west of Rockhampton, began operations in 1953 and hosts the world’s largest stud sale and Australia’s biggest horse sale. It is one of Rockhampton’s foremost attractions. Visitors can get an inside view of livestock sales in the comfort of the upgraded selling ring, which comfortably seats up to 1,000 people. Stud sales are conducted primarily in the spring, September through to November.

Stonegrill at The Ascot

Address: 177 Musgrave St, Berserker QLD 4701, Australia

Price: from 32 AUD (25 USD)

Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm.

Contact: +61 7 4922 4719

Website: Stonegrill at The Ascot

Great Western Hotel

Address: Stanley St & Denison St, Rockhampton City QLD 4700, Australia

Price: from 24 AUD (18.50 USD)

Opening Hours: 11am - 12am. Closed on Mondays.

Contact: +61 7 4922 3888

Website: Great Western Hotel

Gracemere Saleyards

Address: 16 Saleyards Rd, Gracemere QLD 4702, Australia

Access: Gracemere Saleyards is located 9km (5.6 miles) west of Rockhampton

Contact: +61 7 4931 7300

Email: [email protected]

2. Step back in time with Rockhampton's historical sites

things to do in rockhampton australia | step back in time with rockhampton's historical sites

There are many historic and beautiful buildings in Rockhampton that you can explore by foot. Quay Street runs along the riverfront and has a lovely historic streetscape. The Customs House, the old Post Office, a couple of old bank buildings, and several private homes are worth exploring more.

Head out to the Rockhampton Heritage Village, an active township museum where you can learn about Rockhampton’s rich and colourful history from 1850 to 1950. It’s quite interactive and great for kids. You’ll see vintage vehicles, a hall of clocks, a timber cutters camp with some great examples of early tools, a blacksmith shop, homesteads and cottages, lots of vintage machinery and some great engines.

Don’t miss out on the Dreamtime Cultural Centre. Set on 12 hectares (30 acres) of land, with plenty to experience. Learn how to throw a boomerang, play the Didgeridoo and learn some Aboriginal dancing.

Archer Park Rail Museum is located on Dennison Street between Archer and Cambridge Streets. The museum features a restored Purrey Steam Tram, one of nine tramcars and six trailers that operated in Rockhampton (from 1909 to 1939) with Queensland Government Railways in Central Queensland. Purrey Steam Tram rides are available on Sundays between 10 am to 1pm and Family Fun Days are held on the fourth Sunday of April, June, August and October, where there is a gold coin entry and a small fee to ride the tram for those 14 years and over. The Tram does not run between the end of November until the beginning of February.

It also has a state-of-the-art digital sound system and lifelike mannequins to take you back to World War II times. It is handicapped-accessible, with a station tearoom and great parking. This wonderful station is sure to have items to interest many different age groups, and truly is a rail lovers delight.

Pack a picnic and enjoy a lazy afternoon in the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. At over 130 years old, the site was recently heritage listed and the gardens cover about 33 hectares (81.5 acres). There are also walking tracks, a kiosk with food and gifts and an excellent children’s playground. Murray Lagoon is a part of the Botanic Gardens but you do not have to go into the gardens to enjoy this lagoon and the abundance of wildlife here.

The Rockhampton Zoo is located within the Botanic Gardens. It’s home to over 50 species of Australian native and exotic animals like koalas, kangaroos, emus, dingoes, monkeys, apes, wombats, wallabies, and cassowary. Don’t miss out the 3pm koala feeding at the zoo.

Archer Park Rail Museum

Address: 51-87 Denison St, Rockhampton City QLD 4700, Australia

Price: from 9.50 AUD (7.24 USD) for adults

Opening Hours: 10am - 3pm. Closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

Contact: +61 7 4936 8191

Website: Archer Park Rail Museum

3. Take a walk with Mother Nature

things to do in rockhampton australia | take a walk with mother nature
Source: krnicolson on Instagram

Nature lovers will enjoy exploring Mount Archer National Park with its spectacular range of native plants and wildflowers. Mount Archer rises 604 metres (1982 feet) above sea level and offers glorious views of Rockhampton and the coast. One lookout gives a view over the ocean and Yeppoon, and the other takes in Rockhampton. The sunsets are spectacular.

The famous Capricorn Caves are located 23 kilometres (14 miles) north of Rockhampton. They’re a series of magnificent limestone caves set in 12 hectares (30 acres) of natural bush land on the ancient tribal sites of Aboriginal history. It’s the true definition of up close with Mother Nature and is definitely worth a visit.

You can also take a walk along the Riverside Park next to the Fitzroy River that lies along Rockhampton, or out with a fishing boat for barramundi hunting. Barramundi are Australia’s iconic sport fish. Whenever the mighty Fitzroy River floods, tens of thousands of barramundi depart from these hidden backwaters and enter the river to complete their life cycle. Rockhampton maybe the Beef Capital of Australia, but who knows, in the future maybe it will also be known as the Barra (Barramundi) Capital too!

It’s extremely important to be aware and safe while you explore the Fitzroy River. The lower reaches of the river are home to lethal saltwater crocodiles.

Capricorn Caves

Address: 30 Olsens Caves Rd, The Caves QLD 4702, Australia

Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm.

Access: Capricorn Caves are located 23 km (14 miles) north of Rockhampton

Contact: +61 7 4934 2883

Website: Capricorn Caves

The following content is contributed by Trip101 writer, Laarni

4. Pay a visit to St Joseph's Cathedral

St Joseph's Cathedral Rocky
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user RegionalQueenslander used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Wondering what to do in Rockhampton? Visit St Joseph’s Cathedral. You don’t have to be a religious person to want to visit St Joseph’s Cathedral. Just the rich history alone, not to mention the amazing architecture of this structure, should be enough to entice you to have a look. After all, the cathedral is more than a hundred years old! It was built in 1894, and the first mass was held here in 1899. You can find the church standing majestically at the intersection of William and West streets. Upon entry, some of the first things you’ll notice are the lovely stained-glass windows that show scenes from the New Testament.

St Joseph's Cathedral

Address: Corner of William and West Street, Rockhampton QLD

Website: St Joseph’s Cathedral

Opening hours: Mon: 6:30am - 7:30am; Tue: 5:30pm - 6:30pm; Wed: 12:10pm - 12:40pm; Thu: 8am - 9am; Fri: 12:10pm - 12:40pm; Sat: 9am - 10am, 6pm - 7pm; Sun: 6:30am - 7:30am, 9:30am - 10:30am, 6pm - 7pm

5. Wander around Kershaw Gardens

Q482 Waterfalls in Kershaw Gardens Rockhampton
Source: Photo by Flickr user Brian ireland used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Those wondering about free things to do near Rockhampton can consider visiting Kershaw Gardens. Covering a 1-kilometre (0.62-mile) length, the park features walking paths, numerous fun playground structures for both kids and grown-ups, and a pretty waterfall that should make its way to your Instagram page. Indeed this spot is perfect if you’re travelling with the whole family. The area near the waterfall is suitable for a picnic, so you can bring some light snacks and drinks or use the barbecue facilities on-site. You can find this place easily as it is located along Bruce Highway. Pets are allowed here, but make sure they’re kept on a leash.

Kershaw Gardens

Address: Moores Creek Rd, Park Avenue QLD

Website: Kershaw Gardens

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: free

6. Take the family to 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

We run a perpetual swim school at our South Rocky Pool, with some very amazing teachers! Have you booked in your child?...

Posted by Rockhampton Aquatic on Wednesday, March 30, 2022

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Rockhampton with your entire family, then head to 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre. This venue welcomes people of all ages and offers various programs suitable for every skill or fitness level, including those with limited mobility or who are differently abled. If you’re into doing swimming exercises, you can book a lane at the 50-metre (164-foot) outdoor pool and use it for 45 minutes. On the other hand, if you plan to just loosen up and have fun with the family, you can head over to the Children’s Water Play Park. Then when everyone’s feeling hungry, go grab a bite at Red Poppy Cafe.

2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre

Address: 2 Graeme Acton Way, Rockhampton QLD

Website: 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 5am - 8pm; Sat: 7am - 6pm; Sun: 10am - 5pm

Price: 1.72 USD onwards

7. Grab a drink at Headricks Lane

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Partying a little is always a good way to de-stress after a busy work week. Headricks Lane makes for the perfect venue to hang out with friends or colleagues and enjoy delicious cocktails and tasty bar grub. The place is also a good option to have breakfast or lunch. It even has a private dining area and a function hall for hosting events. Headricks Lane boasts using only seasonal ingredients to ensure every meal tastes fresh and natural. In terms of the layout, this spot has a minimalist style that imbues a peaceful, calming effect to the overall atmosphere.

Headricks Lane

Address: 189 East St, Rockhampton QLD

Website: Headricks Lane

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 5pm - 12am (closed on Sun & Mon)

8. Check out the exhibits at Rockhampton Art Gallery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Channel your inner Picasso when you visit Rockhampton Art Gallery, which is located in the business district of Central Queensland, near Fitzroy River. It was founded in 1967 and since then has featured some of the best modernist artists of Australia. Among them are Charles Blackman, Russell Drysdale, and Fred Williams, just to name a few, making the gallery one of the most highly regarded art spaces in the region. Furthermore, the venue also welcomes collections of international artists, which only add to its must-visit status. Do check out the gift shop as well for a souvenir or two to bring back home. Visitors should note that the gallery is closed for renovation and transition work until late 2021.

Rockhampton Art Gallery

Address: 62 Victoria Parade, Rockhampton QLD

Website: Rockhampton Art Gallery

Price: free

9. Stop by Walter Reid Cultural Centre

Walter Reid Community Arts Centre (1996)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Heritage branch s... used under CC BY 3.0

Walter Reid Cultural Centre is a top choice among many when it comes to watching musical shows or checking out the latest artworks of talented artists. If you’re an aspiring artist yourself, make sure to keep abreast of the centre’s updates to catch the schedules of various workshops. Among your choices are photography, rail modelling, arts and crafts, and more. Or perhaps you want to organize your own event or start your own hobby club. You can do that here as there are spaces in the building that the management rents out. In fact, Walter Reid Cultural Centre has become the home of many art and music groups, and you are welcome to join their ranks.

Walter Reid Cultural Centre

Address: Corner Derby St & East St, Rockhampton QLD

Website: Walter Reid Cultural Centre

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 9pm; Sat: 8:30am - 9pm; Sun: 9am - 6pm

10. Enjoy a cup of coffee at The Two Professors

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by The Two Professors on Tuesday, February 16, 2021

We all know coffee can be found just about anywhere in the world. If you are travelling to a new place - Rockhampton, for instance - you can easily get your coffee fix. But the question is where can you get some of the best brews around? The answer is simple. Visit The Two Professors. The cafe also serves a hearty Australian breakfast, brunch, and lunch. You can even bring your kids along and request for a highchair if needed. This spot is wheelchair accessible too, which indicates that everyone is welcome here.

The Two Professors

Address: 49 William St, Rockhampton QLD

Website: The Two Professors

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 5:30am - 3pm; Sat: 6am - 12pm; Sun: 6:30am - 12pm

11. Visit Central Queensland Military and Artefacts Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Central Queensland Military Museum on Friday, August 11, 2017

George Santayana, a philosopher and poet, once said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Thus, anyone who seeks peace must also study the wars of the past. Central Queensland Military and Artefacts Museum has been able to preserve items from World War II, which include photographs, diaries, and other memorabilia. It is one of the top Rockhampton tourist attractions for history buffs. You can also view artefacts that tell the history of Rockhampton, and these have been donated by the city’s residents themselves. Indeed this place is a great choice to bring your family so that they too can glimpse into past of the area.

Central Queensland Military and Artefacts Museum

Address: 40 Archer St, Rockhampton QLD

Website: Central Queensland Military and Artefacts Museum

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 2pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

12. Shop at Stockland Rockhampton Shopping Centre

A JB Hi-Fi store in Stockland Rockhampton Shopping centre, Rockhampton, Queensland
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Winxptwker used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Indulge in a retail therapy session while in Rockhampton by heading over to Stockland Rockhampton Shopping Centre. No doubt this place has almost everything you might need and want that money can buy. Aside from the vast number of store categories that you can find here, the mall also features exciting activities from time to time. Check the website to learn about upcoming events and schedules, not to mention current sales and offers that will make you feel like a winner with your haul of bargains. Furthermore, Stockland Rockhampton Shopping Centre is a great choice of location to bring the kids, especially when school is out.

Stockland Rockhampton Shopping Centre

Address: 120-331 Yaamba Rd, Park Avenue QLD

Website: Stockland Rockhampton Shopping Centre

Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 9am - 5:30pm; Thu: 9am - 9pm; Fri: 9am - 5:30pm; Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 10am - 4pm

13. Catch a show at Pilbeam Theatre

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

If you’re one who needs their fix of culture on a regular basis, then Pilbeam Theatre might be the place for you. This centre for performing arts is the pride of Central Queensland. It’s not difficult to see why considering many local, national, and international production companies brought their shows here. The venue welcomes all sorts of audiences, from theatre critics to groups of schoolchildren. After all, the language of art is evergreen and universal! So gather your crew and invite them for a night of drama or laughter, whichever floats your boat. Do remember to book your tickets early as some events can be in high demand.

Pilbeam Theatre

Address: Victoria Parade & Cambridge St, Rockhampton QLD

Website: Pilbeam Theatre

A meat feast and more

Rockhampton DSC08421 Qld
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ian Cochrane used under CC BY 2.0

The Beef Capital of Rockhampton will definitely satisfy your appetite, while its historical buildings and amazing nature will satisfy your soul. It’s a perfect combination for a perfect holiday.

Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Rockhampton, Australia

1. Which are the top attractions to visit in Rockhampton?

Rockhampton is home to a range of interesting attractions. The top attractions to visit here are Capricorn Caves, Archer Park Rail Museum, Kershaw Gardens, Walter Reid Cultural Centre, Rockhampton Heritage Village and Rockhampton Botanic Gardens.

2. Which are the best outdoor activities in Rockhampton?

Rockhampton offers plenty of outdoor activities to visitors. Explore the amazing Capricorn Caves or swim a few laps in the outdoor pool at 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre. Those looking for less strenuous outdoor activities can consider strolling through the beautiful Kershaw Gardens.

3. Which are the most popular things to do with kids and family in Rockhampton?

Rockhampton is a very family-friendly destination. Take your kids to Rockhampton Heritage Village to learn about the history of the area or let them have fun at the playground structures of Kershaw Gardens while the rest of the family enjoys a barbecue picnic. 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre is a great place to enjoy water activities with the entire family.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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