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.
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.
1. Get your “meat” experience at the best steak restaurants
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
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
We have started our roadshows on the superannuation changes, and I was in Mackay yesterday and Rockhampton today. One thing I love about Rocky is all the old buildings. This is the Archer Park Railway Station, now a really good rail museum, where my great-grandfather was the Station Master for many years. My father had many railway stories before he and his family moved to Brisbane. #rockhampton #rocky #museum #archerpark #archerparkrailmuseum #superannuation #smsf #roadshow #railway #family #queensland #regional #mylifelooksfantasticoninstagram #toomanyexclamationmarks #northqueensland #centralqueensland
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
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.
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
A meat feast and more
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