Rockhampton’s 9 must-dos to get you in the holiday mooooood
Welcome to the stud capital of Australia! (No, I’m not talking about the two-legged variety). Known locally as ‘Rocky’, Rockhampton is home to over 3.5 million head of cattle, but it’s not all beef that makes this place so udderly adorable.
Rocky’s impressive heritage buildings, tropical climate and natural offerings will have your herd singing praise until the cows come home.
We’ve grabbed the so-called bull by the horns (had to say that) and rounded up the nine best Rockhampton experiences on offer.
Strike a pose
New York may have the Charging Bull on Wall Street, but it certainly doesn’t have six bovine beauties boldly gracing its streets. Rocky loves its beef and pays homage to the six breeds found in the region.
Photo tip: Grab the bull by the … (ahem, anything but the horns) and you may notice that its prized possession is heavily secured after mischievous thieves pocketed the popular momentos over the years.
Have your steak and eat it too
Everyone loves dinner and a show and Rocky is no exception. Mosey on over to the Great Western Hotel to watch cowboys and cowgirls buck their way around the indoor rodeo arena while you sink your teeth into the Great Western’s 1kg steak!
Plan your visit around the riding nights of Wednesday or Friday.
Beef meets reef
Speaking of steak, have you ever feasted on Banana Beef? Not to be confused with fruit, Banana Beef is locally grown in the Shire of Banana. Located roughly 145kms south-west of Rockhampton, this region was named after a legendary sandy coloured bullock called Banana. #NoBull. The best place to order a Banana Steak is in the nearby coastal town of Yeppoon. Head to the Keppel Bay Marina, where beef meets reef, and order the award-winning Banana Beef tataki dish from Waterline Restaurant.
Love the cow? Then buy one
Retail shopping is so mainstream when you can pay a visit to CQ Livestock Exchange, the largest livestock saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere and bid on a massive stud.
The auctioneers’ hammers swing into action throughout the year, but the biggest and most exciting buys tend to take place on Fridays.
It’s not all beef in Rocky. The Rockhampton Art Gallery houses the finest collection of mid-twentieth century Australian art in regional Queensland. You’d be a mad cow to miss works from Albert Tucker, Fred Williams, Arthur Boyd, Russell Drysdale, Sidney Nolan, Margaret Olley and Lloyd Rees (to name but a few!).
The Rockhampton Art Gallery offers a permanent collection in addition to touring displays.
Rockhampton’s rich heritage began back in the 1880s with the discovery of gold on nearby Mount Morgan. The town flourished and impressive buildings were built.
Flock to historic Quay Street that snakes along the mighty Fitzroy River to see an impressive 26 buildings that fit the National Trust’s classification. Our picks include Customs House (built in 1900), the Post Office (1892), the Supreme Court House (1888) and St Joseph’s Cathedral (1892).
Take your herd out to pasture in the 130-year-old Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. Regarded as one of the best provincial gardens in the country, here you can roll out your picnic rug and make the most of the stunning tropical climate with an alfresco lunch or cheeky afternoon siesta.
Did you know Rocky shares her latitude with Rio de Janeiro to the east and Mauritius to the west? This prime position on the global map provides perfect weather to escape the winter chill.
Make it a moment you won’t forget and snap a selfie or a family pic at the Tropic of Capricorn Spire.
The hills are alive
Head for the hills to take in the best sunset views over Rockhampton. A popular haunt for #activewear aficionados and hopeless romantics, Mount Archer offers jaw-dropping views over the city and the surrounding countryside.
Take the car, pack a rug, or opt for the 11km hike down from the summit to the base at German Street.
Follow these principles and you’re guaranteed to heifer great time!