Rockhampton is known for a number of things, and all of them are good. Fly into Rockhampton Airport, located on the edge of town near the zoo and hire a car; what you do next is a matter of choice, but there is a lot to do. With 300 days of sunshine a year, the city is known for its fantastic weather, so there’s hardly ever a bad time to visit. Split into two sections by the Fitzroy River, with fishing spots and walking trails; Rockhampton offers a bit of nature right in the heart of the city. The city is known for two foods, beef and barramundi, with farms and ocean fishing right on the city's doorstep. You will find a wide range of restaurants, from fine dining to casual pub meals. The produce of the region is renowned throughout Australia for its high quality, with many award-winning restaurants to enjoy.
Rockhampton has an extremely well-preserved heritage, with many colonial-era buildings still being used today. Rockhampton was once a frontier town; the sandstone buildings that dotted the centre of the CBD are testament to its heritage. Take a drive down Quay Street in your rental car or step out on foot. The street is heritage listed and is lined with historic buildings from end to end. You can take a self-tour or book a guided one in at the visitor information centre.
Top Sights in Rockhampton to Explore With a Car Hire
If you are a history buff, then head to Heritage Village, a 15-minute drive from the airport. Step back in time to the 1850s through to the 1950s as the village displays life over this time in the region, from businesses to horse and buggy rides. See homesteads, vintage cars, blacksmiths and markets. Check to see if the bi-monthly Heritage Village Market is on during your stay, held in January, March, May, July, September and November.
For a guaranteed animal sighting, head to the Rockhampton Zoo, just south of the airport. Here you’ll find 30 species of native and exotic animals on show, as well as daily keeper talks and animal feedings. One of the highlights is the resident chimpanzee family , who in February 2020 welcomed a new family member, born at the zoo. With close to 100 individual animals and free entry, it is an extremely popular addition to any day in Rockhampton.
Stop in at the Rockhampton Museum of Art (formerly the Rockhampton Art Gallery) to see one of the largest collections of mid-twentieth century Australian paintings. Also on site are sports memorabilia, British and Japanese Art and over 1,700 objects.
Get Back Into Nature With a Rental Car
There are a number of national parks and attractions within a short driving distance of Rockhampton. Mount Archer National Park is right on the border of the city and makes a popular natural escape for locals and visitors. See the park’s 4,250 hectares of open forest through some stunning walking trails. Look up into the trees, and you might spot a glossy black-cockatoo or the powerful owl, on land rock wallabies often frequent Moores Creek to drink.
Drive 35-minutes north of Rockhampton to see the Capricorn Caves. The limestone caves are the largest privately owned cave system in Australia, with tours that take around 45 minutes, 90 minutes, or 120 minutes depending on your preference. The most impressive room is perhaps the Cathedral, a large open space with high ceilings that is often used for weddings. With Islands off the coast, forests inland and city sites to see, you’re sure to be busy on your Rockhampton area travels.