Sitting in the very heart of Queensland’s cattle country, Rockhampton proudly claims to be the Beef Capital of Australia.
The region boasts an estimated three million head of cattle, and the six bull statues that line the city’s historic streets pay tribute to the six different breeds found here … and offer grey nomads a fun photo opportunity and yet another reason to visit!
Sitting on the banks of the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton has a population of about 80,000 and is one of the oldest cities in Queensland.
When gold was first found in the area, people flocked into Rockhampton and it was quickly transformed into the second-largest port in the state. It was during those hard-living days, that ‘Rocky’ reputedly became known as the ‘City of the Three S’s’ … Sin, Sweat, and Sorrow.
Today, its reputation is a little more genteel, and its wide boulevards and laneways are lined with well-preserved and impressive buildings from the late 19th century.
These include the sandstone Customs House which now houses an information centre, the Post Office, the Supreme Court House, the Criterion Hotel, and St Joseph’s Cathedral. There are a couple of Heritage Walk brochures available from the Visitor Information Centre that will guide visitors around some of the historic highlights, many of them located in Quay Street.
A visit to the Rockhampton Historical Society Museum is the obvious place to get to grips with Rocky’s fascinating history and it boasts a superb collection of local memorabilia. Similarly, the Archer Park Rail Museum which is centred around a historic railway station, offers exhibitions allowing visitors to experience what railway stations were like in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Purrey Steam Tram, which originally operated through Rockhampton from 1909- 1939, also runs from here from February to November.
About 10 kilometres north of the city is the Rockhampton Heritage Village which celebrates the area’s pioneer history and houses everything from a Hall of Clocks, a range of vintage cars, and a collection of antique farm equipment to a slab hut from the late 19th century and an historic homestead.
There’s plenty in and around Rocky to keep grey nomads in the area for a while, including the Capricorn Caves, the stunning Mount Archer National Park, historic Mount Morgan, and the seaside village of Yeppoon.
The city itself has some great facilities, including restaurants, mechanics, supermarkets and spacious caravan parks. And the popular free camping area at Kershaw Gardens is once again welcoming up to 35 self-contained vehicles for a maximum of two nights at a time.
While they’re here, many grey nomads also like to try their luck at landing a prized barramundi in the Fitzroy river right in the middle of town, or watching a rodeo inside the Great Western Hotel.
There’s certainly no shortage of good reasons for grey nomads to get on the road to Rocky!