Family holidays are all about finding a balance. Between fun and play for the kids, while also offering the adults some entertainment and relaxation.
In Rockhampton we discovered that elusive perfect mix.
Here are our top nine things to do in Rockhampton, so the whole family walks away raving about your stay.
Rockhampton is home to an incredible number of amazing playgrounds and one of the best is at Kershaw Gardens.
Stretching for 1km along the Bruce Highway, the gardens are fantastic to explore and include an impressive waterfall. However, the kids are sure to make a beeline for the central playground which boasts swings, a pedal monorail, flying fox, giant hamster wheel and waterplay area.
But the main attraction is the 9m-high, five-level Wyatt’s Wonder Webb. Originally designed for New York’s Central Park, it combines climbing ropes, ladders, tunnels, swinging hammocks and three slides for hours of fun.
Not many things in life are free but visiting the Rockhampton Zoo is! With over 60 species on display, it is the perfect place to spend the day.
Animals include all the usual Aussie favourites, alongside more exotic animals like lion tailed macaques, a wedge-tailed eagle and colourful macaws. But the crowd favourites are the zoo’s family of seven chimpanzees.
Look out for the free zoo keeper talks and animal feedings to learn a little more about the animals. And make sure to explore the neighbouring Rockhampton Botanic Gardens, which are the perfect place for a picnic or treat from the Gardens Tearooms afterwards.
A hub for shopping, cafes and restaurants, the Riverside Precinct is also one of the city’s most significant historical locations. Quay Street is one of Australia’s most historically significant heritage strips and is Queensland’s longest National Trust heritage-listed street.
Take in the history along the 2km CDB Heritage Walk, before wandering your way back along the riverbank, which is dotted with beautiful modern public artworks and one of the best playgrounds we’ve ever seen.
We would recommend basing yourselves in the area. We stayed at The Edge Apartment Hotel and our room was pure luxury, with everything you could possibly want. But it was the view that had us gobsmacked!
After a long day exploring the region, it was absolute bliss to relax on the balcony with a wine and watch the sky light up over Nurim Mount Archer and the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) at sunset.
Just a 30-minute drive from the Rockhampton CBD, the Capricorn Caves are arguably one of the most impressive cave systems on Australia’s east coast and offer a range of tours to suit all abilities and levels of adventure.
The Cathedral Cave Tour is the most popular and showcases the largest and most spectacular caves, including the Cathedral Cave which has near perfect natural acoustics.
Or challenge yourself on the slightly more adventurous Explorer Tour, which sees you don helmets and headlamps to explore several stunning locations not previously visited on any tours. Our kids absolutely loved the adventure of squeezing their way through some of the tunnel-like sections.
Consider staying overnight, as there are cabins, as well as a caravan park and camping available onsite. It made arriving in time for the early tours a breeze, while we all enjoyed relaxing beside the campfire at night.
Spend the night at one of the local farm stays and enjoy a slice of country life. There are several in the Rockhampton region, but we visited Alkoomi Adventure Farm Stay and cannot recommend the experience highly enough.
A family-run cattle property, in just a few hours our son and daughter rode horses for the first time, fed the horses and chickens, rode on both a buggy and a chuck wagon, and toasted marshmallows over the campfire. The kids never wanted to leave!
Alkoomi has air-conditioned single or double ensuite rooms available, along with non-powered campsites, with a fully-equipped camp kitchen and wood-fired barbecues. We loved out visit and can’t wait to return.
Fishing the Fitzroy
A day out on the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) is probably most kids’ dream. And it’s wonderfully relaxing for the adults too! We spent the day happily cruising the river with Hooked Fishing Charters, admiring Rockhampton from the water as we threw our lines in, hoping to catch a trophy Barramundi or King Threadfin.
While the Barra might have eluded us that day, both kids still managed to reel in the biggest fish they have ever caught. Their smiling selfies say it all. “Best day ever,” according to our son.
Nurim Mount Archer
Nurim Mount Archer should not be missed. The highest peak overlooking Rockhampton, you can drive all the way to the summit where you’re greeted by stunning views over the city.
Take a picnic to enjoy on the grassy amphitheatre, before watching sunset from the impressive 500m long, stroller and wheelchair friendly Nurim Circuit Elevated Boardwalk. And if the kids are still full of energy after the day’s adventures, there’s a fun little playground at the top to keep them entertained.
If you didn’t take a family selfie, did the holiday really happen? Luckily in Rockhampton you have two iconic options.
Being the Beef Capital of Australia, it’s a prerequisite that you take a selfie with one of the city’s famous bull statues. You’ll spot them dotted around the city, usually on the median strips of the major roads. However, you can walk up to the one at Frank Ford Park for a selfie.
Further along Gladstone Road, you’ll find the Tropic of Capricorn Spire Visitor Information Centre which is the ideal spot for your second iconic family selfie.
Discover Australia’s gold mining history with a day trip to Mount Morgan. About 38km south west of Rockhampton, this picturesque town was once home to one of the richest gold mines in Australia. Although the mine now lies dormant after operations ceased in 1981, it still dominates the landscape.
The town still boasts many riches from its gold rush heyday, with plenty of beautiful historic buildings and jam-packed museums. We found that it was a great way for the kids to visualise what they had been learning at school about the gold rush. Plus, the Mount Morgan Hot Bread Shop makes delicious pies and cream buns!
(DISCLOSURES: This article was written in paid partnership with Explore Rockhampton. We were kindly hosted by Capricorn Caves, Alkoomi Adventure Farm Stay, The Edge Apartment Hotel and Hooked Fishing Charters during our visit in July 2020. The opinions included in this article are all our own. We only ever recommend places, services and experiences that we personally love.)
*All information correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication.