Rockhampton’s CBD is one of the most significant historical sites in Australia.
In fact, Quay Street, which runs adjacent to the mighty Fitzroy River (Tunuba), has about 30 buildings of historical significance, making it the longest stretch of National Trust heritage-listed buildings in Australia.
The best way to see them all is by following Explore Rockhampton’s self-guided CBD Heritage Walk, which takes you past all the main heritage buildings.
But make sure to wander your way back along the picturesque riverbank, which is dotted with fantastic play areas for the kids and beautiful modern public artworks.
CBD Heritage Walk
Starting at the wharves (Harbour Board Building, 288 Quay Street) that were once the gateway to Rockhampton, the CBD Heritage Walk is approximately 2km long, one-way.
One of the most significant buildings is the ABC Building at 236 Quay Street which was built in the neoclassic revival style in 1897. It was originally the Mt Morgan Mining Company head office, before being kitted out with radio studios in 1963.
Another fine heritage building is the sandstone Customs House (208 Quay Street). Built 1898-1901 in the classic revival style, it has a huge copper dome and an elaborate semi-circular portico with a Corinthian colonnade.
A little further along you’ll find 186 Quay Street, considered to be one of the most attractive buildings in Rockhampton. Built in 1880 in the neoclassic revival style with a Greek influence, the building was used as the Queensland National Bank until 1976. Nowadays you can enjoy the verandahs, high arches and wrought iron railing while relaxing at the Riverston Tea Rooms.
Don’t forget to stop at The Criterion – and possibly enjoy a beer or two! One of Rockhampton’s most iconic watering holes, the existing three-storey, Heritage-listed masonry building was built in 1889 on the site of the town’s first hotel.
Having savoured the historic past on the CBD Heritage Walk, your return journey is time to relax as you take in the beautiful views of the Fitzroy River (Tunuba).
Rockhampton’s riverbank has been brought to life in recent years with a mix of stunning boardwalks, creative landscaping, fun play areas for the kids and modern public art that celebrates the local community.
Make sure to stop for a drink at the Boathouse Rockhampton. Waterfront dining at its best, the building sits out over the river and is the perfect spot to take a selfie with uninterrupted views of the river and the mountain ranges in the distance.
Located beside the Boathouse, you will find beautiful modern art and a bust commemorating tennis great Rod Laver, who was born in Rockhampton in 1938.
There are pop-up water jets on the lower bank below Rod Laver’s statue, which are great fun for the kids and the perfect way to cool down in summer. They are transformed into an impressive light display in the evening.
The kids will also be thrilled to discover the Fitzroy Adventure Playground which sits beside the river and includes a skywalk that links towers and slides via rope bridges, rock climbing walls and a dedicated play area for toddlers for hours of fun.
The Edge Apartment Hotel
Consider basing yourself in the CBD during your stay. We stayed at The Edge Apartment Hotel, which is situated in the heart of the CDB and within easy reach of the Riverside Precinct, restaurants, playgrounds and shopping.
A family-friendly hotel, the apartments are kitted out with all the mod-cons you could ask for and boast incredible, uninterrupted views of the Fitzroy River (Tunuba). After spending the day exploring, it was bliss to relax on the balcony with a wine and watch the sky light up over the river at sunset.
For more inspiration for places to discover around Rockhampton, visit the Explore Rockhampton website.
(DISCLOSURES: This article is written in paid partnership with Explore Rockhampton. We were kindly hosted by The Edge Apartment Hotel 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.