Central Region Attractions
The central region, with Rockhampton as its principal town, extends from Bundaberg in the south by way of Gladstone to beyond Mackay in the north. Rockhampton lies exactly on the Tropic of Capricorn, and the area reaching inland on both sides of the Tropic is known as Capricornia. Off the coast are the Capricorn Islands. One of the southerly islands on the Great Barrier Reef is Heron Island. Within easy reach of Rockhampton is Keppel Island (Great Keppel). North of Mackay are the Newry Islands and Cumberland Islands.
Carnarvon National Park is a wild park with limited facilities. Sandstone pinnacles, forests, and the Carnarvon Gorge are some of the main features.
Mount Morgan, Australia
The mining town of Mount Morgan (pop. 2900) has had gold and copper worked by opencast methods for more than a century, together with silver, lead and zinc. The mine, partly filled with water, is one of the world's largest man-made holes. When mining was at its peak, at the beginning of the 20th C., the town was many times its present size. With its old mining installations and buildings (courthouse, Queensland National Hotel, Grand Hotel, railroad station, suspension bridge), Mount Morgan is classified as a Heritage Town. It is named after the Morgan brothers, who founded a mining company here in 1882.
Eungella National Park
50,000ha.Eungella National Park lies in the rugged Clark Range, with hills up to 1200m in height. At the higher levels there are expanses of rain forest, often shrouded in cloud or mist; lower down there is tropical rain forest. Towards the drier west side of the park there is open woodland.
Address: Post Office, Dalrymple Heights, QLD 4757, Australia
Useful tips: Best time to visit: May to November. Occasional cold spells at higher altitudes in winter; in summer it can be hot, with heavy rain (drier in the western part of the park). Access from Mackay through the Pioneer River valley via Finch Hatton.
Brampton Islands National Park
Brampton is one of the Cumberland Islands, named by Captain Cook after the Duke of Cumberland in 1770. Lying to the south of the Whitsunday Islands, they are often called the southern Whitsundays. The nearest place on the mainland is Mackay.Brampton is a hilly and densely wooded island with an area of 4.6 sq.km, rising to 219m at its highest point. Like the Whitsunday Islands, it is surrounded by coral reefs, with the outer reef lying some 40km away. On the coasts are mangrove swamps and in the interior are coconut palms, originally planted at the end of the 19th C.
Address: Wood Street, Mackay, QLD 4740, Australia
Useful tips: Brampton Island can be reached either by air or by ship from Mackay.
At low tide it is possible to walk over a sandbank to Carlisle Island and to tiny Pelican Island.Most of the islands of varying sizes in the Cumberland Group, some 70 in all, have been declared national parks. There are no holiday settlements, and camping is possible only on some of the islands; a permit is required (obtainable from the QNPWS information bureau in Mackay) and campers must take their own provisions.
Childers (pop. 1850) is the center of a fertile region of red soil on which sugar cane is grown. In its tree-lined streets are richly decorated house fronts bearing witness to its 19th C prosperity.The Halls of Memory commemorate the dead of the second world war. During the sugar-processing season (August to November) visitors can see round some of the local sugar mills (e.g. the Central Sugar Mill, Cordalba). Two other features of interest are the Pharmacy Museum in Churchill Street and the Olde Butcher Shoppe in North Street.
On the coast, a short distance from Childers is the popular Woodgate Beach. In Woodgate National Park (Maryborough) there are beautiful walking trails though swamp country and many opportunities for watching birds.
Emerald (pop. 10,000), center for a large agricultural area (cattle, grain, oilseeds, soya beans, cotton), lies in the Central Highlands of Queensland. The area also has rich reserves of precious stones (especially sapphires), some of which are mined in underground workings.The old railroad station of 1901 is a listed building.
60km to the west near Rubyvale and Sapphire is a large area where precious stones are mined, including a third of the world's total production of sapphires. The Miner's Heritage Walk-in Mine is well worth a visit; you go by all-terrain vehicle from Rubyvale to the Tomahawk Creek mining area.50km to the north is Capella Pioneer Village, an open-air museum. 20km south is Fairbairn Dam and the artificial lake it has formed (Maraboon Lake), with fishing and water sports.
Biggenden (pop. 800) is an old gold-mining town surrounded by picturesque wild hills. The Chowey Creek is spanned by a rare early example of a concrete bridge (1905). Other features of interest are the old Mount Shamrock gold mine and the opencast magnetite mine.
Mount Walsh National Park
2987ha.Mount Walsh National Park is one of a group of wild and romantic National Parks, largely unspoiled and undeveloped for tourism. Bush walking and climbing on the rugged peaks of Mount Walsh and the Bluff are to be recommended only for experienced climbers. The dominant features of the landscape are eucalyptus forests on the hillsides and dense groves of palms in the valleys.
The population of Blackwater (pop. 8000) consists largely of miners working in the Blackwater Mines to north and south of the town. The coal is conveyed to Gladstone by train and either exported or used in the production of energy (particularly for aluminum smelting). Visitors can see round the Utah Mine.
Blackdown Tableland National Park
The park is made up of wo sections with a total area of almost 24,000ha.Blackdown Tableland National Park lies on a gently undulating sandstone plateau 800-950m above sea level. At this altitude it is usually anything up to 15°C cooler than in the surrounding plains. It is an area of dense forests with deep gorges, carved out by the Mimosa Creek and its tributaries, and waterfalls. Many species of ferns flourish in the park, and in general the flora and fauna is very distinctive as a result of the park's isolation, with steep scarps up to 600m high cutting it off from the plains below. In winter there is often frost and, in the event of rain, dense mist.
Address: Post Office, Dingo, QLD 4702, Australia
Useful tips: Best time to visit: spring and autumn. Access from Capricorn Highway, forestry road 11km west of Dingo (unsuitable for trailer caravans). In rainy weather or when there is a high fire risk the access road may be closed. Permit required for camping. Warning: Rock climbing is prohibited because of the unstable nature of the rock.
Yeppoon (pop. 7000) lies in Keppel Bay. The main street and the road leading to Rockhampton are lined by shady palms and pines. The beaches between Yeppoon and Rockhampton are known as the Capricorn Coast.Between Yeppoon and Emu Park is the Singing Ship monument to Captain Cook (Emu Park).
Central Region Pictures View All