Rockhampton Tourist Attractions
Rockhampton (pop. 63,000) - 'Rockie' to local people - lies on the Fitzroy River some 40km inland. The Tropic of Capricorn runs through the town. Rockhampton is called the beef capital of Australia, with over 2 million head of cattle in the surrounding area, and huge figures of cattle greet visitors at the north and south entrances to the town. New disease-resistant breeds have been produced by cross-breeding.Rockhampton has many well preserved 19th-c. public buildings, private houses and churches, recalling the one-time importance of the town as a port for central Queensland.In Quay Street, which runs parallel to the Fitzroy River, there are over 20 buildings under statutory protection as national monuments. One of the finest is the Criterion Hotel (corner of Quay Street and Fitzroy Street), built in 1889 on the site of the old Bush Inn of 1857, the year in which the town was founded. The customs house (begun 1898) in Quay Street is a fine example of neoclassical architecture with a copper dome and a semicircular portico. The Heritage Tavern, originally the Commercial Hotel (1898), is a handsome three-story building with rich wrought-iron decoration.The post office, at the corner of East and Denham Streets, is a striking building with arcading and a clock tower. Other notable buildings are Archer Park Station in Denison Street and the Supreme Court (1887) in Fitzroy Street. Among the old churches St Andrew's (1893; Bolsover Street/Derby Street), St Paul's Cathedral (1887-93; Alma Street/William Street) and St Joseph's Cathedral (1899; William Street) are fine examples of Queensland architecture.Broad, tree-lined streets and parks and gardens bright with flowers add to the charm of Rockhampton. The Botanic Gardens in Spencer Street, established in 1869, are one of the finest subtropical parks in Australia, with the Murray Lagoon, home to countless water birds, orchid and fern houses, walk-through aviaries, a small zoo and a Japanese garden.
On the Bruce Highway, at the turn-off for Yeppoon, is the Aboriginal Dreamtime Cultural Centre, one of the most interesting institutions of its kind in Australia.Round the town are a number of old farms which have been in the same family for generations: the Glenmore Homestead in Parkhurst, 12km north; the Gracemere Homestead, just off the Capricorn Highway, 11km southwest; and St Aubin's Village and Herb Farm, Canoona Road, near the airport.Other features of interest round Rockhampton are the limestone caves in the Berserker Range (e.g. the Cammoo Caves and Olsen's Capricorn Caverns, 23km north) and the old mining town of Mount Morgan, 38km southwest on the Burnett Highway.40km northeast of Rockhampton are the beautiful beaches of Yeppoon and Emu Park, with the Singing Ship monument to Captain Cook at Emu Park. Great Keppel Island, a popular holiday island, lies 13km off the Capricorn Coast.
Tropic of Capricorn
The Tropic of Capricorn, which runs immediately south of Rockhampton, is marked on the Bruce Highway by a tower.The Tropic is also a climatic frontier. The territory to the north has warm, dry winters, while to the south winters are usually cool and wet. The whole region is notorious for long periods of drought and for deluges of rain.The Capricorn Highway and the railroad from Rockhampton via Emerald to Longreach (675 km) in the interior run roughly parallel to the Tropic.