Four day Rockhampton family holiday guide
It’s time to explore Rockhampton with your family
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adrenaline-filled long weekend that will leave you crowned “parents of the year”, Australia’s beef capital is a must to stop, see and stay on your next family vacay.
So where do you start?
DAY 1 – HISTORY, HERITAGE AND HOTELS
For family friendly accommodation in the heart of Rockhampton, we recommend checking into the Edge Apartment Hotel or Southside Holiday Village. Whether you’re travelling with a caravan, looking for an affordable cabin to bunk in or prefer a conveniently located self-contained apartment with river views,there's an option suitable for every family in Rockhampton.
Once you’re checked in, the kids will be itching to stretch their legs so take a walk along Quay Street and Australia’s longest National Trust heritage-listed street down to the Riverside Precinct to the recently opened Rockhampton Museum of Art. Home to one of the finest collections of modern Australian paintings, the Museum honours and celebrates the rich and vibrant collection that has defined Rockhampton’s cultural scene for the past 45 years. There are four exhibitions currently on show in 2022, free of charge, as well as a range of great paid and free kids programs like pottery and art classes.
Get down to the Criterion Hotel for dinner, Rockhampton’s most iconic pub and enjoy a world class steak (you are in the Beef Capital after all). Don’t stress if you’re not much of a beef fan or if you’re travelling with fussy kids. Despite its name, their Grill Steak House has an extensive menu to suit all taste buds.
DAY 2 – CAFES, CAVES AND CRUISES
You have a smorgasbord of quirky cafes to choose from across Rockhampton, all serving up your favourite brew and breakfast treat. If you prefer a bit of breakfast flare, pay a visit to Riverston Tea Rooms, a favourite amongst locals.
After breakfast, head 35 minutes north along the Pacific Coast Way where the ancient chambers of Rockhampton’s oldest playground, the Capricorn Caves, 390 million years in the making await you. If your family is the adventurous type, the 120 minute Capricorn Adventurer tour is for you. With some trust in your expert guides, you’ll travel to the depths of the most remote sections of the caves before you emerge from the darkness and be rewarded with spectacular 360 degree views of Mount Etna National Park and Baga National Park. If the thought of crawling through small dark spaces is not your thing, opt for the popular Cathedral Cave Tour. Showcasing the largest and most spectacular caves, this 45 minute all accessible walk will leave you with lasting memories of the ancient geological history, early explorers, the wonders of wildlife and special cave acoustics.
A local favourite for a sunny day out is the spacious and picturesque inner city oasis, Kershaw Gardens which stretches one kilometre along the Pacific Coast Way. Start in the central precinct and follow the meandering accessible paths towards the waterfall before taking the shady trails back to Wyatt’s Wonder Web and adventure playground. There’s often a local coffee van parked out front so you can sit back and relax as the kids explore, swing, climb and bounce until their heart’s content.
Before you stop for dinner, jump aboard a sunset river cruise with River Cruises CQ to experience the city from a different perspective, and soak in the sights of the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) and local wildlife that call the river and banks home.
While we’re known as the beef capital of Australia, we have much more than just beef on our menus. With a riverside precinct boasting iconic pubs, innovative cuisines, fresh local produce and perfectly matched wines, you’ll be spoilt for choice. To take the stress out of choosing an option for dinner, we recommend treating the family to a delicious traditional Italian meal at Pacino’s.
DAY 3 – FISH, FURRY FRIENDS AND FARMSTAYS
Rise and shine, it’s time to catch a barra! Pronounced “bardda moon di” by the Darumbal people, the Fitzroy River runs through the heart of the city and is defined as the genuine Home of the Barramundi in Australia. The locals tell us catching a king sized barra in the heart of the city should be on top of every visitors’ bucket list so if you’re travelling with your own boat, head towards the bridges, snaking your way through the rocks at low tide. No boat? No worries! For a guided experience with the local ‘Fishing the Fitzroy’ experts, we recommend booking a half day or full day tour with one of our fishing charters.
Once the family have caught the catch of the day, it’s time to meet some land based furry friends. Hidden amongst the heritage listed Botanic Gardens, the free Rockhampton Zoo is home to more than 30 different species of native and exotic animals. The cheeky chimps definitely steal the show but venture a little deeper and you’ll meet lazy kangaroos, sleeping koalas and ‘The Colonel’, our resident 4.3m long salty croc. For a truly memorable experience, book the family a meerkat encounter to get up close and personal with the mischievous mob of 6.
Wander down to the Botanic Gardens and learn about the 100 year old trees with a self-guided tour, discover tranquil Japanese Gardens, The Central Queensland War Memorial and shady bamboo lined avenues. If you’re finding yourself a little peckish, treat yourself to something nice from Gardens Tearooms and relax under the canopy of the 150 year old Banyan fig trees.
The best part of your day awaits you 30 minutes from Rockhampton’s CBD at Alkoomi Adventure Farm Stay, a family-run cattle property that offers a true Australian outback experience. Pack a BBQ dinner picnic basket and time your visit to arrive around 4pm so the kids (and adults too) can join in on feeding the farm animals before setting off on a sunset chuck wagon ride. Once the sun has set, help yourself to the camp kitchen and bunker down around the campfire with some marshmallows. Alkoomi has un-powered campsites and ensuite cabins available on site for those wanting to stay a little longer, or you can head back into town.
DAY 4 – BOARDWALKS, BIKES AND BEAUTIFUL VISTAS
A Rockhampton itinerary isn’t complete without visiting Mount Archer National Park. For a relaxing morning, take the 25 minute scenic drive up the winding road, parking at Fraser Park. Take your time exploring the Mount Archer Amphitheatre before following the accessible paths to Nurim Circuit, a 500m elevated treetop boardwalk offering up some of the best views you’ve ever seen. Keep an eye open for the Darumbal interpretive signage along the walk and kids playground hidden among the trees. Nurim Circuit is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike capturing the spectacular sunrises and sunsets so don’t forget your camera!
If the family is itching for more adventure, end your trip on a high and take on the First Turkey Mountain Bike Trails. Situated on the side of Mount Archer National Park, First Turkey offers 33 trails from Gravity Enduro and Cross Country trails through diverse terrain.
You may need to stay longer than a few days to experience all that our frontier town to bustling river port to gold rush city has on offer so we have a feeling we’ll be seeing you again soon.
Written by Explore Rockhampton