Plan the ultimate mates trip to Rockhampton


From checking into your penthouse apartment, eating the best steak of your lives, taking in the views from a treetop boardwalk, riverfront dining, world class gin and locally brewed beer tastings, island hopping and Argentinian Parrilla… you'll have no trouble filling an itinerary of things to do in Rockhampton.

We’re blessed with 50 weeks of summer and two weeks of winter a year so you can’t really go wrong when picking a time of year to visit! Our favourite is from March through to October (ish) as it’s your prime time for perfect temperatures and spectacular sunsets.

Now that you’ve got your mates and a weekend locked and loaded, find yourself some great accommodation in the heart of the CBD. If you’re fancier than Iggy Azalea, then book the penthouse at the Empire Apartment Hotel overlooking the Fitzroy River - treat yourself, you deserve it.

If you’d rather save a few dollars on accommodation for an extra beer or three, then check out a full list of accommodation here.


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Once you’ve settled into your room, checked out the killer view, had a glass of champagne and taken a selfie, you need to get down to the Criterion Hotel, Rocky’s most iconic pub and get yourself a decent steak for dinner (you are in the Beef Capital of Australia after all). Don’t worry if you’re not much of a beef fan, despite its name, their Grill Steak House has an extensive menu to suit all tastebuds. Make sure you give the Cri fries a go - you won’t regret it (unless you have a dairy intolerance then there might be some issues). Local live music kicks off from 9pm every Friday and Saturday night so it’s the perfect place to sit back and relax after dinner with a cold drink in hand.

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Assuming you didn’t go too hard to soon on your first night in town, you should be feeling fresh from your great night’s sleep in your fancy penthouse and are ready to get outside and explore some of the great hiking trails around town. But first, coffee. Head to Riverston Tea Rooms on Quay St and grab yourself some breakfast or grab some takeaway before taking a 25 minute scenic drive up to Mount Archer National Park.

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Your early morning will be rewarded at Mount Archer National Park with the flat 500m elevated treetop Nurim Circuit boardwalk that has spectacular views over the city and Fitzroy River. There are a number hiking trails throughout the National Park that vary in fitness level and distance. If you’re up for a challenge and aren’t in any rush, take on the 14km one way Zamia Walk down from the summit through the fragrant forests, trickling creeks and rainforest canopies. If you’re more of a hiker minus the hike, then the Bracken Fern Way walk and the Sleipner Lookout walk are for you. These walks range between 1.4km – 2.5km and will need approx. 1 hour each to complete.

Tip: if you’re happy to forego a bit of sleep and skip your coffee (heaven forbid!), the Nurim Circuit elevated boardwalk makes for the perfect place to catch the sunrise. 

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Once you’ve had your dose of nature, head back down the mountain to the Riverside Precinct and grab a table on the deck at the Boathouse for lunch. If your friends are the sharing type, give the seafood tower a go.  

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If you’re not in need of a nap after all of your hiking and eating, head straight over to Rockhampton’s very own award-winning distillery, Saleyards Distillery. Here you can meet the team (and their resident fur-baby) behind their delicious gin, vodka and spiced rum, get a private tour of the distillery, have a tasting and pick up a bottle or two for a sundowner on your fancy penthouse balcony.  

After your tour and tasting at the distillery, head over to Headricks Lane and settle in for the afternoon with a locally crafted beer tasting paddle and artisan charcuterie board. If you’re loving the vibes in the Brewery then stick around for dinner and slide into their Laneway restaurant. Their handcrafted menu focuses on local seasonal ingredients and plates up some of the best dishes in town. 

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Crank up your best playlist and head East for a 45minute scenic drive to the Keppel Bay Marina in Yeppoon for a day trip on the Southern Great Barrier Reef. If you prefer to have everything taken care of for you, then book a cruise with Freedom Fast Cats who have got everything from adventure cruises with boomnetting and snorkelling to glass bottom boat tours. Or, if you’re more of a strong and independent traveller, then book a 30 minute boat transfer to Great Keppel Island and spend the day exploring the island at your own pace.

While you’ve been bathing in the sun and swimming with the local sea turtles all day, Yeppoon local Mario has been cooking up an Argentinian Parrilla feast at Beaches Restaurant in Rosslyn Bay. Parrilla happens every Sunday night from 6pm and is the perfect way to unwind from a big day out with some delicious food, great views and great local music. Bookings are essential so make sure you give them a call.

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Written by Explore Rockhampton