Explore Rockhampton with the girls

Published on 27 June 2023


Five days, four nights, one jam-packed itinerary!

We welcomed Laura Hall, famous hat designer and founder PHYLLi Designs, along with her team, to the Beef Capital to take on the ultimate country girls trip.

The girls were seeking natural encounters, beautiful scenery, boutique shopping, amazing food and beverages, relaxation, pampering and good times with a side of boujee. So, we put together a fun-filled itinerary loaded with a little bit of everything and got them straight on a flight to Rockhampton!

The girls hail from Scone, New South Wales where Laura operates her exclusively unique and worldly-known hat design business with the girls. Her styles have not only featured in magazine publications, television shows (including Better Homes and Gardens), they have also been worn on the heads of many celebrities including Delta Goodrem, Collette Dinnigan, Elsa Pataky and Matt Damon. Laura's designs have also featured on the latest Tourism Australia campaign "Come and Say G'day" with Rose Byrne and Ruby the Kangaroo.

Keen to soak up the regional Queensland vibes and above average winter climate, the girls high-tailed it to Newcastle, caught a flight to Brisbane airport, connecting them to Rockhampton airport where they were ready to take on the adventure.

Rocky is a surprise package of exciting major events, boujee boutique shopping, divine art and culture, spectacular scenic sunsets and sunrises, farm stays, river cruises, ultimate pampering and EPIC food. By the end of the five-day trip, the girls had some great stories to share.

Here is the itinerary we sent them on...


DAY ONE - Settling into the city

young woman in standing on a hotel veranda overlooking the river and mountain view
Bask in the beauty of mountain and river views in the heart of Rockhampton's CBD.


Rockhampton’s most awarded and leading 4.5 star deluxe hotel, located in the heart of the Riverside Precinct, offered stunning views of the Fitzroy River (Tunuba), Mount Archer (Nurim, Rockhampton city and hinterlands for the girls' stay in the Beef Capital. With 24 hour reception, secure parking and onsite dining, the hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the Riverside Precinct surrounded by dining and entertainment.

Empire Apartment Hotel Website

Collage of women shopping at a boutique store
Look good and feel beautiful in unique, boutique fashion threads.

Boutique Shopping at Something Different

Located in the leafy suburb of Allenstown lies one of Rockhampton's exquisite fashion boutiques: Something Different. The girls browsed through the shop featuring amazing designers including Alemais, Annette Daley, Anni Lu, Brigid McLaughlin, Ilio Nema, Kachel, Luna Lane, Oas and Romance was Born. As well as specialising in a wide range of designer clothing labels, Something Different also stocks an incredible range of eye-catching decor and homewares to bring any abode to new life.

Something Different

DAY TWO - Exploring Rockhampton's Riverside Precinct

3 women sitting around a table enjoying breakfast and smiling.
Rockhampton's riverside precinct has a wide range of quirky cafes to enjoy a delicious start to your day.

Breakfast at Hummingbird Cafe

The girls kick-started their first morning in Rockhampton with a delicious breakfast at one of Rockhampton’s riverside cafes, Hummingbird Café. The cafe is highly sort after among locals, offering a diverse range of scrumptious dishes made with top-notch ingredients.

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Collage of photos. One of three women taking a photo at a heritage listed building. the other of a women standing with a painted mural of a crocodile in the background.
An eye-catching mural of a crocodile in a connecting lane way at the Riverside Precinct - just one of the amazing public art works found along Rockhampton's art trail.

Explore Rockhampton CBD, Heritage architecture and Public Art Trail

From a giant crocodile murals to a large LED barramundi, stainless steal houses on stilts to the golden Alluvia, the heart of Rockhampton is sprinkled in eye-catching public art. The girls strolled along the heritage-soaked sandstone boulevard on Quay Street and across the lower bank boardwalk where they were surrounded by lush plantings, public artworks and a picturesque boat dotted vista. You can discover more about Rockhampton's public art trail and rich heritage and history by downloading Explore Rockhampton's Self-Guided Tour App.

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Collage of women looking at art exhibitions at Rockhampton Museum of Art.
Artist credits: Easton Dunne (top left and bottom right), Cutler Footway (top right) and D Harding (bottom left).

Rockhampton Museum of Art

A visit to the largest regional gallery in Queensland - Rockhampton Museum of Art (RMOA) is a must when you visit Rockhampton. The girls visited RMOA, wandering through the exhibitions. RMOA is home to one of the most nationally significant collection of works including artworks by Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman, Judy Cassab, Kenneth Macqueen, Lloyd Rees, Russell Drysdale and John Coburn. The gallery also offers a range of programs and events including Art Walks, Yoga in the Gallery, painting workshops and more.

Rockhampton Museum of Art Website

Young girl holding a stylish cushion in a boutique shop.
Immerse yourself in unique giftware, stylish homeware and beautiful fashion at Reid & Rose.

Boutique shopping at Reid & Rose

East Street's shopping precinct is sprinkled with surprises. Reid & Rose, just a 200 metre walk from the Rockhampton Museum of Art specialises in boutique homeware, giftware and fashion. 

Reid & Rose Website

Collage of women having lunch at Riverston Tearooms.
Surround yourself in historical beauty and dine in style.

Lunch at Riverston Tearooms

A favourite amongst locals, Riverston Tearooms offers friendly hospitality in a gorgeous historic building with giant glowing chandeliers and a corner antique shop inside. Their menu is dedicated to local food producers, their dishes are simply divine and their coffee is spot on! Here, the girls recharged with mouth-watering dishes including brisket burgers and barramundi, but not before taking a gander at the beautiful vintage wares of the antique shop inside.

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Young woman showing off her dress to her friend at a boutique shop.
Find a style that's uniquely you.

Boutique Shopping at Willow & Ivy

What's a girls' trip without some retail therapy? A two minute walk from Riverston Tearooms, took the girls to Willow & Ivy for a bit of boutique shopping. An unrivalled approach to curated luxury fashion and exceptional service wrapped up in a seamless shopping experience in-store or online. Willow and Ivy aim to empower the fabulousness from within the wonderful woman that you are and to feel confident and positive when you are frolicking around in something from Willow & Ivy.

Willow & Ivy Website

Three young women pulling garments off the hanger, shopping.
Beautiful fashion that's ideal all year round in Central Queensland.

More Boutique Shopping at Summerland

Ask any girl and they will tell you that one shop is not enough! The boutique shopping in East Street's Shopping Precinct continued with a visit to Summerland. Summerland features beautifully crafted weekend wear, uniquely their own limited edition designs. Most of their threads are made from all-natural fabrics, which makes them perfect to wear in Central Queensland's tropical climate.

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Three women enjoying cheese and champagne on their hotel balcony overlooking the river and mountains.
Enjoy the breath-taking view as you unwind from your day.

Soaking up the river views from the hotel balcony with a cheese platter

Feeling parched from their shopping escapades, the girls headed back to Empire Apartments to rest, recuperate and raise a glass while soaking up the picturesque view of the mighty Fitzroy River (Tunuba). Nothing brings people closer together than great food and a beautiful backdrop to go with. The girls recounted their adventures with a delicious cheese platter, some drinks and wacht the sun set over the horizon.

Empire Apartment Hotel Website

Three women enjoying a pub meal.
You can't go past a mouth-watering steak in the Beef Capital.

Mouth-watering dinner at the Criterion Hotel

It's not a trip to the Beef Capital of Australia without sinking your teeth into a succulent piece of steak. So the girls headed to the iconic Criterion Hotel to feed their appetite. Fondly called 'The Cri' by locals, the hotel offers a classic pub meal in a landmark full of history. The Criterion Hotel was constructed in 1889 the tender price reading "just a little over ten thousand pounds." With such a colourful beginning the Criterion was destined for great times and has played host to Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the English Cricket team, Rockhampton’s own Rod Laver, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall and during World War II was the headquarters of General Eichelberger US Army and the planning Headquarters for the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Pacific often visited by General Douglas MacArthur and many more international identities.

Criterion Hotel Website


DAY THREE - Hiking, shopping and authentic farm experiences

3 women overlooking a sunrise at Nurim Circuit.
The picturesque views of Nurim Circuit will make you feel on top of the world.

Sunrise hike at Nurim Circuit, Mount Archer National Park

Spectacular sunrises are a must when you visit Rockhampton and the treetop boardwalk at Nurim Circuit is the perfect place to capture them. Extending 25 metres off the side of Mount Archer National Park (Nurim), the 500 metre flat boardwalk offers spectacular views of the city and the mighty Fitzroy River (Tunuba). Here, the girls took in the views and checked out the interpretive signage of the local Darumbal culture. This boardwalk is particularly popular with locals and tourists alike wanting to catch the spectacular sunrises and sunsets so be sure to remember your camera!

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Close up of a hand pouring syrup over fruit and toast breakfast dish
The perfect start to your day begins at Kinsfolk.

Breakfast at Kinsfolk

The body craves a nourishing breakfast after a morning hike. So, the girls headed to Kinsfolk, located in the leafy suburb of The Range. Kinsfolk is known for serving up a perfect brew in a gorgeous setting. Offering a mostly plant-based menu with a focus on sustainably sourced ingredients, their boho vibe will remind you of Byron Bay!

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Three young women walking along a footpath outside a major shopping centre.
With more than 150 speciality stores, Stockland Rockhampton is your one-stop-shop for retail therapy.

Retail therapy and lunch at Stockland Rockhampton

With more than 150 specialty stores, including brands like Mimco, Lorna Jane, Pandora, Napoleon Perdis, Peter Alexander, Portmans and TK Mazz, Stockland Rockhampton is a vibrant and dynamic town centre destination. Here the girls browsed the giant shopping centre followed by a sushi stop for lunch on the Terrace. The Terrace dining precinct boasts many food choices from steaks, burgers and nachos to ribs and sushi, schnitzels and gelato.

Stockland Rockhampton Website

Three young women taking a selfie in front of a bull statue.
Say Beef!

Selfie with a Bull Statue

It’s not a trip to Rocky without grabbing a selfie with one of the iconic Bull Statues and the girls were only too happy to oblige. Pick up a bit of bull breed 101 and have some fun with Rocky’s beef industry icons. Download the Free Explore Rockhampton app for the full tour and history of each statue, and for a quick selfie, we recommend Franke Forde Park as one of the most accessible statues.

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A collage of images taken at Alkoomi Adventure Farm Stay.
The ultimate farm stay to help you unwind and enjoy your surroundings.

Alkoomi Adventure Farm Stay

A short 30 minute drive south of Rockhampton's CBD, takes you to a family owned and authentic farm stay Alkoomi Adventure Farm. This family run cattle property offers visitors a true Australia outback experience with plenty to see and do including exploring the property by foot and photographing its breathtaking 360° views, heading out on a leisurely horse ride, cooling down in the freshwater dams, or taking an adrenaline packed motorbike or quad bike ride. The girls enjoyed an enriching afternoon feeding and grooming the farm animals including cattle, horses, shetland ponies, goats and chickens. After an afternoon of activities, they relax with a drink by an open campfire before taking a wagon ride up to the crest of One Tree Hill to watch the sunset over the vast plains.

Alkoomi Adventure Farm Stay Website

DAY FOUR - Pilates & Pampering, Cruising, cocktails and close up animal encounters

Close up of chocolate cake and fig cut in half
Feed your mind, body and soul.

Breakfast at Some Place

The Riverside Precinct is a favourite amongst the locals enjoying a tasty breakfast, brunch or an afternoon sweet treat. The girls started their day with a visit to Some Place, located in East Street - a cute cafe that specialises in yummy baked goods including delicious cakes, croissants and coffee.

Some Place Website

Two women on reformers taking a Pilates class
Wellness on William offers many wellbeing and health options under one roof.

Pilates at Wellness on William

Rockhampton’s dedicated health & wellness collective, Wellness on William, consists of a Pilates studio, naturopath, herb dispensary, sustainable fashion boutique, organic cold-pressed juices, artisanal desserts and grain free recipe bases - so much to leave you feeling good! Here the girls took part in a one-hour Pilates session at The Pilates Studios and explored the rest of the precinct including Victoria’s Closet for Sustainable Fashion and the Wild Elixir

Wellness on William Website

Meerkats climbing all over three young women smiling.
Get your cuteness overload with a meerkat encounter.

Meerkat Encounter at Rockhampton Zoo

For an adorably memorable experience, the girls took part in an intimate meerkat encounter at Rockhampton Zoo, which had them up close and personal with the mischievous mob! The encounter included a feeding session and private keeper talk. Home to more than 30 species of native and exotic animals, Rockhampton Zoo is set on 10 acres within the stunning Rockhampton Botanic Gardens, located in the leafy suburb of The Range, just a nine minute drive from the CBD.

Rockhampton Zoo Website

A woman pouring tea at the table for another women in an outdoor garden area.
Bask in the beauty of the Historic Botanic Gardens under the 150-year-old Banyan Fig Trees.

Devonshire Tea at Gardens Tearooms

Next door to Rockhampton Zoo is the Heritage-Listed Botanic Gardens. Sprawled across 33-hectares the gardens feature tranquil Japanese Gardens and expansive Murray Lagoon, where you can spot turtles an array of beautiful bird life. Under the beautiful canopy of the 150-year-old Banyan Fig Trees, the girls enjoy a traditional Devonshire Tea from the Gardens Tearooms while soaking up the gardens' beauty.

Gardens Tearooms Website

Young woman smiling as she enjoys a beef salad lunch.
Nothing brings people together quite like a delicious lunch in beautiful surrounds.

Lunch at St Aubins Village

After a playful morning at Rockhampton Zoo, the girls headed to the grounds of St Aubins Village for a delicious lunch. St Aubins Village is heritage listed circa 1870, the cottages 1879 and the Heritage House 1889. Set on two acres surrounded by quaint cottages & picturesque gardens, paved courtyard area and Blacksmiths Barn, this family-owned and operated venue makes for a beautiful backdrop for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, high teas and weddings.

St Aubins Village

Young woman receiving a back massage in a softly lit room.
Spoil yourself with some 'you' time.

Be pampered at Aether Emporium

We all know self care is important so it goes without saying that a massage was on the bucket list for the girls' trip. Here they enjoyed some relaxation time with one of the best - Aether Emporium.

Aether Emporium Website

Young woman receiving a manicure.
Indulge yourself with a touch of luxe.

More Pampering at Beauty in the Woods

The afternoon of pampering continued with manicures at Beauty in the Woods. Located along Rockhampton's Riverside Precinct, Beauty in the Woods was built from a desire to bring a touch of luxe to Rockhampton. They offer an extensive range of treatments and world class cosmetic brands in a modern and stylish shopfront.

Beauty in the Woods Website

Young woman smiling with a cocktail in her hand with a river view in the background
Cheers to the girls!

Cocktails at Boathouse

Ah, the serenity! After all that relaxation, the perfect afternoon in Rockhampton was capped off with a refreshing cocktail at Boathouse overlooking the mighty Fitzroy River (Tunuba).

Boathouse Website

Young woman looking into the distance on a boat holding a beverage
Admire the sun setting over the horizon on a relaxing River Cruise.

Sunset River Cruise

As the day turned into night, the girls experienced Rocky's beauty from a different perspective with a sunset cruise from River Cruise CQ along the Fitzroy River (Tunuba). The perfect way to soak in rewarding views of historic buildings and wildlife.

River Cruise CQ Website

DAY FIVE - Making tracks to the Pop-up Polo

A collage of pictures at pop up polo of three women.
Pop the champagne, it's pop-up polo time!

Pop-Up Polo

Frocked up in the latest fashion threads from Something Different, the girls were ready to take on one of the most spectacular events on the Rockhampton calendar. Pop-Up Polo! With fashion, entertainment, glamour and premium catering, this was one classy way to experience Rockhampton! As the naming sponsor of Pop-Up Polo, Rockhampton Jaguar Land Rover provided luxury transfers from Empire to the Polo.

Planning your next trip to Rockhampton along side of our major events, is as easy as visiting our Major Events Calendar. You'll never miss a major event in the Beef Capital of Australia!

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Written by Explore Rockhampton


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