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Capricorn Holidays Information Centre
The bustling hub of Rockhampton boasts authentic and easy going country hospitality, as well as cosmopolitan shopping, fine dining and a wide range of entertainment options and nightlife. The business hub of the region, Rockhampton acts as the gateway to both the Southern Great Barrier Reef off the Capricorn Coast and the spectacular national parks of the Sandstone Wilderness.
Situated on the banks of the mighty Fitzroy River, Rockhampton is renowned for its elegant streetscapes with majestic sandstone buildings. The iconic life-sized bull statues represent the country roots of Rockhampton and its status as the ‘Beef Capital of Australia.'
If it's the arts you're interested in you will be impressed by the Rockhampton Art Gallery. It houses an extensive permanent collection of works by Australian and Queensland artists, featuring iconic Australian painters Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale and Arthur Boyd. Located next to the art gallery, the Pilbeam Theatre is the centre of Rockhampton's performing arts community and is host to a range of regular performances by local, national and international talent.
The National Trust, and the Heritage Commission, have listed many of the sandstone buildings in Quay Street as a “historical streetscape” unique in Australia. If you're passionate about history, plan a visit to the heritage-listed Archer Park Rail Museum, which displays Rockhampton's rail history and the interactive soundscape ensures fun for all ages. Another great place to visit is the Rockhampton Heritage Village, a working museum, where you will learn what it was like to live in the area between 1850 and 1950.
Almost as old as the city itself, the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens are regarded as one of the best regional gardens in Australia. Spend an afternoon relaxing wandering through the lush grounds or discover animals from all over the world at the Rockhampton Zoo. And best of all, entry to the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens & Zoo is free!
Just a short trip down the road is Gracemere is the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange, which is the largest saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere and is the heart of the Capricorn cattle industry. Experience the dust and drama as thousands of cattle, horse and other livestock are rounded into the saleyards to go under the auctioneer's hammer each week. Sales are held most week days, with the major cattle and bull sales held every Friday.
If you are up for further adventures, just 20 minutes west of Gracemere on the Capricorn Highway is Mt Hay Gemstone Park where you can fossick for thunder-eggs or gemstones and browse their quality pewter products.
Just 23km north of Rockhampton, The Caves Township is home to some of the most spectacular caves in Queensland. The Capricorn Caves are the state's oldest tourist attraction and display incredible above ground limestone caves formed from an ancient coral reef over 400 million years ago. The nearby Mount Etna Caves National Park is home to eighty per cent of Australia's breeding population of female bent-wing bats. Each year from December to February ranger guided tours are offered to witness this spectacular nightly emergence of over 100,000 bats from their roost at feeding time.