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Rockhampton.

Tropic of Capricorn Photo.

The beef capital of Australia, Rockhampton, sits nestled on the Fitzroy River, directly on the Tropic of Capricorn.Many of the old stone buildings from the past still remain. Quay Street is a significant area as there are over 20 classified buildings of historical importance to be seen. Situated about 40 kilometres from the coast, it always seems to be a few degrees hotter than other cities that have the luxury of a sea breeze.

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West of Rocky.

The Riverfront Boardwalk is a pleasant area for a relaxing stroll and for a really good view of the city, you can drive up to Mount Archer. The Capricorn Region of Queensland has many places of interest to satisfy the tourist. There is a museum with horse carriages that have been restored in mint condition. Gem galleries with exhibits from local mines,and there are tours to outback mining areas on offer.


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Rockhampton sits on The Tropic of Capricorn and is the Beef Capital of Australia. Plenty of historical architecture in the City and The Board Walk has nice views towards the city. The Dreamtime Cultural Centre is the largest of its kind in Australia. The Capricorn Caves are just North of the City.

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Rockhampton was founded in 1855, soon after the pioneering Archer Brothers settled at Gracemere, 6.5 km to the west. It was named by Queensland's first Land Commissioner, Mr W. Wiseman, who was inspired by the rocks in the river. You will find some wonderful colonial architecture in Rockhampton. Take a walk down historic Quay Street and you will find yourself in one of the most impressive avenues of colonial architecture in Australia, with magnificent sandstone and brick buildings featuring delicate iron lacework.

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The National Trust and the Heritage Commission have listed many of these buildings, and the listing of Quay Street as an "historic streetscape" is unique in Australia.Historic Customs House is located in Quay Street, and this houses the local Tourist Information Centre and Discovery Centre. You can learn about the history and early life in Rockhampton, history of the Customs House and discovery of gold in the area. Purchase a heritage walk booklet or do a self-drive tour past the heritage buildings.

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Gems.

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Parks.

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Rockhampton sits astride Queensland's largest and most picturesque river, the Fitzroy. The magnificent Berserker Ranges and Mt Archer provide an imposing backdrop to this city. Rockhampton, known as the Beef Capital of Australia, is different things to different people, and a gateway to adventure. Rockhampton is located on the Tropic of Capricorn and is approximately 40 kilometres drive inland from the Capricorn Coast on the Pacific Ocean.

The Rockhampton Historical Society located in Burrough Chambers has a collection of local books, photographs and memorabilia. Another museum is the Central Queensland Military and Artefacts Museum which houses a collection of military and other memorabilia. Visit St Christopher's Chapel, built during World War II by American Servicemen.The historic Archer Park Station and Steam Tram Museum houses the old Purrey steam tram, which was the method of transport for residents in the city.

Dreamtime Cultural Centre.

To go even further back into Australia's past, visit the Dreamtime Cultural Centre. It is Australia's largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre, set on an ancient tribal site in about 30 acres of natural bushland. You can see first hand how the inhabitants of this country lived for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived.

Visit historic Glenmore Homestead for a bush dinner dance, or St Aubins Village herb garden and nursery for a light meal at the Tea House.The Rockhampton Heritage Village is located just north of the city and represents the period of 1850-1950 in a unique township consisting of original buildings and replicas.Fully restored horse drawn and motorised vehicles, steam engines and agricultural machinery are also on display. It is enjoyable to step back in time and experience first hand the lifestyle of a bygone era.

Historical Architecture. Spacer gif Old Stage Coach Restoration. Spacer gif Historical Architecture. Spacer gif Heritage Village. Spacer gif Quay Street.

Arts and Crafts.

The Rockhampton Art Gallery has the most significant collection of Australian paintings held by a regional gallery in Queensland. The Gallery also shows regular high quality touring exhibitions, and conducts an active programme of events including guest lectures, guided tours and chamber music concerts. Whether your taste is for music, dance, drama or comedy, you are sure to find something to your liking live on stage at the Pilbeam Theatre. The theatre is at the forefront of live theatre in regional Australia and plays host to some of the best local, state, national and international entertainers all year round. The Walter Reid Cultural Centre is home to many arts, crafts and culture groups in Rockhampton. Visitors are welcome to their exhibitions.

Natural Beauty.

The Rockhampton Botanic Gardens and Zoo are more than 130 years old, and are uniquely nestled at the edge of native wetlands. Walk through the Japanese Gardens, view the displays of tropical plants, feed the ducks on the lagoon and visit the Zoo. The Kershaw Gardens and waterfall represent an Australian natural bush environment, dedicated to native plants. Visit the Lakes Creek bird observatory and count the number of different species from the platform over the lagoon. Rising out of Rockhampton's northeastern suburbs, Mt Archer National Park provides magnificent views of the city, and showcases a spectacular range of native Australia flora and fauna. Frazer Park at the summit of Mt Archer is approximately 604 metres above sea level.

From the Mt Archer lookout to the north, you will see Mount Etna, this particular Mountain is famous around the world as home of one of the few remaining colonies of the "Little bent wing bat". It is a huge colony numbering several million.

Mount Archer views.

Sunsets from the top of Mt Archer are spectacular, with the golden hues from the setting sun bathing the city as it becomes a mass of twinkling lights. Rockhampton has various national parks and walking tracks to discover the "Real Australia".

Country Experiences.

Only 41 kilometres west of the city is the Mt Hay Gemstone Tourist Park and Aradon Fine Pewter Crafting Centre. At Mt Hay, an extinct volcano, families and tourists alike can fossick for thunder eggs. Thunder eggs are attractive 120 million year old stones that form when gas bubbles in molten lava crystallise on cooling, giving unique colours and patterns in the centre of the stone. The township of Mt Morgan is located just 40 kilometres south-west of Rockhampton. In 1870 gold was discovered at Mt Morgan, and it was considered one of the most important gold discoveries in the world. Visit the historic museum, take a walk on the famous swinging bridge, and explore the historic railway complex.

Located just north of Rockhampton is the township of The Caves, where you will find Capricorn Caves, Australia's largest privately owned cave system. Daily guided tours explore these ancient caves that boast spectacular natural decorations.

Capricorn Caves.

Tours range from the easy walking Cathedral Tour to wild caving on an Adventure Tour. A special event in December is the Summer Solstice, a unique natural light spectacle where sunlight penetrates a vertical shaft totally illuminating the cavern below.

Coastal Beauty.

Just 30 minutes drive east of Rockhampton is the Capricorn Coast which is exciting, diverse and breathtaking beautiful. The coast sweeps along the Pacific Ocean taking in the main townships of Yeppoon, Emu Park, and the Byfield rainforest north of Yeppoon. Enjoy the beautiful beaches, cuddle a koala at the local fauna park, visit a crocodile farm to see the baby crocs hatch, or tour the local coffee plantation. At Rosslyn Bay catch the cruise boat to Great Keppel Island and visit the underwater observatory. Activities also include scuba diving, skydiving, camel treks, fishing and water sports.

Special Features.

The Fitzroy River flows through Rockhampton, and is Queensland's largest and most picturesque river. You can enjoy many recreational activities on the Fitzroy, including fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, or rowing. Enjoy a BBQ or picnic at the pleasant facilities on the riverbank parkland near the central business district, and stroll along the riverside walking paths.See the bronze bust of Rod "The Rocket" Laver, Rockhampton's World Champion tennis player, the only man to win two Grand Slam titles.

Six bull statues representing the main breeds of the area are situated throughout Rockhampton in recognition of Rockhampton's Beef Capital of Australia title. There are two major abattoirs in Rockhampton.

Fitzroy River.

The Fitzroy River is the best kept fishing secret in Queensland, especially for the elusive barramundi. Some of the best barra fishing is in the city reaches.

Gracemere Saleyards, on the outskirts of Rockhampton, handle the largest throughput of export beef cattle in Queensland, and is the largest stud-selling venue in the southern hemisphere.

Bird's Eye View.

Take a flight over Rockhampton, to the coast, or to the west to see the natural beauty of the area. The more adventurous can take a ride in a MIG jet; the only place in Australia to experience speeds in excess of 1,000 kms/hour.

Festivals and Events.

There are plenty of festivals and events to enjoy all year round. Just to name a few events:- In June there is the annual Agricultural Show as well as the winter racing carnival. August is the Rocky Swap and Multicultural Fair. In September is the annual Big River Jazz festival which features local and interstate jazz artists. Arts in the Park is held in October, as well as the Rocky Barra Bounty which is a tag and release fishing competition. For a comprehensive listing, see the Calendar of Events on www.rockhamptoninfo.com

Facilities.

There are five shopping centres in Rockhampton all with a variety of shops including national retail chains. The city heart has speciality shops to suit all tastes, or quench that thirst with a coffee from one of the sidewalk cafes. Accommodation in Rocky ranges from budget to 5 star, and includes backpacker's accommodation. Why not try a farm stay and experience life on a cattle station. There is a diverse range of restaurants available including Mexican, Chinese, Italian, to the beef and barra unique to Rockhampton. Sports fans are well catered for in Rockhampton with everything from lawn bowls to indoor rock climbing. Rockhampton is also home to Central Queensland University. With a student body growing rapidly each year, enrolments have already reached more than 15,000 students. There is also a large number of private schools and colleges alongside plenty of State primary and high schools.

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Great Keppel Island.

Great walking trails on this island, strenuous but worth it. Plenty of beautiful beaches and fabulous fringing coral, particularly at Monkey Beach.Watersports are abundant and the Wreck Bar is a great watering hole.

Monkey Beach.

Wilson Island.

If your perfect honeymoon resort has to be on a tiny coral cay, and it has to be an Australia Honeymoon Package on the Great Barrier Reef, then Wilson Island should tick all the right boxes. It is surrounded by a pristine coral reef and quite the loveliest of beaches. If you have spent any time in Africa on safari and stayed in a tented camp, then the accommodation on Wilson Island will not be unfamiliar to you, except this is real five star luxury camping, all inclusive, with food that is just out of this world, and a fantastic wine cellar. When people think of camping, have never been on a camping safari or stayed at Wilson Island they have this idea of sleeping bags and poles, and leaks and cold water showers. Wilson Island is the perfect Honeymoon Vacation resort, because when they talk tents what they mean is six permanent tents all looking out over the reef and the ocean designed with the guests ultimate comfort in mind. All of the tents have raised timber floors, King size beds with Duvets, Bedside Tables, Battery operated bedside lights, deck chairs, bathrobes, bath towels, beach towels, toiletries, and daily housekeeping service. The only drawback is that because of the fact that Wilson Island uses solar power, all the hot showers are in the central amenities building, where each tent has its own private designated area. So what will you do on Wilson Island as your perfect honeymoon resort. The short answer is little or nothing, but you could cheerfully snorkel right off the beach where you will see some fantastic fish, and perhaps even a turtle as well. You could just lie in a hammock and be lazy, or you can walk round the island, picnic on the beach, and end up watching the sunset drinking champagne, or the sunrise with a hot cup of coffee and biscuits. Wilson is that kind of place, probably idyllic for three or four days with no mobile phone coverage, no children, no television, just the birds, and the crashing of the sea to listen to. If you are able to entertain yourself, and you don't mind the unorthodox toilet arrangements, or a communal dinner party atmosphere in the evenings, then Wilson Island could be the perfect honeymoon resort.

The Author Peter Stewart writes exclusively for http://www.in-kenyasafari.com as well as http://www.worldwidevacationspots.com

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