Welcome to Rockhampton (‘Rocky’ to its mates), where the hats, boots and utes are big…but the bulls are even bigger. With over 2.5 million cattle within a 250km radius of Rockhampton – it’s called Australia’s Beef Capital for a reason – it’s no surprise the smell of bulldust hangs thick in the air. This sprawling country town is the administrative and commercial centre of central Queensland, its wide streets and fine Victorian-era buildings reflecting the region’s prosperous 19th-century heyday of gold and copper mining and the beef-cattle industry.
Straddling the tropic of Capricorn, Rocky can be aptly scorching; it's 40km inland, lacks coastal sea breezes and summers are often unbearably humid. The town has a smattering of attractions but is best seen as the gateway to the coastal gems of Yeppoon and Great Keppel Island. Stay in the old part of town to enjoy some charming walks along the Fitzroy.