They say the best things in life are free, and we absolutely agree…
From taking a plunge in an iconic infinity-edged pool, to watching an exciting cattle auction, Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast in Central Queensland (just a 7-hour drive from Brisbane) are jam-packed with free things to fill your days.
Holidaying across our Southern Great Barrier Reef destination doesn’t require you to dig deep into your pockets. In our article you will find the best free things to do in Rockhampton and surrounds.
Located right on the beachfront, the 2500 square-metre resort-style Yeppoon Lagoon includes a shallow children’s play area, an informal lap swimming area and a swim-up infinity edge with stunning views over the Keppel Islands.
Mount Archer – Nurim Circuit
With an impressive height of 604 metres, Mount Archer National Park provides a dramatic backdrop to Rockhampton. Take a walk along Nurim Circuit, a 500-metre flat boardwalk extending 25 metres off the side of the mountain, and take your time taking in the views while checking out the interpretive signage of the local Darumbal culture.
Keppel Bay Marina
The multi-award-winning Keppel Bay Marina welcomes visitors by land and sea. One of the largest marinas in Northern Queensland, this jewel-coloured oasis is a major tourist attraction on the Capricorn Coast. Wander the marina berths and see all the vessels before relaxing for a coffee and bite to eat at the award-winning The Waterline Restaurant.
The Singing Ship
One of Emu Park’s most well-known icons, the Singing Ship commemorates the area’s legacy of Captain James Cook’s historical explorations. Set on a cliff offering views of spectacular coastal vistas, a gentle sea breeze produces a musical sound through fluted pipes that will be long remembered.
Keppel Kraken waterpark
Taking pride of place on the Yeppoon Foreshore, the Keppel Kraken is a water play feature quite unlike any other. With a mythical sea creature centrepiece and set against the spectacular backdrop of Keppel Bay, Yeppoon’s most colourful tourist attraction is the perfect place to soak up some sunshine on the beautiful Capricorn Coast.
Rockhampton Museum of Art (RMOA)
Located in Darumbal Country, in the heart of the Rockhampton Riverside Precinct, is the Rockhampton Museum of Art (RMOA). The Rockhampton Museum of Art collection is regarded as one of the finest in regional Australia and is of national significance. It is the only regional Gallery in Queensland to hold a representative collection of mid-twentieth century Australian art, the works of the ‘greats’ of Australian modernist painters. Through its collection holdings of historic paintings, objects and photographs, the museum interprets the history and heritage of Rockhampton, Queensland, and Australia.
Centenary of ANZAC Memorial Walk
The reflective memorial boardwalk and its gateway gallery entry are the focal point to ‘The Centenary of ANZAC Memorial Walk‘. The walkway is intended as an emotional reflective experience and provides a timeline of WW1’s many major battles of war. The gateway and orientation gallery contains interpretive works telling the stories of how the war began, the story of Gallipoli, the legend of ANZAC, the details of the Gallipoli campaign, the Somme, Fromelle, the Lone Pine battle and many more of these extraordinary campaigns.
Bluff Point Circuit/Turtle Lookout
Follow the Bluff Point track and walk through vine forest and open grassland to one of the best lookouts in the area, with uninterrupted views over the Keppel Bay Islands and Capricorn coastline. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and turtles in the water below.
Rockhampton Botanic Gardens
Nestled within the Botanic Gardens and adjacent to the Murray Lagoon, the neighbouring Rockhampton Zoo is home to over 50 species of native and exotic animals and is the perfect place for families to see these animals in their natural surroundings. Be sure to check out Rockhampton’s newest playground in the Botanic Garden grounds for loads of fun and take a walk through the picturesque Japanese Gardens.
Capricorn Coast street art
Visit the picturesque coastal towns of Yeppoon and Emu Park and you’ll discover there’s much more waiting for you than you ever could have expected. This burgeoning coastal culture destination has a proud arts scene, perfectly reflected in the vibrant street art dotted around the town and coastline. Check out the Capricorn Coast Art Trail – a virtual reality experience bringing art to life!
Hidden in the Byfield State Forest, approximately 30min drive north of Yeppoon in Queensland you will find Upper Stony Creek Picnic Grounds and Camp area. This area has long been a secret local spot but is fast making its way to stardom on social media for its irresistible freshwater swimming holes. Pack a BBQ lunch and enjoy the public picnic areas, and take a walk through the forest, enjoying the spectacular natural beauty.
CQ Livestock Exchange
Visit the largest livestock saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere – CQLX. Experience the dust and drama as thousands of cattle, horses and other livestock are sold under the auctioneer’s hammer. This is one free experience to get the adrenaline pumping!
Double Head Track/Fan Rock Lookout
The Double Head walking track zigzags up through tangled dry vine thicket and tussock grassland to two lookouts. See the striking fan-shaped cliff formation with hexagonal basalt columns at Fan Rock Lookout, a reminder of the park’s volcanic past. Continue onto the Rosslyn Bay Lookout for views over the scenic coastline and Keppel Bay Marina.
First Turkey Mountain Biking Trails
Get some air on the gnarly tracks winding through Rockhampton’s First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve. Dubbed as one of the best MTB tracks in Australia, this heart-racing landscape provides trails for riders of all abilities and fitness levels.
Wreck Point Scenic Lookout
This scenic lookout located in Cooee Bay gives 360-degree views of the Capricorn Coast and Keppel Bay. Only a short drive from Yeppoon town centre. In October 1848 the 62-ton transport schooner Selina was found waterlogged and dismastered, washed ashore near this point, by Captain Roach of the cutter Will-o’-the-Wisp. The lookout also features include a meandering 1.2 metres wide nature trail, featuring sandstone steps to a viewing platform positioned immediately above spectacular rocky point drop-off.
Mount Morgan No.7 Dam and Swinging Bridge
Number 7 Dam is the largest dam built on the Dee River in Mount Morgan, Rockhampton Region. It is also known as Big Dam. It is the primary supply of water to the town of Mount Morgan. Perfect for simply strolling the banks or bring your kayak/stand-up paddle board and get above the water. Swing across the Private Victor Stanley Jones Suspension Bridge, which gives those who cross a feel for the old mining days.
Fig Tree Galleries
Fig Tree Galleries houses 68sqm of exhibition space and delivers a much-needed artist precinct for the coastal community. Fig Tree Galleries makes art accessible to everyone, inspiring engagement and brings a feeling of belonging to the Yeppoon community. The gallery and workshop space is continuously active with exhibitions, programs and events.
Rockhampton Riverside Precinct
Rockhampton’s Riverside Precinct, situated right in the heart of the city, offers the best views of the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) and is an exemplary example of modern, integrated urban design that sits alongside the city’s strip of heritage-listed buildings. Stroll along the heritage-soaked sandstone boulevard on Quay Street and across the lower bank boardwalk surrounded by lush plantings, public artworks, and a picturesque boat dotted vista. Take your kids to the precinct’s playground and perch up with a coffee while watching (or joining) them play, then cool off amongst Rod Laver Plaza’s pop-up water jets.
Pineapple Rail Trail
A popular track for walker, joggers, cyclists and families, the Capricorn Coast Pineapple Rail Trail takes visitors through picturesque bushlands and urban landscape. A recreational attraction and pedestrian/cycleway link, the asphalt path stretches four and a half kilometres from the Yeppoon town centre through bushland to the golf course and Club Estate.
Taste Capricorn Coast Trail
The Taste Capricorn Coast website was launched in June 2021 and has been designed to help you discover the finest local produce the Capricorn Coast has to offer, with number of businesses joining the trail continuing to grow. Keep an eye out for the Taste Capricorn Coast logo, our local food brand, and follow the flavour… paddock to plate and ocean to earth.
Mount Etna Caves National Park
Limestone outcrops and dense, decorated caves are roosting sites for more than 80% of Australia’s breeding population of little bent-wing bats. Mount Etna Caves National Park is also one of the few places in Australia that supports a colony of vulnerable ghost bats. Explore the park on foot and have a BBQ picnic in the day-use area. In summer, join a ranger-guided tour to Bat Cleft and experience the rush of thousands of tiny bats flashing past you (fees apply).
It’s worth braving an early morning wakeup call on Saturday and Sunday to absorb the local atmosphere at our range of artisan markets. Delight in the local produce, handmade treasures and other nick-nacks. Visit the Capricorn Coast Visitor Information Centre for a full list of local markets.
Darumbal On Country at Tunuba
Take part in an On Country experience with the Darumbal people, the Traditional Custodians of our region. Enjoy this tour from the comfort of your own home or come and experience it in person on Darumbal country. Explore the iconic Fitzroy River (Tunuba) and learn about connection, safety and more. Download the Self-Guided Tour app to hear stories from the Darumbal people.
Shell World Yeppoon is a display of over 20,000 shells which include marine, land, and fossil molluscs. The beautifully arranged displays are designed for the whole family to enjoy and include interesting documentation. Preserved marine life is also on display as are many varieties of corals and samples of shell craft. Shell World is located withing the Capricorn Coast Visitor Information Centre. Shell World Yeppoon does ask for a gold coin donation on entry.
Kershaw Gardens has been described as Rockhampton’s big back yard for all people to enjoy. These magnificent gardens stretch one kilometre parallel to the Bruce Highway and provide an attractive, peaceful setting within North Rockhampton.
Enjoy the spacious parklands with walking tracks, play areas for the kids and spectacular photo opportunities including a magnificent waterfall. Kershaw Gardens is built for families, parties, small events, and outdoor activities. Standing at nine metres high, Wyatt’s Wonder Web in the heart of the playground includes five levels of play for kids and adults!