Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Explore Rockhampton

Between Brisbane and Cairns, you might be surprised to discover a region with world-class tourism attractions - and it’s welcoming and inclusive to boot!

Between Brisbane and Cairns, you might be surprised to discover a region with world-class tourism attractions – and it’s welcoming and inclusive to boot! On your next Queensland holiday, carve out time in your itinerary to explore Rockhampton and discover the accessible adventures it has to offer.

Accessible Accommodation in Rockhampton

For a touch of luxury, head to the Empire Apartment Hotel in the heart of the Riverside Precinct. This deluxe hotel is the perfect choice for travellers who like to spread out or need space to manoeuvre with one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments available. The gymnasium is great for travellers who like to keep up with their workout regimen while travelling, or you can head to the expansive pool to squeeze in a few laps (pool hoist available on request). Of an evening, sip something delicious as you gaze out at the unobstructed views of the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) and Mount Archer (Nurim) from your room, then head out for a fabulous evening at one of the nearby dining and entertainment venues. There is ample accessible basement parking on site, conveniently located near elevators. 

A man in a wheelchair and a woman standing in a sundress on a balcony at Empire Apartments, holding glasses of wine with the green treetops visible behind them
Enjoy a touch of luxury with the accessible accommodation at Empire Apartments in Rockhampton. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

If you’re planning a longer stay, or simply prefer well-appointed accommodation with an excellent range of facilities, Quest Apartments offers both studio- and one-bedroom accessible apartments. Both apartment categories have kitchenettes (with cooktop, bar fridge, toaster, kettle, and microwave), which are ideal for travellers who prefer to prepare their own meals. Widened doorways and step-free access make it easy to get around, and there’s plenty of room for transfers to the luxurious super-king bed.

A man and a woman sitting on a couch having cups of coffee, with the man's wheelchair next to the chair and the kitchenette area of the apartment behind them
Quest Apartments offers well-appointed accessible accommodation for longer stays. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

Accessible Adventures around Rockhampton

You’re spoiled for choice when seeking accessible adventures in Rockhampton. Enjoy it all, from high-energy hikes to leisurely exploration, without the crowds of the capital cities.

Animal lovers should make a bee-line for Rockhampton Zoo And Botanic Gardens, home to more than 30 species of native and exotic animals and acres of flora and green space. The Zoo’s most popular residents include a mob of mischievous meerkats, a family of cheeky chimps, and ‘The Colonel’, a formidable 4.3m saltwater crocodile. Entry is free, and exploration is easy with the Explore Rockhampton Self-Guided Tour App (available from Google Play and the App Store). To get up-close with the cuddliest zoo residents, you can book a Meerkat Encounter experience (call or email Rockhampton Zoo to arrange a booking accessible for visitors with limited mobility), with 15% of the ticket price going to support the Zoo’s conservation efforts. There is ample accessible parking close to the Zoo entrance, accessible bathrooms at The Gardens Tearooms, and plenty of spaces to rest in the shade. Visitors with limited mobility may require assistance navigating the natural terrain of the area. 

A man and a woman with meerkats climbing over them at Rockhampton Zoo
Get up close to Rockhampton Zoo’s cuddliest residents with a Meerkat Encounter. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

Make the most of the outdoors, and take in a spectacular view, on the Mount Archer (Nurim) Elevated Nature Trail. Drive up Pilbeam Drive, park in one of several accessible parking bays, and make your way out to the 500m flat boardwalk extending 25m off the side of the mountain. There are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way, and the paths are barrier-free and well-maintained. Be sure to take your camera, and visit at sunrise or sunset for the most Instagram-worthy shots. There is an accessible bathroom available, as well as a BBQ area and flat spaces for picnics. 

A man in a wheelchair and a woman standing on a viewing platform on Mount Archer with an expansive view over Rockhampton
Take in a view of Rockhampton like no other from the Mount Archer (Nurim) Elevated Nature Trail. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

Rockhampton might be known as the Beef Capital of Australia, but plenty of visitors come to the Central Queensland region in the hope of catching one of its famous barramundi. The Fitzroy River (Tunuba) is the ‘Home of the Barramundi’ in Australia, and accessing the water is easy if you fancy a day of fishing. Head to one of the accessible fishing pontoons upstream from the CBD riverfront, safe in the knowledge that they’re fixed in place (so the heights and ramp inclines won’t change with the tides). The Sir Raymond Huish Drive pontoon is the most wheelchair-friendly, with easy access via ramp and nearby parking and amenities. The pontoon is equipped with cleaning and BBQ facilities, if you fancy frying up your catch for lunch.

A man in a wheelchair accompanied by a woman, fishing off a pontoon on the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton
Everyone can fry up their fresh catch for lunch with the accessible fishing pontoons on Rockhampton’s Fitzroy River. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

Accessible Activities in Rockhampton

There are plenty of accessible activities to entertain travellers of all ages and abilities on your next Rockhampton holiday.

Expand your mind and experience the sensory delights of great art at the Rockhampton Museum of Art, the largest gallery in regional Queensland. The museum showcases a significant collection of works from major artists including Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Russell Drysdale, John Coburn, and Charles Blackman, and offers a vibrant program of events, talks, and workshops for hands-on art appreciation. Start your visit in the lower level gallery exhibition space, then collect a special-purpose lift access key from the front desk to move to the upper levels. The open-plan design offers lots of space to circulate, and barrier-free entry to all areas. Don’t miss the observation deck on Level 2, which offers a wonderful view over the Fitzroy River. Each gallery space has seating, raised signage including Braille descriptions, a hearing loop system, and accessible bathrooms. Visit in the afternoons between 3pm and 4pm for a quieter experience, or take advantage of the museum’s monthly Quiet Space days. Entry to the museum is free, and Companion Card tickets are offered for paid workshops and events. 

A man and a woman looking at an exhibit at the Rockhampton Museum of Art
The Rockhampton Museum of Art is the largest gallery in regional Queensland and it’s accessible to all. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

An afternoon in the park with a sizzling BBQ is a quintessential Queensland holiday experience, and Rockhampton’s Kershaw Gardens is the perfect place for it. This spacious and picturesque parkland has flat bitumen paths winding through forest and wetlands, past a picture-perfect waterfall, all well-maintained for accessibility. Kids can burn off energy on the playground, with a flying fox (including all-abilities harness), omnispinner, and birds’ nest swing. When you’re ready to refuel, whip up some lunch in the free BBQ area (with wheelchair-friendly tables and an accessible bathroom nearby), then relax in the shade or the sensory Stuart Fragrant Garden. 

A man in a wheelchair at the end of an accessible picnic table with a woman sitting on the bench eating lunch in Kershaw Gardens
Enjoy a quintessential Queensland holiday experience where everyone is included at Kershaw Gardens. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

If you’re looking for an all-weather activity that will entertain the kids (and the kids-at-heart!), head to the Rocky Bowl and Leisure Centre for some family fun. Ten pin bowling is a sport that can be adapted to be accessible to all, and Rocky Bowl has everything you need on-site, with easy access to lanes, ramps that allow everyone to be included, and a range of light-weight balls to side-step heavy lifting. There’s also a great range of arcade games, pool tables, and mini-golf in the centre (though the latter can be a tight squeeze if you’re using mobility equipment). Light refreshments are available from the kiosk and bar, and accessible parking can be found in the rear car park.

A man in a wheelchair using a ramp to bowl a ten-pin bowling ball at Rocky Bowl and Leisure Centre
Ten pin bowling is a great adaptable activity that allows everyone to be included in the fun at Rocky Bowl and Leisure Centre. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

Shop up a storm at Stockland Rockhampton, a major shopping centre with a huge selection of retail stores, plus six-screen cinema and an expansive food court with an al fresco dining terrace. Take advantage of the free parking, with easy access from car park to entrance (including elevator access to the mall pedestrian areas), and spend a full day treating yourself to a range of clothes, accessories, homewares, and more. The accessible bathrooms have push-button entry and locking with emergency alarms, and there is a full adult change facility available with height-adjustable bench and tracking hoist system. Stockland also offers a comprehensive accessibility guide, with everything you need to know to plan your shopping excursion.

A man in a wheelchair and a woman holding shopping bags and looking at a display in a shop at Stockland Rockhampton
Treat yourself to some retail therapy at Stockland Rockhampton. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

Rockhampton restaurants and bars

Rockhampton’s Riverside Precinct, in the heart of the city, offers many options for hungry travellers. Whether you’re looking for a hearty steak or a sweet treat, a caffeinated energy boost or a tipple to relax at the end of the day, you’ll find it all on the promenade. If you’d prefer to dine al fresco, pick up a take-away and head to one of the outdoor picnic facilities; this is wonderful on warmer days, where you’ll feel refreshed with a cool breeze off the Fitzroy River. There is ramp access where needed, or a central outside access lift to take you from the street-level promenade to the Riverfront Boardwalk.

If you’re staying in the Empire Apartment Hotel, you won’t have to walk or wheel far to find traditional Italian cuisine. Pacinos Restaurant, on the ground floor of the apartment complex, offers fine dining with both indoor and outdoor a la carte service. It’s a popular venue, so be sure to book ahead and let the staff know your access needs. Pacinos has step-free entry and flooring, though some of the tables in the outdoor area may need repositioning to accommodate mobility equipment. Their menu has labelled gluten-free options, and the Sweet Potato Gnocchi will hit the spot for vegetarian diners.

A waiter serving a man and a woman at an al fresco table in Pacinos Restaurant
Try a taste of Italy at Pacinos Restaurant, on the ground floor of the Empire Apartment Hotel complex. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

A great day starts with a hearty breakfast, so you’ll want to stop in at the Hummingbird Cafe before exploring the Rockhampton Museum Of Art – or maybe pop in for lunch after a morning of art appreciation. This delightful cafe is located on the ground floor, with more room to circulate and manoeuvre than your standard bustling cafe. The mouthwatering menu features seasonal specials, and it’s open 7 days a week. There is accessible parking available nearby on Quay Street, and ultra-modern accessible bathroom facilities where you can freshen up.

A man and a woman eating and smiling at each other at the Hummingbird Cafe in Rockhampton
The Hummingbird Cafe is the perfect place to fuel up for a day of art appreciation. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

For a lively night out with creative cocktails and authentic cuisine, try TruFusion Indian Bar & Grill. The aromas and tastes will transport you from Rockhampton’s CBD to the Indian subcontinent, with a wide-ranging menu with gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian/vegan options that range from mild to ‘VERY HOT!’. Enter via the access ramp (to the left of the main entrance), and choose from a range of seating options. There is a small step (5-7cm) moving from outdoor to indoor seating, but if you choose to dine al fresco you’ll have a breeze and a view of the Fitzroy River to accompany your meal. Accessible bathrooms can be found at the rear of the restaurant area.

A man and a woman sitting in lounge chairs, with the man's wheelchair next to them, sipping cocktails at TruFusion Indian Bar and Grill
Sip a cocktail and feel transported at TruFusion Indian Bar & Grill. Credit: Explore Rockhampton

This feature was produced in partnership with Rockhampton Regional Council.

Share the Post:
Latest Posts
Santa Cruz not-for-profit organisation Shared Adventures presents its...
All eyes are turned to Paris in 2024,...
Dr Yasmine Gray, founder of GetAboutAble, shares her...