Tourist in my own town

Taking a trip around the Capricornia region.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Irving Wallace.

There is nothing I love more than adventuring, exploring new places or learning something new. Actually, there is – doing it weirdly so that it embarrasses yet secretly entertains my children and has them question my sanity.

While enjoying the camp life at Ranglewood in Coowonga between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, I set about planning a ‘Staycation’ in the Rocky and Capricorn Coast regions for myself and my children.

A tourist in my own town.

It was a prime opportunity to put the website to the test and experience what visitors can when they come to our region. It’s almost like a one-stop-shop of many great things to do in the area, and there is even a four-day itinerary suggestion for those who don’t want to plan and would rather do.

While it’s not the complete list of every possible thing you can do, at the same time, it certainly showcases some of our best assets with the bonus of a smartphone application (app), which you can download and experience self-guided tours with.

On our first night home, we spent the first day of 2023 watching the sunset at Mount Archer from the Boardwalk and Amphitheatre. If I had to pick my absolute favourite part of the Rocky region, it would have to be Mount Archer.

Our first self-guided tour was, believe it or not, ‘Where’s the Beef? Bull Statue Tour’. My children were not impressed, and that’s an understatement. We drive between Frenchville, where we live and Gracemere, where our Scout Group is, three times a week, minimum. For those reading who are local, where are the majority of the bulls? You guessed it, Gladstone Road on that very commute.

To add a lot of fun to the tour, we listened to the Explore Rockhampton playlist on Spotify and heard the history and information of each Bull statue. We also took selfies where possible and where it was safe to pull over and get out of the car.

It was good that we did the Bull Tour first because as much as I enjoyed it, the kids thought I had lost the plot. We followed this tour with two more along Quay Street. We admired the architecture with the ‘Rockhampton’s Heritage Architecture Trail’ tour commencing at the flood marker and finishing at the old bridge. We then returned to the flood marker via the ‘Riverside Public Art Trail’ tour.

The app was impressive in that it recognised where we were and alerted us to what we were in front of, prompting the opening of the information to read or hear.

The next day saw our adventure to the Zoo, the Botanic Gardens and the Museum of Art. Venues we’ve enjoyed many times over the years, but this time, with an app and a self-guided tour. ‘Meet the Crew at Rockhampton Zoo’, and ‘100-year-old trees at the Botanic Gardens’ were very informative. Walking with the app open meant it recognised where we were and automatically updated the information available. This feature was beneficial while walking around the Botanic Gardens because keeping plants alive is not a strength of mine, let alone knowing what each type of tree we had to see was.

One of the suggestions offered on the Explore Rockhampton website was the Sunset River Cruise. While hot initially on the 37-degree day, it was a lovely afternoon with beautiful skies. The highlight for me was seeing my Wharf Street Depot Hill childhood family home from the middle of the river. I shared stories with my children about the mischief my cousins and I would get up to on the riverbank, with a quick deflection by highlighting that my Dad, Uncles and Aunt got up to far worse.

The tour, ‘Darumbal On Country at Tunuba (Fitzroy River)’’, was enjoyed from the comfort of our own home as we heard significant Darumbal stories about Tunuba.

Next came the tour, ‘A Day in Historic Mount Morgan’. This one was our favourite. It might have been the excellent pub lunch at the Leichhardt Hotel, or maybe we’re all local history sponges, and that’s why we enjoyed it the most. For me, it was the visit to Wattle Bees, the Railway Museum and the Mount Morgan Historical Museum. So many great chats with long-term locals, and it was a privilege learning about the history from a person rather than the app in this instance. At the Historical Museum, I took great joy in spending a lot of time in the Scout corner learning about the first Scout Group in Queensland, which was established in Mount Morgan but is no longer operational.

By now, my sister, brother and mother had started to join us, and by the time we’d finished in Mount Morgan, everyone was asking where the next tour was, but we’d exhausted the app tours.

We had all the app suggestions for ‘Fun for Kids’ covered, plus we ventured to our neighbours in Livingstone Shire to enjoy Inflatable Land in Bell Park at Emu Park and the Yeppoon Lagoon.

Restricted by the word count and unable to write anywhere near enough on each of these experiences, an entire blog post will be posted to my website before this column prints and a lot of the public photos can be found on Instagram. If you want to read more about the adventures and all the silly stories included, please visit and navigate to the blog page.

An evening at the PCYC Carnival, a lunch at the Westwood Pub and our final adventure, the sunset Bat Cleft Tour with a Ranger from the Department of Parks and Wildlife, another excellent suggestion by

School holidays are my favourite time of the year because this is when life learning happens. With our family holiday at home ending as I returned to work on the 9th, we’ll still make the most of each evening, rostered day off and weekend. After all, adventure is all about mindset and perspective, not time.

Where else would you rather live, work and play?