Set on the powerful Fitzroy River 25 miles or so from the Pacific Ocean and the beginnings of the Great Barrier Reef, Rockhampton is a city of 63,000. The city has more than 300 days of sunshine a year, sitting as it does on the Tropic of Capricorn. Several national parks surround it—most noticeably nearby Mount Archer—as do hundreds of thousands of cattle (which is why the city is also known as the Beef Capital of Australia). On the coast, nearby Yeppoon is the start of the Capricorn Coast, where such spots as the Keppel Islands, Rosslyn Bay, and Emu Park have attractions, beaches, and more accommodation options. All these amenities host a diverse sampling of Rockhampton MICE venues.
Rockhampton Airport (ROK), four miles west of the city centre, has flights to only five Australian cities: Brisbane, Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, and Townsville.
Rockhampton does not have a convention center, so it is left to its MICE hotels to host groups. Choose among the 66-room Rockhampton Plaza Hotel International, which has two meeting rooms for up to 100 persons; the 43-room Best Western The Stirling Rockhampton, which has a conference room for up to 40 persons; the 36-room Criterion Hotel, which was built in 1889, is still family-owned, and has a wonderful pub, a resident ghost, and function space for up to 100 persons; and the 20-room Heritage Hotel, which has function space for up to 400 persons. In Rosslyn, close to Yeppoon, is the 47-room Rosslyn Bay Resort, which has space for functions of up to 120 persons and also boat charters to the Keppel Islands.
For unique, memorable gatherings book one of the notable MICE venues in Rockhampton: Frenchville Sports Club, which has the Flavours restaurant and the Capricorn and Keppel rooms that can individually cater for up to 100 persons, or 350 if combined; Garden Tearooms, which is part of the Rockhampton Botanical Gardens and has both indoor and outdoor space; Rockhampton Heritage Village, which shows life in Australia's pioneer days and includes the Shearing Shed which can seat 500 persons and has a bar and fireplace; Dreamtime Cultural Centre, which chronicles aboriginal life and history, including a re-creation of a Torres Straits Islands village, and has meeting space for 80 persons and function space for 100; and Archer Park Rail Museum, which dedicates itself to the Age of Steam and has a restored train for group rides and a function venue for up to 80 persons.
Restaurants to choose among are the Crooked Cactus, which serves up Mexican fare; The Edge Restaurant, which sits on the Fitzroy River and has nouvelle-Australian dishes; Delizie, which has a European menu and is inside Rockhampton's Pilbeam Theatre; and, in Rosslyn Bay, the Waterline Restaurant, which is on the marina with boats to the Keppel Islands and known for its beef.