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Driving into Rockhampton from the south, visitors cross the Tropic of Capricorn, which is marked by a huge metal sundial known as the 'The Capricorn Spire'. This region is the heartland of Australia's premium beef cattle industry, and recent estimates have calculated that the Fitzroy Basin beef herds number more than 2.5 million. The human population of the town is 65,000.

Rockhampton is 633 km north of Brisbane, and grew up around the spot where, in 1855, Colin Archer, who had
sailed up the Fitzroy River as far as he could, bringing supplies to his property Gracemere, unloaded his cargo. A stroll around the Quay Street Historical Precinct will show you a number of outstanding buildings, including the city's second customs house, the former offices of the Mount Morgan Gold Mining Company, the Criterion Hotel, the former Queensland National Bank building and the former Union Bank of Australia building.

There is plenty to do and see on the whole Capricorn Coast. A short distance from Rockhampton, on the coast, is Yeppoon, the stepping-off place for visits to Great Keppel Island. Byfield State Forest, north of Yeppoon, is a pleasant, secluded rainforest environment; at Cooberrie Park Flora and Fauna Centre you can cuddle a koala or feed a kangaroo; at Koorana Crocodile Farm, feeding and cuddling are not recommended! Emu Park, down the coast from Yeppoon, has a 12 m high structure of pipes in the shape of a large sail, which commemorates James Cook's voyage in the Endeavour. North of Rockhampton are the Cammoo Caves and the Capricorn Taverns. Both cave systems are worth exploring, particularly the Cathedral cave in the Capricorn Taverns.

There are many festivals, rural shows and carnivals in and around Rockhampton. Central Queensland University's Multicultural Fair, held in August, and Rockhampton's Family Festival, in September, are two that should not be missed.

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