Rockhampton: The jewel
of Central Queensland
, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef
and beef capital of the Southern Hemisphere
. There are more cattle
around Rockhampton than there are people in the entire state of Queensland: about 2.5 million
of the four-footed blighters.
Famous for sitting smack-bang along the Tropic of Capricorn (don't let those lying non-Queenslanders tell you any different, no matter what their fancy new maps say about it actually running south of the city!), Rockhampton also has many other hidden facets. In honour of the bovine population, four life-sized concrete statutes of anatomically correct bulls have been erected (sorry) around the city. The net result of this is that drunken University students with sledgehammers make a habit of stealing their balls. At a rate of about one set per month. Can you guess the only part of the bull that has a cast? If you're a student in Rockhampton and your household doesn't have at least -one- bulls-balls doorstop, you haven't been living!
Equally famous are the four-yearly combined Australian and US military exercises, called 'Operation Tandem-Thrust'. The local gay population never misses out on a chance to print up a batch of T-shirts with -that- slogan on it. The local doctors also seem to profit from this event: treating massive cases of STD's and unexpected pregnancies is usually good for business.
These strange points aside, Rockhampton is quite a nice place to live. It's a wide, sprawling city bordered by Mt. Archer on the north side and bisected by the Fitzroy river with a population of approximately 57,000. While hot and humid in summer (it is in the tropics, even if only by a few metres/kilometres), the climate in winter is quite good: cold at night, but warm temperatures during the day. It is located about 40 kilometres inland, and has at least a dozen good beaches within 40 minutes drive of the city.