“Undulating costal flats with a backdrop of magnificent granite ranges.”
William Wilson, Calliope

Support our region


Expedition section (Expedition National Park)

Our region has diverse natural assets, communities and industries. There are numerous drivers of regional change and potential pressures and risks to our natural assets.

Natural assets

The central Queensland region includes the Fitzroy Basin (the largest eastern catchment in Australia) and several small coastal catchments: Styx, Shoalwater, Water Park, Boyne and Calliope. The region’s landscapes are diverse, and include ranges, rivers, creeks, flood plains, estuaries, wetlands and coastal islands.

The Tropic of Capricorn marks the southern boundary of the tropics and passes through Rockhampton. The climate is tropical to subtropical, sub-humid to semi-arid inland, with highly variable rainfall. Rainfall varies from 815 mm at Rockhampton to 560 mm at Emerald and less further west. Droughts, floods and bushfires are relatively common weather events.

Highly variable rainfall means that river flows are also highly variable. Many streams and wetlands are ephemeral (only flow from time to time). The Fitzroy River and streams of the coastal catchments flow into the internationally significant estuarine and marine systems of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Rich reserves of coal and gas exist in the Bowen and Surat basins, as well as extensive groundwater reserves across the region, particularly the Great Artesian Basin and alluvial aquifers. The region’s soils are diverse and extensively used for cattle grazing, with several areas of high quality soils used for cropping.

The Brigalow Belt Bioregion covers most of the Fitzroy Basin with dry, woody acacia and eucalyptus vegetation. There are many other types of ecosystems found along the coast, in the south and on the isolated ranges. The region is home to many significant animals and plants including endemic species.

It is difficult to quantify the economic value of the ecosystem services provided by the region’s natural assets. They provide productive soils, supply and regulate water, dilute and remove pollutants and regulate weather. They also provide habitat for important species, maintain shoreline buffers and absorb carbon. The natural assets also support the region’s unique ecology, and provide social and cultural benefits to our communities.


In June 2012, the central Queensland population was estimated to be 228,722 people, 5 per cent of Queensland’s population. Almost 5 per cent of the region’s population are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, approximately 7 per cent of the state’s Indigenous population.

Most of the population (70 per cent) live in regional centres such as Rockhampton, Gladstone, Emerald and Yeppoon. About 20 per cent of the population live in outer regional areas and about 9 per cent in remote or very remote locations. The region’s population is predicted to grow by an average of 2 per cent each year over the next 15 years.

Further information about the central Queensland community and key strategies to support community sustainability can be found in the Community Sector Summary.

Also in Support our growth