With beaches and water sports, Barrier Reef cruises and inland spots of breath-taking natural beauty, Gladstone is one of Australia’s finest tourist destinations.
The town overlooks one of Queensland’s finest natural harbours, so is a fine place to depart for tours of the Great Barrier Reef, where visitors can learn how to scuba dive, or just paddle and snorkel around in extraordinary surroundings.
Gladstone itself has some great attractions as well. Along with the Botanical Gardens, which showcase the tropical wildlife of Queensland, the views from Auckland Point are spectacular and nearby Tannum Sands is an unbeatable place to perfect a tan.
Further inland, lovers of nature can hike and mountain bike around the stunning Kroombit Tops National Park, with its soaring sandstone cliffs, rippling creeks and dramatic gorges. Or they can head to the multi-coloured rocky landscapes if Isla Gorge, one of Australia’s great picnic spots.
Fishing fans can visit Lake Callide, which boasts a plentiful stock of golden perch and barramundi, taking home a delicious catch to roast over an open fire beside the lake waters.
Another option for visitors to Gladstone is to take some time out to organize a farm stay. Stay at traditional Australian ranches and learn how to ride horses, as well as enjoying hearty home cooking for a few days.
However, for many travellers, the relaxation of the coast will be most attractive and Gladstone offers some gorgeous stretches of sand. Take a boat to the secluded beaches of Heron Island or drive down to Boyne Island. Wherever you go, the sands will be spacious, clean and the waters warm and welcoming.
Between October and March, the temperatures around Gladstone will regularly be above 85 degrees (Fahrenheit), making this an energy sapping time to visit for hikers, but perfect for sunbathers, and excellent for visitors to the Reef as well. However, for the best conditions to see the inland wonders of the region, and good beach weather as well, try visiting between April and May or August and September. There will also be less rain, and a lower risk of bumping into jellyfish when swimming in the sea.
Renting a car (either from the airport or in town) is the best way to see the city and the surrounding region. Taking the coastal road is a great way to visit the many beaches, while the outback is only really accessible by car. However, cycling is a rewarding way to visit local attractions, and boats are essential to reach the islands and the Reef.