Beach | Family | Road Trip | Adventure | Romance 18 July 2016

7 Best Things To Do in Gladstone

With active and outdoor fun that takes you from the sand and surf to coral cays and mountain tops all in just one day, the Gladstone region is a joy to explore. 

Recognised as the heart of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, those who love sailing, fishing and diving will have a great time splashing about in the ocean. Nature lovers can watch turtles hatch on the sands and hike great trails.

Bring a sense of adventure and add these seven things to do in Gladstone to your itinerary.

Go for a 4x4 island adventure

Set sail for one of the glorious islands off the coast of Gladstone. Just a few minutes from the mainland, step foot on a slice of paradise when you arrive at Curtis Island or Facing Island. This day trip is perfect for families, who can load up a four-wheel-drive and spin around the islands, kicking up sand along the way.

View from the Curtis Island with four-wheeled vehicle kicking up sand along the way

Take a helicopter to Heron Island

If you’re feeling fancy, take a heli to Heron Island for the day. This island is famous for its spectacular eco-experiences, so dive beneath the water and witness the magic and marine life of the world’s largest coral reef – the Great Barrier Reef. Or if you’re eager to feel like a castaway, venture further to the exclusive Wilson Island, a private adults-only hideaway a 25-minute boat from Heron. 

Top view of the Heron Island with majestic view of the large coral reef, blue water, and white fine sand

Go hiking in Expedition National Park

After a day of seaside turtle sighting, nature enthusiasts can head for the hills with a trip to see the rugged sandstone cliffs, deep gorges, colourful wildflowers and abundant wildlife that call Expedition National Park home. Not only will you experience breathtaking views of the Carnarvon ranges and walking tracks that journey through the eucalypt forest, you’ll also get the chance to become acquainted with several species of birdlife, wallabies, wallaroos, platypus and turtles that inhabit this incredible natural spectacle.

Explore magical Lady Musgrave Island

The southernmost island in the Capricorn Cay, Lady Musgrave Island is more than just a coral drop in the ocean. This magical island is surrounded by a huge turquoise lagoon, set on 3000 acres of living reef that stretches eight kilometres around the island. Explore private bays and sandbars, go scuba diving, swim with turtles, and join a whale watching cruise. Boats depart from the town of 1770, a 90-minute drive south of Gladstone.

Couple on a boat enjoying the view of magical Lady Musgrave Island and surrounded by a huge turquoise lagoon

Watch turtles hatch on the shores

For those making their way to Gladstone between September and December, you can also catch a glimpse of mother turtles nesting among the dunes, or hatchlings beginning their mighty trek towards the ocean. On the mainland, Mon Repos is the turtle hatching hotspot where you can book a turtle hatching tour. Alternatively, you can see the baby turtles on Curtis Island, Lady Musgrave and Heron too.

Group of friends wrapped around a bonfire in the middle of the night watching the hatchlings of baby turtles in Mon Repos

Wind down in Agnes Waters

A little slice of seaside heaven, Agnes Waters is a small tourist town within the Gladstone region that boasts spectacular swimming and surfing beaches (stinger suits are not required), legendary fishing hot spots, an enviable laidback lifestyle and of course, plenty of opportunities to sight a turtle! An easy 90-minute hour drive from the Gladstone CBD, it’s the quintessential destination for a day of sun, sand and leisure pursuits. Brave the waves at Queensland’s most northern surfing beach, with board hire and surf lessons available, duck around the headland to the sheltered waters of the Town of 1770 and try standup paddleboarding or take a guided kayak tour for a thrilling ocean adventure. Loggerhead turtles are also often spotted at Springs Beach and Deepwater National Park, so time your visit to coincide with turtle season.

Surfers walking by the Agnes Waters with their surfing boards to experience surfing and brave the waves

Get hooked on fishing

Equally famous for its fishing, the Gladstone region offers the ultimate experience with a mix of deep sea fishing in the Southern Great Barrier Reef where the coral trout, red emperor and sweet lip are aplenty, to some of the best in-land barramundi hotspots such as Lake Awoonga where barra can be caught year round. Over three million barramundi have been released here over 12 years, which has created a truly incredible barramundi fishing area. The region is also home to the Boyne-Tannum Hook-Up, Australia's biggest family fishing competition. This three-day event is typically held over the Easter long weekend with a massive prize pool.

Father and son fishing by the shoreline of Southern Great Barrier Reef in Gladstone Queensland

Positioned in the main street of Gladstone Oaks Grand Gladstone is the hotel of choice in the region.