With its bustling commercial port and burgeoning export industry, Gladstone could almost be written off as purely an industrial hub. But there’s more than meets the eye in this town on the lands of the Gureng Gureng people. Gladstone makes an ideal holiday destination with pristine waterways, beaches, and a diverse collection of Great Barrier Reef Islands. This vibrant coastal town boasts impressive lookouts, beautiful botanic gardens and an increasing number of foodie experiences (don’t miss a stop at the Gladstone Fish Markets). And with its Central Queensland Coast location, Gladstone is ideally placed for exploring the Discovery Coast, the natural wonders of Heron Island and Southend Curtis Island. So throw caution to the wind and take a chance on Gladstone; you won’t be disappointed.
Heron Island is a National Marine Park situated in the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. This area is a significant nesting location for two threatened sea turtle species, the Green Turtle and the Loggerhead Turtle.
Our over 50’s tour to Heron Island is in the height of baby Green and Loggerhead Turtle hatching season. During hatching season, turtle hatchlings will erupt from their nests between 25 to 50 metres from shore and make their way to the reef, just beyond the water’s edge.
Heron Island is a true coral cay and is ribboned by white sands, crystal clear waters and acres of coral with beautifully coloured marine life. The emphasis is on enjoying natural beauty. Stress is replaced by adventure, and your days are filled with discovery.
Get back to nature and discover some iconic Queensland destinations. Take a guided nature walk discovering the flora and fauna of beautiful Carnarvon Gorge before getting up close with the turtles and even volunteer at the Rehab centre on Quoin Island. Enjoy bird watching tours and eco reef walks on a coral cay whilst staying on secluded Heron Island. Then venture out on a full Paradise tour to Bustard Head on the iconic LARC whilst staying in Agnes Waters.
Make sure you take time to discover Gladstone’s onshore tourist attractions before heading for the ocean.
First, take a walk to some of the city’s breathtaking vantage points to view the port, town, and outlying islands; there’s Auckland Hill, Golding, and Roundhill Lookouts. Next, take the Heritage Walk to learn about Gladstone’s 19th Century origins, then get your cultural fix with a visit to the Regional Art Gallery & Museum which showcases regional art exhibitions, historical artifacts, and cultural displays. For a relaxing afternoon, head to the East Shores Precinct, a popular recreational area along Gladstone Marina, which features a waterfront boardwalk, shaded picnic areas, and an artificial beach where you can enjoy the waterfront ambience.
For offshore adventures, there are numerous Gladstone reef and island tours.
Southend Curtis Island is closest to Gladstone and offers swimming, fishing, and the appearance of rare flatback sea turtles between October and January. 72 km further out on the reef, Heron Island offers pristine beaches and is home to diverse and extraordinary sea life, with resident manta rays, blacktip reef sharks, and striking clownfish. Plan to stay at the resort here and visit nearby Wilson Island. South of Gladstone, you can take a snorkelling tour at Lady Musgrave Island after setting sail from historic Seventeen Seventy.
Gladstone Airport is just 10kms from the town's centre, with one-hour direct flights arriving from Brisbane. For road trippers travelling the Queensland coastline, Gladstone provides a perfect stopover with accommodation options for all budgets. Our Grand Queensland Coast & Island Affair and Heron Island Eco Encounter tours both spend time discovering Gladstone’s attractions.
You can take a Gladstone tour at any time of year. The weather is temperate, and although summers are hot, coastal breezes and ample swimming opportunities make for a pleasant stay. Winters are mild, and the water is perfect for a dip year-round.
Gladstone is known for its vibrant port, which is one of the largest multi-commodity ports in Australia. It plays a significant role in exporting commodities such as coal, alumina, and liquefied natural gas. Gladstone is also renowned for its beautiful coastal scenery, including nearby islands, beaches, and the Great Barrier Reef.
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