Gladstone Region

Get back to nature in this outdoor wonderland, smack bang in the centre of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Boating, camping and fishing are all top of mind in the Gladstone region, where national parks and secluded beaches are par for the course.

Reef within reach

The reef islands in this part of the world are true coral cays with easy access from the small seaside town of Seventeen Seventy (Town of 1770) and Gladstone harbour.

  • Dive, snorkel and swim with turtles at Heron Island.
  • Camp on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef on Lady Musgrave Island.
  • Hire a private vessel to explore beautiful Fitzroy Lagoon.

Fishing and farmland

Tick off your fishing bucket list – from coral trout to red emperor, sweet lip and bass – they’re all here for the catching!

  • Reel in barramundi and Mangrove Jack at Lake Awoonga, just 30 kilometres from Gladstone.
  • Go freshwater fishing in Lake Callide.
  • Explore the villages in Banana Shire – a rich agricultural and mining region.
  • Go four-wheel-drive adventuring through the Sandstone Wilderness  in the shires of Calliope and Miriam Vale.

Beach action

If you’re seeking sand and a laid-back community vibe, nearby beach towns are aplenty.

  • Walk in the footsteps of explorer Captain James Cook where he first landed in Australia at Seventeen Seventy.
  • Camp on the beachfront in Agnes Water and take a tour in an amphibious vehicle to Bustard Lighthouse.
  • Walk, swim and relax in the twin beach towns of Boyne Island and Tannum Sands.
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Mount Scoria Conservation Park

Thangool, Banana Area
Free Entry
Rising 150 metres above cultivated plains, Mount Scoria is a striking landmark near Biloela in the Banana Shire. Formed by volcanic activity 20 to 26 million years ago, this volcanic plug features many-sided basalt columns. Known as the 'Musical Mountain', Mount Scoria is one of only three prehistoric rock formations in the world which were originally the core of a volcano. When the basalt columns are struck (carefully) by another rock, musical notes ring out over the plain. Hence the term, Musical Mountain. Take the short cultural track to view the mountain and learn about its significance to the Gangulu people. Have a picnic, go birdwatching or barbecue at the picnic area.

Broadwater Conservation Park

Rules Beach, Gladstone Area
Free Entry
Nestled on the coast between Baffle Creek and Deepwater National Park, Broadwater Conservation Park is a quiet retreat for self-sufficient campers. This small diverse coastal remnant contains casuarina woodland on the foredunes, mangrove-lined creeks, and mixed eucalypt open forest and paperbark woodland further inland. Between June and October you may see migrating whales breaching out at sea. Go birdwatching or fishing. Stroll along the beach as soldier crabs skittle into holes. Explore life behind the dunes in mangrove-lined creeks. Camping in the Broadwater area (Mitchell Creek) is closed until 30 September 2013. Vehicular access to Rules Beach is not available due to severe dune erosion. Pedestrian and vessel access is available and the park is open for day use.

Isla Gorge Lookout

Theodore, Banana Area
Free Entry
At the southern end of the Dawson Range, Isla Gorge National Park protects spectacular sandstone scenery. Here, among a complex maze of gorges, sandstone outcrops and striking rock formations change colour throughout the day. Isla Gorge Lookout is the ideal spot to watch the sunset over the orange-coloured cliffs of the gorge. From the picnic area, you follow a rough trail to the lookout over Isla Gorge and the valley below. The plateau has brilliant wildflower displays in spring. From the lookout you can see wedge-tailed eagles and peregrine falcons soaring above the gorge or honeyeaters splurging on wattle, eucalypt, boronia and grevillea flowers from mid-winter to summer. Take your binoculars and look for whiptail wallabies and grey kangaroos in the valley below.

Kroombit Tops National Park

Biloela, Banana Area
Free Entry
Kroombit Tops National Park - a spectacular hinterland experience that showcases the regions true beauty. 800 metre high sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, inspiring landscapes, sweeping gorges, peaceful creeks and the only known home of the Kroombit Tinkerfrog, a critically endangered species. Just 85 kilometres from Gladstone, Kroombit Tops National Park is a 4WD enthusiasts dream, with a number of touring routes available to explore the varying features of the hinterland. Take a day trip, or camp overnight for a more leisurely journey (fees apply). The rugged terrain of the Kroombit Plateau is the resting place of a World War II B-24D Liberator bomber which crashed on a rainy night in 1945, and all on board lost their lives. Drive the four wheel drive scenic loop and walk 700 metres (return) to the plane's crash site.

Deepwater National Park

Agnes Water, Gladstone Area
Free Entry
Deepwater National Park protects sandy beaches, diverse coastal lowland vegetation and the catchment of near-pristine Deepwater Creek, one of Queensland's few remaining undisturbed coastal freshwater streams. Nature lovers will enjoy the range of animals and plants that call this park home. Deepwater supports a diversity of birdlife such as emus, red-tailed black cockatoos, honeyeaters, brahminy kites and water birds. From January to April, turtle hatchlings emerge from the nests, usually at night. Explore rock pools at Wreck Rock and picnic or camp at the shady campsite behind the dunes. Bush camping is also permitted at Middle Rock. Camping fees apply; book in advance during school holidays. Access to the National Park is by Four Wheel Drive only.

Expedition National Park

Taroom, Banana Area
Free Entry
Expedition National Park - in the Central Queensland Sandstone Belt - is a park of rugged gorges, spectacular views, remote campsites, wildflowers, wildlife and a rich human history. It protects a wealth of Aboriginal cultural sites, locations named by explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844 and remnants of pastoral heritage. At Robinson Gorge section in the east, cabbage palms, bottlebrush and wattles line scenic Robinson Gorge as it winds 14 kilometres between sheer sandstone cliffs up to 100 metres high. From Starkvale camping area, follow walking tracks to Robinson Gorge lookout, Shepherd's Peak or to a natural lookout over the Cattle Dip - a spectacular permanent waterhole in the gorge. Watch Australian king-parrots and rainbow lorikeets feed in summer, and golden whistlers and grey fantails in winter. Lonesome and Beilba sections in the west lie on the border of the Carnarvon Range. Panoramic views, brigalow and softwood scrubs are a feature while wildflowers provide splashes of colour through the Beilba section in late winter and spring. Squatter pigeons occur in open woodlands and wallaroos can be seen. No toilets are provided and facilities are limited. Visitors to Expedition must be totally self-sufficient. Bring drinking water and sufficient fuel for your trip.

Isla Gorge National Park

Taroom, Banana Area
Free Entry
A panorama of sculpted sandstone cliffs, peaks and outcrops greets visitors to Isla Gorge National Park - the striking rock formations and maze of gorges changing colour with the movement of the sun. Spring wildflowers, rare plants and rock-wallabies can be seen. Eucalypt forests hug the ridge-tops while dry rainforests cling to gullies and shaded slopes. Watch wedge-tailed eagles and peregrine falcons riding breezes and honeyeaters feeding on wattles. Have fun finding familiar shapes in strange rock formations. Drive to Flagstaff Hill to see the remains of a hand-paved road built in 1864 . Camp overnight or have a picnic overlooking the gorge. (Beware of loose cliff edges when walking around the camping and picnic areas or on the short track to a small natural lookout).

Lake Awoonga

Benaraby, Gladstone Area
Free Entry
Located 30 kilometres from Gladstone, Lake Awoonga boasts excellent recreation facilities and spectacular lake and mountain views. Enthusiastic anglers come to Lake Awoonga to catch the famed barramundi, of which almost 4 million have been released. The largest caught in April 2007 and weighing in at a hefty 33.3 kilograms! The great news is that you can fish for barramundi all year round! Fingerlings are released each year, including barramundi, mullet and mangrove jack. It is believed that Lake Awoonga is the highest stocked lake in Australia for Mangrove Jack. Alternatively, hire a houseboat or kayak, take a scenic trip on a seaplane, or just sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife. Feathered, furry or scaled, Lake Awoonga is home to a thriving array of animals, many of which are of conservation significance.

Joseph Banks Conservation Park

Seventeen Seventy, Gladstone Area
Free Entry
This historic coastal peninsula near Agnes Water is a little-known jewel on the central Queensland coast. Joseph Banks Conservation Park's rocky headland juts north into the sea, with ocean to the east and quiet estuarine waters to the west. Protecting almost all the undeveloped terrain around the headland, the park boasts spectacular coastal beauty in a region of increasing residential development. Its cultural value is equally significant—the park is part of the Gooreng Gooreng people’s traditional homeland and is considered to be Captain Cook’s first landing place in Queensland. Visit the rock cairn marking Cook’s 1770 shore visit from the Endeavour. Walk 250 metres through windswept tussock grasslands, vine thicket and coastal woodland to a lookout at the tip of the headland. Detour 50 metres to another lookout over a small sandy cove on your return. Look for dolphins and turtles frolicking in the clear waters below, or spot white-bellied sea-eagles wheeling overhead.

Agnes Water Beach

Agnes Water, Gladstone Area
Free Entry
Agnes Water Beach - an unspoilt haven and Queensland's most northerly surf beach. Located just one hour south of Gladstone, the beach is famous for its picturesque surrounds, surfing, kitesurfing and standup paddle boarding. Each year in the sand and surf comes alive with exciting events including the 'Reef2Beach Longboard Classic' and 'Agnes Water Triathlon'. Main beach is located a short walk from the Agnes Water town centre, or (limited) car parking is available near the beach. When you've had enough of the white sands and blue waters, head to a nearby Cafe and enjoy the sensational Queensland weather.
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