Gladstone is surrounded by nature, flanked by national parks and the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Swim with marine life, hike through sandstone gorges and throw in a line at some of Queensland’s best fishing spots.
The wonders of the Southern Great Barrier Reef sit just offshore from Gladstone. Dive on the Heron Bommie (a favourite of aquatic legend Jacques Cousteau), explore the tiny coral cay of Wilson Island and snorkel with rays, dolphins and turtles on the Fitzroy Reef Lagoon.
Heron Island is an animal lover’s paradise. Both green and loggerhead turtles return here annually to lay their eggs, and visitors can watch turtles nesting and observe baby turtles hatching at various times of the year. The island is also home to an eco-resort and research station, where visitors can learn more about the wonders of the reef, and play ‘citizen scientist’ during their stay. Swim with turtles and other members of the famous Great Eight marine animals. Or compete in the Great Barrier Reef Swim, one of the most beautiful ocean swims in the country.
Camp on top of 1,210 hectares of living reef on uninhabited Lady Musgrave Island, a coral cay where the only ‘locals’ are the resident wildlife. Giant clams, vivid coral and tropical fish of the protected lagoon makes diving here a visually memorable experience. Swim with the manta ray population, watch passing whales and comb the pretty beaches in peace; a maximum of 40 people are allowed to camp here at any one time.
There’s plenty to love on the land, too, with three national parks in the Gladstone region. Explore the swamps and estuaries of Eurimbula National Park, climb the coastal sand dunes of Deepwater National Park or find secret beaches and diverse birdlife in the Curtis Island National Park where, when the sun sets, you can pitch your tent at a campsite and spend the night under a ceiling of stars.