Gladstone ‘gems’ to explore these holidays
The Gladstone region of Queensland is the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef offering spectacular sights for all ages from the mountains to the sea.
Here are some hidden gems of the region to explore with family and friends this Christmas holidays.
Agnes Water and 1770
The southern jewel in the region’s crown, Agnes Water and 1770 are a 90 minute drive south of Gladstone, via historic Miriam Vale.
Named in 1770 after Captain James Cook’s landing – his second on Australian soil as he navigated around the continent on the Endeavour.
Agnes Water claims the mantle of Australia’s northern most surfing beach with the culture prevalent among locals and visitors.
A number of properties in the area have been listed on Air bnb or Booking.com in recent years, attracting rapidly increasing interest in the idyllic, national park encircled, paradise.
Tours to the southern Great Barrier Reef via catamaran or charter boat and the famous LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo) are based at 1770.
Accommodation in both towns ranges from camp sites and caravan parks to luxury resort, apartments, homes or villas.
The gateway to the southern Great Barrier Reef, Gladstone is the premier destination to access idyllic reef islands including Lady Musgrave and Heron, or harbour islands like Curtis and Facing islands.
Lady Musgrave island is home to a plethora of activities including snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming with turtles, glass bottom boat tours, bird watching and island walks.
Renowned as one of the world’s premier dive destinations, Heron Island offers a luxury resort, a semi-submersible reef tour, kayaking and paddle board tours, snorkelling, swimming with turtles, fishing, bird watching, walks or relaxing with friends and family on fantastic beaches.
Hop on the Curtis Island Ferry at Gladstone Marina to explore both harbour and reef islands.
North West, Masthead, and Lady Musgrave Islands are all accessible through the Curtis Island Ferry services and camping permits are available.
The harbour destinations of Curtis and Facing Island are also accessible via Curtis Island Ferries, where you can enjoy fishing, camping, four wheel-driving, hiking and wildlife spotting.
Formed by the damming of the Boyne River in 1985, Lake Awoonga is a spectacular water supply, fishing and recreation area framed by the peaks of the Mount Castletower National Park.
Famous with fishermen Australia-wide as a prime location to catch big barramundi, Lake Awoonga is hundreds of thousands of the prized species.
Tow your boat out to the lake, 30 minutes from Gladstone, to enjoy fishing, skiing, tubing or just exploring the natural beauty of the surrounds.
Pack your camera or binoculars to capture about 25 per-cent of Australia’s bird species that inhabit the area.
Go for a swim, a sail, canoeing or enjoy a barbecue at one of the many fabulous and spectacular picnic areas around the lake, or enjoy the landscaped walking trails.
The port city of Gladstone and nearby towns are surrounded by some of the most pristine and spectacular National Parks in Queensland, if not Australia.
So why not pack up the car or four wheel-drive, put on your sturdiest shoes, sun protection and get out and explore what nature has to offer.
Take a tent and head south to Eurimbula and Deepwater National parks to discover one of the few remaining pristine freshwater catchments on Queensland’s east coast.
Enjoy magical sandy beaches all to yourself, or go bushwalking through the diverse coastal lowland vegetation while crossing undisturbed coastal freshwater streams.
Head west from Calliope to Kroombit Tops National Park where you can visit the remains of the World War II Liberator Bomber ‘Beautiful Betsy’.
Home to 36 council controlled parks plus the spectacular harbourside East Shores and Spinnaker park precincts, the Gladstone region has parks for all interests and ages.
The award-winning East Shores was expanded this year and now offers extensive parklands, the HMAS Gladstone, Auckland House Cafe, water park, children’s play equipment and basket ball court, all adjacent to the magnificent Port Curtis.
On the northern side of Auckland Creek is the award-winning lush marina parklands and Spinnaker Park, featuring picnic areas, walking paths along the ocean wall, through native wetlands and ponds which are ideal for bike riding and roller blading, plus the Spinnaker Park Cafe.
Pack up your bikes, head to the 15km ‘Turtle Bikeway’ and enjoy the public art and you cycle along the beautiful Tannum Sands shoreline.
Ten of the region’s parks at Gladstone, Boyne Island, Tannum Sands, Agnes Water, Miriam Vale and Calliope have fitness stations featuring workout suggestions for people of all abilities.
Disabled people in wheel chairs can enjoy the award-winning Liberty Swings at Millennium Esplanade, Tannum Sands and Hazelbrook Park Calliope, which fully enclose a wheelchair and feature an access ramp, wheel locking mechanism and safety harness.
Explore the beautiful Tondoon Botanic Gardens in Gladstone that is home to native and endangered species, lush shaded parklands and walkways.