You don't have to go far to find a top getaway in region
WITH the school holidays coming up and the weather looking good, why not get away for a few days - you don't have to go far in the Gladstone region.
We all know the name Gladstone conjures images of ports, coal loading and now the LNG boom, but for those in the know there is a lot more to Gladstone and even more so to the region.
It's called the Region of Choice, probably as most people have come here from other parts of Australia and overseas to pursue employment - but once here there are plenty of other reasons to stay and play - as well as work in the Gladstone region.
From Baffle Creek in the south and Mt Larcom in the north to the southern parts of the Great Barrier Reef and the Capricorn Bunker group of islands to the east and out west to Calliope, the Boyne Valley, Taroom and Kroombit Tops National Park, there is plenty to see and do for the whole family.
The national parks are amazing getaways from the industrial hub, with natural beauty and an amazing range of native flora and fauna.
Deepwater National Park in the south of the region has 4WD access and camping, with excellent fishing and surfing plus a real bush get-away-from-it-all feel.
But it's only a short trip to the small hamlet of Baffle Creek to the south and the bigger townships (though not really big) of Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy to the north.
Agnes and Seventeen Seventy are true beachside escapes with all range of accommodation from camping to five-star luxury.
There are any number of tourism operators ready to take you out to the reef or experience the bush or beach of The Discovery Coast.
Agnes Water is considered Queensland's most-northerly true surfing destination with a strong local surfing community and plenty of quality waves.
Meet local legend Wayne 'Grom' Mellick and take a surf lesson with the Reef2Beach surf school.
Eurimbula National Park is between Seventeen Seventy and Turkey Beach and boasts pristine beauty and Queensland's oldest operating lighthouse.
Take a trip on a big pink LARC and travel over water and beach and get a tour of the light.
The reef and islands to the east present some camping opportunities and luxury resort-style accommodation.
Out from Heron and Wilson, Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliott islands the fishing and diving or snorkelling are world class and the reef is all that you could imagine.
The Boyne Valley is like a step back into an Aussie bush setting with cattle and dairy farms plus beautiful forests and green vistas.
Lake Awoonga is a huge stretch of water and home to some of the world's biggest barramundi. There's camping, hiking and all sorts of water activities too.
Isla Gorge National Park and Lookout are a little to the west near Taroom and Theodore and home to some amazing scenery with the magnificent and rugged sandstone gorges, wildflowers and wildlife with some pretty remote campsites for the real bushies.
From Miriam Vale in the southwest, to Bororen and Benaraby and up to Calliope and Mount Larcom, the Gladstone region is not just about the coast, there's real Aussie bush experiences all along the way.
Get out there and enjoy - the kids will love you for it.