Discover the enchanting allure of gladstone tourist attractions, a vibrant port city between Bundaberg and Rockhampton on the captivating central Queensland coast.
As you explore, be prepared to be captivated by the sheer beauty that unfolds at every turn. Gladstone invites you to journey through a curated list of must-see attractions and experiences, ensuring you make the most of your time in this coastal paradise.
things to do in gladstone today
Gladstone, a charming city along the Queensland coast, offers many activities to make your day memorable. Whether you’re a local looking for a new adventure or a visitor exploring the city, here’s a curated list of things to do in gladstone today.
Unveil the hidden gem that is Heron Island – a name you’ve likely encountered in Queensland tales, yet its precise location might have remained elusive. Tucked 80 kilometres off the coast within the southern realms of the Great Barrier Reef, this pristine coral cay is a well-kept secret guarded by the locals of Gladstone.
Heron Island, a sanctuary of ecological wonders, boasts a vibrant tapestry of marine life. Explore the fringing reef, where a symphony of hundreds of fish and coral species dance beneath the azure waves.
Onshore, witness the delicate dance of seabirds and the nesting haven for endangered marine turtles. In this untouched oasis, Heron Island invites you to embark on a journey where nature’s wonders take centre stage, leaving an indelible mark on your soul.
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Relish a splash in Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy
For those who revel in the sun-kissed embrace of sandy shores, a mere 1.5-hour drive south leads to the coastal havens of Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy, also fondly referred to as 1770.
Picture unblemished beaches stretching along the Seventeen Seventy peninsula, untouched and blissfully free from the masses, where the water assumes an almost unreal shade of blue.
Dive into the coastal allure with activities like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, or indulge in the exhilarating fusion of land and sea aboard 1770 Larc Tours’ distinctive hot pink amphibious vehicle.
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Journey back to a poignant chapter in history as we recount the last flight of the WWII bomber, Beautiful Betsy, on the fateful morning of February 26, 1945. Departing from Darwin and bound for Brisbane, this four-engine Liberator bore witness to the sacrifice of eight lives—two Australians and six U.S. service members.
Tragedy struck as the aircraft met its end, crashing in a remote corner of Kroombit Tops National Park just before dawn.
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Tondoon Botanic Gardens
Tondoon Botanic Gardens proudly hosts Gladstone’s vibrant floral emblem—the Crown of Gold (barklya syringifolia). This native tree, reaching an impressive height of 20 meters, is adorned with long sprays of radiant yellow blooms and heart-shaped leaves, evoking a sensory symphony that will undoubtedly make your heart sing.
Lose yourself in this botanical haven, where nature’s artistry and the vivacity of the Crown of Gold create an unforgettable experience.
Gecko Valley Winery
Venture into the unexpected allure of winemaking in sub-tropical Queensland, where rules are delightfully meant to be broken.
Make a pit stop at the exquisite Gecko Valley Winery in Glen Eden as you journey back from Tannum to Gladstone.
This sprawling 100-hectare estate has recently undergone significant upgrades, featuring a welcoming cellar door (remember to book ahead for tastings during COVID), a charming Mediterranean-style café, and an arts and crafts gallery spotlighting handmade jewellery.
For a dose of local charm, venture up Ocean Street to discover the quaint, community-run Ocean Breeze Gallery.
Here, the works of local creatives take centre stage, providing the perfect opportunity to pick up a unique souvenir from your Gladstone getaway. Extend your exploration along the Boyne Tannum Turtleway Art Trail, meandering along both sides of the Boyne River, offering a visual feast of artistic expressions against the picturesque backdrop.
Tannum Sands and Boyne Island invite you to bask in their coastal allure, where every moment promises a blend of relaxation and cultural discovery.
Calliope River Historical Village
A charming feature of the village is the regular country market held on selected Sundays, transforming the space into a bustling hub of local culture. Here, you can peruse various offerings, from fresh produce to artisanal delicacies, handcrafted décor items, and diverse arts and crafts.
Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum
Embark on a stroll from East Shores, tracing the charming path up Goondoon Street and into the heart of Gladstone.
While the city has evolved into a decentralized landscape, the historical significance of this strip unfolds through its enduring period architecture.
Notable landmarks include the heritage-listed former Gladstone Post Office, a time-honoured structure dating back to 1932, and the exquisite Kullaroo House, originally a bank circa 1911, now housing part of the Gladstone Ports Corporation.
Learn the city’s maritime history
The maritime heartbeat of Gladstone pulsates through the ages, evidenced by the presence of the ex-Australian Navy patrol boat HMAS Gladstone II, gracefully moored at East Shores.
As you explore, maritime artefacts weave a narrative throughout the precinct, with the iconic Sea Hill Lighthouse standing proudly, often captured in photographs.
East Shores parklands
Once a degraded industrial site, East Shores now stands as a testament to urban renewal, skillfully transformed into a recreational haven by the Gladstone Ports Corporation.
Embracing Auckland Hill at the northern fringe of the CBD, this revitalized space is a captivating example of successful urban redevelopment.
Stage one of this remarkable project reached completion in 2014, followed by the realization of stage two in 2021.
Embark on an angler’s adventure and test your skills at landing the renowned Barramundi, Mullet, or Mangrove Jack.
- Indulge in the refreshing embrace of cool waters for a rejuvenating dip, embark on a leisurely kayak journey, or venture into stand-up paddleboarding.
- Navigate the pristine, calm waters at Pikes Crossing with a kayak, and keep your eyes peeled for the opportunity to reel in some sizable barra.
- Immerse yourself in the natural surroundings with a leisurely walk, capturing moments with your lens as you encounter the stunning birdlife that graces the recreational area.
- Savour the delectable delight of one of the finest crab sandwiches and capture the perfect moment with a selfie alongside the iconic Big Crab.
- Make sure to visit Alf Larson/Lions Park, a must-do experience that promises hours of entertainment for the children and those young at heart.
- Equip yourself with hiking gear, ascend Mount Larcom, and relish the payoff of a breathtaking 360-degree vista of the Gladstone Region.
- Encounter adorable, furry wombat friends at Safe Haven (remember, bookings are essential).
- Immerse yourself in the excitement of motorcycle stunt shows, chainsaw sculpting competitions, and many thrilling rides at the annual Mt Larcom Show.
Lady Musgrave Island
Embark on a maritime adventure from 1770 with 1770 Great Barrier Reef Eco Tours, or opt for the Lady Musgrave Experience departing from Bundaberg. These tours will seamlessly transport you to the adjacent oasis.
Framed by a vibrant rainbow-hued reef, Lady Musgrave Island beckons with its captivating beauty, urging you to have your camera, especially the underwater variety, ready.
At the island’s pontoon, indulge in unrestricted snorkelling and water play, as the lagoon stands renowned as one of the premier snorkelling spots within the expansive reef.
Kroombit Tops National Park
Navigate the winding country roads that guide you to the Gladstone section of the Sandstone Wilderness, a region renowned for its breathtaking array of cliffs, gorges, waterfalls, and creeks.
This serene district is home solely to wildlife, with wild horses gracing the landscape. After a day of leisurely exploration through the rugged terrain of the forest, pause for a well-deserved break at the Boyne Valley lookout.
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Proving that good things come in small packages, the Wilson stretch may be petite, yet it thrives with abundant wildlife, thanks to the lush forest and surrounding reef.
Wilson is now proudly hosting one of Queensland’s most exclusive new resorts, thoughtfully crafted for nature enthusiasts.
This adults-only destination prioritizes privacy, accommodating just 18 guests in nine glamping-style reef safari tents.
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Gladstone tourist attractions free
Gladstone tourist attractions, free, with their blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, have become a favoured destination for tourists seeking an authentic Australian experience.
What makes it even more appealing is the abundance of free attractions that allow visitors to soak in the city’s charm without breaking the bank.
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Have a peak
In search of an adventure without breaking the bank? Conquer the summit of Mount Larcom, the prominent peak visible from every corner of Gladstone.
This favoured hiking trail is conveniently located just a short 15-minute drive from the town centre, followed by an approximately two-hour ascent to the peak.
Most of the hike consists of a moderately steep walking trail, culminating in a muscle-busting rock hop to reach the summit. Embark on this affordable and invigorating journey for panoramic views and a satisfying sense of accomplishment.
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Discover the paperbark forest
Embark on a southern journey to the Reedy Creek Reserve, situated on the outskirts of Agnes Water. Immerse yourself in the embrace of lush undergrowth as you navigate the narrow boardwalks and traverse water crossings amidst a light-filled forest adorned with towering paperbark trees. Let the natural beauty of this reserve captivate your senses as you explore the serenity of the surroundings.
Have a wild adventure
Explore the enchanting Gladstone section of the Sandstone Wilderness via winding country roads, celebrated for its striking cliffs, mesmerizing gorges, cascading waterfalls, and meandering creeks.
Navigate the rugged terrain of the forest, allowing the natural wonders to unfold around you. After a morning of exploration, indulge in a leisurely lunch break at the Boyne Valley lookout, offering a picturesque vantage point to savour the beauty of the landscape.
Take a DIY photo tour
Every visit to Gladstone is fulfilled with a stroll around the marina and parklands, where you can admire the array of boats gracefully moored in the harbour.
For a photo opportunity that deserves wall-hanging status, venture down Alf O’Rourke Drive to Spinnaker Park.
This scenic spot offers a captivating view back to the marina on one side and out to the surrounding islands on the other, ensuring a snapshot that encapsulates the beauty of Gladstone’s coastal charm.
Keep a vigilant watch for whales
Bring binoculars if you visit during the whale-watching season (July to October). It’s highly probable to witness migrating humpback whales and their playful calves engaging in activities like playing and feeding in these waters.
For an optimal whale-watching experience, head to 1770 Headland, which is recognized as one of the prime locations.