6 Getaway Ideas In The Gladstone Region If You’re Keen To Thaw Your Icy Veins Out In Qld

I don’t know about you, but as a Melburnian, I’ve never been more ready for spring and summer. Every year, this Southern state shocks me with how bloody COLD it is. Yes, we have culture but at what cost?? 

I’m currently dreaming (and scraping together my annual leave) to book a Queensland escape. I can’t think of anything else at this point. If I don’t have the sun on my pale, pale skin by mid-September then something has gone seriously wrong. 

If, like me, you need a trip to the Sunshine state to go full holiday-smooth-brain-era, then may I suggest Gladstone? 

While it’s not the first destination that springs to mind when you hear ‘Queensland’, this coastal city located on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, is a gateway to literal paradise. 

Plus, flights from Melbourne to Gladstone are only $89* on the low-cost airline, Bonza. Wild. 

If you need some inspo to book that flight, then read on for a bunch of things to experience in Gladstone, and thaw out those icy Victorian veins. 

Gladstone City

Let’s start with the area you’ll fly into. Located roughly halfway between Brisbane and Mackay, Gladstone has a population of only 34,703. 

The town boasts the well-known Gladstone Ports Corporation’s East Shores Parklands, where you can sip a cold, locally-made brew and enjoy the native wetlands and a sunset over Auckland Inlet. You can also catch some beautiful scenery at the Round Hill lookout. 

There are a bunch of hotels to choose from including the Gladstone Central Plaza, the Mantra and the Gladstone Central Hotel.

Heron Island 

Whilst the centre of Gladstone is nice, many tourists head up there as it’s a jumping off point for stunning tropical islands. 

Heron Island is one of them. Located on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, two hours by boat from Gladstone, the island is a blue and white coral cay and wildlife sanctuary. We love to see it.

If you visit at the right time (January to March), you may even see turtles hatching with your own eyes.

As someone who’s seen newborn turtles running into the ocean at sunrise on Heron Island, I can say it was definitely a bucket list moment. 

Aside from turtle spotting, you can swim, snorkel, or join a guided reef walk, and witness the stunning wildlife that Queensland has to offer.

Agnes Water and 1770 

Roughly an hour and a half drive south of Gladstone are the towns of Agnes Water and 1770 (yes, the town’s name is a number). The picturesque villages are popular amongst fishers and surfers alike. 

If, like me, you’re a terrible surfer because you know… Melbourne, then surf schools like Stylez Surf School or Gnarly Surf Tours can help you catch some waves. 

At 1770 Headland, you can wander along some easy walking trails which lead to Wave Lookout and Bustard Bay Lookout. If you’re lucky, you may even see some whales during the migration season. 

Lady Musgrave Island 

From 1770, you can jump on a day trip tour with 1770 Reef to visit Lady Musgrave Island. 1770 is the closest access point to the stunning location and you can book a day tour to explore the area. Choose from a guided island tour, a snorkel session, or even go for a ride in a glass-bottom boat to witness the wildlife.

Similar to other Southern Great Barrier Reef islands, Lady Musgrave Island is a nesting site for seabirds, turtles and humpback whales, depending on the time of year, of course.

Honestly, I’m dreaming about it already.

Wilson Island

Have you ever dreamt of going to a tropical island, away from any other humans? I can’t guarantee there’ll be no other humans on Wilson Island, but you’ll come pretty damn close. In fact, the permanent Reef Safari tents only host up to 18 guests at a time. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the The White Lotus treatment in Australia, this is your ticket.

Your host and chef will meet you on the beach as you arrive and take your bags to your accommodation so you can start relaxing. It’s truly an oasis on the Southern Great Barrier Reef where you can do as little (or as much) as you’d like. Everything will be taken care of and oh my god, please sign me up.

It’s giving Nine Perfect Strangers (without an unhinged Nicole Kidman).

Kroombit Tops National Park 

If you’d prefer to explore inland than spend every day in the ocean, then take a drive out to Kroombit Tops National Park. Located 85km south-west of Gladstone, this stunning park has it all. With gorges, creeks and camping, you’ll certainly get an outdoor adventure.

There are lookout walking tracks for all abilities so you can take your pick depending on fitness (and the Queensland heat). Keep an eye out for rainforest wildlife and, if you’re a history buff, look for the (protected) wreckage of a World War II bomber that crashed in 1945 and lay undiscovered for close to 50 years. Spooky.

If you’ve made it to the end of this article and don’t want to book a trip to Gladstone and its surrounds, I don’t know what to tell ya. If you’re already raiding your savings and screaming ‘Take my money!’ at the screen, then head here to book ASAP.

*T&Cs apply. See here for more details.

Image credit: TEQ/ Warner Brothers