Gladstone, a coastal city five hours north of the Sunshine Coast, is fast becoming a tourist hotspot, with its fun activities and beautiful surroundings attracting visitors from Australia and overseas. Gladstone has everything one expects from a seaside town, with dining options ranging from fine dining to casual pub meals. The seafood in Gladstone is fantastic as one would expect, serving the region's fresh local produce. You will find the same range with shopping, from high-end labels through to local boutique stores; there are plenty of stores for retail therapy in Gladstone.
The region is famous for fishing and boating, with more boats owned per capita here than anywhere else in Australia, which must say something about all the beautiful waters there are to see. There are beautiful beaches, lookouts, parks, botanic gardens, museums, and art galleries within the city - you will never be short on activities to do or places to drive in this beautiful area of the world.
Gladstone is one of the gateway towns to the Great Barrier Reef. Drive your rental car to one of the ferry or boat hire operators and take a boat out onto this stunning stretch of the reef. The top two locations of the reef in this area are Heron Island and Lady Musgrave Island. Take the chance to see marine fish, sea turtles and coral in every colour. To give you an idea of the biodiversity of the reef, 10% of all fish species on earth can be found across The Great Barrier Reef. There is a ferry that departs daily for Heron Island; here, you can see 72% of all coral species on the reef and 900 species of fish. It has many great scuba diving and snorkelling locations, so if you only have a short time to enjoy the reef, it's best to check out Heron Island. If you’re here for a longer stay, you can even stay on the island if you wish to further explore the island's rainforests and see the sea turtles hatch from the beaches.
In Queensland, Enjoy the Nature with a Car Hire
You don't have to venture out of Gladstone to see some fantastic nature. With botanical gardens, national parks and forest reserves all within a short driving distance, you will be spoilt for choice.
Start things off with the Tondoon Botanic Gardens, just a 15-minute drive from the airport in your car hire. With sculptures, art, an orchid house, a Japanese tea house, a lake, and 3,000 species of plants across this 83-hectare garden, it’s sure to keep you busy. There are many walking trails to enjoy and free guided tours if you wish to learn more about the gardens and their inhabitants.
If you wish to venture out, there are many islands, national parks and forest reserves within driving distance of Gladstone. Some of these locations, such as Camp Island, require a very short ferry ride to see. Inland you have the Mount Maurice State Forest, Calliope Conservation Park and Beecher State Forest. A little further afield at around an hour and 45-minute drive is the Kroombit Tops National Park, a fantastic day trip from Gladstone, with woods, rainforests and scrublands on offer. To give you an idea of how remote some sections are, it took 50 years for the remains of a WWII Liberator Bomber to be discovered in the area.
See the Sights around Gladstone in Your Rental Car
The Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum runs many fantastic exhibitions, with some fantastic regional talent on display as well as national and international artworks. Learn about the local heritage at the museum, with photographs, objects and artefacts from Gladstone.
Other top locations are the Maritime Museum and the Convention Centre, which often displays unique performances such as musicals, concerts, opera, and community theatre.