15 Fun Things To Do In Gladstone, Queensland

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Going on a Gladstone trip and want to know all the fun things to do in Gladstone, Queensland? We have you covered! Below you will find our guide to all the best Gladstone tourist attractions to plan your ultimate trip.

Anywhere that’s just off from the Great Barrier Reef will surely pique your interest, and with nearby islands such as Heron, Curtis and Lady Musgrave bringing you to epic dive and snorkelling sites, offering birds galore, and random wildlife such as even the odd croc at Curtis… It doesn’t take much convincing to make Gladstone your next holiday destination!

Swim with turtles, ride a submarine to view the corals of the famous reef up close, dive or snorkel, and explore rugged beaches that you share only with nesting or hatching turtles… This is home to crazy canoe fishermen that daily catch trevellies and kingfish. This is 4WD country, along marked tracks that lead you into bushlands and wetlands. This is epic Australia.

Yet back on the mainland, there’s also lots of Gladstone activities to enjoy for all age groups. Scenic views – such as from Round Hill Lookout – and gorgeous days out immersed in the local community at Spinnaker Park or the coastal towns of Boyne Island And Tannum Sands await you.

Auckland Hill Lookout Gladstone

Nature is on full display at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens and at Lake Awoonga, where watersports and sailing are also on offer. Or dive into the region’s heritage at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum.

And if you need further convincing, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecrafts are currently hurtling through our solar system with photos from Heron Island – selected as a prime example of Earth’s dramatic ecosystem. So don’t miss out on seeing this for yourself!

Gladstone is maybe not the most exciting city in the region for tourists and the signs of industrialism are very evident on the way into town. However, it is a pretty and pleasant place with parks seemingly everywhere, a great climate and some fun things to see in Gladstone and its surrounds.

Below, you will find everything you need to know about the best things to do Gladstone region offers, all the best activities in Gladstone, the top Gladstone attractions you shouldn’t miss as well as the best places to visit in Gladstone for your ultimate holiday!!


Top 15 Fun Things To Do In Gladstone, Queensland

Here are the best things to do in Gladstone Qld. Read through and select the ones that fit your interests and timeframe.

Get A 360° View Of The City From Round Hill Lookout

Round Hill Lookout
Amazing views from the Round Hill Lookout

The first one of the places to visit in Gladstone that I recommend you head to is the Round Hill Lookout. This is the perfect place to get your bearings and to get an introduction to Gladstone.

This Gladstone attraction is exactly what it sounds like it is – a round hill lookout! It’s a lookout on a hill which takes up the whole circumference of the hill. So you can walk around the top and see most of the city and beyond.

What makes this one of the things to do in Gladstone today extra good is information boards as you walk around that don’t just describe some of what you are seeing but also give background information of the history of the city in relation to what you are seeing. It’s great!

I recommend you spend at least 15 minutes walking around the top and reading these boards. There’s parking all around the lookout.

Take In The Views At Auckland Hill Lookout

Auckland Hill Lookout
Auckland Hill Lookout

Once you have checked out the whole city from the Round Hill Lookout, head to the Auckland Hill Lookout (also called William Golding Memorial Lookout) for a closer lookout!

Located close to the centre of town, this lookout gives a closer view of the area around the harbour area. It’s a pretty view.

Get Wet At East Shores Water Park

East Shores Water Park
East Shores Water Park

East Shores Water Park is the place to head if you are travelling with kids. Located by the harbour in the East Shores Precinct, it’s the perfect place to cool down with tons of water jets that could have entertained my 4 year old all day. It has great opening hours too, unlike some we experienced along the east coast, opening until 9pm in summer.

East Shores Water Park
Picnic tables and water jets!

There’s also a big playground, BBQs and plenty of space for a picnic. It’s a quick walk here from the Auckland Hill Lookout.

Explore Gladstone Maritime Museum & HMAS Gladstone!

Gladstone Maritime Museum
Gladstone Maritime Museum

In 2021, the Gladstone Maritime Museum moved to its new home by East Shores. Housed in a larger building, there’s even more space to display the fabulous items and is our top pick of things to do in Gladstone this weekend.

Mainly focused on the maritime history of the Curtis Coast and the Capricorn-Bunker Coral Islands, the museum’s best features are perhaps its “Wreck Wall” that pinpoints shipwreck locations, plus the “Jenny Lind” figurehead from a shipwreck at the nearby Kenn Reef.

You can easily spend an hour looking at the various vessels, model ships, navigational aids and other shipwreck relics on display. Plus, there’s a library with hundreds of papers and journals, all related to seafaring vessels.

Our favourite part was HMAS Gladstone, a 42-metre ex-Australian Navy Fremantle Class Patrol Boat, permanently moored next to the museum. Now a museum ship, it’s been preserved as if the last crew member only recently disembarked. Filled with numerous personal items donated from the crew, this makes for an unusual exhibition that places you right in the middle of what it was like to have lived and worked on the ship.

Similar to the museum, there are knowledgeable and helpful guides on hand to explain the machines and ship’s details. And it’s a particular favourite for children, as the storytelling is very involved, bringing to life the emotion and adventures that the ship played in Australian Naval history. Altogether, a visit here is a firm favourite of things to do in Gladstone, school holidays or with family.

Newly located to Flinders Parade, in the beautiful East Shores 1B Parklands, HMAS Gladstone is currently only open for weekend tours and the museum opens Friday-Sunday. We suggest checking their website prior to visiting to ensure no disappointment.

Watch A Show At Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre

Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre
Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre

Looking for things to do in Gladstone with kids or things to do in Gladstone at night? Look no further than central Queensland’s top entertainment venue the GECC. Nestled in the heart of Gladstone, the Centre plays host to theatre productions, children’s shows, gala events, cooking competitions, comedians, dance troupes, singers and much, much more!

Dynamic, vibrant and entertaining, don’t forget to check What’s On at GECC before heading there. Reserve your tickets online and enjoy a great night out with all the family!

Have A Family Picnic In Tondoon Botanic Gardens

Tondoon Botanic Gardens

This gorgeous leafy oasis in the industrial port of Gladstone is a welcome respite. Spanning over 83 hectares, it’s a remarkable size and incredibly lush, making it one of Australia’s top ten noted regional gardens (Australian Geographic, Jan 2018), and a standout of things to do around Gladstone, Qld.

Only a short drive from Gladstone’s CBD, you’ll find yourself suddenly surrounded by tropical, sub-tropical and dry rainforest plants. But don’t expect manicured gardens as these veer more towards natural gardens with mother nature taking the design lead.

Opened in 1988, the tranquil gardens overlook Lake Tondoon at the base of picturesque Mount Biondello. At the entrance, you’ll find a collection of trees looking as though they were placed by hand. This natural arboretum is, however, due to blue gum seeds, having been washed down from the lake when the dam wall was breached in the 60’s!

Keep an eye out for the garden’s floral emblem, the Crown of Gold – a tree with heart-shaped leaves and bright yellow fingers of flowers – as we found these truly gorgeous.

There are various art and sculptures scattered amongst the gardens, such as Aboriginal Sea Life and Gladstone Centenarians. Also, don’t miss the incredible Aboriginal painting on the ceiling of the orientation shelter.

Within the Gardens, there are a few buildings to check-out, such as an Orchid House which showcases some of Port Curtis region’s native flowers. Plus, there’s a Japanese Tea House, surrounded by The Garden of Stillness and Movement – an ornamental, landscaped garden.

But the main reason most visitors come here is to discover the plants, and there’s over 3000 of them on display from both dry and wet rainforest settings. Making it easy to appreciate why a visit here is one of the most interesting things to do in Gladstone Australia.

Yet it’s not just plantlife, there’s prolific wildlife too!  Bring along a pair of binoculars as some of the birds are simply stunning (especially around the Lake area), and there’s an abundance of insects to discover too. And if you’re with children, keep an eye out at Lake Tondoon for Krefft’s Freshwater Turtles, so cute! You can grab a coffee at the lakeside Cafe while relaxing and enjoying the peaceful views.

And the best part, it’s all free!  So it is high on our list of Gladstone attractions, things to do with kids or equally ideal for couples! Open daily, drop by in June when the Tondoon Gardens host “Ecofest” – one of the nation’s biggest environmental awareness events.

Located at Glenlyon Road, self-discover or join a guided tour.

Stroll Along Spinnaker Park

Spinnaker Park
Spinnaker Park

Join the throngs of locals that adore Spinnaker Park – for morning runs, bike rides, rollerblading or family bbqs and picnics.

Enjoy two and a half kilometres of walking tracks that take you along the ocean wall. Discover native wetlands and ponds, and there’s a wonderful cove with a small beach that we found ideal for a refreshing swim.

Wide grassy areas make the park a favourite location for weekend barbies, or you can grab a bite to eat at onsite Cafe Spinnaker Park. Either way, plan into your schedule an afternoon to hang out here, the premier recreation area of Gladstone City and a wonderful way to spend some hours whilst you contemplate things to do at Gladstone tomorrow!

Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum
Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum

Housed in a stunning heritage-listed building – once Gladstone Town Hall – this beautiful museum is dedicated to promoting the art and heritage of the Gladstone Region and Central Queensland.  Let’s explore!

The Gallery and Museum are linked together by purpose-built glass bridge walkways, making space for the 19th-century marble statue of the region’s namesake, William Ewart Gladstone.

Established in 1985, check out the dramatic aluminium and stainless steel installation on its facade – inspired by the harbour and shipping charts of Port Curtis. And once inside, you’ll find four exhibition spaces – Town Hall Gallery, Front Gallery, Museum Room and the O’Connell Space. Art and history exhibitions are continually refreshed every 6-8 weeks thus check out their website to see what’s on during your Gladstone visit. There’s always something new to learn and see!

Make a stop here top of your agenda whilst visiting Gladstone to understand the history of the region and discover wonderful artworks.

Located at 144 Goondoon Street.

Admire The Natural Beauty Of Heron Island

Heron Island

Heron Island, in the southern Great Barrier Reef, sits 80 kilometres north-east of Gladstone. Along the western side of the island runs Heron Reef, home to stunning biodiversity with over 900 fish species and includes over 70% of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef. In short, this is a paradise for divers and snorkelers!

And if that’s not enough, in summer months the island plays host to over 200,000 migratory birds, including noddy terns and mutton birds. The island is a major nesting site for green and loggerhead sea turtles. There’s also other marine life such as humpback whales that pass on their way to colder waters.

Running 800 metres from top to bottom and only 300 metres wide, the island brings to mind the Maldives. All that’s missing are the palm trees, as this small National Park is covered in lush vegetation that rarely grows above 8-metres. There’s one hotel in the north-west corner and there’s the Heron Island Research Station in the southern corner.

One of the world’s principal coral reef research stations, it is perhaps most famous for having hosted David Attenborough and his crew. From snails to whales, the Station carries out epic work and you can take a look here.

Heron Island

A daily catamaran comes from Gladstone bringing visitors and island deliveries. However, it’s a 2.5 hours boat ride thus you might wish to take a 25-minute seaplane or splurge on a 30-minute helicopter flight. The sea can be rough at times and the weather changeable, but on a good day the boat ride is half the adventure of visiting such an awesome place.

Spend your time exploring the island’s trails, enjoying the prolific birdlife, and – of course – swim and snorkel to the reef which includes one of Jacques Cousteau’s favourite dive sites. Just pull on your flippers and swim out from the beach through the clearest of turquoise waters.

If you’re lucky enough to visit from October-April, look out on the wide beaches for turtle hatchlings or mother turtles as they crawl up to dig their nests.

But if you don’t fancy getting wet, take a ride in the semi-submarine I-SPY for an up close look at the spectacular reeflife, such as manta rays, sea turtles, sea snakes and more!

Daytrippers are not allowed. Thus, you must book a room at the sole resort (click here for more details and latest prices). And bear in mind that the island runs on solar power and has no fresh water supply, so you might catch the slight hum of the desalination plant.

Highlighting the diversity of life on earth, don’t miss a trip to this slice of heaven with perhaps the best snorkelling you’ll ever experience and one of the most unique places to visit and things to do near Gladstone.

Take A Snapshot Of The Rainbow Reefs At Lady Musgrave Island

Lady Musgrave Island

Another awesome Great Barrier Reef experience is the jewel called Lady Musgrave Island. Named after Lady Lucinda Musgrave, wife of a colonial governor of Queensland, the island is the second southernmost island in the Great Barrier Reef. Used by mother nature as a breeding ground for a range of marine animals and helping to provide nutrients to locations all around the globe, this mighty reef is vibrant all year round.

Daily tours are operated from nearby Bundaberg or 1770. Weather dependent, the trip takes around two hours but it’s more than worth it as, similar to Heron Island, Lady Musgrave Island‘s marine life and birdlife are prolific at any time of year.

In January, bird life is extremely active and is the peak breeding season for reef herons. Female turtles lay eggs on the beach while turtle hatchlings can often be seen fighting their way to the sea. July is another splendid month, with humpback whales seen making their way on their northern migration.

In September, many of the birds commence nesting, and turtle mating can sometimes be observed, while November is turtle egg-laying season. In December, coral spawning is the month’s most epic event.

Yet whenever you go, the reef is full of colourful marine life and the island is filled with birds.

Swimming with turtles is for many one of life’s most enjoyable moments, and you can enjoy this at the Lady Musgrave Lagoon. Don’t fancy getting wet?  No problem. Take a glass bottom boat tour to view the spectacular reef up close. And take a guided island walk where scientists will explain everything about this fascinating ecosystem.

Snorkelling the Lagoon and Great Barrier Reef will immerse you in a rainbow of colours as you’re surrounded by abundant marine life. And divers, the outer reef is waiting for you with an edge that drops from 10 to 25 metres forming an amazing wall of coral.

Cruising along are turtles, eagle rays, barracuda, trevally, rainbow runners and more. Along the wall, you’ll find sheltering stingrays, crayfish and olive sea snakes… along with the more epic sightings of manta rays and gray reef sharks.

You can camp overnight (bring along your own gear), with the camping area being open from the first day of the Queensland Easter school holidays until the day after the Australia Day long weekend. Closed at other times, you can still visit the island during the day.

Though Cairns is renowned for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, why not check out this southern option, that’s less visited yet equally spectacular.

Grab A Glass Of Wine From Gecko Valley Winery

Gecko Valley Winery
Gecko Valley Winery

The lands surrounding Gladstone are more widely known for beef farming and minerals than vineyards. However, the coastal belt between Gladstone and Rockhampton has a rather special climate, with lower rainfall than the more northern and southern coastal strips, and a hot climate tempered by winds blowing off the ocean.

Vineyard owners Tony and Coleen McCray have taken advantage of these ideal conditions, being the proud owners of the sweetly named Gecko Valley Winery that bottles chardonnay, verdelho and shiraz.

Take an afternoon to discover this serene part of Central Queensland where nature and tranquility meet. Enjoy a glass of wine as you overlook the vineyards surrounded by more than 100-hectares of rolling woodland.

There’s a visitor’s centre, the Winery Cellar Door, the Rose Garden Cafe with Mediterranean inspired gourmet dishes, and some superb homemade camembert, fetta, ricotta and vintage cheddars! And end your visit at the Lazy Lizard Gallery, displaying artworks and jewelry from local artisans.

Note that this winery had limited opening hours when we visited which didn’t match the hours we had seen listed elsewhere (including on the sign at their turn off!). The current opening hours are in the photo above and I recommend you check with them before driving out so you don’t end up disappointed like us.

Go Bike Riding Along Boyne Island And Tannum Sands via Turtle Way

Tannum Sands

Time to hit the saddle today, and Boyne Island is your destination. But don’t get confused, it’s actually not an island but a town about 10km south-east of central Gladstone. Separated by narrow channels from the mainland, Boyne Island is bordered by the Boyne River.

The coastal communities of Boyne Island and Tannum Sands (linked by a bridge over the stunning Boyne River) are super picturesque. There are foreshore parks that overlook boats, outrigger crews, and fishermen trying their hand on the calm river waters. You’ll find a scattering of stunning beaches, riverside walkways, parklands and lots of recreational activities… such as the 15 kilometres of walks and cycle paths that are known as the Turtle Way Bikeway.

Winding beside the river, get ready to explore bushland, dunes and parks, all set to a backdrop of quiet coastal life. Cycle past local primary and high schools, shopping centres and community facilities and enjoy an interactive design that uses poetry and visual puzzles along the route to unlock the mystery of the “turtle”!

As the bike path meanders along both banks of the river, you’ll find sculptures, mosaics and “functional” artworks, thanks to the Boyne Tannum Turtleway Artscape project. Altogether making this one of the best things to do in Gladstone region.

And after your ride, why not end the day with a refreshing swim as the waters of Tannum Sands and Boyne Island are perfect for year-round swimming. Or head to Lake Awoonga, that’s open for fishing throughout the year, water-skiing, canoeing and sailing, and home to loads of wildlife.

Enjoy Watching Tons Of Bird Species At Lake Awoonga

Lake Awoonga

Fall in love with the epic beauty of Australia at scenic Lake Awoonga. Only 30 kilometres from Gladstone, the lake is surrounded by National Park. Home to around 25% of Australia’s known bird species, a dazzling number of reptiles and other native animals and with many things to do on the lake, you can easily spend an entire day here.

One of East Coast Australia’s most important near-coast bird refuges, this is a fascinating place for any nature lover. Look out for jabiru, whistling kites, and many others that are passing through on their migration routes.

Fishing is another reason to visit the Lake. Annually, approximately 300,000 fish are released into the lake which includes over 200,000 barramundi and mullet. Open for fishing all year round, there are, however, some limits from 1st Nov-1st Feb.

Lake Awoonga is a working dam supplying water to the whole region. It’s great for a swim – especially safe for younger members of the family. Or you can rent a canoe, try your luck at water-skiing or enjoy a relaxing sail on the calm waters.

There’s an interesting fish hatchery operated by the Gladstone Area Water Board which breeds the aforementioned barramundi and mullet. One of the largest breeders of barramundi fingerlings in Queensland, you can arrange a short tour to learn more about the project.

Or perhaps you fancy a more leisurely day, with a picnic or BBQ on the grassy lawns, enjoying the tranquil atmosphere of the lake and parklands. However you choose to fill your day, you’re bound to see or hear a myriad of wildlife – it’s impossible to avoid!  Frogs, wallabies, possums, butterflies, bats, koalas, geckos, and even turtles are easily spotted, along with an immeasurable number of insects. Definitely one of our favourites of things to do in Gladstone area.

Pick up a map from Kalinda Cafe and take time to view their posters which highlight the flora and fauna you’ll be hoping to tick off during your day. Stay longer, enjoying the glorious views from the cafe’s decking, or why not make Lake Awoonga your home for a night or two. Caravans, tent sites and cabins are available at the Lake Awoonga Caravan Park or you can make it extra special and rent a houseboat.

Go Fishing By The Agnes Water and 1770 Town

Main Beach In Agnes Water
Main Beach In Agnes Water

So your spouse says “it’s either me or fishing” and your reply is a prolonged humming sound… Well, look no further than Agnes Water and 1770 at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, as these renowned fishing destinations boast a variety of angling options. Offshore fishing, estuary fishing, beach fishing and rock fishing… There’s something for everyone here!

There are many secluded beach fishing spots around both Agnes Water and 1770, some of which are easy to reach but others will require a 4WD. You can lay in bait for yellowfin bream, mackerel, shark, summer and winter whiting and dusky flathead.

Terrific rock fishing spots include Catwalk Agnes Point and Wreck Rock. Hook up for bream, sweetlip, spotted mackerel, golden trevally, kingfish and tailor.

Creek and estuary fishing options are varied, with great areas including Round Hill Creek and Eurimbula Creek (mud crab sanctuary). Cast your line for burnett salmon, silver and pike bream, estuary cod and more!

If you have the time and budget, offshore fishing is about as good as it gets! Depart from 1770 to the Southern Barrier Reef, with iconic islands such as Lady Musgrave Island or locations such as Fitzroy Lagoon and Lamont Reefs to select from. Coral trout, sweetlip, red emperor and spanish mackerel are on the cards here.

And don’t forget Baffle Creek, further south of Agnes Water and around 100-kilometres from Gladstone. This is epic fishing as the area boasts over 77 fish species as well as 10 crustacean species.

Catch salmon, cod, jewfish, grunter, flathead, plus you can find crabs, prawns, barramundi, mangrove jack, queen fish and trevally! The area is magnificent with the creeks estuary protected on both sides by conservation parks. Dolphins, turtles and prolific birdlife make this a wonderful spot to bring the whole family to.

Tight lines!

See Turtles And Relax At Curtis Island

Curtis Island
Yellowpatch, Curtis Island

You’re going in search of turtles today, on an island that has seen a lot of change over the years! Curtis Island, near Gladstone Harbour, was once a working cattle station. Named after Vice Admiral Sir Roger Curtis by Matthew Flinders back in 1802, today part of this rugged  island is a liquefied natural gas hub.

However, the majority of the island – the third largest in all of Queensland – is protected from development under the Curtis Island Conservation and National Park.

Accessible by private boat or a vehicle ferry service from Gladstone, there are no roads on Curtis. Instead, if you’re looking to explore you’ll need to bring your 4WD. And then… off you go, in search of secret fishing spots, rural bush camps, exploring dramatic lengths of rugged beaches and awesome wilderness and wetlands.

4WD tracks wind their way north to Connors Bluff and camping areas (Turtle Street and Joey Lees). Another track heads west to Ship Hill and Grahams Creek. If you prefer to explore on foot, there are limited walking tracks but you can easily spend two or three days on a fairly challenging hike along the east coast of the island.

However, if you’re here for the turtles, look no further than aptly named Turtle Beach. Visitors from October to March can witness nestings and shore hatchings with the beach home to the third largest flatback turtle rookery in Queensland.

Curtis Island also welcomes birders who can tick off jabirus, rainbow lorikeet parrots, gorgeous cockatoos, proud herons, sea eagles, black swans and the rare Capricorn yellow chat.

And one of the best kept secrets is Yellowpatch, a remote campsite on the north-eastern tip tucked away behind Cape Capricorn – ideal anchorage if you’re arriving by private boat.

In fact, the spot is only reachable by boat, and you’ll instantly recognise the place due to its distinct large yellow sand blow for which it’s named after. Hang here for fishing and hiking (there’s a wonderful view from the top of the sand blow over to the Keppel group and Hummocky Island) or bring your canoe to explore the estuary.

Swimming and snorkelling are popular on Curtis Island, though best to avoid marine stinger season (Oct-Mar). Or you can hike to the Cape Capricorn Lighthouse, active and heritage-listed, at the northeast point of the island. Not open to the public but you’ll enjoy the views.

If you fancy an overnight in the bush, note that none of the three designated campsites offer facilities, that camping permits are required and fees apply. Book campsites online here. Alternatively, there’s a small township, Southend, about 1 kilometre from the ferry landing that offers some lodging and a campsite area with a shelter shed, gas barbecues and toilets.

Curtis is rugged, wild and stunningly beautiful – with the almost yellow sand hitting the blue of the estuary creating amazing photo opportunities.

Gladstone Things To Do Map

Things To Do In Gladstone map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

Best Place To Stay In Gladstone

Selecting where to stay in Gladstone will probably depend on the style of holiday you’re aiming for. Perhaps you’re looking to immerse yourself in wildlife, to stay beachside or to be within the town for comfort and ease of reaching many of the mentioned activities.

If you’re looking for an Aussie-adventure at one of the nearby remote islands, check out the hotel or camping spots mentioned within the above reviews. But, if you prefer the luxury of staying within Gladstone – rather than building campfires and tented accommodation – we’ve listed below a few different places to consider. You’ll find a budget, mid-range and more expensive option.

However, don’t feel you have to stay at one place throughout – as some of the best vacations are those that provide an experience of everything on offer!

BEST – Mantra Gladstone Review

The Mantra Gladstone, formerly the Mercure Gladstone, is a stylish and modern hotel, the winner of many awards, and is our prime choice for your stay in Gladstone.

With the rebranding came a number of upgrades and enhancements, including half of the 60 guestrooms transformed into spacious open-plan self-contained apartments. Ideal for holiday couples or small families looking for greater space and privacy.

Rooms come with complimentary WiFi, flat screen TVs, refrigerator, air-conditioning and room service. Select from Superior Rooms that have either two queen beds or one single queen, a King Apartment Room with a comfy king bed, fridge, cooktop, microwave, dishwasher and bathrobes… Or for families, try their One Bedroom Suite, with two queen beds and a double sofa-bed. Whichever you select, you’ll find that all rooms are beautifully furnished with modern decor and strong colours, and the majority of bookings come with breakfast included.

With probably the best facilities in Gladstone, the hotel offers a fitness centre (at the adjacent Yaralla Sports Club), and Cafe On The Point for your dining needs. There’s complimentary WiFi and free parking too!

Located only minutes from CBD, the hotel is part of the Mantra brand that operates across Australia, New Zealand and Bali. Within walking distance of the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum, Reg Tanna Park and other attractions, make this your luxury Gladstone accommodation choice!

Click here to see the latest prices.

MID-RANGE – Oaks Gladstone Grand Hotel Review

Right in the centre of Gladstone, our selection for mid-range accommodation – Oaks Gladstone Grand Hotel – is your ideal base for exploring this region’s plethora of attractions.

Less than a kilometre from the Gladstone Art Gallery and Museum, the GECC, and the busy Gladstone Marina, the hotel is set at a prime location.

Facilities also help to make this a stand-out mid-range choice, with an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. Guests enjoy complimentary WiFi and there’s helpful Concierge staff on hand to plan out your tours and activities.

Of the 144 air-conditioned rooms across the hotel’s 9 floors, Studio Rooms or Executive Apartments are ideal for couples or families with one young child. Choose to book with or without housekeeping to save on costs, and request connecting rooms if travelling in larger groups.

In all rooms, you’ll find a dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator and stove top, along with private bathroom facilities. Most rooms come with a balcony, and all offer cable service and flat-screen television.

The Aparthotel has two restaurants, and you can end your day at their popular bar/lounge.

With modern self-contained apartments, at the centre of town, this is without doubt our choice for great value mid-range Gladstone accommodation.

Click here to see the latest prices.

BUDGET – Aaron Motel Review

Aaron Motel Gladstone

The Aaron Motel is the perfect budget option. It’s a great budget price yet this is the only thing that feels budget about it.

Located on the edge of Central Gladstone opposite Memorial Park which has tons of sporting facilities, it’s in a convenient location with parking on site.

Rooms are motel style and on the simple side while being very well maintained, seemingly recently updated and with lots of extras – like even though our room had just a microwave and a fridge and no full kitchen, there were still washing up supplies and crockery and cutlery which we appreciated.

Aaron Motel Gladstone room
Our triple room

Our triple room also had a smart TV with Netflix included, great internet and toiletries. It was very comfortable.

There’s also a queen room and a two bedroom option with more cooking equipment.

Aaron Motel Gladstone pool
The pool

On site, there is also a great pool, spa and an eating area where you can optionally pay for breakfast in the morning. You can also choose to eat here at other times of the day with your own food and they don’t even ask that you wash up after yourself. There’s also a BBQ area, TV and a special TV that you can watch from the spa if you want.

My only complaint was that outside noise came in easily but I didn’t hear any noise in the evening so it’s not really a problem.

Click here to see the latest prices.

How To Get To Gladstone

Gladstone downtown

It’s easy to get to Gladstone by plane, bus, train or car. If you have your own car, great! You are good to go.

Flights to Gladstone are regularly available from Brisbane via Qantas or Virgin Australia and take about an hour. You can also opt to take a bus for more or less 11 hours via Greyhound Australia, catch a train via Queensland Rail Travel which takes around 6 hours or go on a road journey for about 7 hours.

To see all the latest flights and prices, click here.

You can also hire a car to get you there by clicking here.

Gladstone With Kids

East Shores Water Park Gladstone with kids

Gladstone is a great place to visit with kids and many of the attractions already listed make excellent places to visit with your kids.

But what’s truly great about Gladstone is that so many of the kids’ activities are free. Picnic lunches at Tondoon Botanic Gardens, loads of playgrounds including the storybook-themed park at Barney Point foreshore.

Kids can enjoy a swim at Tannum Sands main beach, take a bike ride at Canoe Point parklands or follow the Tannum Sands Beach Boardwalk for a longer ride.

Take them fishing at Awoonga Lake or have fun at their recreation area with a campfire and roast marshmallows! Explore Spinnaker Park, full of great trails through wetlands, ocean walks and ideal for a great bbq – in fact there’s loads of outdoors space here for kids with energy to waste!

Auckland Hill Lookout gives a great view of the busy Port, but did you know there’s a waterfall on the nearby cliffs ripe for exploring and beautifully lit at night. And send your kids down the 111-steps from Auckland Hill to East Shores, that should wear them out!

Finally, and perhaps the best bet for kids, there’s East Shores Water Park. …and we haven’t even touched on the epic Great Barrier Reef, with snorkelling, wildlife encounters, submarine reef trips, the wonderful HMAS Gladstone, botanic gardens… and much more!

Final Words

Looking across Auckland Hill from Spinnaker Park Gladstone
Looking across Auckland Hill from Spinnaker Park

Gladstone is perhaps not front of mind when considering where to stay in Queensland. However, whether you’re looking for a way to reach the epic islands of the Great Barrier Reef, searching for idyllic nature and wildlife experiences, or simply choosing to immerse yourself for a few nights in this coastal region’s community feel, make Gladstone your next Aussie destination!

Read more Queensland travel guides here. Or find our guides to nearby Rockhampton here, Great Keppel Island here and Bargara/Bundaberg here.

By Anne Sutherland-Smith

Anne Sutherland-Smith is the founder of the Pretraveller and Everywhere Australia blogs which focus on travel planning. Anne has extensively explored her home country of Australia. As a result, she writes from personal experience to help others plan their Australian trips.