Calling all Queenslanders dreaming of sunny road trips and glorious beach days—this is your official sign to hit the road. As you pack your bags and head off on your coastal Queensland adventure, we’re here to guide you through the best spots to eat, drink, sleep and be merry on your journey.
Your first stop? The gorgeous Gladstone Region. Packed with beachside adventures and boasting access to the iconic Southern Great Barrier Reef, we've teamed up with Gladstone Region to guide you to all the best local haunts, watering-holes and stays that will take your road trip to the next level. Pro tip—be sure to visit during turtle season between October and May to witness all the cuteness.
Things To Do
Ferry your way to the Great Barrier Reef
First things first, if you’re looking for access to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, hop aboard the Curtis Ferry Services. Whether you’re looking for nighttime cruises, a day of reef island hopping, or transport to and from the most idyllic, beachside camping ground you’ve ever laid eyes on, Curtis Ferry Services will get you there.
Explore one of Australia’s historical hot spots
Experience the town of Seventeen Seventy and board 1770 LARC! Tours' bright pink amphibious vehicle where you’ll get to check out the first landing place of James Cook. Choose from a selection of historical tours such as the full day signature Paradise Tour where you can explore Queensland's one and only operating lighthouse, Bustard Head Lightstation, sandboard on Middle Island and explore 27 kilometres of pristine coastline.
Soak in local artwork amongst natural beauty
Bike your way down Turtleway Bikeway to admire the public art that lines the scenic route. The Boyne Tannum Turtleway Artscape is a community project that highlights local artists, installing their work along the stunning Boyne River and beyond to draw attention to historically significant spots along the way. Spend a day moving from artwork to artwork to learn about the local community, history, and stories of the region.
MAKE THE MOST OF TURTLE SEASON On Heron Island
A getaway on Heron Island during turtle season is pure magic. Here, you can get up close and personal with turtle nests on sprawling white sandy beaches, spend your days snorkelling along side them and your nights on the beach with a wine in hand as you watch the sun fall behind the ocean. While you're bound to sight turtles all year round, we recommend planning your trip between October—May.
Kayak your way through picturesque waters
What better way to explore the crystal clear ocean of Agnes Water and Town of 1770 than on the water itself? 1770 Liquid Adventures will hook you up with kayak tours that lead you through the stunning majesty that is the birth place of Queensland. Book their nature tour for a complete look at the area, or wait until sunset and watch the sun fall over the horizon as you lie back in your kayak.
Where to Eat
The garden cafe at 1770 Getaway
The Garden Cafe at 1770 Getaway is tucked away in a lush, tropical scene. A local favourite, head here for an extensive menu that has something for everyone. Stop in for a late lunch to catch local kangaroos dining on an afternoon graze. Hankering for something sweet? Be sure to take a peek into their desserts cabinet of homemade cakes, slices and pastries.
Gladstone Fish Market
For those of you who can’t resist freshly caught seafood, there is no better place to grab the catch of the day than Gladstone Fish Market. Here you’ll find a wide range of delicious marine eats as well as classic market fare. You can either stock up and prepare your own seafood feast or head to the legendary fish and chip shop where freshly cooked prawns, bugs, fish and more are awaiting you.
Drift & Wood RESTAURANT
Nestled in Sancastles 1770 Motel & Resort, if you're in the mood for exceptional pizza look no further than Drift & Wood. Helmed by Chef Gracie Sharwood, the menu showcases fresh seasonal produce paired with an extensive wine list.
Sip on ice cold beers served alongside fresh prawns as you gaze over the harbour views at Flavours Marina. This community favourite is known for their legendary Sunday sesh where each weekend they serve up bespoke cocktails alongside their usual tapas menu. Not in a savoury mood? Their in-house pastry chef is known for whipping up 'grammable desserts that taste as good as they look.
Where to Drink
Gladstone's first waterfront microbrewery, Auckland House is where you'll want to spend your weekend evenings with a slew of regular live music, flowing cocktails and plenty of craft beer to wrap your hands around.
Lightbox Espresso and Wine Bar
Whether you’re a coffee or wine lover, you have to check out Lightbox Espresso and Wine Bar the next time you’re travelling through Gladstone. This trendy spot is all about perfecting the experience of drinking, offering an impressive and unique menu of handpicked wines, delicious coffee, bespoke cocktails, and French champagne.
Katrina's Bar 1770
For a cocktail with a view, make a beeline for Katrina's Bar 1770. Perfect for soaking in the sunset views of the marina, here you'll find expertly crafted tipples, cold beer and local wines to see out the days end.
Agnes Water Tavern
For classic pub vibes, you can’t go past the Agnes Water Tavern. Sporting a vibey beer garden and all your favourite brews on tap, this is the ideal tav to grab a cheeky beer and catch some local talent perform live.
Where to Stay
Wilson Island Reef Safari Tents
Looking for camping vibes without the hassle of actually camping? Wilson Island is home to permanent Reef Safari Tents so that you can enjoy the ultimate luxe camping trip minus the work. Wake up to the sound of the ocean, mere metres from your cosy king bed, and enjoy breakfast made by the resident chef. Spend your days snorkelling through the Great Barrier Reef, exploring the lush landscape, and sipping cocktails on your private deck as you soak in the sunset.
Discovery Parks - Tannum Sands
For a more traditional camping experience, head to Tannum Sands. For those on a vanning adventure, you can park your camper here. Otherwise, pitch a tent and make the most of their resort-style pool and tennis court. They also have adorable cabins for those who are still looking for a budget stay but aren’t down with the tent experience.
Just minutes from the city centre, Mantra Gladstone is the perfect spot for those looking to unplug and relax, complete with all the ammenties you'd need for your travels. Better yet, head downstairs to Pacinos for a bite of classic Italian and modern Australian cuisine.
Pavillions oN 1770
The closest resort to the beach in town, Pavillions on 1770 checks all the boxes. With spacious fully equipped apartments with spa baths and balconies and pools, its the perfect base to bliss out between activites.
From making the most of turtle season to beachside adventures, it's all waiting for you in the Gladstone Region.You'll be turtle-y glad you visited.
Image credit: TEQ, Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited