Islands of Gladstone Region

Home to an abundance of island getaways situated upon the southern Great Barrier Reef, the Gladstone region is one of Queensland’s best-kept secrets!

About the islands of Gladstone Region

Located in the heart of the southern Great Barrier Reef, the Gladstone region is home to an abundance of pristine islands that the rest of the Australia knows little about. 

Which Gladstone Region island is perfect for you? 

Gladstone CBD boasts a number of islands all just a short ferry or boat trip away including Quoin Island, Boyne Island, Curtis Island and Facing Island.

  • If a remote camping adventure is on your holiday to do list, then a visit to Facing Island or Curtis Island is a must. 
  • Boyne Island is the perfect beach getaway for couples, families, fishing enthusiasts or those simply seeking some watersport action. 
  • Heron Island is UNESCO World Heritage-listed and is known as the provider of some of Australia’s best snorkel and scuba diving spots. 
  • Further north of Gladstone you will stumble upon Wilson Island and Lady Musgrave Island. These remote beauties are well-known for their exceptional coral reefs, white sandy beaches and fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving locations.

Whether you are looking for that perfect secret fishing spot, off the beaten track 4WD adventure, your very own secluded beach, an intimate wildlife experience or untouched coral cays, the Gladstone region is calling your name!

Boyne Island is the perfect beach getaway for couples, families, fishing enthusiasts or those simply seeking some watersport action. Situated around 25km south of Gladstone CBD, Boyne Island and its twin town Tannum Sands offer stunning beaches, parklands, riverside trails and a relaxed vibe.

The town itself is bustling with cafes, eateries, shops and an array of accommodation to suit your style of travel including caravan parks, camping grounds, motels, and hotels.

Top things to do: 
  • If camping is on your to do list, then we highly recommend venturing to the secluded campgrounds of Lilley’s Beach. The beach’s main draw card is the fact that it can only be reached by 4WD. Lilley’s Beach is well known for its superb swimming spots, excellent fishing, and natural beauty. Permits are needed to access the camping ground so make sure you plan in advance!
  • To really enjoy the peaceful bushland, sand dunes and parks that Boyne Island has on offer, ride a bike or take a walk through the 15km of trails throughout Turtle Way. The walkways are a fantastic vantage point to spot for the area’s rich marine and bird life.
  • With great weather all year round make the most of the many swimming spots located on the island including Main Beach on Millennium Esplanade, Canoe Point Beach, and Tannum Sands.
  • The island is also home to Australia’s largest Aluminum Smelter which is Queensland’s largest user of electricity. A visit to the Smelter Visitor Centre provides interesting information about the Smelter and its significance.

Lady Musgrave Island is one of the most popular island getaways in the Gladstone region. Home to an abundance of unspoiled beaches, pristine coral cays and marine life, the island is best accessed from the coastal towns of Agnes Waters and Seventeen Seventy.

The island’s main draw card is its uniqueness. It is the only Great Barrier Reef location that provides big vessel access to both the island itself and entrance to the lagoon. The Lady Musgrave National Park sits upon 3,000 acres of living outer reef and a deepwater coral lagoon.

Snorkelling and diving Lady Musgrave

The tours that operate to Lady Musgrave Island cater for all types of visitors, which may be another reason the island is so well-known. Boat tours depart all year round from Seventeen Seventy and you can cater to your own desires, whether it be snorkeling, scuba diving, a glass bottom boat tour, sunbathing on the pontoon or exploring the beaches and nature on the island.

The perfect year-round conditions cater for all types of swimming levels, snorkellers, and scuba divers. Certified divers have access to many dive sites on the fringe of Lady Musgrave Lagoon, ranging from coral dives to wall dives. For the less experienced, there is a PADI Discover Program available.

Camping is available on the island for those seeking a little adventure and permits need to be purchased in advance. For the non-camping enthusiasts, Agnes Waters and Seventeen Seventy offer a range of accommodation options spanning from backpacker hostels, motels, hotels, caravan parks and resorts. 

Heron Island can be found around 80km northeast of Gladstone CBD. Popular among the snorkeling and scuba diving community, Heron Island sits upon Heron Reef, a lagoon platform reef boasting 72 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral species and 900 of the Reef’s 1,500 species of fish.

Stay at the Heron Island Resort for a true island getaway. You'll also find all types of accommodation options in Gladstone CBD and a number of tours and transport options to the island.

Top things to do:
  • Explore some of Australia’s best snorkeling and scuba diving sites at Heron Island. The island’s profusion of marine life attracts snorkellers and scuba divers from across the globe. 
  • Witness the wonder of nesting sea turtles. The island’s rainforest, sand dunes and rich flora and fauna provide the perfect habitat for an abundance of nesting sea turtles and bird life. 
  • On the island, you will also find the University of Queensland Heron Island Research Station. The facility is one of the primary coral reef research stations in the world.

With 8,222 islands in Australia, it can be quite easy to venture beyond the tourist trail and stumble upon your own secluded paradise. If you are seeking the ultimate castaway experience, then a trip to Wilson Island is a must!

Located in the southern Great Barrier Reef and around 70km north of Gladstone CBD, the island is home to an abundance of marine and wildlife and is a natural habitat for nesting birds and turtles.

Wilson Island offers both exclusive ‘glamping’ resort accommodation for up to 12 guests, as well as day packages. Accommodation books out quickly so you will need to book well in advance! The resort is closed throughout February to protect the bird’s nesting throughout the season. Day trip packages include return boat transfers from Heron Island which is located around 15km away, as well as morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and snorkel hire.

Top things to do:
  • Throughout November to March, you will likely experience a colony of Green Turtles making their way along the shorefront to nest their eggs. From January through to April these little creatures begin hatching before making their way into the big wide ocean. If visiting during this time, simply take a walk along the beach 1 to 2 hours after the afternoon’s high tide and you will more than likely witness this miraculous event without the herds of tourists! 
  • The island itself is a small sandy cay offering white sandy beaches, dense Pisonia Forest and exceptionally clear and calm waters ideal for snorkeling and swimming.
  • Throughout June to September, the island is a fantastic vantage point to witness the Humpback Whale migration along the east coast.
How to get there:
  • To reach Heron Island, there is a daily ferry that departs from Gladstone CBD at 11.00am.
  • Looking to take it up a notch? There are also Helicopter transfers available.

A short ferry ride from Gladstone CBD will have you arrive at Facing Island, a popular camping, fishing, bushwalking and 4WD island getaway. The island boasts dense bushland, white sandy coastlines, pristine fishing and unknown surfing spots. 

Top things to do: 
  • Explore the abundance of 4WD and bushwalking trails that will lead you through natural forestation and to picturesque coastal headlands overlooking the Coral Sea. Don’t forget to look out for Dolphins!
  • Facing Island is well known for its fantastic crabbing and fishing locations. Venture to the southern reef of Facing Island and cast a line for Coral Trout, Tune, Mackerel, Cod and Sweetlip. The northern tip of the island is well known for its Whiting, Flathead, Dart and Bream communities.
  • Spend a weekend camping at The Oaks Camping Ground. The camping ground offers beachfront views and is only accessible by 4WD. Permits are required to stay on the island and can be purchased from the Gladstone Information Centre.
How to get there: 
  • The island is accessible by both private boat and a public barge from Gladstone Harbour.
  • The ferry departs daily and is just a short ride to both Facing Island and nearby Curtis Island.

Located just 5km off the coast of Gladstone CBD, Quoin Island is a popular get away for the region’s locals. The island is nestled within Gladstone Harbour and offers views over the city and its stretch of sandy coastline.

Quoin Island Retreat offers both on island accommodation and a bustling atmosphere. The retreat is a popular go to for locals and hosts a fantastic Sunday session!

Top things to do: 
  • Explore the island's many fantastic beaches, fishing spots, and bushwalking trails.
  • Discover the island's population of breeding seabirds with many types of bird species nesting on the island all year round.
  • Enjoy a free educational tour at the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. The centre can rehabilitate up to ten marine turtles at any given time and houses multiple containment tanks, a 9m swimming pool and a dry dock room. 
How to get there: 
  • Catch the ferry from Gladstone CBD or organise a private charter boat.

Just a short ferry ride from Gladstone CBD sits Curtis Island, a wild, rugged and natural paradise. The island is a popular getaway for Gladstone locals and is one of the many hidden gems that can be found in the southern Great Barrier Reef.

This unique island paradise is home to towering sand dunes, salt flats, rugged bushland, picturesque headlands, stunning beaches, natural swimming holes, great fishing and an abundance of wildlife. Curtis Island offers three camping sites and can be accessed by either private boat or barge from Gladstone Harbour. 

The only way to get around on the island is by 4WD, which is the reason why so many adventurers love this hidden paradise!

Top things to do: 
  • Both the east and west sides of the island boast stunning sandy beaches, pristine bays and natural swimming holes ideal for lazing the day away. The eastern side of Curtis Island offers some fantastic snorkelling spots.
  • The island’s rainforest hosts an array of 4WD and bushwalking tracks that will lead you through lush wetlands and rugged wilderness. You may even be lucky enough to spot Wild Horses roaming through the bushlands. One of our favourite 4WD hidden gems is Connors Bluff in the northern tip of Curtis Island.
  • Throughout October to March, the island’s sand dunes become a nesting and hatching ground for Flatback Turtles.
  • The island is a popular location for bird spotting with Parrots, Cockatoos, Sea Eagles, Black Swans and the rare Yellow Chat known to call this stunning island home.
  • Pay a visit to Cape Capricorn Headland for some mind-blowing photo opportunities. 
  • On the southern end of the island, you will find Capricorn Lodge, a homely spot for a nibble or a drink at the bar.
  • Venture to Boatshed Point and you will find a historic cottage that was built in the 1930s.​

Get to know the islands of Gladstone Region

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