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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
How long does it take to get to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns? It very well may seem like a simple and easy question to answer, however, there are so many variables that make the answer not quite as straight forward as you may have initially thought.
No matter whether you are a snorkeller or a certified scuba diver, there are number of amazing Great Barrier Reef experiences that are a once in a lifetime absolutely ‘must do’. And a Minke Whale snorkel and dive Expedition is one of those that should be on your list!
Thinking of becoming a Certified Scuba Diver and looking to do your learn to scuba dive PADI certificate? Do you wish to learn to dive with a high quality professional company that has an outstanding reputation for not only skill but also safety and can match this with some of the best liveaboard dive boat fleets on the Great Barrier Reef?
This tour is special in so many ways, and is unrivalled to all other reef tours in Far North Queensland. First of all, it has the shortest open water crossing to get to the Great Barrier Reef. Fantastic news for anyone prone to motion sickness. Although this tour is a ‘Reef’ tour, it includes a ‘River Cruise’ on the journey there with Island activities on arrival. And a huge PLUS to guests that like to avoid the crowds, it has one of the lowest passenger capacities of all the island tours with a maximum of 100 guests. The destination is to an uninhabited continental island called Normanby in National Park which is part of the archipelago of Frankland Islands. It is located 10km offshore from the mouth of the Russell and Mulgrave Rivers at Russell Heads, which is approximately 45km South-East of Cairns. The Normanby Island has an abundance of wildlife not only in the water, but also on the island itself. The island is pristine, and has its own rainforest and a fringing reef not far out from its sandy shores. There are also coral gardens located further out from the island for the those that want to explore the deeper waters.
This is not a blog, it is a pitch on how good this Great Barrier Reef 2 day 1 night liveaboard dive trip from Cairns is such good value. One of our team members wrote it because she thinks it is such an amazing good value Great Barrier Reef tour, she wanted to write about it and put it on our Barrier Reef Australia blog page. We were not sure it was appropriate to pitch a single tour but we decided on free speech and free opinions so read more if you are inclined, or go to another page now. From our wonderful Great Barrier Reef Tour Specialist Chelsea Are you looking for a good value liveaboard Great Barrier Reef scuba diving adventure from Cairns without the crowds? Do you want the best dive deal money can buy in Cairns? If your answer is yes, then check out what deals we have on offer with our Great Barrier Reef Tour 2 Day 1 Night Sail, Snorkel and Scuba Dive tour!
If you are scared of the water and the creatures that live there or have never been exposed to an aquatic life in your younger years, but still wish to live out that lifelong dream of seeing the iconic wonders of the world the Great Barrier Reef, then that is okay, we have a tour that will enable you to see the coral reef from above the water and also below the water’s surface without you even getting your hair wet!