In just over 100km, you can travel from the bustling iconic harbour of Gladstone into Queensland’s Banana Shire and Biloela.
Best known for its busy harbour, Gladstone is also a key gateway to the ocean and islands of the Southern Great Barrier Reef including Heron and Wilson, renowned for their prolific populations of birds. Surrounded by hinterland, start this journey – from Gladstone to Biloela – in the CBD, home to galleries, gardens, heritage sites and well-stocked lakes and parks. Take the Giants of Industry Tour and you can learn all about Gladstone’s industrial past, or drive to Auckland Hill and admire the scenic city views and beyond to Port Curtis. If you’re feeling adventurous, climb Mount Larcom. Down at the marina, you’ll find fishing boats packed with catches of fresh Queensland king prawns, reef fish, scallops, bugs, oysters and the Gladstone mud crab.
Leave Gladstone and follow the signs to Calliope, home to a Historical Village, which promotes the region of Port Curtis. There’s also a local history museum beside the Bruce Highway near the Calliope River Crossing.
About 90km south-west of Gladstone via the Dawson Highway sits Lake Callide, which is an ideal spot for fishing. There’s plenty of yellowbelly, barramundi and red-claw here. Bird watchers are also attracted to this spot for a wide variety of birdlife and campers like this lake, which is equipped with toilets, picnic tables and a playground. Nearby, Kroombit Tops National Park offers spectacular scenery, 4WD tracks, trails, creeks and camping.
Continue on towards Biloela and make sure you take the 14km detour, which takes you out to historic Greycliffe Homestead and Museum. For a taste of this region’s history, wander around this open-timber homestead, which was the home of the Nott family for 100 years. Here, you can glean an honest understanding of the conditions under which the early settlers existed. Check out the blacksmith shop as well as the shed housing the old-fashioned bullock dray. Continue for another 1km and grab a selfie at the Spirit of the Land Mural on State Farm Road. This 100m long mural, which wraps around a water reservoir, tells the tale of different cultures in the region coming together, focusing on the local Indigenous inhabitants and early settlers up until 1928.
Just a 3km drive away you will encounter Biloela’s largest attraction. And by big, we mean 28 metres high. Known as the SILO, you won’t find any grain here, but displays about primary industry and insights into cotton production, stud and dairy cattle, redclaw and ostrich farming, grain production and land care.
If you feel like a slightly longer drive, continue into the town of Banana, which is not named after a fruit, but a famous bullock. Banana was yellowish in colour and used to help local stockmen herd some of the more wild cattle into the yards. There’s a statue honouring Banana. If you continue another 20km, you’ll arrive in Moura where the Moura Weir is ideal for swimming and fishing.
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