Being a port city, Gladstone's local commerce is primarily industrial-based and include large-scale industrial plants include alumina refineries, aluminium smelting, heavy chemicals and shale oil. Due to its close proximity to the Southern Great Barrier Reef and the Capricorn Bunker group of Islands, Gladstone has also become a popular destination for holiday makers and sea changers alike.

Where is it?: Queensland: Capricorn Coast. Gladstone is 532 km north of Brisbane and and 100km south-east of Rockhampton, via Bruce Highway.

Lookouts: Auckland Lookout, at the end of Auckland Street, has panoramic views over the mouth of the Colliope River, the port area and Curtis Channel.

Surrounding area

Lake Awoonga (25km south) draws many visitors, with free barbecues, swimming, landscaped walking trails, as well as a cafe and caravan park. The lake has been stocked with several fish species since 1996, and over 2 million barramundi have been released, with the largest caught at the end of 2005 weighing in at a hefty 30.3kg. Lake Awoonga is the primary source of Gladstone's water supply.

Capricorn Bunker group

Gladstone is the set-off point for dive trips to the Capricorn Bunker group, snorkelling in deepwater coral lagoons, personalised reef fishing tours, or the simple pleasure of watching turtle hatchlings enter the water for the first time. Island destinations include Fitzroy Reef, Heron Island, Lady Musgrave Island, North West Island, Boyne Island and Wilson Island.

Heron Island is a coral cay located near the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern Great Barrier Reef, 72 km north-east of Gladstone. The eastern half of the island is protected and forms part of the Capricornia Cays National Park, with a permanent ranger's station onsite. The island has a holiday resort.

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Calliope River Historical Village

Calliope is a vibrant rural community, about 20 minutes drive west of Gladstone near the cross-roads of the Bruce Highway and the Dawson Highway. Just north along the highway is the Calliope River Historical Village, which captures some of the early history of the Port Curtis area.

About Gladstone

Gladstone is a major stop on the North Coast railway line, with many long-distance passenger trains operated by QR TravelTrain stopping in the area. Freight trains also pass through the region. Gladstone is serviced by the Gladstone Airport with daily flights to the state's capital city Brisbane and other locations around the state. A train station is serviced by the famous QR Tilt Train and other state trains.

In the past few years the city has experienced major growth booms with industries setting up and expanding, new services have been provided to cope but are not doing quite well. The city centre is being re-developed (and currently open) to attract visitors back to the city instead of outer suburban malls.

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