Gladstone is an industrial city with one of Australia’s busiest ports, which handles most of Queensland’s mineral and agricultural exports. The city is also home to the country’s largest aluminium smelter and cement operation and Queensland’s biggest power station. There is nothing of interest to backpackers in the city, but the marina is the main launching point for boats to the Great Barrier Reef’s southern islands, as well as the diving in Fitzroy Bay near Heron Island.
The residents of Gladstone are active with marine activities and each Easter they celebrate the Gladstone Harbour Festival and the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race. The Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Auckland Hill Lookout and Gecko Valley winery are some of the few attractions in the immediate area. There is only one hostel in town, but it is a great place to stay on your way through.