Southern Great Barrier Reef

Just 4 hours drive from Brisbane, stretching from Bundaberg through to Gladstone, Rockhampton and right up the Capricorn Coast, the Southern Great Barrier Reef is the official start of one of the world’s great wonders. With authentic seaside towns and island gems, the Southern Great Barrier Reef provides a picture-perfect getaway.
 

Bundaberg

If you ask any Queenslander what they think of when they hear Bundaberg, they'd probably say rum and it's no question why - Bundaberg is the home of Australia's most popular rum distillery. It's bursting with flavour, boasting locally-produced drinks and home-grown food from its rich soil. Adventure here begins on land and extends to the sea ...

Mon Repos, on the coast of Bundaberg, supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.

It is an amazing sight to see these huge creatures heaving their way up the beach to find a safe spot to dig a nest and lay their eggs. And then, if you're lucky, to come back some 6-8 weeks later and see the tiny hatchlings emerging from their sandy nests to scurry down the beach towards the sea.

Turtle-watching at Mon Repos
Tourism Queensland

Gladstone Region

Smack bang in the centre of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, you'll find the Gladstone region. The outdoors are the main focus here and you can enjoy many an outdoor activity; fishing, camping, sailing, swimming and hiking ... to name a few. 

The reef islands in this part of the world are easily accessible from the small seaside town of Seventeen Seventy (Town of 1770) and Gladstone harbour. Dive, snorkel and swim with turtles at Heron Island or camp on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef on Lady Musgrave Island (pictured). 

Lady Musgrave Island
Discover 1770

Rockhampton

Founded in 1853, Rockhampton is home to heritage post offices, historic streetscapes, majestic cathedrals and quaint homes. The Rockhampton Heritage Village is an active township museum where you'll be able to step back in time and discover the region's rich history. Soak up the historic Queensland architecture, grand sandstone pubs and memories of the gold rush era.

While you're in one of the pubs, make sure you grab a steak, as Rockhampton is the beef capital of Australia. For a true experience make sure you check out the weekly rodeo at the back of the pub at the Great Western Hotel (pictured).

If you're a fan of nature, you'll love exploring Mount Archer National Park. The mountain is 604m above sea level, so you're guaranteed a great view of Rockhampton and the coast. The Capricorn Caves, located 23km north, are a series of limestone caves that are definitely worth a visit. For aboriginal history, head to the Dreamtime Cultural Centre, set in bushland on Ancient Tribal Sites.

Prefer to fish? From open sea-fishing for red emperor and sweet lip, to lake fishing for barramundi – they’re all here for the catching!

Rodeo in Rockhampton
Queensland

Mackay

If you're looking for a destination that brings nature to life, then look no further than the Mackay region. From beach-lounging wallabies at Cape Hillsborough National Park, to super-cute platypus in Eungella National Park and secluded beaches that only a local would know, it's got natural attractions on tap.

Locals have been exploring Eungella National Park for years, but there's always something new to be discovered in Australia’s oldest and longest stretch of sub-tropical rainforest. Pack your swimwear and take a dip in the fresh waters of Finch Hatton Gorge. 

If you'd prefer to be ocean-side, jump in a kayak, or packing the fishing rods and hiking gear and get out to experience one of the Great Barrier Reef islands just offshore. Organise a charter boat to get you out to one of the nearby islands to explore the walking trails, snorkel in waters teeming with coral and marine life, and camp blissfully disconnected from the world.

Kangaroo on the beach
Shutterstock

The Infinity Experience

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Become a Master Blender
Visit the Bundaberg Rum Distillery for the opportunity to blend your own rum. Pour it, cap it, label it and leave with two personalised bottles ... one to keep and one to enjoy.