Gladstone is central Queensland's most important commercial, industrial and port city. Most of the agricultural and mining produce that is produced in the central Queensland region leaves Australia through the ports at Gladstone and Hay Point. Electric rail lines connect the coal fields and the surrounding cites like Rockhampton to the wharves in Gladstone. On the industrial side, Gladstone has two aluminum smelters, a power station and a host of service industries that provide backup for the mining industry. Hundreds of international ships load in Gladstone each year for dozens of overseas destinations. Gladstone can be reached directly by air or rail and regular flights service the city through Gladstone airport.
On the holiday side, Gladstone has a beautiful new marina. It is the departure point for a large commercial fishing fleet and many fishing charter boats that offer extended trips to the Swains Reefs. The Great Barrier Reef is just offshore and Gladstone is the main departure point for the internationally known resort on Heron Island. There are a large number of reefs just offshore and many have islands that allow camping. Some of these have permanent toilet facilities to lessen the impact campers might have on the pristine environment of these islands. Many school groups come to places like North West island for school camps and to learn about the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem.
Gladstone is a thriving city at the centre of a great subtropical region. It is a good place for a stopover if you are taking a campervan or motorhome holiday and there are a number of excellent caravan parks in the region. If you are touring up the coast of Queensland on your holiday, make sure you call into Gladstone for a short stay.