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Top 10 Things To Do in Gladstone, SA Australia (with local Hidden Gems)

01/09/2023
8 mins read
Gladstone, SA
Source: Peter

Gladstone, a charming town in South Australia, is nestled at the southern end of the stunning Flinders Ranges. This hidden gem is surrounded by captivating landscapes, historic sites, and a wealth of attractions that cater to all interests. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or adventure seeker, Gladstone has something for everyone.

Join us as we uncover the top things to do in Gladstone, SA Australia, and reveal the hidden treasures that await you in this enchanting destination. Immerse yourself in the area’s natural beauty, delve into its rich history, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the captivating world of Gladstone.

Things To Do In Gladstone, SA

1. Historic Gladstone Gaol – Step Back in Time

Experience a piece of Gladstone’s history at the Historic Gladstone Gaol. This heritage-listed former prison offers guided tours and special events, giving you a unique insight into the lives of the inmates and staff who once occupied the facility. Wander through the cells, learn about the infamous prisoners who were held here, and marvel at the well-preserved architecture.

The Historic Gladstone Gaol is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and those seeking a unique experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this fascinating site and uncover the stories that lie within its walls.

  • Address: 5 Ward St, Gladstone SA 5473, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Daily, 9 am – 5 pm
  • Distance from town: Located in the town of Gladstone

2. Kangaroo Island – A Natural Paradise

Embark on an unforgettable adventure to Kangaroo Island, a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. With activities like sand dune surfing, kayaking, and quad biking, there’s no shortage of excitement on this beautiful island. Marvel at the stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, and diverse wildlife, including kangaroos, sea lions, and koalas.

Kangaroo Island is also home to the Remarkable Rocks, a collection of striking granite formations that have been shaped by wind and rain over millions of years. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this incredible destination and create lasting memories in the great outdoors.

  • Address: Kangaroo Island, South Australia, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Varies depending on the specific attraction or activity
  • Distance from town: Approximately 300 km southwest of Gladstone, accessible via ferry from Cape Jervis
  • Best time of the year: December to February (summer) for warm weather and outdoor activities, or April to June (autumn) for mild weather and fewer crowds

3. Southern Flinders Rail Trail – Scenic Hiking Adventure

Embark on a picturesque journey through the Regional South Australia area on the Southern Flinders Rail Trail, a 34.5 km hiking trail that stretches from Booleroo Centre to Wilmington. This well-maintained trail follows the path of the old railway line, offering a unique combination of history and natural beauty. The trail is suitable for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders, making it a versatile outdoor experience for all ages and abilities.

The best time to explore the Southern Flinders Rail Trail is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is milder and more suitable for hiking. Along the trail, you’ll encounter diverse landscapes, including rolling hills, farmland, and native bushland. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and enjoy the serenity of this peaceful trail.

  • Address: The trail starts at Booleroo Centre and ends at Wilmington, SA
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn, when the weather is milder and more suitable for hiking

4. Southern Flinders Discovery Centre – Uncover the Region’s Rich History

The Southern Flinders Discovery Centre is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the history and culture of Gladstone and the surrounding region. Located on the main street of Gladstone, this information hub offers free tourist information, computer access, and a wealth of knowledge about the area’s history. The friendly volunteers are always ready for a chat and eager to share their insights with visitors.

In addition to providing valuable information, the Southern Flinders Discovery Centre also features a selection of souvenirs, home-baked biscuits, local produce, and crafts for sale. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample their delicious soft drinks and learn more about the region’s unique offerings. With its welcoming atmosphere and wealth of information, the Southern Flinders Discovery Centre is the perfect starting point for your Gladstone adventure.

  • Address: 14 Gladstone St, Gladstone, SA 5473
  • Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Best time of the year: All year round, as it is an indoor attraction

5. Mount Remarkable National Park – Discover Breathtaking Landscapes

Venture to Mount Remarkable National Park, a protected area located about 250 kilometers north of Adelaide and just a short drive from Gladstone. The park is home to the majestic Mount Remarkable, which stands at a height of 961 meters. The area boasts diverse landscapes, including rugged cliffs, lush forests, and an abundance of native wildlife.

There are numerous hiking trails within the park, catering to all ages and abilities. The park is particularly popular for bushwalking, with the 960-meter-high Mount Remarkable Summit offering stunning views of the Willochra Plain and the Spencer Gulf. The best time to visit Mount Remarkable National Park is during the spring and autumn months, when the weather is more pleasant for outdoor activities.

  • Address: Mount Remarkable National Park, SA, Australia
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn, when the weather is more pleasant for outdoor activities

6. Magnetic Hill – Experience the Unexplained Phenomenon

Add a touch of mystery to your Gladstone adventure by visiting Magnetic Hill, a unique attraction located near the town. This intriguing site is known for its unexplained phenomenon where vehicles appear to roll uphill when placed in neutral. Although the effect is an optical illusion, it’s a fascinating experience that has intrigued visitors for years.

Magnetic Hill is easily accessible by car and is a popular stop for those traveling through the region. It’s a fun and unusual addition to any Gladstone itinerary, providing a memorable experience for the whole family.

  • Address: Near Gladstone, South Australia
  • Best time of the year: All year round, as it is an outdoor attraction

7. Gladstone High Wines – A Unique Wine-Tasting Experience

For a truly unique wine-tasting experience, visit Gladstone High Wines, a winery located at Gladstone High School. This innovative project offers visitors the opportunity to sample a range of wines produced by the school’s viticulture program. The wines are crafted using grapes grown in the school’s vineyard, providing a local and sustainable product for visitors to enjoy.

Gladstone High Wines’ opening hours may vary, so it’s recommended to check their website or call ahead to confirm their current schedule. This one-of-a-kind winery is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts and those looking to support local initiatives.

  • Address: Gladstone High School, 20 Fifth St, Gladstone, SA 5473
  • Opening Hours: Check their website or call for current hours, as they may vary
  • Distance from town: Located in Gladstone town

8. Gladstone Buildings and Railway Walk – Explore Local History

Take a step back in time with a guided tour of Gladstone’s historic sandstone buildings and unique three-gauge railway history. The walking tour takes approximately an hour and offers a fascinating insight into the town’s architectural and transportation heritage.

Gladstone Buildings and Railway Walk is an excellent opportunity for history buffs and those interested in architecture to learn more about the town’s past and its role in the development of the region.

  • Address: Gladstone, SA, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Varies depending on the specific tour or activity
  • Distance from town: Located in the town of Gladstone

9. The Booyoolee Brew – A Culinary Delight

Treat your taste buds to a delicious meal at The Booyoolee Brew, a licensed restaurant and coffee bar in Gladstone. With a cozy atmosphere and a menu featuring a variety of dishes, The Booyoolee Brew is a popular dining spot for both locals and visitors alike.

Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in a delightful culinary experience at this charming restaurant during your visit to Gladstone.

  • Address: Gladstone, South Australia, Australia
  • Opening Hours: Check their Facebook page for updated hours and information
  • Distance from town: Located in the town of Gladstone

10. Melrose – Explore the Oldest Town in the Flinders Ranges

Take a day trip to Melrose, the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges, located approximately 57.94 km from Gladstone. This charming town is nestled at the base of Mount Remarkable and offers a range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Stroll through the town’s historic streets, visit local shops and cafes, or embark on one of the many walking trails in the area.

Melrose is also home to several annual events, including the Fat Tyre Festival, a mountain biking event that attracts participants from all over Australia. The best time to visit Melrose is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is more suitable for outdoor activities.

  • Address: Melrose, South Australia
  • Best time of the year: Spring and autumn, when the weather is more suitable for outdoor activities

Towns Nearby Gladstone, SA

Here are some nearby towns/suburbs around Gladstone, SA Australia, along with their highlights, attractions, distance from Gladstone, and reasons why they are worth visiting:

  1. Port Pirie, SA (60 km from Gladstone): Known for its rich history and heritage, Port Pirie offers attractions such as the Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery and the National Trust Museum. It’s a great destination for history buffs and art enthusiasts.
  2. Jamestown, SA (40 km from Gladstone): A charming town in the Southern Flinders Ranges, Jamestown is home to the Bundaleer Forest, a beautiful area for bushwalking and picnicking. The town also hosts the Jamestown Air Spectacular, a biennial event showcasing aerial displays and vintage aircraft.
  3. Clare, SA (90 km from Gladstone): Located in the heart of the Clare Valley wine region, Clare offers a range of wineries, cellar doors, and gourmet food experiences. Don’t miss the Riesling Trail, a popular walking and cycling track that winds through the picturesque vineyards and countryside.
  4. Burra, SA (130 km from Gladstone): A historic mining town, Burra boasts well-preserved heritage buildings, fascinating museums, and the Burra Mine Site, a significant industrial heritage site. Explore the town’s rich history and enjoy the scenic landscapes of the surrounding region.
  5. Port Augusta, SA (200 km from Gladstone): Situated at the head of the Spencer Gulf, Port Augusta offers a range of attractions, including the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, the Wadlata Outback Centre, and the Pichi Richi Railway. It’s a great base for exploring the Flinders Ranges and the Outback.
  6. Whyalla, SA (270 km from Gladstone): Known for its steel industry and shipbuilding history, Whyalla offers attractions such as the Whyalla Maritime Museum, the Mount Laura Homestead Museum, and the scenic Hummock Hill Lookout. The town is also a popular destination for fishing and water sports.

Getting To Gladstone, SA

To get to Gladstone, SA Australia from common destinations or origins as a local tourist, you have several options for both public transport and driving.

From Adelaide, SA:

  • By bus: Genesis Transport operates a bus from Adelaide to Gladstone once a week. The journey takes approximately 3 hours.
  • By car: Drive north on the A1 highway for about 200 km. The drive takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

From Port Pirie, SA:

  • By bus: There is no direct bus connection from Port Pirie to Gladstone. However, you can take a taxi to Crystal Brook, then take a bus to Gladstone.
  • By car: Drive southeast on the B79 route for about 41.84 km (26 miles). The drive takes approximately 26 minutes.

From Jamestown, SA:

  • By car: Drive southeast on the B79 route for about 28.97 km (18 miles). The drive takes approximately 18 minutes.

From Clare, SA:

  • By car: Drive northwest on the B82 route for about 75.64 km (47 miles). The drive takes approximately 50 minutes.

For public transport options from other nearby towns, use the South Australia Public Transport website (https://www.adelaidemetro.com.au) or app to plan your journey, as it provides detailed information on bus routes, schedules, and ticketing.

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