THERE is no better feeling than relaxing at anchor, being wistfully rocked by gentle waves and star gazing on deck.
Gladstone waterways are renowned as a bustling economic pulse for the country.
Although the harbour is frequented by shipping movements, there are secluded anchorage spots every mariner in Gladstone deserves to know about.
The southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef is our pride and joy, and there is no better way to enjoy its spoils and treasures than from the water.
1 Lady Musgrave Island
GPS: 23.9002648°S ,152.4048291°E
How to get there: A 90-minute boat venture from the Town of 1770, 32 nautical miles stands between the mainland and the true experience of a castaway island.
A deep water channel allows vessels entrance to the lagoon on the northeast. Be cautious of shallow coral bommies inside the lagoon, and also the several green zones.
Why it is great: One for experienced boaties only, the coral reef surrounding Lady Musgrave Island on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef is superb for snorkelling, birdlife and stunning sunsets. The island is the only navigable lagoon on the Great Barrier Reef, and it lies on Gladstone's doorstep.
Tips: Moorings and campsites are limited. It's in a World Heritage Site, so make every effort to respect zoning regulations and local wildlife such as turtles and coral reefs. Plan your trip well in advance and exercise great caution.
The island has no fresh water but there's a composting toilet. If camping on the island, respect the 40-camper limit. Extended stays are not permitted, but trips to nearby Masthead Island and North West Island are highly recommended.
Watch out for: 350 varieties of vibrant corals and 1300 species of fish.
2 Colosseum Inlet
GPS: -24.009517, 151.569191
How to get there: Only 11.97km southeast of Tannum Sands, the entrance bar at the mouth of the inlet usually ranges from 15 to 20m, deeper in the main channel and in several large estuaries branching off the main creek. The area of coral bommies at the entrance of the inlet is a popular location to anchor the boat.
Why it is great: Another scenic Central Queensland locale, Colosseum Inlet promises great fishing in a protected inlet close to amenities. A fish habitat area comprised mostly of estuarine systems, Colosseum Inlet boasts extensive mangroves, island banks, wide channels, sea grass and a small coral community.
Tips: Water movement across this bar needs to be watched carefully before crossing. As with all bars, When wind and tide oppose each other the bar can turn nasty.
3 Round Hill Creek
GPS: 24.193725°S,151.865955,14° E
How to get there: If travelling from Gladstone, proceed south past Eurimbula National Park. The entrance to Round Hill lies between two capes, the one to the left being Joseph Banks Conservation Park.
Why it is great: Round Hill Creek is a sheltered and pristine area in the Town of 1770, holding great historical significance for Australians as the berth of Captain Cook on board the Endeavour. Round Hill also offers an awesome opportunity for offshore fishing and water activities such as kayaking, jet skiing and tubing.
The beachside town of 1770 is a popular tourist destination with pristine water and an abundance of wildlife and recreational opportunities.
Tips: The entrance to Round Hill Creek can be unpredictable during the changing tides. The Round Hill Volunteer Marine Rescue group was established to guide and assist boaties navigating the creek and surrounding waterways. If you have any concerns, the friendly volunteers are on call 24-7.