There’s a moment as you drive into Agnes Water, where you roll over the very last crest of Round Hill Road and the ocean comes into view beyond the small town.
The shoreline breaks away and the bright blue ocean begins, stretching out until it meets the sky on the horizon. In that moment, you take a sharp inhale of air because it is so beautiful – you just want to be in that water and you know you’ve arrived somewhere really special.
If you drive up from Brisbane it should take you six to seven hours to get there, depending on traffic. The drive is easy and you can stop at sleepy Queensland towns along the way to buy trays of mangoes, paw through thrift stores and grab a bite to eat.
If you live for Wi-Fi, you may be a bit disappointed, as there isn’t really any in town, and you’ll find your phone’s internet doesn’t work too well, either.
This is an absolute blessing, though. It gives you time to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself and those around you. It is an absolutely beautiful part of Queensland’s coastline and, given it’s still not too well-known, makes for the perfect holiday destination.
Life's a beach (or two)
Stepping on to Agnes Beach is like stepping on to a beach straight out of a postcard. The main beach is about five kilometres long and pretty straight until you reach Round Hill, north of Agnes.
During peak season, the beach is packed with families, backpackers and other holidaymakers. It’s a patrolled beach, which is great for those with kids, and a great place to learn to surf.
I kinda don’t want to tell you about Chinamans Beach because it’s a bit of a secret, making it a chilled-out haven. It’s a short drive south of Agnes Water town past the police station and library.
You’ll find the access road to the beach on the left-hand side of Springs Road, if you’re driving south, just past the desalination plant. The winding road opens up to spectacular views of the ocean and will make you feel desperate to jump in the water.
The beach itself has rocks to the left, ideal for on-shore fishing. To the right there’s a long stretch of beach where only a handful of people can be seen.
The gate opens at 6am. I recommend waking up super early to catch the sunrise and have a dip before anybody else gets there.
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Get back to nature
The newly opened Paperbark Forest Boardwalk is a few kilometres south of Agnes Water town, along the right-hand side of Springs Road.
This beautiful spot is a 400-metre trail of stepping stones and wooden walkways winding through magical scenery of towering paperbark tea trees.
Like an enchanted forest straight out of a storybook, it is home to butterflies, native birds and other wildlife. Be sure to pack some bug repellant, though, as the mosquitoes, midges and sandflies mean business.
If you take a drive further south down Springs Road in the morning or at dusk, you’re likely to spot some beautiful whip-tailed wallabies nibbling and grazing by the roadside.
Also known as pretty-faced wallabies – based on the beautiful markings across their cheeks and their big, round ears – these sweet creatures will let you take photos as long as you’re quiet and stay in the car.
Eat, drink and be merry
When it comes to food, Agnes Water has no shortage of places to grab a bite. If your accommodation has an on-site barbecue, you should try cooking some local seafood for a real Gladstone experience.
Head up to the local bakery on Round Hill Road and join the queue for one of the best pies in town. Next door at SOL Foods you can stock up on raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and organic treats such as cakes, slices and salads.
Despite the name, 1770 Getaway is located in Agnes Water near Chinamans Beach and serves absolutely delicious food all day, including a great selection of cakes and an out-of-this-world coffee smoothie.
The beautiful cafe is set among lush green gardens overlooking a pond. With its treehouse hideaway vibe, you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away.