Islands make a splash in online tourist survey
THE accolades keep coming for some of the Gladstone region's hidden gems with three Southern Great Barrier Reef islands finishing inside the top 10 in an online poll.
Travel company Experience OZ + NZ ran three surveys during October to determine Australia's best Major, Regional and Island destination with Gladstone finishing eighth in the regional survey.
Lady Elliot Island took out top spot in the islands survey, Great Keppel Island came sixth with Lady Musgrave Island placing eighth.
Heron Island finished 14th out of the 23 islands up for nomination and is the closest island to Gladstone, located approximately 42 nautical miles from Tannum Sands.
Lady Musgrave sits about 31 nautical miles from the Town of 1770, while Great Keppel lies eight nautical miles off Yeppoon.
Six out of the top 10 islands are located in Queensland.
Bookended by Lady Elliot to the south and Great Keppel to the north, Experience OZ + NZ describes Lady Musgrave Island as "one of the best overall budget options for those looking to get a sampling of a quality reef environment... (the) natural sheltered lagoon makes for a wonderful beginner-friendly snorkel site."
While our Bundaberg neighbours like to claim Lady Elliot as their own, there's very little distance separating the island from the coastline at 1770 and Bargara.
Lady Elliot is 45 nautical miles from 1770 and 44 nautical miles from Bargara.
Experience Oz marketing manager Matt Hobbs said 'Australia's Top 10 Destinations to Experience' consumer poll's island category was a great opportunity to highlight some of Australia's best kept secrets that steer away from the commercial cookie clutter holiday spots.
"If you're looking for a travel destination that encapsulates everything a trip to experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef is all about - and one that comes at a far more reasonable price while providing world-class diving experiences along with it, Lady Elliot Island is worth adding to your travel bucket list," he said.
To view all of Australia's top voted must-visit destinations visit: https://www.experienceoz.com.au/en/top-10-destinations-2017.
Australia's Top 10 Island Destinations to Experience 2017
1. Lady Elliot Island, QLD
2. Rottnest Island, WA
3. Lord Howe, NSW
4. Whitsunday Island, QLD
5. Hamilton Island, QLD
6. Great Keppel Island, QLD
7. Fraser Island, QLD
8. Lady Musgrave Island, QLD
9. Kangaroo Island, SA
10. Bruny Island, TAS.