Heron Island is located off Gladstone, at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef National Park. It is a beautiful island right on the Great Barrier Reef with a very pretty resort. For those who don't like to be on liveaboards or are travelling with children, Heron Island is the solution.
How to get there
Heron Island is located east of the coastal town of Gladstone which is the place from where you can reach the island. The transfer catamaran "Heron Islander" operates scheduled boat transfers from Gladstone Marina to the island on selected dates throughout the year.
Your flight arrival into Gladstone must be prior to 10.30am, followed by a courtesy bus transfer from the airport to Gladstone Marina at 11.30am. Once at the marina, guests can leave their luggage at the check-in desk and relax or wander into town for lunch. Boat check-in opens at the marina at 12.30pm for the 2.00pm boat departure. The boat departs Heron Island at 10.00am and returns to Gladstone Marina at around 12noon. The scheduled bus transfer to the airport is at 12.15pm. Your earliest flight departure from Gladstone should be booked for after 1.45pm. The boat ride to/from Heron Island taxes about 2 hours one way.
Alternatively, a seaplane transfer to and from Heron Island can be arranged. It requires a minimum of 4 passengers. Max. capacity is 6. Seaplanes operate daily between 7am and 4.30pm from Gladstone; and between 8am and 5.30pm from Heron Island. Baggage allowance is 15kg per person (incl. hand luggage). Transfer time is 25 minutes one way. Seaplanes operate daily but are subject to tide times and weather/sea conditions.
Apart from the resort and a research station, the island is uninhabited. No cars, no noise, just diving and relaxing. There is also no mobile phone reception on the island. The only other group of inhabitants is large groups of roosting seabirds which really dominate the place. All meals are included in the prices. The meals are delicious and served in the resorts' restaurant.
Heron Island Resort has 109 rooms for guests. All rooms have either a balcony or patio. All rooms have ironing facilities, ensuite bathroom, hairdryer, tea & coffee making facilities, ceiling fans and fridge. They offer accommodation in different price ranges.
The Turtle Rooms are centrally located in a garden setting, a short walk away from the beach and close to the central resort facilities. They are all at ground and each has a small patio. Turtle rooms can be configured as family rooms.
The Reef Rooms are positioned close to the beach and have reef or water views through a canopy of beach trees and scrubs.
The large Beach Side Suites offer spectacular views over the Great Barrier Reef and are set in a prime beach side location with direct access to the beach and reef.
The Beach House offers maximum privacy, it is located at the beach side and set within a grove of trees. The Beach House has filtered ocean views and a private boardwalk provides direct access to the beach.
The Point Suite is the most luxurious accommodation on Heron island. Uninterrupted views of the reef and sunsets over the ocean.
Restaurant & Bar Facilities
At Shearwater Restaurant, both breakfast and lunch are buffet style on the deck with views of The Coral Sea. You can enjoy a three-course ‘table d’hote’ menu for dinner five days a week and try an ‘Aussie BBQ’ on Tuesday nights and a selection of local seafood presented on a Seafood Buffet on Saturday nights. Special dietary needs and requests can also be catered for. Picnic hampers are available which you can enjoy anywhere on the island.
The Pandanus Lounge & Baillie’s Bar are the place to relax with a cold drink after a warm day. The complex is designed to make the most of panoramic reef views, with an outdoor terrace, a cocktail bar, entertainment lounge, dance floor and a mezzanine level library area. Any time is a good time, open from 9.30am till late.
Usually two dives per day are offered for certified divers. The dive shop has a comfortable day boat which brings you to the best dive sites. Twice per week they offer a night dive. Diving is organised by a PADI/NAUI dive shop. Open water courses are not offered on the island at the moment. However, referral dive courses are still on offer.
Heron Island’s dive shop offers the options of boat diving or shore diving. Shore Diving is from the beach across the reef flat, whilst boat diving is from purpose-built aluminum dive tenders. The diving in the region is rather shallow with average depths of around 15-25 metres. Maximum depth on only a few dive sites would be around 28 meters. It is easy, relaxed diving.
Diving at the southern end of the Barrier Reef is a little different to the north. Whilst the reef here is home to almost all of the tropical water fish of further north, there are as well several species of temperate water fish. Without doubt, you get the best diving at the Great Barrier Reef from liveaboards, however, if you do not want to stay on overnight boats, Heron Island is the best option for an island resort with good dive sites.
Divers will love the great variety of fish on Heron: Imperial angelfish are common, other resident fish include gropers, coral trout, batfish, lionfish, wrasse, parrotfish, surgeonfish and a variety of butterfly fish. Invertebrate life around the corals is impressive and a number of nudibranch and flatworm species are common.
Heron offers everything that makes a dive and beach holiday a great experience. For interested guests they offer guided snorkel tours and reef walks. You can play tennis, watch the stars, go to another island and do whale watching (June to September). After a day of energetic activities, relax and unwind in the harmonious Aqua Soul Spa.
If you like an island stay without diving and are happy with just like snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, Wilson Island might be the right choice for you. Wilson Island is a tiny coral cay, surrounded with pristine reef and beaches. Wilson Island offers comfortable designer-inspired tent accommodation for a maximum of just 12 guests. It is only 15 km away from Heron Island. Something special! Exclusive 6-star camping. Please ask us for more details.
Please note there is no mobile (cell) phone coverage on Heron Island. However, there are two card-only payphones available and Baillie's Bar sells phone cards.
Baillie's Bar has WiFi access and two computers from which you can access the internet (charges apply).
Heron Island is a great choice for the entire family. Divers travelling with children or non-divers, on Heron everybody can have a great time and choose various activities. Accommodation choices are plenty for every budget.