Heron Island

Heron Island


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Heron Island is probably the most popular diver's island on the entire Great Barrier Reef. The island is a very small coral cay. It measures only 0.17 km² and it rises only 3 m above sea level. Heron Island is a national park and most tourists come there for the scuba diving possibilities. Around the island is a 24 km² reef that harbors a wide variety of colorful marine life. Every year in October or November, the Heron Island Underwater Festival is held. It includes a host of seminars, lectures and other diving-related activities.

The resort on Heron Island is focused on ecotourism and spear-fishing and shore diving are not allowed. If you don't like scuba diving, you can always have a walk around the beach, or through the dense pisonia forest in the center of the island. The resort has glass-bottomed boats and a semi-submersible, so you can see the underwater world without getting wet. Guided reef tours, nature walks and fishing trips are also available. Visits to the Heron Island Research Center can be arranged. The center works on various reef-related projects. When walking around the island, beware of bird droppings from above and clumsy mutton birds underfoot.

The resort accommodation consists of lodges with shared facilities or motel-like suites. Meals are included. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style, but dinner can be ordered from a menu. Camping on the island is not allowed. In the evenings, entertainment is organized, but diving is the main feature when visiting Heron Island.

It is quite expensive to travel to Heron, as it lies 72 km east of Gladstone and it is some 100 km from Rockhampton. Heron Island has helicopter and catamaran connections with Gladstone. Anchorage on Heron is a problem. A small harbor has been dredged and a jetty was built, but they caused changes to the water flow across the reef and affected the coral in places.


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