Heron Island is a coral cay located near the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern Great Barrier Reef, 80 kilometres north-east of Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, and 460 km north-north-west of the state capital Brisbane. The island is situated on the leeward side of Heron Reef, a fringing platform reef of significant biodiversity, supporting around 900 of the 1,500 fish species and 72% of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef.
Heron Island Sunset over the wreck
Heron Island Turtle
Heron Island turtle
Green and loggerhead turtles return to Heron Island each year to nest in the same spot where they hatched up to 30 years earlier. There are strict guidelines for visitors, so they don’t stress the turtles as they crawl up the beach to dig their nests. When it’s time for hatchlings to emerge, guests can gather outside their rooms to watch the tiny creatures skedaddle down to the water’s edge. Turtle season runs from October to April.
Heron Island is a snorkeller’s paradise. You don't need a boat to spy something special; simply pull on your flippers and enter the turquoise waters from the beach to encounter bright blue starfish, sea cucumbers and more. The island is also near 21 dive sites, all within 15 minutes travel. Undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau named Heron Bommie (a large underwater coral arrangement) as one of his favourite dive sites on Earth.
Take a seat within the hull of the island’s semi-submarine I-SPY to see underwater creatures – sea turtles, manta rays, bright fish, sea snakes and more - without getting wet. A tour guide will point out the highlights that can be seen through the large windows. Book your spot at the Marine Centre.
Just as Africa has the Big Five, the Great Barrier Reef has the Great Eight. Around Heron, it’s possible to work through this list of incredible marine animals: manta rays, whales, turtles, clownfish, potato cod, giant clams, maori wrasse and sharks.
• Heron Island Pano Collect, Great Barrier Reef
• Wilson Island
• One Tree Island
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