Heron Island, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Guide to Heron Island

Black noddy, Heron Island, QLD © Greg Sullavan

Follow in Sir David Attenborough’s footsteps

The world-famous naturalist Sir David Attenborough included Heron Island in his documentary series dedicated to the Great Barrier Reef. Make like David Attenborough and spot some of the island’s birdlife such as black noddies that perch in the pisonia trees. Birds often make a big impression on visitors because up to 100,000 of them breed on this coral cay.

Turtle, swimming, Heron Island, QLD © James Vodicka

See a turtle's cycle of life

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.

Snorkelling, Heron Island, QLD © James Vodicka

Snorkel and dive as much as you want

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.

I-SPY Submarine, Heron Island, QLD © Greg Sullavan

Go for a dive (without getting wet)

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.

Heron Island research station, Heron Island, QLD © Tourism and Events Queensland

Visit Heron Island's research station

A research station has been part of island life since 1951. The Southern Hemisphere’s largest island research centre has a base team of 10, which fluctuates as research students arrive to delve further into their special subject, which could range from snails to whales. Resort guests can learn more about the station’s work on a one-hour tour and guided walk.

Shark, Heron Island, QLD © James Vodicka

Tick off the Great Eight marine animals

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 Resort, Heron Island, QLD © Heron Island Resort 2018

Stay at the resort

With no day-trippers allowed, the only way visitors can come to Heron is to book into the 109-room resort. Accommodation ranges from rooms secluded within the bird-attracting pisonia forest to a freestanding house with exclusive access to the beach. An on-site restaurant serves meals, with a seafood buffet available on Saturdays. For a secluded lunch, order a picnic hamper and head to the beach.  

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