Heron Islandon the Southern Great Barrier Reef is heaven on Earth if you’re after a mini break but want to feel miles away from it all.
Blow out your weekend and take a few annual leave days to slip into the island’s routine of snorkelling every chance you get and finding everyFinding Nemocharacter in real life!
It might be a tiny island off the Gladstone Coast, but it has a serious adventurous punch with an epic nature kick.
1PM: YOU HAVE ARRIVED!
You’ve spent around two hours on a boat passing a number of Great Barrier Reef coral cays but the one you’re approaching now is the one you have been waiting for. You spy the iconic shipwreck and jetty that marks the Heron Island marina. This will be your home for the next couple of days. Woo hoo!
After checking into your digs, make a beeline for the Water Activity Centre and get your snorkel hire sorted, stat. Find out the times for high and low tide, so you can organise your days around the best snorkelling conditions (at high tide).
Next, it’s time to walk around the island – even if you’re lolloping about, it will only take you about half an hour. If the tide is right, dive in and have a welcome swim or if it’s low tide, wade out to a coral formation to look for anemones and clownfish!
Plan to be back near the jetty to watch the sunset.
If you’re lucky enough to visit the island between December and February, make sure you’re on the beach at sunset. Baby turtles wait under the sand for the temperature to drop as a signal to make a break for the ocean.
Seeing these little turtles race down the beach is a glorious animal encounter you MUST tick off your bucket list! To see the mumma turtles coming up the beach to nest, plan a moonlight vigil or an early wake-up time at sunrise from November to January. Trust us: It’s totally worth your time, luck and patience.
Heron Island is blessed with some of the best dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef – if not the world – with sites accessible within a very short boat ride. This island was made for diving holidays. You can be out exploring the reef up to three times a day and, with the right qualifications and conditions, jump back in for a night dive.
If you’ve never dived before, do an introductory dive while you’re here. Our intro dive was on the famous Heron Bommie Dive Site and we saw a mantra ray hanging out at a cleaning station on our very first dive!