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Heron Island Resort Great Barrier Reef - Australia

  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Location
  • Tariff & Booking
If starting your day with a sunrise and finishing it off with a spectacular sunset is your thing, Heron Island is your island. This is an exclusive island for guests only (no day-trippers here) and, with television-free rooms and no mobile phone reception, it's ideally positioned to take you “back to nature”, as it is a natural coral cay. The nature itself is absolutely spectacular. The island is situated on the Great Barrier Reef, which means you can snorkel right off the island. Scuba divers come back again and again to fully discover the 20 dive sites that are just minutes off the island. The resort caters to both couples and families and has approximately 100 comfortable rooms, all with ceiling fans and either balconies or terraces.

Heron Island is small enough to walk around in 20 minutes, yet it has everything you could wish for: a restaurant (Shearwater Restaurant) to satisfy healthy appetites, a deep resort swimming pool backing onto a bar (Baillie's Bar) and an abundance of wildlife that will truly amaze. Turtles return year after year to lay their eggs and guests can gather just outside their rooms (particularly the Beachside Suites) to watch the hatchlings make their way to the water.

Come June you may see whales passing by on their annual pilgrimage. Nesting season sees the island's resident human population well outnumbered by birds. The island's “twitchers list” (available from the information centre) lists no fewer than 19 birds; two of which (the Black Noddy and the Wedge-tailed Shearwater) visit annually from October to March to breed.

Eat and Drink

Enjoy distinctive and delectable cuisine that will delight the palate and inspire the senses.

Shearwater Restaurant

Shearwater Restaurant is the resort's one restaurant, but it has all appetites covered with its enticing evening menu, themed buffet lunches and vast array of breakfast selections. Those looking at healthy options will be impressed, as will those looking for creative desserts and indulgent flavours and textures. The restaurant itself has an attractive north-facing verandah area from which you can see the reef peeking over a lush carpet of local flora. Friendly, professional staff will explain the changing evening menu to you and help match your meal to the wine selection. Saturday night is seafood buffet night and lunches are also buffet-style. It’s also possible to order a picnic hamper for a truly special lunch on the beach.

Pandanus Lounge & Baillie's Bar

The bar and lounge takes relaxation to the next level, offering an expansive area in which to relax with a cold drink, catch up with friends or watch or read the latest news. The complex is designed to make the most of panoramic reef views and has an outdoor terrace with a giant chessboard. Inside are two pool tables, a cocktail bar (very popular during happy hour), entertainment loungeband a mezzanine- level library area. Sports fans can watch the big games on one of three televisions and Wi-Fi is available for those with their own laptops or smartphones. Alternatively, there are two computer terminals located on the mezzanine-level.

Watching the sunset from the lounges lining the terrace with cocktail or beer in hand is a “must-do” activity on Heron Island.


Heron Island is a protected habitat for a stunning variety of wildlife. An amazing array of animal life can be discovered throughout the year. You soon sense that you are very much a guest of the natural environment, you're here to be part of it, to enjoy it and to learn from it.

January is the peak breeding season for sea birds, so they are very active this time of year. Up to 100,000 can be on the island, particularly Black Noddy Terns, Wedgetailed Shearwater (Mutton Birds) and Eastern Reef Egrets. Female turtles are laying eggs and turtle hatchlings can be seen making their way to the sea.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Mutton Bird) chicks hatching in February. The island birdlife remains active with up to approximately 100,000 birds on the island. Female turtles are still laying eggs and hatchlings continue to emerge from their nests.

Some birds show breeding plumage during Marhc as they return to their Arctic nesting grounds. Birds still nesting including the Buff-banded Rail and the Black Noddy Tern. Female turtles are at the end of the nesting season.

Young Wedgetailed Shearwater birds (Puffinus pacificus) leave their burrows and adult Shearwaters begin to leave the island.

The last of the turtle hatchlings can be seen emerging from their nests. Young Wedgetailed Shearwaters are still learning to fly in preparation to leave the island by the end of the month.

Humpback Whales' northern migration begins in June. They are often seen passing through waters around the Island. An average Humpback weighs 40 tonnes and measures 16 metres.

Humpback Whales are frequently sighted in the Capricornia Bunker region in July. Eastern Reef Egrets start building their nests.

August is warming up to spring. There is more general activity on the reef and the island. Towards the end of the month, the Black Noddies begin returning. Good Humpback Whale sightings.

Humpback Whales are active during September, breaching regularly. Black Noddies are now returning to the island and will commence building their nest. Northern Hemisphere migratory birds, such as Ruddy Turnstones and Eastern Golden Plovers arrive back on the island.

Whales begin heading south to the Antarctic with their calves. Black Noddies and Silver Eyes are nesting,.Wedgetailed Shearwaters are returning to the island. Turtle mating may be observed in the surrounding waters.

Turtle egg laying begins in November. Wedgetailed Shearwaters can be seen digging and repairing nesting burrows at night. Black Noddy Tern eggs can be seen in the nest. The annual synchronised mass spawning of corals usually occurs during this month.

Bird life is extremely active in December with approximately 100,000 birds on the island. Numerous black Noddy chicks can be seen and Wedgetailed Shearwaters are laying eggs and hatchlings begin emerging from the sand. Coral spawning may occur if this did not occur in November.

Diving & Snorkeling

Renowned for Great Barrier Reef Dive Sites Heron Island is known the world over for its excellent Great Barrier Reef dive sites, coral gardens and pinnacles. So good is the diving that Jacques Cousteau – the world’s most famous undersea explorer of our time -- listed The Heron Bommie as one of his top 10 favourite dive sites. With a natural coral cay located directly on the reef, there are plenty of dive sites to explore, more than half of which are just 15 minutes from the beach.

The waters around Heron Island are teeming with reef fish, turtles, manta rays, reef sharks and an endless variety of marine invertebrates. Around 60% of the 1,500 species of fish and around 72% of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef call the waters around Heron Island home.

Heron Island caters to all levels of marine enthusiasts from the novice snorkeller to experienced divers. The waters around the island are relatively shallow with an average depth of between 10 and 25 metres. Snorkellers can enjoy shallow reefs that sit below about two metres of water in many locations.

Underwater Seasons:

  • January / February: Water temperature 26-30°C (79-86°F) - Female turtles are laying eggs on the beach and hatchlings are making their way to the sea.
  • March / April: Water temperature 22-29°C (72-84°F) - End of turtle nesting season.
  • May / June: Water temperature 19-23°C (66-73°F) - Humpback Whales northern migration begins.
  • July / August: Water temperature 18-23°C (64-73°F) - Humpback Whales frequently sighted. Visibility up to 50m
  • September / October: Water temperature 20-26°C (68-79°F) - Humpback Whales active. Turtle mating may be observed.
  • November / December: Water temperature 22-29°C (72-84°F) - Turtle egg-laying begins. Some first hatchlings emerge in December. Annual synchronised coral spawning.

World-Class Diving on the Great Barrier Reef

  • Minimal time (5-15 minutes) to reef diving sites
  • All diving sites located within a marine national park
  • Shallow reef diving sites available
  • Long bottom times can be arranged
  • Buoyed diving sites
  • Stable platform style boats with shaded canopies
  • •Dive-masters present on all dives
  • Giant stride entries - exit via wide ladders
  • No carrying of tanks or weights at any time
  • Highest-quality diving equipment
  • Up to three dives per day
  • Night dives

Room Facilities

Rooms at Heron Island range from the Turtle, which is set amongst Pisona Forest (watch it come absolutely alive with birds during nesting season), to the secluded Point Suites, which provide the ideal location from which to watch the sun set. Taking top place is the Beach House, a freestanding house that is all yours for the duration of your stay on Heron Island. It boasts exclusive access to the beach.
Many of the resort's rooms offer sea glimpses through the island's unique vegetation and some offer direct beach access. The different styles of rooms (there are six unique types) arc around the natural curve of the island, from the jetty to North Beach. All boast either a balcony or a terrace to help you soak up the atmosphere. Inside, you have tea - and coffee - making facilities to help make yourself at home.  

Checking into your room is easy. You can do it at the Marina in Gladstone so when you arrive on the island, you are free to go straight to lunch, snorkel or head straight to the beach to relax. Beach towels are provided.

All of our rooms feature
  • A balcony or terrace
  • Ceiling fans
  • A refrigerator
  • Tea - and coffee - making facilities  
  • A clock radio
  • Ironing facilities
  • Extra pillows and blankets
  • En-suite bathroom with shower hairdryers
  • Umbrella

Point and Wistari Suites and The Beach House also offer:

  • Bathrobes and slippers
  • Coffee plungers
  • A mini bar
  • Evening turndown service
  • Air-conditioning

Turtle Rooms

Turtle Rooms are located in a garden setting consisting of unique Pisonia trees, which come alive when the birds are nesting. Family Turtle Rooms are a short walk away from the beach and close to the central resort facilities, including the pool. The comfortable, compact rooms include an en-suite bathroom with shower. With two rooms in each grouping, all Turtle Rooms are at a convenient ground level and feature a delightful timber deck and outdoor area. Family Turtle Rooms are grouped together, while Queen Turtle Rooms are closer to North Beach.

Family Turtle Room configurations are available, sleeping up to four people. Queen Turtle Rooms sleep two.

Reef Rooms and Reef Family Rooms

Reef Rooms and Reef Family Rooms are positioned in two areas. We have Reef Rooms located on beautiful North Beach. They have modern decor and sleep a maximum of 3 people. Reef Family Rooms are located in 2 locations. Close to the jetty, resort facilities and near the Marine Center (very handy for divers). We also have Reef Family Rooms along the walking path to Shark Bay at the eastern reach of the resort. These offer water views through a canopy of beachside trees and shrubs. While no building on the island is higher than the island's trees, the Reef Family Rooms are either downstairs (with garden access) or upstairs, boasting sea glimpses from the balcony. They sleep a maximum of 4 people.

The Reef Room interiors are light and comfortable, featuring modern streamlined bathrooms that match the lines of the living room. The stunning living areas face onto the water. All Reef Rooms include an en-suite bathroom with shower. The Reef Rooms also boast a day bed that is lit by down lights to make them ideal reading and relaxing spots, while they can be transformed into a bed at night.

Family Reef Room configurations can sleep a maximum of five people, while Reef Rooms sleep up to three. Disabled access is also available.


Heron Beachside Suites

Heron Beachside Suites offer filtered views over Heron Reef and are set in prime locations with access to both the beach and reef. Set in two prime areas of the resort the Heron Beachside Suites have a grassed area with filtered views looking out over the reef and close to the resort facilities. We also have Heron Beachside Suites that are located on North Beach with filtered views through the trees to the beach and reef.

Double glass sliding doors fill the room with natural light and connect the spacious bedroom and separate living area with a large outdoor balcony. The living area features two large and luxurious day beds, oversized cane chair and a coffee table. The suites offer a large modern bathroom with shower and a mini-bar. Recently upgraded interiors have brought a sophisticated, streamlined air to these suites, with an enhanced feeling of lightness thanks to the color scheme and down lights imbedded in the ceilings. The bedroom can be separated from the living area by a Japanese-style sliding door. Bedding includes a king size bed (facing the water) and two single divans. The suites sleep a maximum of four people.


Wistari Suites

Wistari Suites offer a secluded garden setting with maximum privacy, aided by blackout curtains and fully closing timber blinds. Interiors are spacious and feature timber ceilings with down lights and a tiled floor.

Wistari Suites are air-conditioned and boast a mini-bar in the room. They feature a large updated en-suite bathroom with stylish vanity and shower. A private outdoor terrace features wooden furniture and a two-person hammock. The suites are a short stroll away from the central resort facilities, reef and jetty. Bedding includes a king size bed or two king singles (twin). Wistari Suites are designed for a maximum of two people.


Point Suites

Point Suites are positioned with uninterrupted views of the reef. They're spacious and include a large en-suite with modern glass-enclosed shower, stylish vanity and new fittings. The en-suite is beautifully lit with bright down lights. Point Suites also have a separate large dressing room/walk in wardrobe. A generous living area extends through glass doors to an extensive outdoor terrace with sun lounges. From there you can walk out onto the lawn and resort gardens. Point Suites are ideal for superb sunset viewing and conveniently close to the jetty for divers catching the dive and snorkel boats.

Suites are air-conditioned and also feature stylish ceiling fans above the bed. Enjoy a range of in-room comforts, including a fully stocked mini-bar, a wooden chess set, CD player, turndown service and canapés. Dark timber blinds add to privacy and enhance the tropical island feel, while each room is furnished with a comfortable couch facing out towards the reef. Bedding includes a luxurious king size bed that can become two king singles (twin). Point Suites are designed for a maximum of two people.


The Beach House

Located beachside and set within a grove of trees, the Beach House offers filtered ocean views and a private boardwalk that provides direct access to the beach. With only one Beach House on offer, it could not be any more exclusive. It offers maximum privacy and is just a short stroll away from the central resort facilities and restaurant. It's also delightfully close to Aqua Soul Spa. The Beach House is air-conditioned and features a separate bedroom and spacious en-suite, including a luxurious bath and shower with sleek, modern appliances.

The expansive, streamlined living area is lit up by down lights and features a large modern couch and work desk. It opens out onto a private patio with outdoor furniture and shower. Other room features include a mini-bar, a CD player, turndown service and canapés. Bedding includes a king size bed and a single divan that doubles as a terrific day bed. The Beach House sleeps a maximum of three guests.


Please click here for a location map or for a full screen map click here

GPS: -23.441199,151.913452

This accommodation is available as part of one of our Custom Itineraries or holidays, please visit our home page to learn more about how we can help you with your holiday.

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