Heron Island is one of a vast number of tiny islands in the Great Barrier Reef. It is surrounded by the bluest ocean and numerous coral and fish populations and is just a two hour launch ride from Gladstone.
When you get there, however, you realize that all the birds are Egrets. They were once called Herons but back some time ago they changed the name so you won't find any Herons on Heron Island, yet it is for the birds.
This treasure trove of life and beauty, here in the southern reef is a must see. Along with Egrets there are Black Noddy Terns, Buff Banded Land Rails and the Sacred Kingfisher. They are all gorgeous, and the ever evolving Silver Eye lives here as well. There are others that stop by on their way to other climes and then there is the Wedge Tailed Shearwater who makes their burrow here, coming by the tens of thousands in season.
Heron Island has a bit of a black past due to the Turtle Soup factory that was set up there in 1925. They went out of business a few years later due to the decimation of the turtle population. Then there were the tourists, and the maddening pastime of turtle racing where people would climb onto the backs of the turtles.
Thankfully all these practices have been stopped and the island enjoys a turtle population of Loggerheads (endangered) and Green turtles. If you are here in season you may see them lay their eggs on the beaches or watch the little ones scurry into the sea under the cover of darkness.
You can get an amazing room for two, complete with a veranda to watch the forest, apartments or beach house accommodations for families, overlooking the ocean.
The resort is set up to cater and does a splendid job. There is a restaurant, a bar, a pool, pool tables, snorkel or dive tours, and the semi-submersible for those of you that don't snorkel but love to see the wonders of the sea. There is a junior rangers program for kids, a spa for pampering, and guided reef walks, island walks, and the bird walk, which is most fascinating.
The University of Queensland shares the island and has a huge research facility, that includes accommodations for visiting students and PHD's alike. The tour of their facility is most informative and interesting.
You can get to Heron Island by launch or by seaplane. Costs will vary depending on what you choose to do.
It is well worth a trip to Heron Island for the indescribable water colour alone, you can catch glimpses of Cow tailed Rays and the Reef Sharks that live close by. You can see rainbows on a rainy day or watch the sunset from the deck.
Heron island caters not only to the birds but us as well, and all enjoy.