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Heron Island via Gladstone

Home > The World > Outdoor | Nature | Family | Escape the City
by Anita K (subscribe)
Published May 10th 2013
No fuss, no hassle and the Great Barrier Reef
If you are a fan of marine life then Heron Island is for you.
You're pretty much guaranteed to see something if you stay there for a couple of nights. In fact, I was there for one night and saw lemon sharks, black tip reef sharks, stingrays, turtles, a groper, numerous sea cucumbers and a variety of colourful fish. I think that's a pretty good run considering I saw all of that from the jetty.

Lemon sharks, fish, Heron Island
The view from the jetty - keep a look out as you get off the ferry!

Stingrays, jetty, Heron Island
View from the jetty: Stingrays!

For those of you who are partial to a little bird spotting, there are various species of birds around, and many of them. Though it's worth noting that there is little 'spotting' to do as the birds are everywhere.

Depending on who you are, and how many times you've seen 'The Birds', you may feel a little disconcerted by the hundreds, nay thousands of the flying beasts. I've been stared down by particularly evil-looking pelicans on numerous occasions. In fact, I'm convinced that a trio of pelicans tried to push me into the ocean once. Let's not even go into detail about the many near misses that I've had with pigeons over the years as a ducking Londoner.

Due to these 'experiences', it is safe to say that the birds were my least favourite part of Heron Island (I know, the clue is in the name), especially because they sing through the night. Sing might be too strong a word. Still, a pair of ear plugs and you're sorted.

Heron Island, Birds, Research
Birds, birds, birds

The only other downside to Heron Island: the ferry ride. 'Ride', describes it perfectly considering I felt like I was on a roller coaster that had derailed. Actually, I felt like I was in a washing machine. No wait, I felt like I was in a washing machine, on a roller coaster that had derailed...for two hours...two whole hours.

Unless you pay up for the helicopter option or pray to the Gods for winds no greater than 5 nautical miles, there is no way to avoid this.

My suggestion: If you're not allergic to anything, dose up on a good strong anti-nausea medication. Preferably one with the power to knock you out cold for the entire duration of the journey.

Birds and choppy waters are not reasons to avoid Heron Island. On the contrary. Despite two things that I strongly disliked, I would not have missed the opportunity of feeling completely relaxed and removed from the world, with the added bonus of an abundance of marine is in the Great Barrier Reef after all.

Heron Island
View of Heron Island from the reef

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Why? Relaxation, education, and species spotting
When: All year
Phone: Within Australia: 1-300-863-248 Outside Australia: 61 3 9426 7550
Where: Heron Island, Queensland, Australia
Cost: Rooms range from $400 AUD to $900AUD, plus $200 AUD for a return ferry
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