Heron Island

Heron Island

Monday 8 December 2008 | By Stephanie Harms |

Nature at its Very Best - Heron Island

Having been lucky enough to visit Heron before, when our friends from the UK came to visit us in our new home of Australia at Christmas They asked us to recommend somewhere special.  Our first thought was immediately Heron Island.                                               

Located at the very bottom of the Great Barrier Reef Heron Island is great to travel to this time of year. After your flight to Gladstone you have the option of travelling 1.5 hours by launch or 20 minutes on the helicopter. We decided on the Helicopter transfer as the approach to Heron is one you will never forget. The views of the Great Barrier Reef are truly amazing and wet your appetite for exploring once on the island with shoals of parrot fish, rays and black tipped sharks clearly visible from the air.

Once on the island your luggage is taken to your room which you may feel are perhaps a little basic but the no locks or shoes policy that is adopted together with the ecological feel of the island soon wins you over. You immediately feel that you are not the most important thing on the island, nature is, and after all, this is what you have come to experience. Having said that I have got to say that the standard of food is really 5 star and was a wonderful surprise. Even though we are all well travelled, the seafood buffet on Saturday nights is the best we have all ever experienced anywhere. 

Our day on heron begins with a great breakfast and then you walk 2 minutes through the trees which are laden with Mutton birds and Noddy turns to the waters edge. The sand is white and the sea the most amazing turquoise, the barrier reefs coral comes so close to the shore that you can just snorkel straight from the beach. In fact John a man of some years and who is really well travelled snorkelled for 5 minutes then stood up he was only thigh high in clear water and shouted "its too much” and “I must be dreaming, I am surrounded by at least 5 rays, 10 black tips sharks and countless fish“ it wasn’t even 9 o’clock in the morning yet. We then joined a diving/snorkelling group who take you approx 20 minutes off the island to get an even better view of the amazing reef in all its glory and explore the underwater canyons and sea life.

After the most amazing 3 course lunch with snorkels in hand it is time to walk the island. It takes approximately 20  minutes to walk around and you soon find you have a beach all to yourself. Just you, on a white beach and mother nature at its best.... Wait, the best is yet to come.

At this time of year you get to experience one of lifes truly amazing experiences. Hundreds of turtles travel back to Heron this time of year to lay their eggs. In one night when we were there over 130 turtles edged their way out of the water in the dark the beach lit by the moon and stars as there is no light pollution  and up the beach they struggle they dig their hole and lay their eggs and we were privileged enough to share in this experience. The environmentalists who are permanently stationed on the island explain the age of the turtles and give you detailed information on the process.

I have got to say, our friends were not disappointed in their Australian island experience and travelled home with memories of this beautiful country that they will never forget.

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