Feed on

We just checked into our room. It’s 4 pm (2nd April ’11) and we rush back out again to the beach. Finally we have arrived. We dip our feet in the balmy turquoise waters surrounding Heron Island. Before we can get our bearings, 5 tiny little creatures hobble through the sand towards me. Their little flippers plough the ground like freestyle swimmers. Seagulls, turns and shearwaters watch the race with interest. Only minutes ago these green turtle hatchlings picked through the soft shell of their egg casings, dug through layers of sand to the surface, and now follow an ancient instinct to reach the sea. Looking at their tiny shapes one must wonder where they get the energy from for such a strenuous task. As soon as the turtles reach the water for the first time in their life they dive beneath the light surf and swim into the great ocean.
What an amazing event to start our visit. We continue our stroll along the beach watching the sky change between black storm clouds and blue sky as the sun slowly sets in the east. Our shadows grow longer. Only two, three meters from the shore in shallow waters another migration is happening. Cowtail stingrays, blue spotted stingrays and giant shovel-nose rays travel in large groups and sift the sands for shells and mollusks. Observing the water closer we now see a magnificent triangle cutting the surface.  A resident lemon shark is patrolling the beach. Together with blacktip sharks and leopard sharks they come close to the beach this time of year to get their share of he turtle hatching season. Dinner time for them! We are only 60 minutes on the island, haven’t even unpacked our masks and snorkel and already have seen more rare marine creatures then on some dives.
Heron Bommie, just outside the harbour is one of the islands signature dives. The consistent currents around the 5-10 m coral heads attract thousands of fish from small to very big. Diving here is never boring.  We saw schools of jacks, circling rainbow runners, a large green turtle and countless colourful reef fish. There is hardly a dive without turtles on Heron Island.  At Coral Grotto we were greeted by a Manta Ray gently “flying” past. The coral life is varied and healthy. Some dive sites still recover from storm damage sustained 5 years ago when cyclone Larry left its mark. Still, the marine life is thriving! The channel between Heron Island and Wistari reef compresses the tides into constant currents which provide plenty of nutrients to all marine life around. The deeper parts of the channel are hunting grounds for the big stuff: sharks, rays, barracudas can be watched here.
The dive boats easily cater for up to 20-24 divers each. All dives are guided, experienced divers and snorkelers are well catered for. Together with the Coral Sea and the Ribbon Reefs, Heron Island is a must see experience for any diver visiting Australia.

On the island thousands of seabirds can’t be overheard. Their distinct calls tell of their daily life on the island. Protecting chicks, nesting places, relationships… all is accompanied by their decisive songs and screeches. The turns, rails, mutton birds and seagulls create a soothing background score of Heron Island. The birds for sure use certain aspects of the resort to their advantage.
Heron Island Eco Resort is located right in midst this display of nature. It features various grades of comfortable accommodation, an excellent restaurant, the Aqusoul spa, an activity center and a big marine center. In the restaurant 90% of only seafood served is sustainably caught according to the sustainable seafood guide by AMCS (Australian Marine Conservation Society).
Families, honeymooners as well as nature lovers and hardcore divers all find their favourite niche on Heron Island. Center stage is the unparalleled nature experience.
Guided bird walks or reef walks on the outgoing tides are a must for all visitors. Scuba divers can choose from three scheduled boat dives daily. Up to 30 dive sites are within 10 minutes reach of the jetty. Or just grab a mask and snorkel and discover the beautiful inhabitants of the tropical coral reefs. Snorkeling off Heron Island is so easy and really outstanding, it is one of the unique places where snorkeling is as good as diving.
One definite highlight for all visitors is to just watch the sharks and rays patrolling the shallow waters of the sea from your room, the pool or the jetty.
Would we go back? In an instant! Not only for the diving, but also for the great resort, the friendly staff and the topside nature experience which make Heron Island a unique gem on the Great Barrier Reef.
Heron Island Dive Festival 5-11 September
Heron Island is celebrating its status as one of Australia’s top dive destinations with the launch of the Dive Festival. A perfect time to visit and explore the fantastic diving available:

+ photo shoot out as part of the ODEX underwater festival
+ prizes to a total value of $ 100.000 to be won.
+ Presentation by diving legends
+ great food, service and diving.

 3 night package from AUD 908/person (triple share)
5 night package from AUD 1464/person (triple share)
7 night package from AUD 1979/person (triple share)

Includes: Turtle Room triple share, 2 Dives Daily (per diver booked), 3 meals daily, return launch transfers from Gladstone, tanks and weights.
Check our Heron website for details

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