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Heron Island Resort

4.0 out of 5.0

Recent guest reviews

We had a most enjoyable 4 night stay but we only planned to rest and snorkle. A resort that doesn't ask for feedback is unusual to say the least. Room was clean but had no where to sit and read or play games even though there was room to for a small table and chairs.The keyless rooms did daunt us at first - so used to locking possessions and thought a safe should be offered if you couldn't lock your room. The patio was very pleasant to sit and watch the birds. I had emailed and phoned to register my dietary requirements and was assured I would be catered for - totally wrong! There was no gluten free cereal or bread and no lactose free milk until day 4. Food choices from the buffet were limited, particularly at breakfast. Each day I asked for an egg and the quickest it came out was 15mins, even though the restaurant was only a quarter full. Sean and Inti were most helpful but other restaurant staff didn't seem to care about you. The resort ran out of milk on day 3 so nobody was able to have cereal. Long life milk??? The naturalists were fantastic - especially Melissa. Staff in the Marine Centre were very helpful. The reef walk and bird walks were great and free of charge. $10 for the Research Station tour was well worth the money. The ground staff in Gladstone were very pleasant, helpful and efficient . Having no mobile coverage no tv or internet certainly helped us to relax. Sitting on the wall's edge in the late afternoon was magical with lots of turtles, rays, sharks and schools of large fish passing by. In summary we had a great time even though the resort had a few areas that need urgent assessment and improved services.

This was my first visit to Heron Island and I wasn't disappointed. From the moment I stepped off the boat I was in awe. There is wildlife everywhere plus the beaches and forest are just beautiful. Accommodation was very comfortable and I enjoyed just sitting on my deck watching the abundant bird life. Staff were very friendly and professional. I would recommend taking advantage of the complimentary walks/ discussions. Chris the marine biologist was guide for most of my walks. Very passionate and knowledgeable which made it all the more interesting and enjoyable. I would also recommend the outer reef snorkel option. The coral and marine life was amazing and you are supervised the whole time. My only negative is the Buffet for dinner. I felt it was expensive for what was available and I would have preferred an a la carte option. Thanks Heron Island staff for a truly great holiday. Here are a couple of photos. The weather was perfect.

The resort is 4 star accommodation and everything is included. The coral viewing isn't very good just off the shore like it is at Lady Elliott but I recommend you go on a snorkel trip, then you will get the best experience viewing pristine coral. You will see more coral here than in far north Queensland where the coral is beginning to bleach. September and October are perfect times the the sea is calm and the weather is dry. Try not to go in November and December as the coral spawn at full moon and you will have little visibility.

We had a wonderful time on Heron Island! Wonderful to be there for the turtle nesting and to snorkel with the turtles, straight off the beach. We also went on an outer reef snorkel. Magic. The staff were generally friendly and helpful. We also enjoyed the live music in the evening of Beautifully Mad. They played many of our favourite songs and some of their excellent original songs and we're thoroughly professional. The Resort is looking a little tired, but hopefully with the new owners this will be rectified. The only negative was the standard of the food. Besides breakfast, which was good the lunch and dinner food was only ok. And the desserts very poor. Although this would not stop me from recommending a trip to Heron. We can't wait to go back!

We recently cancelled our planned trip to HI because even though it has been 18 mths of trying to book the communication was a disaster. Conflicting emails to say we had accommodation but not transfers, room changes and conflicting information, pricing was different and NO one to contact. Emails continued on a loop, Karen Sweeney has not responded, Finally contacted Heron Island where the receptionist didn't pass on the message on to the manager. Finally contact Arun who was very good and understanding but there needs to be so much reorganising, upgrading. We were so stressed out by the process and lack of consistent reliable and trustworthy information we cancelled

Heron Island is a beautiful eco-Island accessible by either a 2 hour boat trip or enormously expensive seaplane trip. As these are the only options to get there it would be nice for the boat transfer to be included (which could then be refunded for the minority who can afford the seaplane). The resort is the only public accommodation on the Island (UQ also has a research station here, with accommodation for students, researchers and auxiliary staff), and there is only 1 restaurant and 1 bar (which offers very limited bar snacks). The food at the restaurant was an enormous disappointment, and at $45 per person an absolute rip-off! More like bistro food at top dollar price.The bread-rolls (par-baked rolls available from Coles for $2 for 6) was the highlight, although there was no butter! There were 6 'hot' food options - I use this term loosely because the food was barely warm! Breakfast is included in the stay, it's buffet style and offers the same thing every morning! The scrambled eggs looked like powdered egg and was inedible, some mornings the only fruit available were canned peach and canned pears - other days they had a better selection. The croissants (which I survived on) where delicious! Our Beach-side Suite has tiny glimpses of water through the trees, and a tiny balcony with only 3 chairs (the room catered for 4!), but we did not sit out there once! The reason was that it was nesting season for the Noddy bird, and there were thousands of birds, and excrement, and the smell that goes with it, everywhere! They were noisy ALL night, as the rooms are not air-conditioned we had to leave the window open a bit, not that there was any FRESH air!!! Every time we walked to any part of the resort we were at risk of being pooped on, and we were 3 times! The rooms themselves were tired-looking and in desperate need of a bit of TLC! All this being said, I must add that the staff were great! They were friendly and help-full. The beaches were beautiful and the snorkeling good and easily accessible. It's just NOT value for money! The 4 day get-away ended up costing us $5000 for 4 people (and we did not eat lunch at the buffet restaurant!). Would I go again? - NO! Would I recommend it to my friends? - definitely NOT! One thing to note is that there is a change in management in December - perhaps someone with a vision and a bit of money will actually make this place worth visiting! Also, if you want to see turtles, go to the beach before sunrise in the morning!

We thoroughly enjoyed our five nights on HI. Everything works very efficiently and the staff do a terrific job at all levels. Unfortunately the weather for the first three days was very windy, the water murky and choppy and so snorkelling wasn't really an option for us. However we found plenty to keep us busy and joined in all of the complimentary activities with a wonderful guide, Melissa, who is an amazing, friendly and passionate guide, a real asset to HI. Being privileged to watch so many turtles dragging themselves onto the beach to lay their eggs was such a unique and memorable experience and seeing and hearing the countless number of birds was fantastic....and what about the "howling" mutton birds at night??? Unbelievable!! We were very happy with our Beachside accommodation with a lovely setting and view of the water. Daily cleaning and fresh towels...don't know how they get such fluffy, snow white towels. Food is "alright" but the staff are so accommodating.Desserts were a letdown in the buffet, so something really needs to be done about my opinion. We saw lots of rays and reef sharks and did have a snorkel out to the wreck where there were lots of fish, rays and sharks. We are very glad we went.

Heron island is a beautiful island off Gladstone. We decided to visit after an extraordinary experience on the nearby Lady Elliot Island. The water and nature was absolutely stunning and did not disappoint. Unfortunately several issues relating to the resort stay marred our experience. This is an "eco resort" so I am totally fine with the basic level accomodation. We stayed in the basic turtle room and it was functional, relatively clean and the shower was fine. Like others have said, the rooms are a bit tired looking and are in a desperate need of a makeover. The food was a low point. What made it worse was the exorbitant prices of $45 per person for a dinner buffet that had approximately 8 hot choices. At those prices, I am expecting at least basic drinks to be included (orange juice, water or tea/coffee)...and they weren't. On our last night, I had the seafood buffet (priced at $75!!), which consisted of mostly cold seafood (crab, mussels, prawn, and oysters). Unfortunately, I had a bad case of gastroenteritis after the seafood buffet, which ruined pretty much ruined the rest of the trip. Lunch options include a $22 buffet or very limited food options at Ballie's bar. Although advertised to have "cafe style items" on their website, it actually consisted of 3 types of soggy sandwiches and packets of chips as their only food items. The marine centre was also understaffed. We waited almost 45 minutes to get our snorkelling rental, wasting precious time so won't really pleased about that. The complementary island walking tours were good. Like others have mentioned, the internet WIFI coverage was poor. The beaches made up for the average resort experience. And yes, it's bird season, and there were bird poo and birds flying avoid going if you're not into birds! My main tip would be to bring some food, drinks and snacks onto the island as the island food is very expensive and an quickly add up if you're a large family. Also, if possible, bring your own snorkelling gear.

We chose Heron Island resort to be right on the reef and we were not disappointed. We traveled as a family of five with three kids aged 11,13 & 15. Transfer & Arrival: We took the Heron Island Boat from Gladstone. It was a nice trip with pleasant staff. It takes a little over 2 hours. Luggage was taken at check in and delivered directly to the room which is a nice touch. We were with about 130 new arrivals and were ushered into a conference room for a briefing on the island. The whole thing had the air of a school trip - pretty unispired and boring with powerpoint presentation and little excitement from the host. Our first room was missing a 5th bed and after a little shuffling about we were given a better bungalow next to the beach. The Reef & Habitat: If you don't like to be close to nature don't come! This is not a luxury resort, it's a nature resort. In Spring the birds are nesting and it is kinda disgusting with all the poop, but staff do their best to keep things clean (ignore reviews which suggest otherwise). All around is reef which can be snorkelled. Very safe for kids. We saw reef sharks, rays, turtles, coral. The marine shop has great equipment and we took one tour to the edge of the reef and the landscape was stunning. Like floating above a coral grand canyon! We also saw a hug loggerhead turtle. The island can be walked around in about 30 mins. It's very pretty, especially at dusk. Food: The food is not as horrendous as everyone makes out (OK the powdered eggs are horrendous). It's just very lousy for the price. We paid $120 just for our kids to eat dinner. We ended up opting out as parents. Lunch is nearly as expensive with no healthy options and chips with everything. Pro Tip: The best and cheapest thing for lunch is a sandwich from the bar. Get in early as they run out. Stock up on snacks and anything you can consume from the mainland. Rooms: Pretty basic. Neither great or bad. Communications: The island internet is awful - barely useable and only at the restuarant. We paid $40 and didn't get much service out of it. So expect to be fully out of range. No internet and no mobile coverage. Reception also ran out of phone cards which was annoying. However when I told them I needed to make an urgent call to London for business they let me use the office phone gratis which was a very nice gesture. I saw a side to the management team which shows they really care. Conclusion: A stunning island but an average hotel. If you want to spend your time on the reef you can't go wrong. The hotel seems to have an identity crisis not really knowing which end of the market it's catering for - hint management - it's still pretty $$$$ so make it feel more special. With an overhaul of the restuarant - simpler, fresher and heathier food this could be a real gem.

Literally and figuratively this resort was for the birds! Too much noise, poop, and stench. And the food- bird seed would have tasted better. The best thing about it was getting a ride OFF the island the fastest way possible- on the sea plane.

Via Gladstone Heron Island QLD

Hotel highlights

  • Free hot/cold buffet breakfast
  • Onsite dining
  • Spa
  • Outdoor pool

Heron Island Resort is adjacent to popular attractions such as The University of Queensland - Heron Island Research Station and Heron Island Dock. This 109-room, 4-star resort has a full-service spa along with a private beach and an outdoor pool.


Start your day off right with a free hot/cold buffet breakfast offered each morning. Enjoy a bite to eat at the resort's restaurant, or relax with a drink at the bar/lounge. Order from room service to satisfy your hunger without leaving your room.


The 109 rooms have an array of amenities, including balconies, refrigerators, and minibars. Bathrooms have hair dryers, free toiletries, and bathrobes. Coffee makers, ceiling fans, and phones are also standard.

Property features

Guests staying at Heron Island Resort enjoy access to a full-service spa, an outdoor pool, and WiFi in public areas. If you drive, self parking is AUD 10 per night, or you can take advantage of the airport shuttle during limited hours. The 24-hour front desk has staff standing by to help with concierge services and securing valuables. Other amenities at this spa resort include a business center, express check-out, and a garden.

Room options

Family Room

Queen 1 | Sleeps 5

Family Room (Reef)

King 1 | Sleeps 4

Reef Room

Queen 1 | Sleeps 3

Turtle Family Room

Queen 1 | Sleeps 4

Reviews from Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor aggregated rating

77% of guests recommend this hotel

Total of 1714 reviews