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Heron Island Resort

4.0 out of 5.0

Recent guest reviews

This was the second visit to Heron Island for my family. This time in February, we could watch the turtle hatchling every day which was the first experience and definitely amazing. Kids (10y and 6y) enjoyed various ranger programs as well as snorkeling with turtles, rays and sharks etc. Corals, tropical fishes, birds, ocean winds and waves, all tell us the importance and greatness of the nature. Moreover, music played by Beautifully Mad was absolutely beautiful and enjoyable. We could enjoy the night times with them. Many thanks Tony and Kris, your harmony and guitar performance was incredible!

Heron island is an Eco resort that offers an opportunity to enjoy and experience it's flora and fauna. It's claim to fame is being on the Great Barrier Reef! You can walk around the island in about an hour. It is a coral key, that is home to thousands of birds - noddy terns, egrets, rails, seagulls, silver eyes, shearwaters ..the birds are everywhere, and with the, is their poo, and constant noise. The birds had no fear of tourists (and there is no feeding or interfering with their existence - ) so we were very close to all the birds - there are hundreds of nests in the trees, thousands of burrowes etc,. We witnessed seagulls eating fish, seagulls eating turtle hatchlings, egrets waiting to catch baby terns ), Dead birds left to decompose to feed the trees... nature in action. We saw turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests in the dunes and making their way to the beach - incredible experience. At night - in pitch black we saw / heard adult turtles making their way up the dunes. We snorkelled - straight off the beach and we also took a boat trip out to the edge of the reef. We saw fish , stingrays, and turtles and Coral - all magnificent. I didn't see any litter . The island obviously has a good recycling and management system, but it was understated - more could be said about this highlighting the responsible management of the Island. it is such a unique and special location. We had an introductory talk that was ok, but it could have highlighted this management - that requires all stakeholders to be responsible. We stayed for four nights. The accommodation is three star - adequate, some could say a little tired. The room was serviced daily . Beach towels were provided no fee and we could use the laundry facilities - no fee . There was no need for air conditioning because we always had a sea breeze. We had a reef room that faced the ocean, with foliage providing privacy and shade . It was very hot in the middle of the day - good time to read. The water was from desal plant and safe to drink - bottled water was offered at $ 5.50 per 1.5 litre bottle in the room. We ate breakfast and dinner in the restaurant. Breakfast was good, dinner was ok . Breakfast was included in the cost of our accommodation. Dinner was $45/55 - (2/3 course) - expensive but understandable when the cost of transporting everything over to the island is included. Despite this, there is room to improve all the dinner offerings - we were very disappointed with the smorgasboard on Wednesday evening - it seemed like leftovers! The resort offers an information centre and complimentary tours - such as hatchling walk, stargazing, bird walk, reef walk, talks on various fauna - all led by a naturalist. All staff were excellent . There is a small fee ( $10 per person) to visit the University of Queensland research station- well worth it - an internationally recognised facility. The marine centre rents out equipment for snorkelling and diving . We had to fill out a basic medical form and if necessary were sent to the nurse to check any pre existing conditions that could impact these activities There were three boat trips for diving /snorkelling each day - for a snorkel trip the cost of a boat trip and 45 minute snorkelling was $50 . i thought this was a fair price. Some people did multiple boat trips. As a snorkeller we snorkelled as a group - letting the current carry us - led by a staff member who assisted people where necessary. We brought our own snorkelling gear - including wet suits that provided good sun protection and buoyancy. You can rent all the gear if you need to.There were groups of experienced divers and inexperienced divers - each led by a staff member. We signed on each time we got on the boat . There were other boat trips such as sunset cruise , kayaking, etc There is a large bar area with a pool where we had drinks, coffee, and at night listened to live music - Chris and Tony? musicians from Bermagui were very capable musicians - The resort could advertise the times they will be playing - we were unaware of them the first couple of nights and missed their performance! Nothing was done to celebrate Valentine's Day - a missed opportunity. The boat trip from Gladstone takes 2 hours and it was a bit bumpy , but smooth on the return. We were very fortunate to have great weather . You can travel by helicopter or seaplane . The resort does provide good value for money considering its location, and all the facilities it provides and the access to naturalists, the marine centre, nurse, etc. You are limited to the one restaurant or some bar food- muffins, sandwiches etc or ice creams from the shop. We took some nibbles for easy lunches that worked well for us - just depends on personal preference.

From the moment we booked with Travel Online our experience was A1. After checking in our luggage at Gladstone we got talking to Robin who had been working for the resort for many years. We explained that we had spent our honeymoon there 32 years ago so we were eager to see how Heron had changed. As we were about to board the launch Robin advised us that she had called the resort & had arranged an upgrade for us. We were in shock & delighted as it was so unexpected. We had a beautiful room on the Point, with water views that are to die for! The resort staff & management were absolutely wonderful, always polite & helpful. Everything about the resort was perfect. Lots of bird life, plenty of sea life on the reef, close to the shore. Snorkelling, diving, reef walking, sunrises & sunsets. Thousands of turtle hatchlings to see at this time of year! Think we’ll be making an annual trip to Heron. No place like it!

We have had previous holidays in this beautiful place. Unfortunately this time when I tried to again book a 5 day stay, we now have a 13yr old with us and the resort rules state we need to pay an upgrade of $200 from a Turtle Room to a Reef Room to cater for 3 adults. We also need to pay $61/night for her being a 3rd person as their quoted prices are only for 2 people. Honestly since when is a 13yr old an adult! So we will be holidaying elsewhere in family orientated resorts!

I have been here more than than I can count and it is always amazing. We had turtles nesting 10m from our room and saw hundreds of hatchlings running down the beach. We caught the seaplane over with Australia By Seaplane to maximise our time on the island and Vance and Robyn were great with my elderly dad. The food at the restaurant was great. We weren’t really hungry for a big meal for lunch so just got sandwiches and wraps from the bar which were fresh and different each day. The reef is still pristine. Had a couple of epic snorkels around the gantry and shark bay as well as the snorkel boat. We have dived and snorkelled all around the world on supposed pristine reefs, but nothing compares to the reef system around Heron. The reservations team did a great job of allocating the right room for us, with my elderly father who can’t walk long distances and when he fell over and injured himself the onsite nurse Kit did a great of patching him up and checking up on him. I first came to the island is 1992 and it’s one of the few places in the world where I continue to do repeat visits. It is clear that the new owners are focussed on bringing the resort back up to its former glory and we look forward to our return next year.

We really enjoyed our stay in one of the reef rooms (room 114) - a note of warning for some though is that this Island is full of birds in the breeding season, and you should be prepared for a lot of noise and a lot of bird droppings around the resort. This shouldn’t put you off though as the birds/turtles are fascinating, the swimming/snorkelling is fantastic and the staff are very helpful and friendly. The rooms are comfortable, the food is perfectly adequate (although the portions at diner are rather small by Ozzie standards) and there are lots of free nature talks and walks. Just bear in mind this is a desert island and don’t expect a luxury resort !

My family had an absolutely brilliant holiday on Heron Island a few weeks back. I agree 100% with the review posted one week ago by HR. If you go with realistic expectations, you’ll love the place. A few tips that might help: - The ferry trip can be rough – if you get sea sick, take tablets and sit downstairs at the back of the boat and close to the centre if possible – there’s less rocking there and good air conditioning - If you’re thinking about the helicopter but can only afford one-way, do it on the way over as the ferry trip back is much smoother - We booked a Beachside Suite which was a bit more expensive but, judging by some of the other reviews (which I suspect stayed in cheaper rooms), well and truly worth it – it was modern, clean and everything we needed - room 93 has a view of the water - We went in mid-January which was perfect as lots of turtles were still coming up the beach at night to lay eggs and the little ones were hatching daily – a truly amazing experience to watch them laying and watch the little ones hatching - There were also lots (and I mean lots!) of birds but we didn’t find them a problem at all, in fact they’re part of the experience – they do make some strange noises at night but if you’ve been snorkelling all day, you’ll sleep right through it - Take your own snorkelling gear – you can buy it at Anaconda for about the same price you’ll pay to hire it for a few days on the island - If you wear glasses with a positive prescription and want to go snorkelling, sort out something before you go – they have prescription goggles for hire but they’re all negative (I ended up taking the arms off my glasses and jamming them in my mask 😊) - Definitely snorkel around the wreck out in the channel – we paid for snorkelling trips to the reef but found the wreck to be just as good – turtles, rays, sharks, fish - Our teenage kids did an Intro to Diving course and loved it - We managed to book our snorkelling trips and the kids dive course over the phone but it did take a couple of calls and a confirming email to get it sorted - Dinners are a bit pricey for a family of four but the food was fine (without being anything special) – there was always a vegan and a vegetarian option and they were pretty good - You can get good sandwiches at the bar during the day for around $10 and they’re good - You could take a sandwich toaster to keep the teenagers happy during the day - Avoid charging things to your room as much as possible – we were over-charged for some things and under-charged for others and were still sorting out the bill after we got home Overall, we had a fantastic family holiday and an awesome wildlife experience. The island and the wildlife are truly brilliant and, as long as you go with a relaxed attitude, you’ll love it all!

About a two hour high speed catamaran boat ride from mainland and well worth it. The resort is a bit dated and spartan. New owners are taking over soon. The food is not the high point but the beauty of the island is. 'The resort shares the island with a large research facility that is a wonderful experience and welcomes visitors. Seaplanes are available to the island and back. Hundreds of nesting sea turtles come to the Island to lay their eggs along with thousands of sea birds.

This is a review of the hotel NOT the island. The hotel is rather on the expensive side per day and I appreciated the necessity of bringing food and drink to the island every day. Yet the hotel is worn out and looks really tired (see pictures). The rooms need a thorough renovation, which shouldn’t be complicated. Replacing the furniture and the bath tabs would be a huge step forward. Also the bar area furniture would benefit from a renewal. The food was good and at a fair price point. Overall the restaurant was ok. The personal not always service oriented. Would I go back? Paying thousands of AUD for one week for a family => there are other choices in the world. Dear hotel owners RENOVATE!!

To start, really rough boat ride, threw up 3 times, getting sea sick for the first time in my life of many boat rides. If you can afford it, the plane or helicopter is the way to go. If you can't, lie down on one of the rows of seats by the bar and/or sit outside. The resort seems to be struggling with their identity: scuba camp, family resort or nature preserve. The small island is teeming with life which includes fish, turtles and, unfortunately, over 100,000 birds. It's neat to see them flying around, but bird poop is everywhere, including landing on you when you walk around and nearly all visible surfaces. They regularly power wash the brick sidewalks to minimize it, but it's everywhere. In addition, for the first couple of day or two the poop smell is overwhelming, though you do get used to it quickly. The resort itself is pretty worn out and is reminiscent of an older Dominican Republic all inclusive. Food was fair, typical buffet line but pretty expensive. The only problem with the food was the presence of flies, both on the food while it sat on the buffet and on our table and plates annoyingly while we tried to eat. The dining area is screened off for birds, but could be improved tremendously by installing actual screens that would keep the flies out. The furnishings in the common areas are sparse and overused, but have a comfortable, OK to flop-down, feel, that is good for families with young kids who don't care. We enjoyed watching the Australian Open finals with a mob of people on the resort's one TV. The pool is tiny and filled with murky saltwater and the pool deck has a few chairs with one umbrella and one area shaded by tree branches which isn't great given the birds hanging out in the tree. The service was good and the staff were friendly mainly 20-somethings who were doing stints there before returning to the real world. The rooms were super-basic but clean. From our upstairs reef room we could see a small patch of water through the dense trees. There was no AC but the fan worked well, despite having to close the windows to lessen the really loud nighttime bird noise. So, what was wonderful? The wild life on the Reef. You actually can snorkel right off the shore and see an amazing volume of sea life. We took a boat ride out to Viv's area and saw some really cool coral and fish but weren't amazed until we decided to swim out to the shipwreck. It's about 200 meters off shore but it was a really easy distance. The clouds of smaller fish, sea turtles, sharks and manta rays were amazing. While snorkeling in the Caribbean you see a colorful fish or two, around the wreck there were several schools of dozens just hanging around. That will be a life memory for me. In addition, we saw several sea turtles laying eggs in the beach and adorable turtle hatchlings instinctively racing to make it to the water before the gulls got them. It seemed as if we were in the midst of nature, not seeing some artificial version of it. So, take home points: tough boat ride, basic accommodations and food, friendly service, bird poop and smell, annoying flies, but an unforgettable immersive experience of a teeming ecosystem that's sadly, currently under threat.

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 Heron Island Dock and The University of Queensland - Heron Island Research Station. 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 1758 reviews