Best for: Turtles
Heron Island is a coral cay accessible by boat and seaplane from Gladstone. As well as being surrounded by its own reef – Heron Reef – the cay is notable as a turtle nesting site and turtles are likely to be encountered on every dive. Being 50km offshore, the corals of Heron and the surrounding reefs are in perfect condition and support thriving marine ecosystems.
The sandy island has a 100+ room resort complete with marine centre offering snorkelling and scuba diving and an information centre offering guided walks to see the sea, land and air-based fauna.
Snorkelling and Diving
The dive boat departs three times daily and visits sites along the reef edge suitable for divers and snorkellers – ideal for a family outing with a mix of divers and snorkellers. Simply check in at the Marine Centre to book your place, then turn up at the jetty before the departure time with your gear.
Heron Bommie is Heron’s signature dive for obvious reasons: it’s a smorgasbord of everything Heron has to offer – and that’s a lot:
- Great coral formations
It’s also the site closest to the jetty and at 16m max. depth – an accessible site even for the most novice of divers. If you were considering doing a Discover Scuba Diving experience, this would be the place to get you hooked.
Tenements is named for the amazing, stacked corals, all in perfect condition, that grow in layers up the reef edge. The formations develop in such a way, that every fan of coral gets its fair share of sunlight.
Healthy corals are the basis for a healthy, diverse marine ecosystem and there are plenty of herbivores like the coralfish, butterflyfish and rabbitfish keeping the corals algae-free. All around the pretty reef scenes, with schools of damsels, coral bream and colourful anthias, will catch your eye.
Being on the northern edge of Heron Reef, this site experiences a little more current, evidenced by the whip corals dotted amongst the hard-coral scenery. It’s a site where you might encounter some of the ‘bigger stuff’.
Home to a giant moray, and often with white-tipped reef sharks resting in the sandy hollows, Blue Pools lists red emperors, schooling snapper and thick-lipped wrasse as residents.