Diving & Snorkelling

Heron Island is known the world over for its excellent Great Barrier Reef dive sites, coral gardens and pinnacles. So good is the diving that Jacques Cousteau – the world’s most famous undersea explorer of our time, listed Heron Bommie as one of his top 10 favourite dive sites.

With a natural coral cay located directly on the reef, there are plenty of dive sites to explore, more than half of which are just minutes away from the jetty.

The waters around Heron Island are teeming with reef fish, turtles, manta rays, reef sharks and an endless variety of marine invertebrates. Around 60% of the 1,500 species of fish and around 72% of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef call the waters around Heron Island home.

Heron Island caters to all levels of marine enthusiasts from the novice snorkeller to experienced divers. The waters around the island are relatively shallow with an average depth of between 10 and 25 metres. Snorkellers can enjoy drifting over shallow reefs just meters from the shore.

Why Dive on Heron Island?

  • Located directly on the reef with minimal time (5-15 minutes) to 20 diving sites
  • All diving sites located within a marine national park
  • Diving styles ranging from shallow reef diving sites to buoyed diving sites
  • See turtles, mantas, rays, sharks, dolphins, tropical fish while diving the coral gardens
  • Caters for all levels of divers. From novice to experienced.
  • Highest-quality diving equipment (no carrying of tanks or weights at any time), stable platform style boats with shaded canopies and giant stride entries – exit via wide ladders
  • Experienced dive-masters present at all times
  • 3 dives per day and night dives available.

Underwater Seasons

  • Month
    January / February
  • Water Temperature 
    26-30°C (79-86°F)
  • What To See
    Female turtles are laying eggs on the beach and hatchlings are making their way to the sea.

  • Month
    March / April
  • Water Temperature
    22-29°C (72-84°F)
  • What To See
    End of turtle nesting season.

  • Month
    May / June
  • Water Temperature
    19-23°C (66-73°F)
  • What To See
    Humpback Whales northern migration begins

  • Month
    July / August
  • Water Temperature
    18-23°C (64-73°F)
  • What To See
    Humpback Whales frequently sighted. Visibility up to 50m.

  • Month
    September / October
  • Water Temperature
    20-26°C (68-79°F)
  • What To See
    Humpback Whales active. Turtle mating may be observed.

  • Month
    November / December
  • Water Temperature
    22-29°C (72-84°F)
  • What To See
    Turtle egg-laying begins. Some first hatchlings emerge in December. Annual synchronised coral spawning.

Marine Life

 

Sea turtles

The most commonly sighted species of sea turtles that nest throughout this southern section of the Great Barrier Reef include the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta).

Throughout the year sea turtles will share the waters with you and can be seen whilst snorkeling or diving. From October to March each year a breeding population migrates to this region to mate and nest and turtle hatchlings can be seen making their way to the sea.

Whales

Heron Island is a very special place, where you can see Humpback whales migrating north from June to September each year.

Humpback whales undertake the longest documented migration of any individual mammal, with one record being over 8000 km! They essentially make north-south migrations between cold water feeding areas for summer and temperate to tropical breeding areas for winter.

They spend the winter months in our waters and the summer months in Antarctica.

Rays

The most common rays seen around Heron Reef are the Giant Shovel-nosed Ray, the White-spotted Eagle Ray, the Blue-spotted Fantail Ray, the Cow-tail Ray and the Pink-whip Tail Ray. Also seen seasonally is the magnificent Manta Ray.

Sharks

The most commonly sighted sharks on Heron Reef are the Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks. Both of these sharks avoid humans and are harmless if left alone.
Please don’t disturb them in their natural habitat.