Heron Island Activities
Opportunities abound on Heron Island for all visitors! Learn about the fascinating reef ecosystem with our resident Naturalist Guides during complimentary guided tours, and jump into the water as a snorkeler or diver during our daily boat tours.
The schedule of activities are subject to weather, tides and availability, so please keep this in mind when planning your stay.
Island Walk (1.5hrs)
Take a walk with one of our Naturalist Guides and learn about the history, flora and fauna of Heron Island. This guided tour will take you through the Pisonia Forest towards Shark Bay and return to the resort along North Beach. Along the way we discuss the formation of Heron Island as a vegetated coral cay, learn about the environmental factors that have contributed to its formation, the plants that have colonised the island, the importance of the bird populations as well as sea turtles that visit Heron Island each year.
Reef Walk (1.5hrs)
Complimentary, booking required. Book and meet at the Information Centre. This tour is only available on certain days when the tide is particularly low and occurs during suitable daylight hours. Please wear appropriate fully enclosed footwear (some is also available to borrow at the Information Centre). Please wash your hands of any sunscreens or lotions prior to this walk.
Your Naturalist Guide will explain the formation of the reef and identify some of the weird and wonderful creatures that you are likely to encounter on Heron Reef. You can learn about corals and their relatives, the threats to the reef today, the symbiotic relationships between marine species, adaptations for survival during low tide, and much more.
Bird Walk (1hr)
Learn all about the different bird species around Heron Island with one of our Naturalist Guides. Birds are considered in four general categories: breeding populations, visitors, migratory shorebirds and resident populations. Heron Island can be home to up to 200 000 birds at the peak of nesting season! The guided walk begins at the Information Centre, walks around the rocky shores that edge some parts of the resort, past the Gantry, and heads out towards the jetty where numerous birds can often be seen on the beaches and around the shipwreck. The best time for bird watching is usually early morning or late afternoon. Species of birds may differ between seasons, times of day and are often tide dependant.
Enjoy a tour of the night sky with Heron’s naturalist guides. Subject to weather conditions and cloud cover so please check the Information Centre board for confirmation prior to making your way to the Helipad. Our Naturalist Guide will set up the telescope on the Helipad so you can enjoy close up views of the many seas of the Moon and sometimes even spot the rings around Saturn!
Turtle Walk (1hr)
Take an early morning or late evening stroll around the beaches with an experienced Naturalist Guide to watch nesting sea turtles. Your guide can provide information about the best practice guidelines for observing turtles, the stage of nesting the turtle is completing, as well as general information about the biology of sea turtles. Sea turtles usually nest around the high tide of a night time. Please remember- don?t use torches or flash photography on the beach.
Nature Presentations (1hr)
Join one of our experienced Naturalist Guides at a presentation where they share their knowledge on a variety of topics such as the biology and ecology of sea turtles, shark physiology and formation of the reef.
Turtle hints presentation (30 minutes)
This presentation provides a quick snapshot into the process of sea turtle nesting on Heron Island. Your Naturalist Guide will explain how to observe sea turtles whilst having minimal disturbance to these beautiful marine reptiles. Simple things like staying low and still on a nesting beach at night time, not using artificial lights around nesting beaches, and remaining 10m away and behind the line of sight of the sea turtle, can make a big difference to these nesting mothers.
Researcher Presentations (variable)
Subject to availability. Researchers associated with the University of Queensland Research Station discuss their current investigations and experiments in and around Heron Reef.
Other Activities (requires payment)
Our Heron Island Kids Junior Ranger Program is an exciting nature based program for kids between the ages of 7 to 12 years. The Junior Rangers program runs on Saturday and Sundays, plus every day during the Queensland school holidays. Session times are 11:00 – 12:30 and 2:30- 4:00pm. Each session is 1.5 hours duration, ($20 per child, per session). This includes a Junior Rangers Workbook, embroidered badge and a hat. REGISTRATION IS ESSENTIAL – Please book at Reception
To find out more please enquire at Reception or the Information Centre. Children need to be signed in and out of each session, and sessions start and end at the Information Centre. Each session covers a different topic, topics may vary seasonally. For example, topics may include: reef ecology, forest awareness, coral cay formation, turtle nesting and whale watching.
Semi-Submersible Boat (“I-Spy”)
Not a diver and want to see the reef up close? The semi-sub is perfect for you! Max. of 26 people, Book at the Marine Centre. Meet at the jetty at 9:00am for 9:15am departure. Adults $50, children $35. Turtles, sharks and rays are often seen form the I-Spy. Your Naturalist Guide will commentate on the many species of marine animals that are encountered, and provide information about the biology and ecology of coral reefs.
The Semi-Submersible usually runs each day at 9am, with the exception of Wednesday.
This activity is weather dependent and will not run in high winds and strong currents.
Departure time varies depending on the time of sunset (between 5pm and 6pm). Sunset Cruises run Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, subject to availability and weather conditions. Bookings and further details are available from the Marine Centre. Please confirm your booking at the Marine Centre by 3.30pm on the day. Cost per person is $60, this includes a cheese platter and wines. Minimum 4, maximum 20 people.
5:30 – 7:15pm & 8:15 – 10:15pm Live Music
Complimentary. Enjoy live music in Baillie’s Bar with Heron’s resident musician 5 nights a week (except for Wednesday’s and Sunday’s).
Check our 2018 activity guide for pricing.