Snorkeling Heron Island, Australia?

by Dave
(San Diego)

I am looking for information about snorkeling Heron Island in Australia. My wife and I will be visiting there in in April 2019. It is in the southeast portion of the Great Barrier Reef offshore from Gladstone, Queensland. We are looking for any tips and recommendations from fellow snorkelers who have visited this island.

Thank you.

Comments for Snorkeling Heron Island, Australia?

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Dec 16, 2018
You'll Love It
by: Jeff

First thing, because fringing reef is shallow, you're limited to snorkeling most areas from a few hours before high tide to a few hours after. The exception is the channel where the boat comes in. It's deep enough there to snorkel anytime, but because of boat traffic you are limited to a couple of hours after sunrise and a hour or so before sunset.

Be sure and take at least one snorkel boat trip. It costs extra but it is worth it.

On land there are many free guided nature hikes that are good. Keep your teyes peeled for the native white breasted sea eagle.

You're gonna love it.

Dec 19, 2018
Thanks Jeff
by: Dave

I checked the tide charts and corresponded with the dive shop on the island and we are planning to do some reef snorkeling on our own during the morning high tides and take some varied boat excursions outside the reef for some drift snorkeling on the waning tides.

According to the tide tables we should have some +4 meter high tides. The change in tides this time of year is 3 meters so I imagine the conditions will be constantly changing.

My only disappointment so far is that there are no kayaks for self-guided use, only guided groups. So we will not be able to explore the huge lagoon on our own.

I will plan to update this post in April with some details of our trip once we’ve returned.

Jan 06, 2019
Other Option
by: Andrew

You should also consider Lady Elliot Island. It is also on the southern barrier reef. It is not quite as upmarket as Heron but having snorkeled at both islands we prefer Lady Elliot. The reef in front if the resort is fabulous for turtles and on the other side of the island you might see mantas. Have a look and consider LEI as an option.

Jan 06, 2019
Lady Elliot Island Info
by: Nicole & Galen

If it is of interest, we have a visitor story page about snorkeling Lady Elliot Island on the site.

Jan 07, 2019
Heron Island
by: Jane

I will be there in a couple of weeks time, and can report back on any info required.

I am a avid snorkeler and from my understanding the snorkeling is amazing, taking into account the tides.

The Great Barrier Reef is truly spectacular. I did the north end in 2018 and Heron Island is on the southern part, and reports are excellent on the condition of the reefs.

Jan 07, 2019
Appreciate the Input
by: Dave

Thanks for the comments and ideas. I appreciate the input. Not having been to any of the GBR islands yet, we considered several other islands before booking but decided to go with Heron Island for this trip.

The fact that LEI is a bird rookery did factor into our decision.

Jan 07, 2019
Thanks Jane
by: Dave

I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip. Just FYI, here is a link to the tide tables for the area.

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