3 Incredible Ways to Sleep on the Reef
As a true coral cay situated on the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef of Australia, Heron Island offers a unique experience where you can truly immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Among the music of seabirds, tracks of turtles and clouds of multi-coloured fish, the feeling that you’re a guest of nature itself is inescapable. Surrounded by 24 square kilometres of reef, the island is home to a resident population of over 5,000 green and loggerhead turtles – with many more returning each year during breeding season. Here you can swim off the beach to an endless garden of coral, but for those who don’t want to get their feet wet, join the I-Spy semi-submersible, which provides guests the opportunity to experience the reef from below the surface while staying dry and enjoying expert commentary from one of the islands naturalist guides. Watch while rays and sharks shoot past the glass windows, plump sea cucumbers laze in the sand, and turtles rest at coral cleaning stations.
There is one resort on the island, Heron Island Resort, which offers several standards of accommodation designed to suit all tastes and budgets. This island is also home to the Aqua Soul Spa, with three single and one couple’s treatment rooms, nestled within lush forest.
You can access Heron Island via the 2-hour Heron Islander ferry service from Gladstone or take to the skies and experience an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef during a 30-minute flight from Gladstone Airport with Marine Helicopters
This natural coral cay is both part of the Great Barrier Reef and surrounded by it. It’s pristine waters host an unimaginable variety of marine life – in fact some of the best snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef is right off the beach at Wilson Island. Covering just 5.24 acres, Wilson Island is the ultimate island castaway experience, offering seclusion in a setting of unrivalled natural beauty and playing host to just 18 guests at any one time. An all-inclusive barefoot luxury experience where you have a chef and host to cater to your every need. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind getaway in safari tents, with just 9 sites available you will wake up in the morning to the sounds of the ocean from the comfort of your king-size bed. Access to Wilson Island is via Heron Island which is a 40-minute boat ride away. Transfer times between Heron and Wilson Islands are subject to tide and weather conditions and may vary accordingly.
North West Island
This welcome gem of the Southern Great Barrier Reef welcomes self-sufficient campers to enjoy an untouched paradise. As the second largest coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef, the island offers opportunities for bushwalking, nature study, reef walking, diving and snorkelling. Fishing is also very popular on the island, but visitors are requested to limit their fishing and to abide by authorised fishing zones. Your remote island adventure is only a permit away from reality! Access to North West Island is via private boat or ferry service, with Curtis Ferry Services and is situated 75km north east of Gladstone. This ideal off-grid camping location allows a maximum of 21 nights. Guests here will find composting toilets, fuel storage and a compressor bunker, but must bring everything else, including all food and drinking water. This camp area is nestled within the Pisonia forest with access to a walking track, and offers easy access to snorkelling and diving or reef walking at low tide.