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“Nature at its best” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Heron Island Resort

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Heron Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heron Island
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Nature at its best”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 May 2012

We visited Heron Island in early December. We initially booked for 4 adults, but at the last minute added an additional adult without any problem at all. The rooms (Reef rooms) were very spacious, with a king bed and 2 day beds, and can easily fit 4 adults in the one room comfortably. The boat ride in from Gladstone was quite rough. Don't visit the toilet - I made that mistake and after that couldn't stop throwing up! The staff on the boat transfer were fantastic though, taking care of me and kept asking if I need anything. They even brought water and a cold towel for me. It was definitely not a good start and I was telling myself I'm not coming back here again! Boy, was I wrong. At the end of my 4 days here, I was planning my next trip back.

Arriving on Heron Island, we were ushered to a hall for a quick briefing and welcome cocktail (non-alcoholic). It was then straight to lunch. Then checked in to our rooms.

All the meals at the resort are buffet style, we only had one dinner where it was ala-carte 3 course meal. I have to say food is not the highlight of this resort. Buffet was average, and the alacarte dinner that I was looking forward to was a disappointment. We had a vegetarian in our group and I have to say the restaurant tried their best to provide vegetarian food, even cooked special vege meals. Service was brilliant, and the average quality of food is not for lack of trying. We know they tried their best.

Now for the island itself - if you love nature, this is the place to go. There were birds nesting on the trees and it is difficult to avoid being "blessed" by them when you walk underneath the trees. The resort provided complimentary guided walks - we joined the Reef Walk and the Bird Watching. Both were very enjoyable and educational - not to be missed. Snorkelling was at its best too here on Heron Island. Turtle watching again is a must - but please ensure that you attend the turtle watching briefing in the afternoon before you venture out at night. There are some do's and don't's and it is good to know. We went out to watch the turtle nesting every night that we were there.

There is a shop on the island that sells souvenirs (t-shirts, swimsuits, etc.), ice cream, as well as seasickness tablets! I know that coz I asked as I was dreading the boat ride back to the mainland. But it turns out I had nothing to worry about as it was a very smooth ride back.

The only negative I had about the island is that other than inside the rooms, smoking is permitted everywhere. That just spoils that nature atmosphere of the island. You would be walking around enjoying nature at its best when suddenly someone in front of you puff out cigarette smoke. It was really disgusting. Being a world heritage area and a national park, with all the birds nesting, etc. smoking should be banned. Or just allow a small designated area to smoke, and not as and when/where they like walking around smoking. We escaped the big cities to come visit nature at its best, only to be confronted by cigarette smoke! That is my only grief about this place.

Overall, this is a fantastic island to visit. I have been to several islands in Queensland and Heron Island is still my favourite.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank pryss3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DNAPR, Heron Island Team at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, 23 May 2012
Dear Pryss3,

Thank you for choosing to stay with us at Heron Island during your last holiday.

Regarding the smoking issue that you wrote about: We encourage guests to utilize the designated areas only, which are identified by the availability of ashtrays and clear notices of designated no smoking zones. As an additional measure we will make sure that these zones are clearly identified at our guest orientation

Kind regards
Heron Island Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (527)
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English first
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2012

Heron Island has been one of those places i have wanted to visit for quite a while, We have had a number of visits to Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. We came across their special which included ferry transfers from Gladstone and decided to book.
We were unlucky with the weather, it was sunny and warm enough but very windy throughout our stay. The boat trip was an experience to say the least, nearly everyone other than my wife and i were sick. Thank God for a $7 packet of sea sick tablets, if you go just take some!
The Island is absolutely beautiful! We were very happy with our room and didnt have any issues with cleanliness as other reviewers have reported. The food was great, no complaints at all, excellent service and friendly staff throughout the resort.
The wildlife was fantastic, yes the birds are noisy and sometimes keep you awake for a while, but the main reason your going there is the wildlife, we loved all the noises at night.
My wife and i were lucky enough to witness about 100 or more turtles hatching from two nests one night right next to the path to our room. One of the best things we have ever seen!, we were also lucky enough to see turtle hatchlings on the beach at night as well.
Meals great, loved the take away coffee cups you could use after dinner to take a coffee or tea down to the beach for turtle watching at night. Also found the drink prices at the bar not cheap, but not too bad either .Facilities for showering before you leave after vacating your room were very good.
The things i didnt like. As it was windy while we were there i was disappointed with the snorkeling. We were only able to snorkel on the resort side of the island and most of the reef has been trashed by people treading all over it. They even do guided walks over the reef with viewing tube things, hey lets trash it some more. Still theres plenty of colourful fish, rays, sharks, and we even swam with a Loggerhead turtle no more than 50m from shore.Just dont expect to see colourful reef or coral like you can around the Cape Tribulation area.
The dive shop has a snobbery issue between divers and snorkelers. This is the same thing that happens between skiers and snow boarders, surfers and body boarders. The first few days we were there were windy and the swell was up, so understandably the snorkeling was cancelled although not always the diving, thats ok. The last day, although still a little bit windy, the swell had dropped off and we were extremely disappointed that they took divers but no snorkelers. We have snorkeled in far worse conditions on organised tours before. The reason people come to a place like this is diving and snorkeling. Just because your not interested in diving doesnt mean your an incompetent swimmer!
The boat trip back to the mainland was a bit stupid as well. They get you to the jetty half an hour or so before your due to return but the boat was over two hours late. Surely they must know. Why make people wait at the jetty when the resort bar is only 100m away. Also trying to get any sort of time for getting back to Gladstone and transfers to the airport from the crew was hopeless, we made our flight with 15 minutes to spare.
Overall we enjoyed our trip and would consider going back.The normal price does seem a bit over the top though, especially when you take into account the ferry costs and getting to Gladsone as well.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank westcoast65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Australia
Level Contributor
27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2012

My husband and I have just returned from a fabulous Mothers Day weekend at Heron Island. What a beautiful island it is! Gorgeous crystal clear aqua water and fine white sand beaches.Many activities available from reef walking (right off the beach), snorkel tours, diving for the enthusiasts, bird watching. Just fantastic. We went on the submersible craft to view an amazing array of fish and corals seeing turtles and reef sharks also. It is not turtle laying/hatching season but I'm sure that would be a great time to visit (Nov-April). The meals were fantastic and every staff member we came across was cheery and helpful. Our room (beachside suite) was clean and modern (refurbished) with a lovely view across the reef. From Tuesday to Saturday there is live music from 5.30-7.30 then 8.30-10.30. Fabulous sipping your drink watching the magnificent sunset - the only place we have been to on the east coast where the sun (appears to) set over the ocean. Lots of different age groups from young families with babies to more elderly travellers and twenty-somethings all enjoying what the Island has to offer. This island is a bird roosting/nesting habitat and the birds are extremely active from November until March/April which means lots of bird droppings and noisy chatter at that time - just something to be aware of. One tip - as your luggage is not delivered to your room for 2 hours after you arrive, take a day bag with your swimmers etc so you can start enjoying that beautiful water straight away - we feel those couple of hours were wasted as we didn't have access to our luggage until 4 pm after arriving at 1.40. When you are only there for two nights every minute counts!! Of course, the fabulous weather we had made our stay just perfect. We will return, this time with our married children and grandson.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank AussieJen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2012

After spending close to a week on Heron Island, all I can say is 'WOW'! The food was great, the service and friendliness of the staff were fantastic and the view from our room was amazing too. We booked a Turtle Room and were given a complimentary upgrade to a Beachside Suite, which was right on the beach with sand at our feet... We went on the island walk, reef walk and research station tour and learnt so much more about the reef and the turtles, it was a pleasure to hear and see so many passionate staff who love theirs jobs. I wish I could walk around the reef for my 9 to 5 job and get paid to do it. You are all living in paradise and I'm jealous. The guys in the info centre were fantastic. A big thank you to the dive staff who made our dreams come true with all of the sharks and turtles we saw. Last but not least, the staff on reception who made sure we had everything we needed to have a great time and with the minimum of fuss, your service was second to none. We'll definitely be back next year.

Room Tip: Book a Beachside Suite Rooms 80 to 90..downstairs rooms walk onto beach.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jaxon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gold Coast
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2012

Have just return from 5 nights on Heron Island and it was fantastic! My husband and I got away for our 10 year Anniversary and the Honeymoon that we did not have - without the 3 kids!
If you want a flash resort with stylish decor - go somewhere else. If you want to experience the reef at your door - this is the place for you. It is not a place to sit around the pool - it is a place to get your snorkle on and enjoy what the reef has to offer.
The resort itself in looks is ok, but the view of the reef makes everything else not matter!
The pool is small, but you have the most amazing ocean at your fingertips that no one really bothers with the pool anyway. The colour of the water, the reef, the marine life is all right there. No expensive boat trips - you can sit on a pool chair with your cocktail and watch the reef sharks, turtles and parrot fish swim right by!
We had the dive package so that my husband could do plenty of diving. Swimming with the Manta Ray was his highlight. The dive staff were helpful and safety was a priority (with the exception of one dive master who let divers ascend with no buddy while they kept on with the dive). High tide is your best dive options - low tide dives - you are better off with snorkel and mask. Plan your trip around the tides.
You don't have to dive - snorkelling is still great! Anywhere around the island is fantastic. The best would be on the top side of the boat harbour and out to the wreck. I had a wall of approx. 20 stingrays glide past me followed by a school of large fish, mixed with a reef shark and a lemon shark go past me in about 2 metres off the beach - Amazing! Out to the wreck there is some fantastic marine life including turtles, eagle rays and a couple of large Barramundi Cod inside the wreck. I swam around with a large turtle just off the bar area for about 20 minutes.
We did the fishing trip and had a fantastic afternoon. The price was reasonable considering what you would pay on the Gold Coast.
The room (Beach Suite) was nice, very comfortable bed and great pillows. No view of the beach/reef as trees are blocking - so if you are upgrading for that reason, don't bother. In saying that, the beach is a 20 second walk through the trees and is the highlight! We took our coffee down in the morning to watch the sun come up.
We did have a basic clean of our room each day - beds made, clean towels and swept. (Lots of sand gets into your rooms as it sticks to your feet and is hard to get out of the shower as well)
The food was great - just needed to serve the pancakes hot and have some cream for them. Other than that I ate bugs with prawn risotto, eye fillet and fantastic deserts. Lunch - anything from salads to a hot meal.
We will be back - and we will take the kids with us next time.

Room Tip: To suit budget. Only a limited number have the views of the reef. Some beach houses/rooms that are...
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank SummerClan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gladstone, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2012

After reading other reviews here it is clear to see that management do little to Improve this place. Day 1, arrived at island went to lunch they ran out of the hot buffet and I was advised that there would be no more food served, so I had to make do with shaved ham and coleslaw. Then went to our beach suite, to find stained linen and towels. Otherwise the room was suitable for our stay. Or so we thought, after dinner I put my 3 & 5 year old children to bed, and after about an hour, to my shock found a mouse on my daughters bed head. I chased it to no avail. We later went to bed and heard noises in the kids room. We discovered 2 mice in our bags eating the kids snacks stored in there. After several hours I ended up chasing 4 mice out of the room, but saw another 2 that I could not get. My wife and I had about 2 hours sleep the first night due to this ordeal. The next morning I went to reception and met Christine, undoubtedly the most ignorant person I have ever met. I told her of my ordeal, and the best she could offer was we have a few issues of mice at this time of year. I asked her if I could have a trap placed in the room. Her response was no as this is a national park, where animals are protected. I informed her that mice are not a native species to this island nor are they protected. The best she could offer was I will see what I can do. After a day on the beach We returned to our room to see that nothing had been done. Went back to Christine and she told me that she had sent maintenance in and traps were sent. I told her they were not and she responded by saying this is the best I can offer. I told her I did not pay 1200 dollars to have my family sleeping with Vermon. After a few heated words with her I left in disgust. We again had mice the second night, but only 1 so had to put up with that. Our room was never cleaned during the stay, however they did pick our dirty towels up off the floor and put them on the towel rack so we could reuse them. We ran out of toilet paper which was never replaced. Generally most of the staff were polite and friendly, but would like to give a special mention to Maddie in the restaurant, her service and friendly personality was appreciated, the other stand out was James the nurse, who could not do enough for us. Generally the food was ok but not very child friendly. My suggestion to management would be take a serious look at Christine and if Your staff believe the mice are acceptable, then advertise it on your website along with the turtles and other marine life

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Darren B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Andrew P, Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, 9 May 2012
Dear Darren B,



Thank you for choosing to stay with us at Heron Island during your last holiday.

I am extremely disappointed to hear of your negative experience with certain members of our staff, and the cleanliness of the rooms. Heron Island prides itself on providing an excellent all round nature and Great Barrier Reef island experience, and I apologise that this was not the case during your stay.

While you are quite correct that Heron Island is a National Park – we certainly do not encourage that type of wildlife within the resort facilities. I sincerely apologise that your experience was understandably so tarnished by this, and that the customer service you encountered was so far below the standards that we set for all our employees.

Since your feedback was published, we have taken action with the employees concerned as well as increased our housekeeping measures for the Resort rooms and facilities, as well as implementing procedures to ensure that this does not happen again.

We will pass on your feedback to Maddie and James – thank you so very much for pointing out those who have gone the extra mile!

Darren, this feedback has been escalated to our Managing Director who would like to speak with you about your experiences offline and come to a resolution with you for this – you will receive a message soon from us to set up a convenient time.

Thank you again for your feedback.

Andrew Parr

Assistant General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
109 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 May 2012

Heron Island Resort was really a wonderful experience (5 day stay, April 2012) - wonderful activities (diving, snorkeling - plus bird, island, research and reef walks) and friendly people as well. Food was above-average, with a few lunches and dinners pretty wonderful. Poor swimming pool, but then again, the reef is right there. Lots of snorkeling opportunities right from the beach. Small island, so not too much walking possibilities, and the nesting / breeding birds are _loud_ at night (need earplugs sometimes each night). Only major drawback was the cost. Combined with the extremely high AUD rate, this was a VERY expensive 5 days. We booked 5 days to get the free boat transport, but they did NOT honour this, so we had to pay 9as a couple) AUD 400 for an additional boat fee : (

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Heron Island Resort

Property: Heron Island Resort
Address: Via Gladstone, Heron Island, Queensland 4680, Australia
Region: Australia > Queensland > Heron Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heron Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Heron Island Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 109
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Heron Island is a true coral cay right on the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Here you swim off the beach to an endless garden of coral. Activities include guided island and reef walks, semi-submersible cruises, bird watching and beach picnics, plus a Kids program. Voyages Heron Island is famous around the world for its scuba diving and snorkeling. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Heron Island Hotel Heron Island

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