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“Nice but.....” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Heron Island Resort

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Heron Island Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Via Gladstone, Heron Island, Queensland 4000, Australia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Heron Island
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“Nice but.....”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

We were there in early March and apparently that was not a good time of year to do this as it is their rainy season. We only got a shower or 2 but it was quite windy and that made the water very rough.
The trip over on the boat was horrendous. There were 10 foot seas. Fortunately we had gotten up very early (at 4 AM) to get the flights from Sydney to Gladstone and had taken Bonine tablets to avoid seasickness and as we'd gotten up so early we were able to doze most of the way over. I had to keep my eyes closed anyhow as the boat was pitching so hard that it made me dizzy to look. The boat people were giving seasickness tablets out to anyonne who wanted one. There were also seasickness bags at each seat on the boat. I did notice that several people on the boat did use them.
The water stayed very rough and my husband never got to dive so we cannot comment on their dive operation altho they seemed very professional & knowledgeable when he signed up..
The resort is very nice. We were in the suites that are air conditioned and very glad we were as there are a lot of birds on the island and some of them are very noisy at night. There is one that sounds like a howling baby and even with the windows closed, it woke me a couple of times.
There is a nice pool and nice beach areas.
The food is good, not gourmet. The lunches were buffet. Some nights, the dinner was a buffet and some it was from a menu.
One day we walked over to the research center with a guide and that interesting. Another day we just walked around the island which is quite lovely.
We arrived on Tuesday March 5 and were due to leave Friday March 8. We left a day early on the helicoptor when we saw that seats were available. It costs alot extra but was well worth it for the view of the reef flying back and also not to have to take the rough boat ride again.
We found all the people who worked there who we came into contact with to be pleasant and helpful.
I have to "give a special shout out" to Richard in the front office for his patience and helpfullness getting our flights from Gladstone to Brisbane changed and to get us an extra night in Brisbane.
Its a nice resort and other than the weather we would have loved it but if you are expecting luxury you need to go elsewhere.

Room Tip: I suggest that if you can afford the extra $ to get one of the air conditioned suites so you can kee...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ross G, General Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, May 16, 2013
Hi Scubawife

We appreciate you taking time to offer a review, and trust you had a safe return journey. It is great that you enjoyed so many aspects of the Island and Resort and we regret you had such unfortunate weather during your time with us.

Best regards

Ross Greeenaway
Regional General Manager
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (188)
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Canberra
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

We had the unfortunate situation of arriving in Gladstone only to be told we could not get over to Heron because the desalination plant had broken and they had decided not to take on a more people even though we had booked and paid well in advance. At the time I was devistated. We had to hire a car and had a couple of costly and not so interesting days at 1770 and then took a day trip to Lady Musgrave just in case we didn't get out to the reef (very expensive for a family ...and treated a bit like cattle on the very full boat and floating pontoon. )

But it was not the fault of the heron staff and the new manager. When we were allowed on the island they did everything they could to make up for things (3 days later than we had booked). We were very happy to be there, the food was excellent and the diving fantastic with a very professional crew. Unfortunately we had to cram our diving in, rather than take our time and relax as we couldn't change our tickets. I highly recommend Heron as a great family holiday especially if you dive. Lots of rays, turtles , sharks and the reef was in pretty good nick. Food was excellent. We'll be back even though we had the hiccup at the start.

Room Tip: Up upstairs down near the health spa gives you a quieter spot.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ross G, General Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, May 16, 2013
Thanks for the positive review and we are delighted that you enjoyed all we had to offer, in particular the diving! We noticed you stayed 9 months ago and can assure you all our Desal Plant issues are well and truly a thing of the past.

Best regards

Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager
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Pac NW
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

Pluses: We saw turtle hatchlings, schools of fish, reef sharks, sting rays; once in a lifetime stuff. It's a small island where you can snorkel off the beach or pay for an excursion to snorkel with the divers.
Minuses: Yes, we saw turtle hatchlings, but only by sheer luck. They come out after sundown, and you can't use a flashlight because it throws them off, and it takes them about ten minutes to scamper to the water. So here we are, two tourists bumbling around up and down the beach in the dark looking for something that is about four inches in length and black. And it's not like there are hundreds of them coming out - maybe 20 or 30 in the group that we almost stepped on.
The resort is like the concessionaire who runs the only hotel in a National Park with no competition - you run a buffet line and hire students because it maximizes your profit, and because you're the only game in town, why go to extra effort? It's OK if you don't expect much. We stayed three nights, but two would have been enough.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ross G, General Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Thank you for your feedback, the abundance of marine life here at Heron is truly amazing and we are delighted that you experienced so much of that first hand, including the hatchlings!

I notice your visit to Heron Island was last February and I am very confident that you would notice a vast improvement in our Food service and product now.

We hope you have the opportunity to visit us again in the future.

Best regards

Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager
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Noosa, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

My partner and I booked in at Heron Island for 4 days during the week. I decided to read the reviews about a week before our trip and found a lot of negative comments about the Resort, needless to say I was a little anxious after reading through the reviews. Having paid $1,500 for the trip my standards had been pretty high about it. Well, we both had a great time! The food was amazing, always fresh and well prepared. The weather was great so we spent majority of the time in the water, snorkeling and what not. The only down fall was we found most of the staff to be unfriendly and not very happy. My partner planned to do a fishing trip while we were there for a few hours, however according to the guy at the marina centre who had a major chip on his shoulder, the weather wasn't good enough and it was too windy. The island does need a bit of a make over but I was happy to overlook all of that and we both had a great time here.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ross G, General Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
We appreciate your review, and apologize for the lack of service with the Fishing trip enquiry and Marine Centre.

We are very happy that you found the food of a high quality, and that you were able to take great advantage of the Islands natural wonders.

Best regards


Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager
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Brisbane
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

Before holidaying on Heron Island we had read many poor reviews so I expectations were not high. Yes there are issues as it is a little 'run down' and in need of some work but it is also absolute paradise! The beaches are white, the water crystal clear. The snorkelling and diving is incredible! (Turtles, sharks, live coral, giant clams and thousands of bright coloured fish!) My father, husband and sons all went deep sea fishing one morning and had a fantastic time. They all came back with great fishing stories and grinning from ear to ear! Plus the chef cooked what they caught for our dinner that night. The meals were very nice and had plenty of variety. (Apart from the cheese cake. But when we suggested to the chef that we had had enough of cheese cake, he kindly made us peaches and ice-cream.) The staff are extremely helpful and considerate. The Mutton birds can be a bit smelly and noisy at times, but it is their island! (The birds aren't nesting all year round. Plus management supply ear plugs if required.) We didn't have a problem. The beds are getting a bit old but hopefully that will be sorted with the renovations. Photographers will love the gorgeous landscapes and wildlife. Also great for underwater photography. The education centre is interesting and informative for all the family. The trained staff are available to give reef and wildlife tours. While we were there they also had star gazing nights. We left on 6th May and the island was closing for renovations for 6 weeks. It is not a 5 star resort so don't go there expecting it to be.We look forward to going back after the renovations.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Ross G, General Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, May 9, 2013
Dear Brodie28

We appreciate the review and that you enjoyed your time with us, also the natural attributes of the Island.

We look forward to seeing you back soon.


Best regards

Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

We stayed at Heron Island on our way beck from Wilson and comparison would be terrible unfair. However, in comparison to other traditional Queensland Island resorts the overall view was "about average" and possibly good for families but for couples with a need to relax and enjoy peace and quiet it probably not the best option.

The Island itself is beautiful and the marine life is fascinating. However, the resort possibly suffers from over development of a small parcel of land. There are a lot of rooms close together and this has led to crowding of the resorts facilities.

Average is probably a fair description of most aspects when compared to other Queensland Island Resorts. The food is probably the worst - very much buffet cafeteria style with mediocre quality. Service is inconsistent, ranging from non existent to above average, largely dependent on the staff member.

Would we stay again - probably not. Would we recommend it - probably only after a number of other destinations and then only for families.

Room Tip: We had the Beach House which was great but other accommodation seemed very crowded. Try and keep awa...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ross G, General Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Thank you for the review, and we are pleased that you enjoyed Wilson Island so much and also had the opportunity to stay on Heron Island.

School Holidays were evident when you stayed and we can assure you that outside of these periods the ambience is more relaxed for couples and families alike.

Best regards


Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

The location of Heron island is amazingly beautiful but yet the owners/operators of this resort have stuffed it up completely. This was our 2nd trip to the island having been there 18 months ago and how it has changed for the worse.

It started with our upgraded room (beach front) was a 500 meter walk through bushland, when we asked about this we were advised that a lot of people complain about this but nothing could be done!

Previously there was a mix of a la a carte dining and buffet, on arrival at the orientation meeting it was announced that this would be the case. NOT SO! Every night was buffet and when we asked we were advised that there was a wedding on and they hadn't got the staff to carte for a la carte. My question was why we should suffer because of bad management but they had no answer.

The food, I complained that my 3 year old was server raw mince in her spaghetti bolognase, the chef came out and apologized explaining that "they must have missed a bit when cooking it"
At the same dinner my Moroccon chicken with cous cous first had only chicken and when I cut into 4 pieces they were all raw in the centre. I was told that this is how chicken thighs should look.

Overall the standard of food was very poor.

Service level.....sadly lacking. For the 3 nights we had dinner the same scruffy looking waiter brought drinks to wrong table or got the order wrong. He constantly dropped cutlery and at one stage did so next to our table and let out an expletive beside my 3 year old daughter.

The standard of guests also seemed to have gone downhill and several people had to complain about a very noisy party on a veranda with alcohol brought onto the island which is supposed to be against island policy. The word 'Bogan' springs to mind when I looked around.

All I can say is SHAME SHAME SHAME for ruining what was a sensational resort. I will never darken their door again and working in the travel industry I will spread the word as no doubt other will too. The next time I hear about tourism numbers being down in Qld I will know the answer!

Room Tip: Give it a miss and find somewhere equally stunning but managed better
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ross G, General Manager at Heron Island Resort, responded to this review, May 5, 2013
We appreciate your feedback and are disappointed that your experiences fell short of expectation - for that we sincerely apologize. Our organization made the decision last year to close for six weeks this May and June to invest considerable resources into upgrading facilities, and attending to the types of issues that age has brought to our facilities.

We are though perplexed that you found the location of your accommodation too far away after arranging an upgrade. We also welcome all guests and trust that they will behave in a courteous manner toward all other guests at all times.

Being a small Island it is at times impossible to separate small Weddings from holiday makers and apologize if this disrupted your evening.

Best regards


Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Heron Island Resort

Address: Via Gladstone, Heron Island, Queensland 4000, Australia
Location: 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*
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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