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“Great Place for Relaxing with Family and Friends”

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Heron Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heron Island
Certificate of Excellence
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
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Thank brodie28
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 reviewResponded 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

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,249 - 1,255 of 1,668 reviews

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
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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8  Thank Pauly350
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 reviewResponded 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.
Reviewed April 28, 2013

My husband and I went to Heron Island based on our friend's experiences from 8 years ago. We thought Heron Island was very nice, but was a little disappointed in the condition of the Coral
. I think it had deteriorated in the past 8 years. We took the only snorkeling excursion which was also a dive boat. It was a terrible experience, We jumped off the boat about 10 minutes away from Heron Island, and was supposed to find the reef by ourselves. I kept asking the staff which way to go, but I was having difficulty with my mask, and they just kept pointing. Then they left my husband and I alone in the water, and took the boat away to find other divers and snorkelers who were all over the place. This was a very dangerous thing to do. We were in the water about a half an hour not in sight of the boat. The staff was unhelpful and not responsible at all. For this horrible experience, they charged $48.00A for 1 1/2 hours snorkeling, and $7.00 for a mask and $7.00 for fins.

The resort was okay, very basic room, and the food was plentiful, but average.They did upgrade us to a room on the second floor, as there was no airconditioning and no screens. If you wanted to open your windows, the curtains would have to be shut, so no one could look in.

The trip over from Gladstone was one of the worst experiences of our lives. The water was so rough, that the captain almost didn't go. But then he did. Everyone on the boat was throwing up, and we were sick when we arrived. And then they made an announcement that we had a half hour to eat lunch before the dining room closed.

Heron Island itself is very lovely, but the resort needs to deal more efficiently with some of it's policies. As there is only l dive shop, they should certainly monitor their efficiency, safety, and care that they give to guests.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sandyk052
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 reviewResponded May 5, 2013

Dear Sandyk052

Greatly appreciate the review and constructive comments, in particular we will review the Dive and Snorkel issues.

We regret that bad weather marred your Ferry journey and trust you recovered quickly.

Best regards


Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager

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Reviewed April 27, 2013

My wife and I almost cancelled our Heron Island holiday this week based on the appalling (ridiculous) reviews by some recent guests. What a tragedy that would have been! Heron Island is absolutely beautiful and my young family and I have just enjoyed four of the most amazing days on an island paradise. I think the secret to enjoying Heron Island is to arrive with "realistic expectations". The resort on Heron Island is not in the same class as Lizard, Bedarra or Hayman and it doesn't pretend to be. At Heron, you get to enjoy an island as magnificent as any on the Great Barrier Reef without having to pay the exorbitant rates of the premier island resorts. If you need chocolates on your pillow and a sparkling new pool deck, then (do us all a favour) pay for it and go elsewhere. The Heron Island result is old but like an ageing beauty, it still has its charms. People who spend their holidays taking close up photos of bird poop on patio furniture or rusty fan blades in their room really have problems that have nothing to do with Heron Island. By the way, neither myself nor anyone in my family was pooped on by a bird during our four days. If birds annoy you, my tip is don't go to a bird sanctuary. People aren't kidding when they say the boat ride can be rough. Our return journey on a blue-sky day was so rocky that my wife and two children were all face down in vomit bags. If the wind gets above 25 knots, come prepared for a very unpleasant crossing. I think the reason the resort doesn't provide lunch on the last day is because it doesn't want 80 passengers full of buffet going on a lumpy boat ride! My thanks to the wonderful staff on Heron Island, especially the boat crew who willingly helped clean up the mess left by my kids.

Room Tip: We stayed in a reef family room (#21). I wouldn't pay for anything better because each room is...
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank ElvisNewcastle
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 reviewResponded May 5, 2013

Hi Elvis and thank you for the positive review.

I know it will be appreciated by our young team, and certainly put a smile on their faces.


Best regards

Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2013

Heron Island is a natural fantastic wonder of the world, but the Resort is very, very tired and needs a lot of work to bring it up to world class standard. For the price you are paying per night it's poor, our pillow case and bedding was not fresh and the room was dirty. This was confirmed when talking to another couple who found clumps of hair behind their pillows disgusting. The food was average, bar and pool area dirty, pavers sticking up, umbrellas torn, dirty seats, just a poor situation all round. Work place health and safety need to have a look and address the problems, selling the resort as world class looks bad as it is not. I would hate to think what people from overseas think as it's very poor. I have travelled the world and been in countries that are very poor and their resorts and staff are very professional, maybe Heron Island can learn from these places. It's not often I write a review but felt compelled to do so as Heron Island is a beautiful place and deserves better, plus I am a local and won't be visiting it again in the near future or recommending it to my friends which is sad because many want to vist but other places are better and more value for money.

Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
4  Thank Mandy B
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 reviewResponded May 5, 2013

Dear Anthony

We appreciate the review and direct feedback. We are not shying away from the fact that work needs to be done in several areas and we are closing for six weeks (May & June) this year to undertake these.

We sincerely hope that you will return to see first hand these improvements in the near future.

Best regards


Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

I rated this resort experience at 2-3stars. It is not value for money. The holiday was only ‘saved’ by the beautiful weather, the beaches and the reef. I won't be coming back.
Sadly I note that others have made similar comments online about the Heron Island Resort. There were many problems.
In the room there was a notice about facilities. It suggested that there was a report sheet beside the bed for completion on departure. There was nothing there.
The room was not serviced/available for use until 3 pm on most days.
The valance on the bed was twisted and pulled over one side when we arrived and not adjusted all week.
In the suite were two overhead fans. One fan was on high speed when we arrived, the control knob was missing and could not be turned down or off on a cool night. The other fan on low speed could not be turned off either. I notified staff at Reception on Day 1 (Staff picked up the phone to report), and Day 2 (Staff wrote my complaint on a scrap of paper) AND Day 3 (OK, a woman said and did nothing more). On the third day in addition to telling Reception I found a supervisor checking rooms and asked her to deal with it. Both fans were fixed.
The toilet roll holder in the bathroom of Room 143 is falling of the wall.
The breakfast chef on the first morning had a dirty apron on at 7.30am. The breakfast chef was grumpy as she had 'had a bad night with no sleep as the staff had partied'.
We had only one a la carte dinner offered. Buffet meals are not conducive to smart dining.
On the second day there was apparently a computer breakdown ('waiting for Melbourne to fix it') and the printer didn’t work and no details of the following day's events were available from Reception on the evening before or until midday of the next day. I found that an amazing breakdown in communication since the staff of the Information Centre and the Marine Centre could have given the Reception staff verbal details or a handwritten note of the next day's program, and tides and weather. This information was relayed to me, in broken English by a sweet German woman, who couldn't explain why there were no details available.
In general my three experiences at the Reception desk were not friendly and polite. The staff were vague and slow (on one occasion I waited several minutes while a staff member had a phone call and another watched through the glass window from the office behind the desk). There was no apology when I went back to discuss the fan on following days) - not a good impression on guests.
Several male staff were unkempt and grubby, greasy hair serving food and drinks is not good enough. Others were smartly dressed.
On four days the Information Centre was not open until 8.45am (anticipated at 8.30am). I accept that the lifestyle might be laid back. When there was no ‘Heron Times’ on one day I would like to have known about the weather, the tides and the activities offered. These were only written up after the Centre opened each morning on the noticeboard outside the Centre.
The female public bathroom was very dirty. It obviously has constant use and needs constant cleaning. It smelt of urine and the floor was filthy beside the cistern.
The fiasco with the departure vessel breaking down was not satisfactory. The manager and team should have a contingency plan. The communication was ad hoc. Notices were posted around about but no verbal communication was provided. Once we heard about it we asked. Some staff didn’t know. It is only courtesy to have all staff informed. It would be possible to provide a written notice to every guest to ensure all know and can make arrangements accordingly. I understand that an arrangement negotiated by the bride's father was the only reason we were able to leave the island on that day (as half the guests were stranded on the mainland waiting to get to the impending wedding on Heron Island).
Departing guests are asked to checkout at 10am. The arrangement with guests having to pay for a midday meal if they want to eat at that lunchtime is strange, mean-sighted and unsatisfactory. When all other meals are included why can't there be a final meal available within the high rates guests pay.
Not good enough.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank RosemaryK712
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 reviewResponded May 5, 2013

Thank you for investing the resources into reviewing your stay and experiences here at Heron Island. It is true that we need this constructive feedback and comment so as to facilitate the work we need to undertake to constantly improve what we do. It is our aim to meet all guests expectations, and ensure that all Island Holidays are of a high standard.

In particular I note your detailed experiences with Housekeeping , Maintenance, Food and general staff attitude - we will be working hard in all these areas I can assure you.

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.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

Heron Island is an absolute gem. Total paradise. We spent 7 nights on the island so our son could do his PADI OWC on his 12th birthday. Prior to visiting the island, I must admit to becoming a little worried due to so many negative reviews. But what can I say? Our experience was perfect. From the boat trip over to the boat trip back, the sun shone, the wind disappeared, the sea was clear and calm and it was just perfect. I honestly can't criticize a thing. Our upstairs family room was great and given we were only in there to sleep, who cares that the decor is a tad tired?! The birds were funny and not loud at all. The food was varied and plentiful. The restaurant and bar live music was great. And the staff went out of their way to keep you happy. Friendly, knowledgable, really nice people.

The island itself is beautiful. Waking each morning to watch the sun rise, taking in all the changing colours and reflections on the water was magical. The beach surrounding the island is pristine. My husband and I have been to numerous Queensland and overseas islands including the Caribbean and Heron rates as one of the best.

Now for the diving. I absolutely cannot rate the Marine Centre staff highly enough. They made our son's first open water dives memories that he will treasure forever. Greg, the two Sams, Sune and Nick deserve a special mention. Such genuinely lovely, caring, friendly people. Thank you guys! The diving was superb! Turtles, sharks, schools of fish and a manta ray!

We will definitely return and wholeheartedly recommend a visit!

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank TheSuburbanStiletto
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 reviewResponded May 5, 2013

Dear TSS

We value your feedback and are delighted that you had such a great stay here on Heron Island. In particular with the Dive Centre - we have passed your comments on to the Team.

Hope to see you back soon.

Best regards

Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
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 4680, 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: $257 - $422 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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