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“Nature's wonderland”

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Heron Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heron Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 15, 2014

Heron Island is a nature paradise.
The water is crystal clear; the reef is amazing for the colours of the coral and the fish.
Also the island itself is great: internal tracks in the middle of the bush with many birds and plants.
So, the place is amazing and a MUST for adults and kids who can truly learn about and experience nature and wildlife.
Let's now talk about the resort.
We loved not having TV, mobile phone reception.
The staff are very nice an friendly.
The rooms: we used the "beachside suite": comfortable, nice and with a million dollar view.
But, you could notice that the management didn't invest much in making sure they keep being as the price would require.
This was our sixth time in the resort and it seems that rooms lacked maintenance or upgrades.
Last time we came in 2007 there were some little "extras" in the room (cd with nature/relax music on arrival, stationery and a beautiful book about Heron island, spa product in the bathroom).
This time nothing of that.
Also the shower box "now old" with trace of mould, cabinets and drawers that show their age and really modest quality.
So, the room was nice but for the price we were expecting more care.
Also the room service has been average: bin not emptied until our forth day.
I had to go few times to reception because towels were not changed and things like shampoos were not replaced.
Having said that we wouldn't like to see Heron Island Resort become something different, we love it as it is, just with a little bit of extra care.

Now I would like to talk about the music entertainment provided by Tony King and Kris Ralph: 'Beautifully Mad' band.
They are truly professional and great performers.
My wife, daughter and I every day were waiting for their performances and every time has been a blast.
Let me say that I would come back to the island just for them.

Finally, the holiday has been great because this island is really "magic" and Tony and Kris were really special to us.
We will come back next year.

I hope to find again Tony and Kris and I hope that the management will keep investing in the resort at the level of the island beauty.

...By the way...this is something we would love to see back at Heron Island Resort: the past guests program (with the 30% discount)!!!

Room Tip: Beachside suites are right on the beach and it is great. They don't have air conditioning but t...
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank AntonioBini
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 February 22, 2014

Thanks for taking the time to write a review, it is appreciated.

I'm glad to read that you enjoyed so much of the Island. its natural assets, and our services and facilities - we agree our Resident Duos are something special.

Your Housekeeping experience is unacceptable and I personally apologize for that lack of service. I'm sure by your next visit you will notice a change in the rooms, we are embarking on an improvement program.

Best regards


Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager

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1,117 - 1,123 of 1,666 reviews

Reviewed February 13, 2014

After staying at 22 island resorts around Australia and the South Pacific, we decided to revisit one for the first time.Heron Island was the island we chose and we certainly weren’t disappointed about our week there. On a value for money basis, I think it is the best.

I didn’t bother looking at the other reviews on this site before I left, as I knew what to expect, but now that I have looked I am amazed by the negative reviews. I guess it always depends on what you expect. I will try to make sure your expectations are reasonable.

Heron Island is a small island 80 kilometers of the coast from Gladstone. The entire island is a national park and is set in the middle of a stunning coral reef. It is a bird and turtle nesting site (in season). This means there are lots of birds there! It is a two hour boat ride to get there (if you can’t afford the helicopter), and this can be quite an unpleasant trip when the seas are rough. On our trip over probably half the boat was vomiting, and I hear that was the case for the next few days as well.

When you are on an island in the middle of nowhere you are not going to get five star luxury at a reasonable cost, and even if you did spend the money building it, the exposure to the elements would ensure it deteriorates rapidly. We were two adults and a child in a beachfront suite about ten steps from the sand, and were lucky enough to get one where the tree in front had died so we had a pretty good view of the ocean. Most beachfront suites had filtered views at best. Our room was reasonably basic, but was just as big and almost as nice as a resort we stayed in earlier in the year that cost three times as much. My wife complained about a couple of maintenance issues when we arrived, and staff were there to fix them within half an hour.

So what do I want from an island holiday? A nice deserted beach, with fine sand, good swimming (at high tide) and beautiful water. Heron island has this – in fact I think it is the best beach of any island I have stayed at in Australia. Great snorkelling, both off the beach and on boat trips. Heron island certainly has this. A bar area where you can sit and enjoy the view, with some live music to enjoy at night. Heron understands this –better views from the main bar than any other island I have been too, and I thought the Beautifully Mad guitar duo/singers were excellent. And decent food. Again, I have no idea what people who were complaining about the food were expecting. The breakfasts were great, lunch perfectly good, and plenty of variety at dinner. OK there may be some dishes that aren’t to you your liking, but I always found plenty (too many!) that were. For an all inclusive price, the food was far better than I expected, and/or the room a lot cheaper than I would happily have paid). Plus there was a really good kids club/junior ranger program that my son loved, although the emphasis is on learning, not baby-sitting, and the hours it is open reflect that.

The only real issue is the staff, who are generally young, enthusiastic, but not very well trained. They generally try pretty hard, but often aren't all that good at their job. You're not getting five star service here.

But overall, Heron Island has everything I hope for from a genuine island well away from the Australian Coast, at a price I thought was very reasonable.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Michael P
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 February 22, 2014

Hi, and thanks for being our 500th reviewer! Such a milestone for us deserves recognition and if you care to contact me we would love to have you back for two nights as our guests ( rgreenaway@dncinc.com ).

Your review is comprehensive, and we are delighted that you found us to represent good value for money. Its also great that you all enjoyed the food, kids club, beaches, your room and the Band.............


Hope to see you back with us in the near future.

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 February 13, 2014

We flew to the island from Gladstone in a sea plane of Air Charter CQ Pty Ltd it was magic landing on the lagoon everything was picture perfect straight out of a Queensland tourist brochure. Check in was fast, courteous and hassle free and as we walked to our Reef Room watching the bird life was noisy but fascinating to say the least. The room was clean, functional, and airy with a beautiful view of the reef filtered through the trees, there’s no TV or room service there isn't even a phone; absolute bliss. For those who can’t let go for a couple of days internet access is available at Ballies Bar if you’re that desperate to maintain contact with the outside world. On check in we given a time slot for dinner but there’s no issue to change your dinner time daily if you want to, when you arrive for breakfast the staff on the counter will ask what time you’d like dinner. As to the food; it was fresh and tasty with regular changes at all meal times except breakfast which was the perennial anywhere you go and very nice it was too, the egg chef was excellent ask him and he can do it! We were there four days on two occasions dinner was buffet style the other two were al-a-carte. The boys and girls waiting the tables knew their job well and were very attentive without being intrusive. Baillie’s Bar is a good place to go; the Margaritas are great and the beer is cold what more do you want after a hard day on the beach?
We didn’t dive or snorkel we were there to see the birds and turtles and weren’t disappointed it was an experience everyone should have but a warning it’s a cruel world for hatchlings. The bird life is extensive and walking through the Pisonia forest is very noisy, read about the relationship between the noddies and the Pisonia trees, another cruel trick of Mother Nature. You will get used to the Mutton Birds doing their thing at night.
A guided tour to the University of Queensland Research Station was fascinating especially playing with star fish and sea cucumbers. It is very important to listen to the wildlife experts at the resort and adhere to their instructions about turtles the ladies are very sensitive to light and movement and can turn back to the water if disturbed.
If you’re after a five star resort with all the bells and whistles don’t go to Heron but if you’re after a comfortable World Heritage Area experience this is the place to be.
Will we go back? Try and keep us away!

Room Tip: Go for a reef room they I think they would get more sea breeze and if you have the money go for a po...
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank John S
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 February 22, 2014

Hi John, and thank you very much for such a comprehensive review.

We are truly pleased that you gained so much from your stay and enjoyed do many aspects of what Heron island has to offer - you obviously understand what the Island is about and we trust you can visit again it the not too distant future.


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 February 12, 2014

We bought a great three night package. I really should have been more vigilant regarding sea sickness prevention...." Watch the horizon " fresh air if you can.... Very sick on way over... But fine coming home.
We were escorted to our room by the island nurse because I was sooo sick. We when surfaced we stumbled into Ballies bar for a lemonade, which is a beautiful setting with very comfortable seating. We were delighted to watch live music in the form of " beautifully mad" a most amazing duo.. It honestly was such a treat after feeling so bad, to sit there watching listening to such wonderful performers. Live music creates such a fantastic ambiance. Tony and Chris know how to make an audience feel special and interact personally with folk in the audience.
We found the food great... We just ate too much.
Birdies are noisy , but amazing to be right in amongst them. Ear plugs and fan work for sleep.
Room was comfortable and serviced every day.
Staff were fantastic. Really tried to help us on the boat, cool washers etc. and restaurant staff also all really good.
Snorkelling was great but maybe not as good a lady Elliot, and off cairns
Seemed to be a lot of dead coral.
All in all, really relaxing and fantastic not to have TV and news blaring all over the place. Also good having no phone access.

Room Tip: We found the turtle room to be fine. Although i think we were lucky to be a little way from the bar...
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jacqui D
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 February 22, 2014

Hi Jacqui, and thank you for reviewing Heron Island.

I am sorry that you had occasion to meet our wonderful Nurse so early, but the seas are out of our control!

We are delighted that you enjoyed the Band so much and that we exceeded your expectations in so many ways, in particular the food, your room, and especially the staff - we have worked hard in those areas.


Best regards


Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager

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Reviewed February 9, 2014

A very nice resort if you want to get away from life. We went in September and the weather was amazing and very hot. If you hate birds expect a nightmare because they're everywhere having said that it really didn't bother me at all. I was a little disappointed with the dinner as there wasn't a boufet and i like to eat a lot when I'm on a trip/holiday and i thought the meals were a little small but they were pretty tasty and the breakfast made up for the hole left in my stomach the evening prior. Saw reef sharks and lots of fish in the water and beautiful white sands. Loved the trip on the boat and on the way back we saw hump back wales breaching. A very nice get away for a reasonable price.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bricks1985
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 February 22, 2014

Thank you for your review, it is appreciated.

We are glad that the Birds didn't bother you, we are a Bird Sanctuary as well as a Marine National Park and they are with us on Island from November to April each year.

Its great that you enjoyed your stay and we do have Buffets on Friday and Saturday nights, and Saturday is our famous Seafood Buffet........

Best regards


Ross Greenaway
Regional General Manager

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Reviewed February 7, 2014

Decided to book weekend after returning from Cairns where kids enjoyed their 1st snorkelling on a reef trip ( thought that snorkelling off island would be better!) Bit of a catch with the pricing is that you have to pay transfer for kids which adds 200 dollars to any package you buy. Accommodation is good on island, but hard to find anything decent or reasonably priced in Gladstone (same in most mining/boom towns) if you need to stay night before when travelling up from Brisbane.Not convinced you need to pay for secure parking as marina carpark looked fine to leave a locked car overnight. Food was good and diving ok. Only problem in regards snorkelling for kids ( 8 yrs old) was the amount of lemon sharks within metres of shore ( completely freaked them out and couldn't convince them to enter water!) So whilst the island is a great place to visit, the whole idea of increasing the kids exposure to snorkelling was a disaster!!! I would say Lady Elliot is better snorkelling close to shore than Heron as it has a natural lagoon whilst Heron around the pier has been destroyed and you need to swim a fair distance out to get to the edge of the reef.Moral of the story-keep kids under 10 on boat trips and save your money!! ps and stop them watching deadly 60!!!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank andygog
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 February 22, 2014

Thank you for the review, its appreciated.

We are delighted that you and the Family enjoyed your weekend, in particular the Food and Diving. I personally think the secured parking at the marina is worth the fee for piece of mind.

A longer stay and I'm sure the Kids would get used to the sharks and Marine life! Hope to welcome you all 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.
Reviewed January 28, 2014

1) Make sure you pay a little more to get a room by the beach (Reef Room) so you can get a fresh breeze.

2) The Turtle rooms do not have air condition, we didn't know that when we booked. The turtle rooms are also located in the center of the resort where there are tons of trees which also mean tons of birds and bird poop. It also smelled like bird poop. Our room was located close to the restaurant so that means a lot of kitchen noise.

3) The room itself was nice. It was a great size with a nice little sitting area. The bathroom was also spacious. They also have an outside sitting area (deck) but I highly doubt people used it because it's full of poop. They also have a ceiling fan but it didn't really help. It just circulated warm air.

4) The food was okay. We were there for only 2 days but it felt like we were eating the same thing over and over. No variety.

5) If you are prone to sea sickness make sure you remember to bring anti-nausea pills. The week we were there, the waters were very rough. The 2 hours on the ferry felt like 10. It was horrible. I threw up like crazy. As soon as I landed on the island I went straight to the administration office to book a sea plane for my departure. It was the best money I ever spent. Instead of spending 2 hours getting seasick, I got to spend a sweet 30 minute flight over the great barrier reef. The view was amazing !!!!

6) The beach was also beautiful. I loved taking midnight walks and watching the turtles come to shore to lay eggs. The weather at night was amazing, loved the cool breeze. There are no mosquitoes on the island !!!! WAHOOO!!!!

7) Staff was pretty friendly.

Room Tip: If it's in your budget try to get a room by the beach. The turtle rooms are on the inside of th...
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank traveldel
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 January 29, 2014

Thank you for the review and taking the time to share this.

We are delighted that you enjoyed the Turtle Room and its facilities and agree that if the budget permits, a Reef Room upgrade is a good tip!

The poop is part of being a Bird Sanctuary and I'm sure you noticed our team cleaning this on a daily basis. It was regrettable that your weather on the trip over was a bit rough, its great though that you got to take in the beautiful views of the Reef from the Seaplane on the return leg........

Hope to see you back again one day.


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 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: $256 - $430 (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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