Heron Island Summary

Heron Island Summary

My wife and I spent a week over Christmas on Heron Island.

In short, it was fantastic.

In preparation for a lot more travel this year, I thought I would see how I go writing a bit of a summary of the trip, expenses and interesting or important things to know.

Bottom Line Up Front: We are doing the usual cliché thing of starting a little travel page across instagram and youtube. It is your solemn duty to go and like or subscribe or whatever the internet demands to follow those pages. 

The Short Summary -


  • Total for Trip: $5,652.27 AUD
  • Domain Breakdown -
  •  Accomodation: $3,671
  •  Food: $904.10
  •  Transport: $120
  •  Entertainment: $805.17
  •  Miscellaneous: $152

This is door to door - so every dollar, for two people, including transport, accomodation in Gladstone prior to getting to Heron Island, every coffee etc for the whole nine days.

Important to Know:

  • Organise secure parking from Compleat Angler Gladstone well prior to your trip - makes it very easy. They are adjacent to the Heron Island Ferry Terminal.
  • Don't rock up with grocery bags of food. Put your groceries into a duffel bag or something similar.
  • The Island is essentially buffet meals only, with practically no other food options (except for little pre-made sandwiches you can purchase out of a fridge)
  • All breakfasts are included (buffet) but not lunches or dinner - so we booked and paid for about three dinners during our stay.
  • You will literally not be let off the island without paying your bill...
  • You will be poo-ed on by birds at some point...this is completely unavoidable.
  • Snorkeling is free and accesible off the beach if you don't want to pay to go out on the boat with a guided group.

Books Read:

  • Four Thousand Weeks - Time Management for Mortals (Oliver Burkeman) (Luke)
  • Lying Beside You (Michael Robotham) (Luke and Casey)
  • The Passenger (Cormac McCarthy) (Luke)
  • Stella Maris (Cormac McCarthy) (Luke)
  • Small Pleasures (The School of Life) (Casey)
  • The Book Seller's Apprentice (Amelia Mellor) (Casey)
  • The Trials of Life (Sir David Attenborough) (Casey)

Holiday Island Bingo:

(ok, so an explanation here - whenever you go anywhere that even resembles a 'resort island', or almost any holiday destination these days, you will find these people:)

  • The TikTok Dweeb - 3
  • The Workout Warrior - 1
  • The Influencer - 3
  • The Diva - 1
  • The Determined-To-Be-Different - 1
  • The Karen - literally did not see one, which was very suprising
  • The Delicious Dad Bod - 3
  • The Buffet Bandit - 2

Mandatory Social Media Output:

Heron Island - Expedition Denouement Episode #1

Meditations with Turtles - An Addendum

Overall Summary:

Yes, it's expensive and no, the accomodation and facilities do not reflect the cost. But I rationalised this as an isolation cost. Everything comes by boat - food, fuel, rubbish trucks etc. So we just deal with it.

Because the Island is a nature lovers' heaven. World class snorkelling, diving and turtle watching. Literally from your front door. And birds. So many birds. This is why you go here. That, and becuase it is an isolated place with terrible reception where you can detach from the world.

Longer Summary:

Tuesday 20/12/22:

  • 461kms from The Sunshine Coast to Gladstone
  • Stopped at Mcdonald's...twice
  • Checked in to ‘The Gladstone’
  • Bought some groceries including a couple of cooler bags (important)
  • Thai dinner

Wednesday 21/12/22:

  • To 'The Cotton Mill' for a coffee
  • Packed up, chucked our food and bags in the car then checked out
  • Easy to get to the marina, park and retrieve a key
  • Started the check in process - naturally with a couple of Woolies bags in hand - the staffer went on a bit of a pre-prepared spiel about bringing excessive food to the island etc
  • Went back next door to the tackle shop and bought a duffle bag, which we then packed the Woolies bags into, and checked in
  • On to the ‘Heron Islander’
  • Rough ride
  • We both nearly vommed, but definitely did not talk about it on the way, just stood up and held the railings and rode the swells... and waves of illness
  • Arrived, sat through the welcome information talk
  • Then just killed time with a coffee and reading a book until we could check in
  • And checked in at the Dive Shop and got some masks and fins
  • Threw our stuff in the room, walked a lap of the island - was awesome
  • Then picked up a dive respirator rig from the dive shop
  • Reading on our beach front balcony
  • Had a snorkel at the jetty after 1700 but visibility a little dirty but saw probably a dozen turtles, stacks of rays and a couple of little sharks
  • Back to the unit, showered and made ourselves some dinner of dodgy ham and salad wraps and noodles
  • Watched “El Camino Christmas” on Netflix - was awful
  • Halfway through heard a crowd on the beach at the front of our place so went out into the dark and watched some turtles coming up on to the beach to lay - saw 5
  • Broke a coffee cup so Casey laughed at me while I cleaned

Thursday 22/12/22:

  • Woke up early to try and catch sunrise - nearly
  • Watched a late turtle returning to the water after laying eggs all night
  • Reading
  • Woke up Casey for her refresher dive and we walked down to the jetty
  • More reading
  • Breakfast - gorged myself on bacon and eggs - lots
  • Then really just headed off to the boats for our scheduled dive/snorkel
  • I had a fun time snorkelling along the Gorgonian Hole
  • And Casey had a fun dive
  • Back to the rooms and made some lunch - fortunately we had a knife to cut salad that we stole from breakfast
  • Sat around the bar for a while as well - got some cool drinks to read in the sun
  • Then a little walk out along the gantry and watched a tiny leopard shark for a while
  • And a final snorkel for Casey along the front where she saw a couple of reef sharks and a pack of turtles
  • Starting watching 'Bad Moms Christmas'

Friday 23/12/22:

  • Slept in
  • Casey panicked because she thought she was getting sick and was worried about not being able to equalise when diving
  • Chill out
  • Nice snorkel - saw a few sharks including a grey nurse
  • Casey had a fun dive - saw a few nudibranchs
  • Then a very relaxed afternoon
  • Sit and reading in the sun around the pool for a while
  • Then an afternoon nap
  • Walk around the island before dinner
  • Buffet bandit strikes at dinner - was nice food
  • Then sat in the bar and Casey sang some Spice Girls at karaoke

Saturday 24/12/22:

  • Essentially the same day
  • Breakfast
  • Chill
  • Snorkel/Dive

Sunday 25/12/22:

  • Sleep in
  • Off to breakky
  • Walked Casey down to the jetty for her dive
  • I took myself on a snorkel - did a couple of little drifts on a walk around the island - was awesome - heaps of sharks and shovel nose rays
  • Then had a read in the bar until Casey came back
  • Chilled with some snacks
  • Coffees and a book
  • Then a walk along the low tide draining reef
  • Lots of fishies
  • Then to the barbecue dinner for some noice snags
  • Then it all devolved into a trivia game in which Casey and I had to sing off for 2nd - we thought we were singing for first
  • So of course we chose Peter Andre
  • And they gave us tied second
  • Bullshit
  • Call for a redo
  • Anyway we got a voucher or something
  • And realised that we need to learn the lyrics for “Mysterious Girl”...

Monday 26/12/22:

  • Sleep
  • Breakfast
  • SCUBA and Snorkel - but really choppy with a storm moving through between us and Wilson Island, so I think they called us Snorkelers in a bit early and we waited a couple of minutes for the divers to surface; really windy; got washed around a bit on the surface; still saw lots of nice fish and a nice turtle
  • We looked to cash in our karaoke voucher - ended up getting a pile of chips and biscuits and chocolates - which we had for lunch
  • Which then made us both fall asleep for the afternoon
  • So we woke up and went and had a coffee at the bar and read for a while
  • And then decided that we couldn’t just have more sweets for dinner - so booked dinner for ourselves
  • Went for a walk down to the jetty - I literally love watching a reef drain dry with a low tide...
  • Saw one of our new divemaster friends staggering down with a cup of apple juice and whiskey - she had been up until 0500
  • Took some funny photos on the beach

Tuesday 27/12/22:

  • Woke up after rubbish sleep for some reason
  • I woke up early and just had a walk on the beach - just wandering over all the turtle tracks from last night
  • Sat and watched the birds above our little outdoor area for a while
  • Breakfast, then last dive/snorkel
  • Casey had a really good time because it was just her and the guide - saw some nudibranchs
  • I saw some sharks and a turtle on the snorkel - but got washed around a lot on the surface
  • Afternoon reading
  • A walk on the beach
  • Then had a quick snorkel at the jetty before dinner - saw a Spanish Dancer and a massive turtle
  • Dinner
  • Then destroyed Casey at pool for a little while
  • Then just ended up looking through old photos and videos for a little while before bed - just on accident really while waiting for GoPro videos to transfer

Wednesday 28/12/22:

  • Up and I did some packing in the morning before breakfast
  • Woke up Casey and finished packing and through some stuff away
  • Went and chucked the bags in the storage lockers in reception
  • Breakfast
  • Settled the bill before departure
  • Chilled in the bar having coffees and watching the sharks along the wall over high tide - was cool
  • Then eventually line up down at the jetty
  • Said goodby to some of the divemaster crew - Brandi and Antonio
  • Then piled on to the boat
  • Was a fine ride really - going with the wind a little
  • Then straight to the car and start driving
  • Stopped for fuel and coffee in Gin Gin
  • Had a hilariously shit Mcdonald's experience in Childers
  • Then just cruised home listening to cool music with Casey