Heron Island

Most resort islands lie well inside the shelter of the distant reef, but Heron Island, some 72 km (45 miles) northeast of the mainland port of Gladstone, is actually part of the reef. The waters off this 40-acre island are spectacular, teeming with fish and coral, and ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. The water is generally clearest in June and July and cloudiest during the rainy season, January and February. Heron Island operates on "island time"—an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time—and at its own leisurely pace. You won't find much in the way of nightlife, as the island's single resort accepts a cozy maximum of 250 people—and there are no day-trippers. But these might be reasons why you decide to come here.

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