Alternative to "whiffy" Heron Island?

Nov 16th, 2005, 08:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 576
Alternative to "whiffy" Heron Island?

A post below in the Lizard/Heron Island thread referred to Heron as quite whiffy with bird droppings. I wouldn't mind the whiff as much as bird dander/feathers because I am allergic to same, but have only had the reaction to caged birds. Wondering if system would be overwhelmed by all the bird stuff on Heron, if we are snorkeling most of the time? Experienced Heronites, please, please comment to help me decide.

We really want a snorkel experience (and I get sea sick, too, yet am considering a live aboard because of the birds.) Can't afford Lizard but are there any other alternatives? We are going to Australia in October 2006. Does Lady Elliott has the same bird issues? We aren't into camping, but don't need resort quality accommodations if the snorkeling opportunities are good. We stayed in Port Douglas last time (July 2004)and the day trips to the reef were good (if seasick-making somewhat) but daily opportunities are what we are after this time, preferable shore accessible. Please help, Fodorites, you have come through for me before!!

Sally in overcast, cold Seattle
SnRSeattle is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 43
I was on Heron and nearby Wilson Islands in September. (For info. about the latter, see my post in the "Lizard Island or Heron Island" thread.) I can't speak for other islands, but I would imagine that most reef islands would attract a great deal of migratory bird life. Islands right off the mainland might get less, especially if they were very built up. But then, the snorkeling wouldn't be nearly as good as out on the reef.

One option is to go to Heron and similar reef islands during the Australian winter. According to, there are far, far fewer birds on Heron from late May through early August. Of course, it will be rainier then and the water will be a bit cooler then as well, but you can always snorkel in a wetsuit (which they rent on Heron), as we did in late September.
ChrisS is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 935
All the coral cays of the southern reef have lots birds depending on the time of year.Lady elliot/musgrave/heron and wilson share the same ecosysytem and geography.We were at lady musgrave two weeks ago and there were hundreds of noddy terns nesting.

You might consider one of the continental islands with superior fringing reefs or a live aboard.We also went to fitroy island birds..great snorkelling.Once you get inside the lagoon it is very still.
johhj_au is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 483
If you are allergic at all to bird feathers I would avoid Heron altogether. We were there in July, and I did not think there were a lot of bird, but there is a species called rails (probably spelled wrong) which are very fast and cagey and run around the dining area during breakfast and lunch. The area is open air, with screen/chains hanging down the doors to discourage them. They will fly onto the table immediately when you vacate it and proceed to sample whatever is left. Little bits of jam, pots of milk, etc. Most people, including myself, found this quite amusing. Note, this doesn't really happen WHILE you are eating. There was one guy (clearly from a large east coast city) who was just furious about all this and the staff's attitude was, look it's an eco resort and the birds live here too - you should have gone to the Hilton. Somehow they manage to get them all out after lunch and the white table cloth dinner is bird free, but they're back for breakfast. Just as caution to those who would find that objectionable.
oliverandharry is offline  
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