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Heron Island or Hamilton Island for additional Great Barrier Reef visit?

Heron Island or Hamilton Island for additional Great Barrier Reef visit?

Old Oct 24th, 2010, 05:29 PM
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Heron Island or Hamilton Island for additional Great Barrier Reef visit?

In addition to a snorkeling day trip to the Great Barrier Reef with Quicksilver out of Cairns/Port Douglas, we wanted to have an island experience in the GBR area for a few days after our Cairns visit and before heading to Sydney for a few days sightseeing before flying home. We are very intrigued with Heron Island but our travel agent is trying to talk us out of it and into Hamilton Island instead, staying in the Reef View Hotel.

What are the pros and cons of each island/resort?

We usually prefer smaller resorts. We are looking for great snorkeling and ease of snorkeling trips via boat, better yet - right off the beach. Beyond snorkeling, we want beautiful beach/scenery. We don't care about nightlife or motorized water sports. Heron seems to fit these requirements, but the biggest drawback is that it is very time consuming to travel to and from.

Hamilton is certainly easier to get to, but I hear it is very built up and commercialized. How is the snorkeling there? Can you snorkel off the beach? How far must you travel by boat to snorkel on the reef?

Since we have to make the decision very quickly for an early November trip, would appreciate any feedback you can share. Thanks!
B_and_B is offline  
Old Oct 24th, 2010, 05:51 PM
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For what you want, it would not be a hard decision for me having been to both - Heron Island.
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Old Oct 24th, 2010, 06:22 PM
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Agree with Louise, Heron is a true coral cay, Hamilton isn't. But why do you want to take Quicksilver out of Port Douglas? Its a mass people carrier - as you say you prefer smaller resorts, would imagine you'd prefer a smaller group for a reef trip. Unless you mean Quicksilver's Silver Series, Silversonic (out of Port Douglas), Silverswift (out of Cairns) which are a different story.
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Old Oct 24th, 2010, 10:19 PM
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The trip from Gladstone to Heron Island is about 2 hours, but you can also got a heliocopter which is much faster.

Why not go to Green Island, that's much more accessible from Cairns. I haven't been there for ages, but I remember the snorkeling was very good.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 06:15 AM
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Thanks for the responses, Louise, Pat, and Susan7.

Pat, this trip came together very rapidly so haven't had enough time to do thorough research and have been going with the travel agent's recommendations -- she is the one chose Quicksilver our of PD. I am pushing back on her today about that and will post another question on that topic here. Other than the Quicksilver Silver Series, which else do you and others recommend out of Cairns? We are snorkelers only. Thanks!
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 04:00 PM
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B_and_B

Sometimes I wonder about some agents, Quicksilver does a fine job, but obviously not the type of trip you're after.

See your other post for my answer for small reef trip out of Cairns.
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