Not only surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef, but an integral part of it, this coral cay is the perfect destination for those who want to get lost in the natural beauty of this area.
Located on the tropic of Capricorn, just off the Queensland coast, this tiny 18 hectare island enjoys a year-round sub-tropical climate - and has the rainforest and marine wildlife to prove it.
Heron Island is an exclusive, private resort; there will be no boats of day-tripping tourists to clog up the pristine, white beaches or create noise pollution on this perfect island getaway. With only 109 rooms, you'll find it easy to find a secluded little slice of paradise to relax in.
This luxury resort is equipped with everything you need to make your island holiday not only unforgettable, but stress-free. Heron Island offers a foreign exchange service, safety deposit boxes, laundry services, a nurse and first aid centre, beach towels and board games, as well as a wealth of guided and unguided activities based around the island and the Great Barrier Reef.
Food, drink & entertainment
Preparing delicious meals with Australian and Asian influences, Shearwater Restaurant is where you will eat on Heron Island. Breakfast is served in classic buffet style, and lunch and dinner are served from a comprehensive a la carte menu. Panadus Lounge and Baillies Bar provides a place to unwind and relax after a day exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Play pool, watch sports, or enjoy the panoramic reef views - all with a delicious cocktail in hand. Picnic hampers can also be ordered.
Sport, games & activities
Nature-lovers will adore the range of guided tours, talks and dives that are available on Heron Island. Go to a Reef Creature workshop before taking a snorkelling lesson to see the reef's inhabitants up close, or take a guided reef or island ecology walk. At night, if you don't want to simply lie on the beach and lose yourself in the endless blanket of stars above you, you can go to the hotel's outdoor cinema and watch movies under the stars. Visit the island between October and March to experience turtle season - when turtles visit the island to mate and lay their eggs - if you're really lucky, you may even see some baby turtles hatch and crawl into the sea for the very first time.
Heron Island also boasts Aqua Soul Spa for an indulgent moment of utter tranquility, and a charming boutique for all your shopping needs.
Guests will stay in one of a collection of bungalows dotted around Heron Island. All rooms are clean and comfortable with a private balcony or terrace, an en-suite bathroom, a refrigerator, beach towels, ironing facilities and ceiling fans.
Formed 100 million years ago by volcanic eruptions under the Coral Sea, the Whitsundays are a group of 74 tropical islands off the central coast of Queensland. Originally inhabited by the Ngaro people, and named by Captain James Cook as he sailed through on what he thought was Whitsunday, the archipelago presents a smooth blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.
The islands begin to appear just off the coast of Airlie Beach, and are accessible both by ferry and by direct flight from many Australian cities.
A retreat to the Whitsunday Islands can be whatever you want it to be - a discreet, relaxed romantic getaway spent stretched out on the stunning beaches, or a thrilling adventure kayaking between and hiking across the islands, or diving deep under the coral sea to the Great Barrier Reef.
September is the perfect time to visit the Whitsunday Islands - the weather is at its most consistently sunny and least humid; the average daily temperature is a toasty 26°C. Humpback and Pilot whales can often be seen flipping their fins and playfully nosing around boats sailing from island to island, and guests will be able to safely participate in water sports, as well as diving and snorkelling, as this is the last month before 'stinger season' - when jellyfish are most abundant in the water.
Other than enjoying the languid delights of spending your holiday on a tropical island - building your tan on the white, silica beaches and dipping your toes in the warm Coral Sea - there are endless activities based around the Great Barrier Reef. See the wonders of this World Heritage site first hand either from the amazing underwater Reefworld pontoon, or drop below the azure waves in a wetsuit and explore the thriving, kaleidoscopic marine world of the reef.
A range of cruises leave from both Airlie Beach and some of the Whitsunday Islands, ranging from half a day long to several nights. This will give you a chance to see more than one of the islands and experience the varied delights that each has to offer - not to mention the stunning white sands and crystal-clear waters of Whitehaven Beach.
Thinking of proposing? What better way than to take your other half on a scenic helicopter or seaplane flight, and pop the question while flying over romantic natural beauty spot Heart Reef.
Main culinary influences on the Whitsunday Islands and in Airlie Beach are seafood, Italian, and modern Australian. Airlie beach is brimming with relaxed restaurants and beach-front cafes; try a delicious wrap, burrito or dessert waffle at The Orange Quote, or for modern French gourmet that will not disappoint go to Deja Vu.
Many of the Whitsunday islands also have restaurants and bars serving a delicious range of cuisines.
Airlie Beach - otherwise known as the party capital of Queensland - is bustling with pubs, bars and nightclubs. In the ever-popular Beaches, you'll find a relaxed atmosphere, pool tables, and cheap jugs of beer. For live music and a pint, go to Paddy's Shenanigans, and for an unforgettable night on the tiles you won't be disappointed with Phoenix or Mama Africa.
On the islands themselves, there is a much more relaxed atmosphere. Curl up on the beach with a cocktail and stare out across the horizon as the blazing sun sinks behind the ridged silhouettes of the other islands, throwing the rippling ocean into stark relief and colouring the endless sky with a thousand shades of deepest red and pastel orange before the inky, star-studded blanket of night takes over.
It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct travel insurance and vaccinations and / or special medication for your destination. Please consult your GP for advice at least one month ahead of travel. It is essential that you meet the visa and passport requirements for your chosen destination. Visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (http://www.fco.gov.uk) website for up to date entry requirements listed by country.