Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Heron Island is a coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef. The island is located on the leeward side of a fringing reef, 72 km northeast of Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, and 539 km north of Brisbane. The surrounding reef is home to 900 fish species and 72% of the Great Barrier Reef's species of coral.
The island has no fresh water supply, so all the water for human consumption is desalinated from seawater by reverse-osmosis. Similarly, all the electricity required is supplied by two diesel generators.
There is a small man-made harbour and a wooden jetty to the east of the island, in which dive and fishing boats harbour, and where the launch from Gladstone docks. Bordering the entrance channel to the Harbour is the rusted wreck of the HMCS Protector, which was towed to this site in 1945 to form a dive and snorkelling site.
There are an enormous number of birds on the island, so much so that there is definite bird smell to the island, and there is constant bird noise, even at night (so the resort provides all guests with earplugs to help them sleep).
Heron Island Research Station
The south-eastern quarter of Heron island is the site of Heron Island Research Station, run by the University of Queensland. Begun in the 1950s it undertakes a variety of research on coral reef ecology.
Heron Island Resort
The north-eastern quarter of the island is home to a resort, and is a popular getaway for scuba diving. The resort is run by Voyages (formerly P&O resorts), and accommodates 200 guests and 100 staff.
Visitor numbers to the resort by region, as listed in the resort's Information Centre, are as follows:
- Europeans - up to 5000 visitors a year.
- North Americans - up to 12000 visitors a year.
- South Americans - up to 500 visitors a year.
- English and Scots - up to 7000 visitors a year.
- Irish - up to 100 visitors a year.
- New Zealanders - up to 600 visitors a year.
- Asians - up to 1000 visitors a year.
- Australians - up to 5000 visitors a year.
The remaining western half of the island is a national park, with a permanent rangers station.
- Heron Island Research Station.
- Main resort website, has lots of info about both the island and the resort.
- A travel journal, with days 5 to 9 inclusive covering Heron Island.
- Website with information mostly about the resort, but some information about the island too (such as a natural calendar of when different animals nest on the island).
- Helicopter transfers between Heron Island and the mainland.
- Tide table for Heron Island - Very useful, as the possible water activities are very influenced by the tides. For example, snorkelling of the reef is almost impossible at low tide, and is best within 3 hours of high tide; Whereas reef walks are only feasible at low tide.
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