Fly Ansett Airlines (Australia's major domestic airline) to Brisbane, Queensland. Take a Sun State airlines flight to Gladstone that connects with the 11 a.m. catamaran to Heron Island. The boat ride takes about two hours and can be choppy. (Seasoned travelers opt for seats on the second level astern.) A helicopter flight is also available.
WHERE TO STAY
The Heron Island Resort is the only one on the island. It has five levels of accommodations, from shared lodge cabins to luxury beach cabins. Prices range from A$140 to $260 (US $105 to $195) per person per day, including meals.
WHAT TO DO
There's one gift shop, a dive shop, and a marine research station open to the public, but no stores or town. Besides reef walks, snorkeling, scuba diving, and beach walks, the resort has a pool, tennis courts, and many lectures by naturalists.
WHEN TO GO
Nearly any month has something interesting going on as far as animal life. To see turtles lay eggs and turtle hatchlings, the best time is December through February. During those months, the bird life is also active. January is peak breeding season for sea birds.
Australians take long summer holidays, so book early for December-January trips.