WINTER ESCAPES — Divers’ feast at Heron Island Festival

Winter Escapes - Divers' Feast at Heron Island Festival

Scuba divers get the gear ready for five days of full-on underwater action at the Heron Island Dive Festival, from July 26 to 29.

Situated at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, 72km northeast of Gladstone, Heron Island is a pristine coral cay noted for its diving, the base for the University of Queensland’s coral reef research station, birdlife and as a green sea turtle nesting site.

Running for five days, the Festival will see divers hit the water twice a day to explore the island’s broad expanse of coral gardens and bommies, plus the option of night dives. There will also be Discover Scuba classes each morning for beginners.

Organisers said the diving will be complemented by lectures and workshops from key industry figures and renowned underwater wildlife photographers. There will also be afternoon wine tastings, cooking master classes plus treatments and Heron Island’s spa.

With waters teeming with reef fish, turtles, mantas, reef sharks and endless varieties of invertebrates, Heron Island has more than 20 different dive sites to explore.

Diving is relatively shallow, with an average depth of around 15m to 35m, and snorkelers can enjoy the shallow reefs that come up to within two to three metres of the surface in places. The reefs off Heron Island are home to around 60 per cent of the 1500 species of fish and 72 per cent of the coral species found in the Great Barrier Reef.

The Heron Island Dive Festival costs $1256 per person, which includes four nights’ accommodation, two dives daily, three meals each day, return launch transfers from Gladstone, and tanks and weights.

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Escape the winter blues at the Heron Island Dive Festival in July.

Dive with the turtles.

The spectacular coral cod.