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Breathtaking Turtle Season at Heron Island


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Turtle Season has begun at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef.

Heron Island Sunrise
Heron Island Sunrise

Heron Island, a National Marine Park situated in the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, is a significant nesting location for two threatened sea turtle species, the Green Turtle and the Loggerhead Turtle.Year after year these turtles return on the high tide to nest in the sandy dunesfrom late October to early March.

Sea Turtle Hatchling by Alex Kydd
Sea Turtle Hatchling by Alex Kydd

Late December marks the beginning of baby Green and Loggerhead Turtle hatching season, a cycle that will continue into May.Undeterred by human presence the hatchlings erupt fromtheir nests between 25 to 50 metres from shore and make their way to the reef, just beyond the water’s edge.During this journey, the hatchlings will be imprinting on the environment, so they know to return to these beaches as mature adults. This crossing from nest to ocean also gives hatchlings the opportunity to warm up their flippers in preparation for their big ocean journey.

Turtles hatching at night by Alex Kydd
Turtles hatching at night by Alex Kydd

For guests, the opportunity to see turtles nesting or hatchlings erupting, is as simple as taking a stroll around the island at sunset or sunrise. As a world-renowned haven for turtles, guests at Heron Island are given strict guidelines for the viewing of turtles to minimise disturbance to these magnificent marine reptiles. Naturalist guides on Heron Island also lead complimentary educational tours for observing the turtles and hatchlings.

turtle hatchling with stingrays in the background
turtle hatchling with stingrays in the background

Calling Heron Island home, Master Reef Guide and Marine Biologist, Rachael Jones gets to witness this wondrous lifecycle of the turtles and their hatchlings each year.

“During our complimentary sunrise and sunset turtle season walks guests are amazed by the experience of seeing a turtle nesting or the tiny hatchlings erupting to make their dash out to sea. It is such a privilege to pass on my knowledge of sea turtles to our guests, who are enthusiastic to know how they can protect these endangered reptiles during their stay at Heron Island and also when they go back home.”  Commented Jones.

sea turtle with scuba divers
sea turtle with scuba divers

November to March Turtle Season Package

Heron Island twin share packages during turtle season start from $358 per room, per night.

Inclusions; accommodation, daily breakfast, snorkelling equipment hire, guided island tours and turtle tours with qualified naturalist guides, a $100 Marine Centre voucher – which can be used towards a Snorkel Tour, I-Spy Semi-Submersible Tour or a Sunset Cruise, the choice is yours.Children 12 years and under can be added to the twin share package for $30 per child per night when using existing bedding. Included in the children’s pricing is daily breakfast plus snorkelling equipment hire.

For bookings call Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef call 1800 875 343 or go on-line to

Photo Credit: Alex Kydd & Jordan Robins

Want to read more about Turtles?

640,000 More endangered Baby Turtles on the Great Barrier Reef 

Adrian Stacey
Adrian Stacey
Scuba Diver ANZ Editor, Adrian Stacey, first learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef over 24 years ago. Since then he has worked as a dive instructor and underwater photographer in various locations around the world including, Egypt, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Saba. He has now settled in Australia, back to where his love of diving first began.
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