Ecotourism & Research Station
Heron Island is famous around the world for its spectacular coral reef, extraordinary variety of aquatic life, migrating whales, nesting turtles and as a breeding ground for an abundance of birdlife. Exemplifying ecotourism at its best, the Heron Island Resort has been awarded an Advanced Eco-Certification by Ecotourism Australia.
As well as running our own power generator, producing potable water and treating wastewater, Heron Island Resorts also provides these services to the independent Heron Island Research Station and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Ranger Station (QPWS), the only two tenants on Heron Island.
Heron Island Research Station is a world-class research and teaching facility, and the largest island research centre in the Southern Hemisphere. Guided walks led by the resort’s degree-holding activity guides, available to Heron Island Resort guests, are the only way to see the research station. In case the one-hour tour of the station doesn’t leave time for questions, researchers also come to the resort's Wistari Room to discuss details of their research projects.
The research station has been part of Heron Island since 1951, and has been the research hub for thousands of students over the years. The first group of undergraduates arrived from the University of Queensland before the Second World War, and made use of the facilities of the abandoned turtle factory complex. Studies at the island continued after the war and in 1951, the first research station was built.
The research station has a base team of 10 that keeps it running by providing boating, housekeeping and maintenance support. The station's population increases at various times of the year when research students of all levels arrive to study everything from snails to whales. The population further increases when school groups arrive at the station to learn about the complexities of life in the Great Barrier Reef.
Learn more about the Heron Island Research Station before your trip, and check the Heron Times (which you can find upon check-in at Heron Island Resort) for research station tour times.