Pictures: Heron Island, Australia
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Bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn, the reef encircling Heron island is home to around 900 species of fish and about 72% of the coral species found in the Great Barrier Reef. The island supports large nesting populations of noddy terns, mutton birds, and sea turtles.
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Heron Island -- from Wikipedia
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).
The island supports breeding colonies of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and white-capped noddy terns. There are also Buff-banded Rails, Eastern Reef Egrets and silvereyes on the island year-round.
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.
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