Northeast of the Gladstone coast in the Great Barrier Reef, the Heron Island makes a good base for snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. Just off Heron Island, there are over 20 dive sites both shore and boat accessed. When snorkeling off Heron Island, you can expect to see anemonefish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, surgeonfish, lionfish, angelfish, barracuda, moray eel, stingray, spotted eagle rays, reef sharks and manta rays among the staghorn coral formations. Many of the dive sites are beach-accessed. From December through February, the sea turtles are common since they come to mate and hatch eggs. Just off the main boat dock on the western point of Heron Island, there is a easily accessed surface wreck that could be fun to explore (a diver down flag is recommended due to boat traffic in the channel. The most popular snorkelling dive spot is called Coral Gardens.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park consists of a range of over 600 tropical islands and coral cays. The Great Barrier Reef has roughly 1,500 species of fish and over 400 types of hard coral, along with 130+ species of rays and sharks. In addition, there are over 30 shipwrecks within the marine park.
Heron Island is located 30 miles off the Queensland coast is accessible by boat from Gladstone. To reach the snorkeling off Heron Island, there are regular charter dive boats heading out there from Gladstone. To reach the region, there are regular flights into either Gladstone or Rockhampton.
Overall, Heron Island is the 1st most popular snorkel dive spot of all 37 snorkeling dives in Queensland.