Heron Island is pure indulgence with a meditative feel
HERON Island steals a piece of your heart when you leave.
Its beauty is stunning - the skyline blends to the water, which graduates from deep blues to aqua and laps against powdery crushed-coral sand.
The island is 72km off the east coast of Gladstone and takes about a two-hour ferry trip (or a 30-minute chopper if you are so lucky).
I was fortunate to experience an easy ride over but I have heard horror stories of passengers spending the trip with their heads in paper bags, so be warned and come prepared with seasick tablets.
The ferry itself is immaculate, comfortable and modern, equipped with a bar for drinks and snacks.
On arrival, the island appears as a magical escape, with winding bush paths in all directions and time slows to that carefree island vibe.
There are a few options for activities during your stay, including the Aqua Soul Spa, which I indulged in.
Therapist Kay was exceptional and the massage experience was sensory as well as physical, with oils and leaf burning influenced by Aboriginal bush culture.
In the evening, I joined other guests to enjoy drinks on Wisteria Terrace overlooking the wooden gantry and glowing sunset before heading off to consume the dinner seafood buffet.
The next day, after an amazing breakfast spread, it was time to snorkel off the boat.
I have snorkelled in Vanuatu, Thailand, Hawaii and off Lady Musgrave Island, so I was keeping my expectations high.
I found the snorkelling top-notch in comparison, with manta-rays, sharks and turtles.
The coral was alive and colourful, and multiple schools of fish made it feel like the inside of an aquarium.
The water in late June was a chilly 20 degrees so my full body wetsuit, while a mission to put on, was appreciated.
Despite the fun of snorkelling and spa-time, just the simple joy of relaxing on the beach, with the water cooling my feet was the ultimate bliss.
There's a somewhat meditative feel to the island, which washes away all of your worries.
If I had more time in my one night stay, I would also have set up residence in my outdoor patio with a book, enjoying the stunning views and light caress of the wind.
For new or returning holidaymakers, the resort's public facilities have recently undergone renovations and soft furnishings have updated private rooms.
The resort's full-time general manager Ross Greenaway is usually out and about and happy to help should you bump into him.
"Every day I meet the ferry and I always genuinely welcome people to the island because I know how much they are going to enjoy it," Mr Greenaway said.
"And when we board the people, I genuinely always feel a bit sad for them, because they have to leave."
* The author was a guest of Heron Island.