Some people go on a holiday near the reef and others are lucky enough to spend their holiday on the reef. When you visit Heron Island, a perfect coral cay 89 kilometres off the coast on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, you can snorkel over vivid coral gardens directly in front of the main beach or choose from more than 20 dive sites.

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The 80-year-old Heron Island Resort has 109 guest rooms, including comfortable, family-friendly suites and the stand-alone Beach House on the sand’s edge. Hard-to-please teenagers will be occupied with diving and snorkelling or exploring the reef in glass-bottom kayaks or a semi-submersible boat.

In the summer months they might spot newly hatched loggerhead and green turtles waddling along the beach, as well as migratory birds that have travelled from as far away as Siberia, China and Alaska to spend the warmer months on the island. The more inquisitive will also enjoy an hour-long tour of the University of Queensland marine research station on the south side of the eight-hectare island, only available to resort guests.

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SEE ALSO: Explore our full guide to the Great Barrier Reef

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