Wilson and Heron Island are preparing to reopen in coming weeks.
Wilson and Heron Island are preparing to reopen in coming weeks.

Bargain deal for locals as islands look to reopen

THE countdown is on for when Gladstone’s luxury reef islands can reopen to the public.

From June 13 residents within 250km of the departure point may visit Wilson and Heron islands, with a few notable changes.

“The first change you will notice on arrival at the marina for check-in is a thermal imaging camera to detect if anybody is experiencing a fever,” sales manager Karen Sweeney said.

The island’s buffet will be replaced by a la carte dining for a maximum of 20 guests at each sitting in the restaurant.

The number of guests on Heron Island will be significantly reduced to a maximum of 60 people – 30 per cent occupancy – which has resulted in a loss of jobs.

“Previous to the closure Heron Island and Wilson Island, we were experiencing high occupancy leading up to Easter and the school holidays so we needed 115 staff,” Ms Sweeney said.

“Unfortunately for the reopening for Heron Island and Wilson Island, with the current necessary government restrictions in place on travel we will not be able to put everyone back on so some of the team will remain stood down until we have work for them.

“We are very grateful for the JobKeeper wage payment that made it possible to keep 39 of our team.”

During the tough times the islands have received many messages and calls of support from the community, travel agents and previous guests.

The majority of interest and reservations are for travel between September and the Christmas holidays from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

“We have also had locals wanting to book out Wilson Island exclusively for their family and friends, which is fantastic,” Ms Sweeney said.

“We feel very fortunate to be operating in such a supportive community and region.”

Local island deals

Heron Island

Save 30 per cent on accommodation with rooms starting from $170 per person per night twin share. Kids 12 years and under stay and eat breakfast and dinner free when using existing bedding.

  • Accommodation
  • Daily buffet breakfast and dinner
  • Snorkel, mask, flippers (2 ppl) • Guided island tours
  • A sunset drink (2 ppl)
  • Half price boat transfers
  • A $50 spa voucher (per booking)

Wilson Island

15 per cent discount off accommodation with free transfers included.

To book call 1800 875 343 or visit a local travel agent.