Great Barrier Reef: Heron Island

DSCN1422Remember when I visited Australia, got halfway through posting photos, then disappeared for awhile all distracted by my full time job working retail over the holidays?  It’s time to get caught up.  Over the next few weeks, every Friday I’ll be sharing the rest of my travel photos from the epic Australian journey.

Heron Island is actually quite difficult to describe.  It’s one of those surreal Discovery Channel beauty type of places that just saying “It was so beautiful” doesn’t even scratch the surface of how I really felt.  The skies are the purest blue of blues and the ocean looks as if a turquoise diamond has melted over the reefs.  This island is located on the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef so the coral is mostly browns and neutrals with a few great pops of color.  The bright colorful coral is more North where the water is warmer.

One of the fantastically fun things about Heron Island in particular is that during low tide, you can walk a good mile from shore and only be up to thigh deep water.  It’s such a remarkably unique way to visit the reef!  We were able to spot tons of sea life just during these walks alone.  Bright blue starfish, neon lipped clams, sea cucumbers everywhere, and we were even lucky enough to spot a sea turtle both times we did a reef walk.  You’re literally in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, surrounded by wildlife.  From birds to sharks, you’ll have some form of wildlife in sight at all times.

This Island is known for its sea turtle activity.  While we visited in October, the sea turtles were in mating season.  We witnessed quite a bit of sea turtle love and saw evidence of the females coming to shore for a little rest.  Apparently, the males practically drown the females while, you know, getting busy so the ladies need a break.  A sea turtle cigarette so to speak.  At other times during the year, visitors can witness the entire sea turtle life cycle.  I would have died to see the baby turtles!  Next time, I suppose.DSCN1494DSCN1579DSCN1470DSCN1407DSCN1545DSCN1359DSCN1534DSCN1502DSCN1454DSCN1393DSCN1375DSCN1361DSCN1726DSCN1356DSCN1605DSCN1432

 

Fun fact: Heron Island was named after these birds above but they’re actually Egrets!

To plan your visit to Heron Island, click here.

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Resort Review: Tokoriki Island Resort & Spa

 

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If I have ever dreamed of paradise, this is definitely it.  The Tokoriki Island Resort & Spa was hands down the most luxurious and overwhelmingly fantastic place I have ever visited.  I mean, I cried while we were leaving!  That has to mean something wonderful!  As I sit here writing this, I literally can’t think of a single thing I would change about our time at Tokoriki.

The resort is located on Tokoriki Island, which is part of the Mamanuca group of the Fijian Islands.  It was a quick helicopter ride over from Nadi (the main international airport where most people fly into).  You are greeted with the Bula Song and escorted to your own private bungalow.  Everyone has their own bungalow at Tokoriki Resort.  The rooms were so welcoming and comfortable!  If we were there longer, there would have been a lot of naps involved.  We wanted to take in all we could in our short stay (3 days) so we were up and out for sunrise and took part in everything we could.  One of my favorite features was the outside shower!  I know it sounds silly but it’s just so beautiful in Fiji, you won’t want to spend one minute inside!  Don’t worry, nobody can see you!

As an adults only resort, there’s something just extra special about being able float in the quiet that a no kids resort can offer.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not overly quiet and stuffy, just a tad on the more peaceful side.  You can also go a little wild if you’re feeling adventurous!  They offer daily trips out to visit an authentic Fijian village, snorkeling adventures (both free and longer paid trips), and you can even be dropped off for a private island lunch!  Truly, this resort is what romance was meant to look like.

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I got to wake up to this every morning. This is the spectacular view from our bungalow.

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Our super comfortable amazing room.

Now I’m not really a huge “Let’s Get A Massage” person but something about this place made us both want to give it a try.  Not to mention the prices are totally reasonable! Well, we had one of the most romantic moments ever at the Tokoriki Spa!  They offer a couples massage for an ultra romantic spa experience.  It was absolutely incredible!  You bathe in a beautiful outside tub full of hibiscus flowers while sipping a glass of champagne.  That is followed by a luxurious side-by-side massage.  We were surprised how much we absolutely loved our experience at the spa.  It was the perfect way to jump into vacation mode!

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The entrance to the beautiful spa. Get ready to be spoiled!

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Not a bad view from the lounge and restaurant, right?

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The view from the beach of our bungalow.

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A storm was rolling in. Don’t worry! It just sprinkled a little bit!

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I took this photo at 6am so nobody was up yet. It’s usually full of super relaxed vacationers.

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Me on one of our snorkeling adventures.

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The church was so pretty!

DSCN0475_2TIP:  If you plan on having any alcohol on your stay, it’s a good idea to pick up what you’d like at the duty free shop in Nadi.  Trust me, you’ll save a lot of money and it’s no problem to transport to the resort.

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