I enjoyed reading Tracy Johnston's Feb. 15 article on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. But her descriptions of Green Island as "filled with day-trippers and fast-food stands" in contrast to "pleasant and relaxing" Heron Island could lead prospective visitors into making the wrong choice of resorts or prevent some with only a day to spend from visiting the reef altogether.
I have stayed at and enjoyed both resorts. Green Island is best for those with limited time and money. Because of the excellent underwater observatory, reef movie theater and the large well-kept aquarium and museum, it is possible to get a good introduction to the reef and its inhabitants. It is also possible to swim, snorkel a marked trail, reef walk if tides permit, take a glass-bottom boat trip and sun on the sandy beach. The cabins are comfortable, the service is good and the meals have been excellent.
We also love Heron Island. As Johnston suggests, it is pleasant and relaxing, and the snorkeling scuba diving are marvelous. But a few words of caution are in order. The boat trip to the island can be extremely rough. If you have a tendency to seasickness, take the helicopter. Also, the snorkeling from the dive boat can be strenuous and dangerous if strong currents are running around the island. There is no underwater observatory or museum.