Daydream Island is back and looking dreamy
By Celeste Mitchell
Daydream Island is back and looking dreamy
Get out your diary and check your annual leave balance. One of The Whitsundays best-loved island resorts – Daydream Island – has re-opened its doors and rolled out the red carpet for guests after undergoing a $100 million makeover.
Not one to let (ex-Tropical Cyclone) Debbie get them down, Daydream had been closed since March 2017 so teams could work tirelessly to rebuild and revitalise the closest island to the mainland. Now we love a comeback – and this is as good as it gets!
Here’s an insider guide to the new-look Daydream Island.
Tell me about the rooms
All of the 277 rooms have been completely refreshed and given the interior stylist’s touch by Hunt Design (also behind Orpheus Island‘s 2014 makeover). Think sleek floorboards underfoot, a multitude of soft furnishings and linen in shades of seafoam, sand and inky blue, and fresh flowers and greenery.
You have a choice of outlooks from the tropical resort gardens to the pool or that gorgeous Whitsundays blue ocean. Slide open the door of your Superior Room or Deluxe Room to drink it all in.
Those travelling with the tribe can book an interconnecting Family Room while the Vista Suite offers up floor-to-ceiling windows with cracking views out over the Whitsunday islands and the Serenity Suite overlooks Lover’s Cove.
All rooms come stocked with Australian-made eco-friendly amenities from Biology, complimentary Wi-Fi, pay movies and a range of TV channels.
What about the food?
Three brand spankin’ new restaurants, three bars and a casual burger joint will have gourmands licking their lips long before tossing that bikini in their suitcase.
Inkstone Kitchen and Bar is the flagship modern Australian restaurant, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner by the pool. (PS. If you book a Deluxe Room or Suite, this is where you’ll enjoy breakfast each morning.)
Upstairs new Asian-fusion restaurant, Infinity, champions local seafood (like wok tossed mud crab), an extensive yum cha menu and even has its own private teppanyaki suite.
For more relaxed vibes, Graze, just off the main lobby, features live cooking stations amongst its sumptuous buffet for breakfast and dinner. And the best part for families? Kids under 12 eat (and stay) free!
If you’ve travelled to Daydream Island in the past you will be very happy to hear the swim-up bar is still here! As is a Barefoot Bar and new burger shack with shakes.
Come nightfall, more libations are shaken, stirred and poured in Tonic gin bar, alongside a tapas menu – best enjoyed with views of the Living Reef where you’ll spot schools of vibrant marine life while you sip.
Tell me about the pool
Winding through tropical gardens through the centre of the resort and overlooking the Great Barrier Reef, the pool is undeniably the centrepiece of any day on Daydream. There are bridges to swim under (and take selfies on), and a dedicated adults-only area.
The kids pool area is conveniently located next to the Kids Club, which offers morning and afternoon sessions with in four-hour blocks.
And of course, there’s that iconic swim-up bar.
What is the Living Reef?
Perhaps one of the most exciting changes to Daydream Island is the expansion of what is the only living coral lagoon found in an Australian resort.
The Living Reef was always a highlight for its interactive touch-pool but has been transformed into a freeform outdoor coral lagoon, which wraps 200 metres around the main resort building and now has an underwater observatory. To put things into perspective, we’re talking up to 14 metres wide, four metres deep, containing 1.5 million litres of filtered seawater and over 100 species of marine fish, coral and invertebrates such as starfish, sea cucumbers and crabs.
The onus is on education with two resident marine biologists on the island offering up the chance to feed baby stingrays and learn more about life underwater.
You can even dive in for new guided experiences! Picture you + five other lucky souls and a marine biologist snorkelling in the Living Reef for an up-close encounter with sharks, shovel nose rays and Rod, Mod and Todd, the cods.
And if you prefer your marine encounters sans wetsuit, you can view from dry land at Daydream’s underwater observatory.
What else can you do on Daydream Island?
Daydream Island is nice and compact at 1km in length and only 400m wide so you can take walks around the island or grab a kayak and circumnavigate for an alternative view.
There’s snorkelling right off the beach on the fringing reef on the east side of the island and stand-up paddleboards for hire. Still to come? Tennis courts, a second pool area and a blockbuster line-up of movies come nightfall (expected by September!).
Yep, the outdoor cinema has been modernised and will screen sub-run release (four weeks after main cinemas) movies as well as classics and family hits. The screen is tilted during the day making for a nifty sun shade on the grass.
Of course, if you want to explore some of the other 73 islands of the Whitsundays, you can take a day trip to Whitehaven Beach, journey to the outer reef, or even tack on an overnight Reef Sleep experience to your itinerary.
How do I get there?
The most direct route is to fly into the Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, then catch a 30-minute ferry transfer to Daydream.
Alternatively, you can fly to the Whitsunday Coast Airport on the mainland in Proserpine. From there, it’s a 40km drive to Port of Airlie, where you can then jump on a 30-minute ferry transfer to Daydream.