We spent a beautiful four nights on Daydream Island. It is located just off Airlie beach in Queensland's Whitsunday Islands. You can fly into Hamilton Island and transfer directly to Daydream with Cruise Whitsundays.
The island was originally called West Molle Island but was renamed Daydream in the 1930s. There have been a few ownership changes and damage by cyclones over the years, the latest being cyclone Debbie which levelled the resort in 2017. The existing resort at the northern end of the island was reopened in 2019 and the old resort is still standing at the southern end.
There are a number of different room types to choose from. The standard resort room offers a choice of a king bed or twin beds for up to four people. Superior rooms are similar with a pool outlook. Deluxe Ocean Terraces have an ocean outlook for two people. The Deluxe Serenity suites and twin rooms are more expansive with views of Lovers Cove. Deluxe Serenity Twin rooms interconnect with the Serenity Suites to create a Serenity Family Suite.
The top of the range is a Vista Suite catering for two adults and one child with a modern kitchen, 60 sqm of space, quality fittings and an outdoor terrace.
We stayed in a superior room which was similar to a large hotel room with a tiny outdoor balcony and halfway between the main lobby and the restaurant area. The beds were comfortable and the rooms were serviced daily.
We did have an issue with lunch and dinner, especially dinner. The resort is obviously understaffed at this time but that doesn't seem to stop them limiting the number of guests on the island. Dinner at one of the two restaurants needs to be booked well in advance, otherwise your only options are eating takeaway Chinese or pizza. The normal third dining option wasn't available. Breakfast was good and there were no problems with seating or the service. I'm sure these issues will be overcome in the future once the resort gets back to full staffing levels. Rather than let this put you off, just ensure you plan your bookings in advance.
There is a cross-island rainforest walk that kids will really enjoy, with some great views of the Whitsundays on the way. There's a lookout halfway looking back to the mainland and a huge swimming pool waiting for you on the other side of the island which was part of the original resort. This side of the resort is much quieter and the bar is open during the day.
Sunset Beach is a popular spot for a swim or snorkel, but the main attraction, naturally, is to watch a spectacular sunset. You can buy wine or beer up to around 6pm and some nights there is live music. Unfortunately, the resort doesn't cater for the number of people present with seating very limited, meaning you may have to sit on a rock or the hard coral beach.
The Living Reef is a free form coral lagoon in the centre of the resort. It is home to over 100 species of marine life and has an underwater observatory and offers a number of activities for guests. You can participate in a guided fish feeding, stingray splash, guided Great Barrier Reef experience or a Living Reef guided snorkel. We did the guided snorkel which is run twice daily. Kids need to be 10 years old and a competent swimmer to attend. It runs for 90 minutes and costs $120pp, so an expensive snorkel for a family.
The snorkelling is good but the highlight is the interaction with the stingrays. You get to sit and feed the rays as they swim across your lap, around and behind you. A rare and fantastic experience and one you may never get again. Highly recommended.
The resort offers a kids club for 4-12 year-olds. The program includes games and activities with a tailored daily program. There are two sessions daily from 8.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm with morning and afternoon tea included. It's not cheap with a single session for two kids from $90. The main pool has a shallow area for young kids and there's a kids playground on the southern end of the island. The kids will also enjoy the kangaroos which are very tame and roam freely throughout the resort.
The pool area is fantastic with a number of lagoon-style connected pools, a swim-up bar, plenty of sun lounges and a number of cabanas to relax in. There is also the pool area on the other side of the island which is a great place to escape the crowds and have a relaxing swim. Jet Ski tours were available but there was no option to have a solo ride. Other activities include guided kayak tours, paddleboard tours, fish feeding and snorkelling as well as bingo and trivia at night.
We did have a great time at Daydream. It's a good place to relax and swim in a resort style setting with good accommodation, some fantastic and unique activities and a great atmosphere.