Daydream Island is back on holidaymakers’ radars ahead of its re-opening on April 10. The famous island resort sustained significant damage when Cyclone Debbie struck in late March 2017 and it has been closed for almost a year.
Its 277 rooms – which overlook the ocean, pool or gardens – have now been refreshed and its signature experience, the Living Reef, has been expanded. The stunning ocean lagoon, with its man-made reef, curls around the resort’s main building and guests can wade through the water with resident fish and rays flitting around their legs. The resort now offers guided swims in the lagoon, which is populated with non-scary sea creatures, including black-tipped reef, bamboo and epaulette sharks.
“It’s a controlled environment for people who aren’t confident in open water,” says marine biologist and Living Reef manager Johnny Gaskell, who completely understands the fear of swimming with sharks.
The Living Reef is also home to 10 baby shovelnose rays, which were born in the lagoon. Gaskell says the fact that sea life is breeding in the man-made environment is a credit to its careful construction.
An underwater observatory looks up into the reef and provides opportunities to view sea life up close, including the reef’s oldest inhabitant, a 10-year-old whitetail stingray named Discus.
“The Living Reef gives people better understanding of the reef and helps us educate them about what they can do to preserve it,” says Gaskell.
Stays at Daydream Island cost from $392 a night including breakfast, with guided tours from $10 to $40. Lagoon swims cost extra. See daydreamisland.com