ellaslist Reviews: A Trip to Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef

Nestled in the Whitsundays, Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef was decimated by Cyclone Debbie in 2017. Since its reopening, it has established itself as an unforgettable getaway destination that’s perfect for families.

I recently embarked on a 3-night school holiday mini break to Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef with my 10-year-old daughter. Keen to escape a sudden chilly cold snap in Sydney, our hopes were high—with visions of sun, seclusion, relaxing under palm trees and expansive island views in every shade of turquoise dominating our daydreams of Daydream...and we weren't disappointed. 

Here’s what we made of our stay.

ellaslist Reviews: A Trip to Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef

Getting There

Can we take a moment for the sheer ease of travelling to Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef? There’s a reason that most guests are families with young children—family travel just doesn’t get much more straightforward than this.

We took the early 9.30 am, 2-hour morning flight from Sydney to Hamilton Island with Qantas. The ferry terminal to the islands is conveniently located inside the arrivals hall, after collecting our pre-booked boat tickets and dropping our luggage in the daydream trolley we had a short wait before boarding the ferry, grabbing a coffee and taking our seats for the most stunning 30-minute ride in sparkling aquamarine water. The Daydream Island Resort Staff welcomed us with champagne cocktails and soft drinks while we were checked in and our luggage was offloaded and whisked directly to our room. We had arrived, door-to-door, in about 5 hours flat. 

First Impressions

Wallaby Daydream Island
We had a warm welcome from Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef's residents! 

The sense of space at Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef hit us as soon as we arrived. The bright, light and airy hotel’s atrium makes for a pretty impressive entrance and straight away we noticed the resident wallabies pottering around the grounds. The 360 views involve glistening water, natural bush, islands and blue skies— no cars, no noise. So peaceful. We felt well and truly like we were a world away from home. 

The Accommodation

Daydream Island Accommodation
Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef Accommodation

Our Deluxe Serenity Twin Room absolutely exceeded our expectations. It was big, with two queen beds, an epic balcony and seriously jaw-dropping views out to the Lover’s Cove, with wildlife just doing their thing around us and cockatoos dancing on our balcony. The spa bath was a hit with both me and my tub-loving daughter, especially as you could roll up the blinds and and watch the room's giant TV with thousands of movies to choose from. The room’s position away from the pool made for a seriously peaceful stay.

The Living Reef

The Living Reef Daydream Island
The Living Reef Underwater Observatory

A true-blue highlight of Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef for us was the Living Reef. The Living Reef is a free-form coral lagoon that wraps 200m around the central building on Daydream Island and is home to over 100 species of local marine life including fish, rays and other reef-dwelling creatures.

We spent a lot of time relaxing and watching the Living Reef go about its daily business at the Living Reef Underwater Observatory, a core highlight of the trip for both of us. 

Food, Glorious Food

Graze Dining Daydream Island
Graze Interactive Dining


There are multiple dining options available to guests throughout Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef. Graze Interactive Dining was where we fuelled up on a buffet breakfast each day, overlooking the Living Reef Lagoon. 


Salti's Restaurant

We absolutely loved our dining experience at Salti, where the freshest Whitsunday seafood meets the timeless flavours of the Mediterranean, creating a dining experience that celebrates coastal life plus a great kids' menu. We indulged in the freshest flavours accompanied by stunning views, making for truly memorable lunches and sunset dinners.

Infinity Restaurant
A mouth-watering barramundi for me at Infinity Restaurant 

Infinity Restaurant showcases gorgeous Asian flavours set against the backdrop of the expansive Whitsunday Islands, rendering it another cracker of a dining destination on Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef. Our other favourite was Barefoot Bar—a swim-up bar located within the pool landscapes and surrounded by lush tropical gardens. Here, kids could get their mitts on ice creams and juices, while parents can enjoy a cocktail or two. Everyone's a winner!

Kids Eat FREE

Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef has made family travel even easier with the extension of its ‘Kids Eat Free' offer until 31 December 2024, delivering unbeatable savings for your stay. This promotion is available for all kids aged 2-12 and includes breakfast at Graze, as well as lunch and dinner at Infinity Restaurant and the newly revamped Salti Restaurant. Enjoy a stress-free holiday knowing the kids' meals are covered!

Activities and Facilities

Daydream Island Pool
Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef Pool

Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef offers so much to see and do throughout the complex. There are multiple pools to swim in, a warm spa, a kids' playground, kid's club, gym, spa, tennis courts, ping pong tables and a Moonlight Outdoor Cinema that shows kid-friendly moves twice a week. There is also trivia sessions, live music in the bar, plus plenty of sun loungers and space to roam.

Daydream Island Outdoor Cinema
Daydream Island Outdoor Cinema

There is also the chance to go kayaking and snorkelling on the Living Reef, both of which were real trip highlights for us. 

Daydream Island Kayaking
Kayaking on Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef

There's a full Tour Desk within the hotel, where you can book both on-island activities and excursions to other islands, meaning you can keep your trip as low-key or action-packed as you want. 

My Top 5 Tips for a Holiday on Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef

  1. Pack light and comfortable, we travelled with hand luggage only which made the transfer to the boat a breeze, no need for anything dressy, everything is super relaxed. Take some light woollies for evening strolls and any breezy days.
  2. Check the TV for daily activities which are adapted to the weather.
  3. Be prepared to be beaten by your kids at ping pong - and pick up a thousand balls.
  4. Schedule one or two activities, Living Reef Snorkeling was informative and fun. Pack a rashie for the kids to keep them warm under their wetsuits.
  5. Take a Tupperware tub to pick up a few morning tea snacks from the huge breakfast buffet to keep the kids fuelled up until lunchtime.

To find out more about this awe-inspiring family holiday destination, visit Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef.

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