Travel | April 16, 2019 5:00 pm

The Immaculate Daydream Island Just Re-Opened Off the Great Barrier Reef

The island has its own free form coral lagoon. And a tonic bar.

The Immaculate Daydream Island Just Re-Opened Off the Great Barrier Reef

Even a private island needs a facelift once in a while. Daydream Island, a resort in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands chain off the coast of Queensland, recently reopened after two years of renovations, and boy does it show.

The mile-long isle just unveiled 277 lofts and suites, three new restaurants, an outdoor movie theater and an update of their hallmark draw: the Living Reef.

Living Reef is basically Sea World without the bad press, a free form coral reef with 1.5M liters of water that wraps nearly 700 feet around the hotel. It’s teeming with marine life, including sting rays, baby reef sharks, lobsters and schools of fish. On-site marine biologists offer night tours in addition to a “backstage” Reef Ranger pass, which allows you to visit restricted areas of the lagoon and participate in a guided fish feeding.

If it seems strange that an island resort in the Great Barrier Reef made its own reef, remember that a sobering 50% of the Great Barrier has been lost to warmer oceans and pollutants. Artificial reefs like Living Reef allow marine biologists to study fish and reef systems close to the “wild” while giving visitors a chance to experience the environment in a responsible way.

That being said, there’s a ton to see off the resort. The front desk can arrange for a boat to take you to secret diving sites, a seaplane to the unfettered-as-it-gets Whitehaven Beach, or point you to a standard old SUP board for an afternoon in the surf. At night, pay a visit to Asian Fusion restaurant Infinity (the wok-tossed mud crab sounds delicious) or Tonic Bar for an elevated G&T.

For more information on booking a room, head here.

All images via Daydream Island