by Matt Alderton | April 17, 2019
In March 2017, Cyclone Debbie pummeled the northeast coast of Australia. In its path: Daydream Island, a small parcel of land on the Great Barrier Reef whose eponymous resort was devastated by the tropical storm. Two years later, however, Daydream Island Resort has officially reopened, it announced this week.

One of 74 islands that make up the Whitsunday Islands, Daydream Island is located off the coast of Queensland, a 30-minute boat ride from the nearest commercial airport on nearby Hamilton Island. Although it dates back to 1939, when the island welcomed its first tourists, the resort feels brand new thanks to a $72 million redevelopment designed to restore the storm-ravaged destination to its former glory.

Visitors to the new and improved Daydream Island Resort will find 277 refurbished guest rooms and suites; revamped outdoor areas, including three new pools, an adults-only retreat area and a new outdoor cinema; three restaurants; and the Living Reef, a 200-meter coral lagoon that's home to more than 100 species of fish, rays, coral and invertebrates, which visitors can view from an underwater observatory or experience firsthand by snorkeling in it with a marine biologist.

Return visitors will be pleased to see an ode to one of the destination's most famous fixtures: the three mermaid statues on the island's northeast tip, which are the subject of a temporary art installation at the resort after being tragically washed away by Cyclone Debbie.

"We wanted the new Daydream Island Resort to reflect the beauty of its surroundings," said the property's general manager Dawson Tang. "We have embraced the favorite memories of our guests by reinstating the Living Reef, the outdoor cinema and an ode to the mermaids."

The island -- which is available for group buyout -- can accommodate meeting and incentive groups of up to 300 people.