As I sit here in front of the fire, dressed in warming layers and my fluffy slippers, I can’t help fondly recalling my recent days soaking up the Vitamin D (for purely medicinal purposes – I’ve been diagnosed as deficient) in the glorious Whitsundays. While there I was able to spend a day getting to know Daydream Island. Daydream has been something of a fixture in the Whitsundays and is one of the names of the islands that immediately comes to mind when thinking of the area, but I wonder how many realise just how long the words “Daydream Island” and “resort” have been linked together.
First christened West Molle Island in the 1880’s, Daydream was one of the earliest resorts in the Whitsundays with the first accommodation on the island being home-made huts put together by Paddy Murray and and his mate Charlie Hird in the early 1930’s. The beds were made of hammered kerosene crates and the kitchen ran on a spirit stove and a two-stroke fridge although the island, purchased by Murray for £200, was more beachcombers haven than resort in those days. It was re-christened “Daydream Island” by Paddy’s wife Connie, after the elegant white timber ketch that had taken them there, and began taking paying guests in 1933.
Things have changed a bit on Daydream since then – owners (and their money) have come and gone, war closed the resort for a time, the illicit casino which was briefly running there vanished when all the gaming machines were pushed off the end of the landing, the huts have been replaced with significantly smarter accommodation and cyclones have whipped through and ravaged the island three times. Through all this Daydream has remained one of the most loved of the Whitsunday resorts, attracting a fairly even 50/50 split of families and couples as guests, with a broadly diverse offering of holiday distractions.
I’m more of the lazing around type of guest who enjoys long, languid days in a prone position on a beach, hammock or by the pool so the thought of three outdoor heated spas, three pools, tropical beaches and an award-winning rejuvenation spa are all I need to keep me happy. For those who enjoy a more active break (shudder) the watersports, dive activities, tennis and volleyball courts and mini golf course should keep them occupied for quite a while. Of course there is also the remarkable Living Reef experience, shopping, kids club, open air cinema and various cafes and bars for in between all of that fun.
And long gone is the spirit stove and two-stroke fridge of those olden days, replaced now with two separate restaurants under the care of a very talented chef named Trent Brennan. My friend Jennifer (of Le Delicieux) and I spent the day getting to know Daydream Island and some of the occupants of the living reef experience before being treated to a gourmet cooking lesson with Trent on the stunning and secluded Lovers Cove.
We met Nemo …
Trent took us through some of his favourite Indian vegetarian dishes and has kindly let me share one of the recipes here. This glorious Green Chilli Chutney is not overly spicy (a concession to me, the chilli-phobic) but is bursting with flavour. It will go with anything from a chicken curry to barbecued seafood and is guaranteed to brighten up even the dullest winter day – oh, and it’s really simple. What more could you want?
Green Chilli Chutney
- ¼ cup peanut oil
- ½ onion diced
- 2 clove garlic
- 1 x green chili roughly chopped
- 2 cm ginger peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 x green capsicum roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp black mustard seeds
- Sauté the ginger, garlic, chili and onion in peanut oil until soft
- Add the green capsicum and cook till soft then puree with a stab blender.
- In a separate pot bring the vinegar and sugar to the simmer, add the mustard seeds and remove from the heat. Add to the blended capsicum, chill and serve.
Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of Whitsundays Tourism and Daydream Island.