Rob Chynoweth arrived on the mainland from Daydream Island this afternoon. Thursday, March 30.
Rob Chynoweth arrived on the mainland from Daydream Island this afternoon. Thursday, March 30. Peter Carruthers

Daydream Island guest tells of horrendous ordeal

IT WASN'T the island holiday Rob Chynoweth was expecting.

Arriving at the Port of Airlie ferry terminal today after a horror stay on Daydream Island he said riding out Cyclone Debbie on the tropical resort was an experience he would not forget.

"Those winds, I have never felt anything like it. They are saying the winds peaked at 280km/h on Daydream Island," he said.

Finally today, a break in the weather has allowed visitors on Daydream Island a chance to evacuate.

Daydream Island holiday makers board busses at the Port of Airlie ferry terminal this afternoon.
Daydream Island holiday makers board busses at the Port of Airlie ferry terminal this afternoon. Peter Carruthers

Mr Chynoweth said he had planned for a relaxing getaway and to celebrate his son's wedding.

"It was great on the Saturday and then from Sunday afternoon we were on lock down until the storm passed and it didn't pass until Tuesday."

And while the island guests were in lock down Mr Chynoweth described the battering the buildings endured.

"We were right on the end on our block. A palm tree had knocked off a section of brick wall and it landed in the court yard. I tell ya what that got my attention pretty quickly," he said.

Daydream Island holiday makers board busses at the Port of Airlie ferry terminal this afternoon.
Daydream Island holiday makers board busses at the Port of Airlie ferry terminal this afternoon. Peter Carruthers

"I thought the whole wall was going to come down. (And) it was ripping palm trees out of the ground."

Visitors to the island were kept on water rations since the cyclone hit on Tuesday afternoon.

And before their evacuation this afternoon the intense thunderstorm that rolled in over the Whitsundays on the back end of TC Debbie last night had Mr Chynoweth wondering how long visitors would have to stay on the island.

"Last night with all that thunder and lightning, I thought we were never going to get off the island," he said.

Confusion then reigned among island visitors regarding the best way to get off the island.

Luggage belonging to Daydream Island holiday makers at the Port of Airlie ferry terminal this afternoon.
Luggage belonging to Daydream Island holiday makers at the Port of Airlie ferry terminal this afternoon. Peter Carruthers

Mr Chynoweth had been told that if passengers had flights booked out of Hamilton Island it was possible to leave the Whitsundays via the Hamilton Island Airport.

But there was no accommodation available on Hamilton Island.

He said others told him the only way out was to board a ferry to the mainland and fly out from Townsville.

He'd been told it was now possible to get out of the Whitsundays to the north by road.

Daydream Island released a statement this afternoon 116 staff and guests had been evacuated from the island.

"We'd like to express our gratitude to all involved, including the authorities, military, airlines and our industry partners - especially Cruise Whitsundays and Hamilton Island,” an island spokesperson said.

Assessments are being carried out on the extent of damage to the island.

Daydream Island is advising that we are unable to accept new arrivals to Daydream until April 30 however this date may be extended once the damage has been assessed. 


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