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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Daydream Island, Queensland, AUSTRALIA (other)

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Name:Daydream Island

A Tiki-themed resort built in 1967 by entrepreneur Bernie Elsey.

Daydream Island is a small island in the Whitsunday chain in North Queensland, Australia. It is only 1km long and 400m wide at its widest point. Since the 1930s, it has been home to various resorts.

In 1967, famous entrepreneur Bernie Elsey built a Tiki/Polynesian-themed resort on the southern half of the island. Three years later, it was destroyed by Cyclone Ada and had to be rebuilt from scratch. The images below are from 1974.

Bernie Elsey is perhaps better known for the other Gold Coast hotels he built on Surfers Paradise, including the Surfrider Hotel, Surfers Paradise Beachcomber, and Tiki village, which hewey documented in this thread: http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=26273&forum=1.

The Daydream Island project came later and was less successful. The resort still exists, but from what I can find on the internet, the Polynesian theme appears to be gone. Hope you enjoy these images from its heyday:

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-08-26 02:42 ]

As an entrepreneur, Bernie Elsey was quite a character. In 1965 he came up with the brilliant idea of the Meter Maids. Any Australian members, please forgive me if this is all common knowledge, but as an uneducated American I find this fascinating stuff.

In 1964, parking meters were installed in the tourist strip of Surfers Paradise, which I guess were generally hated and gave the area a bad reputation for parking tickets. To fight this image, Bernie Elsey, with his own money, introduced the Meter Maids - beautiful young women in gold lame bikinis and tiaras who carried buckets of coins to feed expired meters and save the vacationers from tickets.

They became something of an institution and are still around today, although they no longer feed the meters, since they are no longer funded by any organization. They make most of their money by having their photos taken with tourists nowadays:

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-08-26 03:21 ]

Amazing!!! That lagoon is awesome, and the meter maids are such a quirky concept.


here is an add for daydream island and tiki village


The meter maids of today have definitely evolved... wouldn't you say ??


Those shots of the Polynesian Village are killer!


bifcozz - Thanks for posting that ad. It ties the Bernie Elsey resorts together nicely.

1961surf - yeah... I was kinda drawn to her as the most bodacious example of a modern meter maid I could find on the net. The other modern girls look much more like the vintage ones - which is fine in my book too.

DC - thanks.

Here's a shot of Tiki Village and the Beachcomber with a closeup of one of the Tikis.

Some more images of Daydream Island (I love Australian eBay), including a weird variation on the classic Moai.


I picked up a postcard folder from Daydream Island that had a few more photos

They were obviously very proud of the Island Bar, as it is the main feature in the folder.

I wonder how many tipsy visitors ended up in the water after a drink or two at that bar.

Here is a shot of the hotel building.

The indoor bar and restaurant had a great mural with a Polynesian Luau beach theme with Tikis.

Close up.

What a vacation it must have been staying at Daydream Island.


On 2009-08-27 06:38, uncle trav wrote:
Here's a shot of Tiki Village and the Beachcomber with a closeup of one of the Tikis.

That huge Tiki still stands!

Here's a vintage Gold Coast promotional film with a great scene of Bernie Elsey's "Tiki Village" starting at 1:45. However, I suggest watching the whole video for the nostalgia of late 60s/early 70s night-life that's no longer around:


Here's a link to part 1 of the video, which is aimed more at industry, careers, housing, and family fun in the Gold Coast:



Great find on the videos, I enjoyed those. This seems to be the repository for all things Tiki in the Surfers Paradise area so I will post some more here.

A town sign from Surfers Paradise - a kind of Wildwood by the Sea area in the 1960s.

Another shot of the Tiki Village sign.

The pool area of the hotel which can be seen in Sabu's video.

I also just got this postcard from the Beachcomber motel that was located near the Tiki Village.

Check out the signage. The small oval sign on the fence next to the surf mural in front advertises a Hawaiian Luau for $3


I found another postcard from the pool area at Tiki Village in Surfer's paradise.

With an unusual two-faced tiki carving.

And spotted another postcard of the pool area (note the Tiki on the right).



I have to say, i really don't look at the 'Locating Tiki' section very much so i didn't know this thread even existed until i noticed it was bumped by Dustycajun the other day whilst i was reading about the Portland Trader Vic's closing.

Although i had been told by a friend that there had been a couple of Tiki resorts/hotel type things in Queensland, i knew very little about them until reading this thread. When Sabu said he loved Australian eBay and after seeing the postcard pics that both he and DC had posted i decided to have a look myself, to see if any of the postcards were still available and to my surprise the very first thing that showed up on the listing was this.

With postage it was a little bit more than i would have liked to have spent but considering it is a part of what little Tiki history we had here in Australia, i was not going to pass it up.


Nice mug, first time I have seen one.

Here are a few more photos of Tiki Village.

The large Tiki.

Pool area at night with the torches lit.

Daytime pool area.

If you look closely, you see that the posts holding up the second story balcony are Tikis!

And this is the owner Bernie Elsey (in the middle).


Wow that big Tiki is cool!

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