Ah, my shipmates, gather ’round!  I’m about to unravel the salty secrets of Australia’s Gold Coast – that sun-kissed slice of paradise where surfers ride waves like caffeinated dolphins.

But hold your seahorses! It’s not all gnarly swells and sandy beaches.

No, no! The Gold Coast has a watery wonderland hiding up its sleeve, and it’s time we dip our toes into this liquid treasure chest.

While the Gold Coast is renowned for its surf, its waterways offer a plethora of activities to enjoy without a wave in sight.

Let’s dive into the aquatic wonders awaiting you on the Gold Coast’s serene waterways.

Who, What, When, Why, How?

Who? Well, my fellow adventurers, it’s my better-half (my wife, Karen) and myself – the dynamic duo seeking aquatic escapades beyond the usual surf scene. Picture us as Captain Splash and First Mate Giggles, ready to explore!

What? Brace yourselves! We’re diving headfirst into a world where waterways whisper secrets and dolphins high-five the sunset.

Forget the surfboards; we’re talking gondolas, jet-skis, and sunset cruises. It’s like a buffet of aquatic delights – and you’re the hungry seagull eyeing the last fish and chips.

When? Anytime, really! The Gold Coast’s waterways don’t punch a time clock. Morning, arvo, or under the moon – take your pick. Just remember, sunscreen is your BFF, and SPF stands for “Sun Protection Fairy.”  We’re on the Gold Coast for a short break in early May.

Why? Because life’s too short to stay dry! Plus, rumour has it that mermaids throw epic parties in these waters. I wouldn’t want to miss that, would you?

We chose both the Aquaduck tour and a river cruise with Surfers Paradise River Cruises for their distinct offerings. They offer us the chance to experience the Gold Coast from different perspectives.

The Aquaduck tour appeals to us for its blend of land and water exploration. As a quirky amphibious vehicle, the Aquaduck promises a unique adventure, seamlessly transitioning from Surfers Paradise’s bustling streets to the Gold Coast’s tranquil waterways.

“Water is the driving force of all nature” – Leonardo da Vinci

We are drawn to the novelty of riding aboard a vehicle that effortlessly navigates both urban landscapes and scenic canals, offering a dynamic and engaging sightseeing experience.

On the other hand, the River Cruise with Surfers Paradise River Cruises captures our attention with its promise of serenity and relaxation.

We are enticed by the opportunity to glide along the picturesque canals and Surfers Paradise’s waterways, soaking in the views of the Gold Coast skyline from the cruise-boat’s sundeck.

How? Buckle up, buttercup!  The Gold Coast has options galore. From luxury boat cruises (where the champagne flows like a waterfall) to DIY boat rentals (no license needed – just a sense of adventure), the Gold Coast caters to all aquatic cravings.


Our aquatic odyssey begins at Surfers Paradise – the neon heart of the coast. Beyond the glitzy high-rises, the Gold Coast Broadwater stretches like a lazy cat waking up from a sun-soaked nap.

It meanders northward, past Labrador (not the dog, silly) and Runaway Bay (where runaway dreams dock), until it reaches Paradise Point – where even the pelicans wear shades.

From winding creeks to tranquil canals and picturesque lakes, the Gold Coast’s waterways offer ample opportunities for aquatic exploration.

Whatever your water-based passion may be, you’re sure to find it here. Whether it’s a leisurely gondola ride, an exhilarating jet-ski excursion, or a peaceful sunset cruise surrounded by pods of dolphins, the options are plenty.

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in wild air” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

With an abundance of thrilling water sports to try, even seasoned surfers may find themselves tempted to embark on a new adventure.

Boat tours on the Broadwater cater to every preference, from luxurious private cruises to self-guided boat hire – no license required. Whether you prefer morning excursions, afternoon voyages, or evening jaunts, there’s a tour to suit every schedule.

Now, let’s dive into two of these aquatic adventures: the whimsical Aquaduck tour and the serene River Cruise with Surfers Paradise River Cruises.

AQUADUCK v RIVER CRUISE: A Duel of Nautical Delights
The Aquaduck Adventure: Quack and Splash!

Several years have zoomed by since Karen and I hopped aboard the Aquaduck tour with the kids.  During our latest Gold Coast escapade, we kick off the day with the first tour at 09:45.

To be honest, we initially wonder if the tour would “float our boat”. Would we spend most of our time reminiscing about previous family frolics?

How would a quirky bus/boat contraption, shuttling visitors around Surfers Paradise and surrounding waterways, keep us entertained for a whole hour?

Picture this: The Aquaduck, a delightful hybrid of a duck and a boat, is like the Swiss Army Knife of transportation – part amphibian, part urban explorer.

Aquaduck, a delightful hybrid of a duck and a boat
Aquaduck, a delightful hybrid of a duck and a boat

As we roll through Surfers Paradise’s bustling streets, pedestrians gawk, their eyes wide like saucers. “Is it a duck? Is it a boat?” they wonder. But us?  We’re living the dream – a quacking, splashing dream.

Urban Landscapes to Tranquil Waterways: The Aquaduck Shuffle

Navigating the city streets the Aquaduck smoothly transitions from land to water, showcasing its versatility.

Riding on a bus that morphs into a boat is an experience straight out of a comic book as its wheels turn into paddles.

We’re now in the Gold Coast’s liquid heart, and the Aquaduck winks at us (yes, it winks; don’t question it).  We’re no longer a mere tourist; we’re waterborne philosophers, pondering life’s mysteries while quacking in existential delight.

Scenic Canals and Duck-Style Panache

The canals unfold like secret passages – the kind where wizards and mermaids exchange recipes.

The Aquaduck’s captain (who might secretly be a retired pirate) regales us with tales of sunken treasure, lost love, and the best way to cook shrimp.

We cruise past iconic landmarks, luxurious waterfront mansions, and soak up Surfers Paradise’s spectacular skyline.  Owners of some waterfront mansions wave at us like we’re a long-lost cousin, while they sip champagne.

The Aquaduck tour offers a fresh perspective of the city, revealing its beauty from both terra firma and canals.

It provides a refreshing change from the typical tourist activities.  Our return is steeped in nostalgia, albeit with a new perspective and minus the kids, who have long flown the nest.

It is a delightful jaunt down memory lane, rekindling the joy we experienced years ago aboard the quirky Aquaduck! The highlight? Undoubtedly catching a glimpse of Surfers Paradise from the water.

Despite the absence of our offspring, the experience evokes our inner child, leaving us with more family memories.

Overall, our Aquaduck adventure leaves us quacking with delight. As grown-up kids (aka adults) it offers us an affordable blend of exploration, entertainment, and relaxation.

Secure your tickets for Aquaduck online or in person at: Circle On Cavill Shopping Centre, Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise.

Riverbank Royalty and Palatial Views

Now, let’s switch gears.  Our Surfers Paradise River Cruise awaits as we prepare to cruise the picturesque canals and waterways.

Our journey begins promptly at 2:00 pm and promises to return us to shore by 3:30 pm, leaving us plenty of time to continue to explore this vibrant coastal paradise.

Lou, a fellow Kiwi, welcomes us on board.  Cameras in hand, we eagerly await the chance to capture some Instagram worthy moments.

We are on floating haven of tranquillity. Imagine a catamaran with a PhD in relaxation.  Gliding effortlessly along the canals, its sundeck invites us to stretch out like contented cats.

The Gold Coast skyline winks at us (yes, it winks too; it’s catching), and we’re ready for some serious serenity.

Sunsets, Sundecks, and Contemplative Gulls

Although the sun won’t set until 2 hours after we finish, its golden glow bathes the water.

The River Cruise becomes a moving meditation with the water’s gentle lapping creating a symphony of calm.  Picture yourself gracefully drifting along the serene Nerang River, with the soft breeze gently caressing your hair.

Seagulls perch on the railings, discussing life’s big questions: “Why do humans rush? Why not float like us?” I nod sagely – I’m practically a seagull whisperer now.

In addition to the stunning scenery, we are treated to complimentary snacks on board. And for anyone feeling a little parched, the fully licensed bar offers an array of beverages, from cocktails to beer to wine.

I sip a herbal tea – yes, they serve herbal tea; it’s a classy cruise.  Karen chooses something stronger!

I’m not just a passenger; I’m a sunset philosopher.

Views, Reflections, and the Art of Zen Duck Watching

The water shimmers under the sunlight, reflecting the towering high-rises and verdant greenery adorning the riverbanks.

Surfers Paradise River Cruises provides a tranquil retreat from the noisy clamour of everyday life.

I spot a duck family paddling alongside. They’re not quacking; they’re contemplating. Maybe they’re discussing duck philosophy: “Is life better with or without breadcrumbs?”

I ponder this too, because why not? The River Cruise has now also turned me into a duck whisperer.  I’m at peace, one with the water, and ready to write a ditty about ripples.

We glide gracefully past more opulent mansions and luxury boutiques.  Each one exuding its own unique story of wealth and glamour.

Our skipper, MJ, delights us with snippets of information about the rich and famous residents who call this paradise home.  She adds an extra layer of magic to our already enchanting journey.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a local looking for a fresh perspective, Surfers Paradise River Cruises is top-notch.  It’s a voyage that whispers secrets and paints memories.

Visit Surfers Paradise River Cruises at 63 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise.

Decision Time

Ready to dive into the Gold Coast’s aquatic wonders? From quacking with delight aboard the Aquaduck to cruising through paradise with Surfers Paradise River Cruises, it’s time to make a splash!

So, swap your worries for water wings and embark on a tidal wave of relaxation and adventure. Don’t miss out – grab your sunscreen and sea legs, and make some unforgettable memories!  Bon voyage, mateys!


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