The Gold Coast by water: Gold Coast Ferry Services and River Cruises


Get around the Gold Coast by boat

For resident Gold Coasters and all who visit, the meandering waterways are a way of life.

As one of the most attractive destinations in the world, the Gold Coast has no shortage of water-based travelling options. Every day, thousands of visitors and locals alike take in the million-dollar views, connect with others, and explore the 400 km of waterways in traditional Gold Coast style.

With plans to catch up with the capital of the Sunshine state, towards the end of 2019, the Gold Coast is expected to launch a trial of the first government-funded public transport ferry service.

Operating on a similar model to Brisbane-based CityHopper or Translink-Owned City Cat, the long-term vision is for commuters and tourists to hop on and off the public ferry using the water as a base for a viable, cost-effective mode of public transport.

Initially, the two-year trial ferry service will operate on the northern end of the Gold Coast with proposed stops at Seaworld, Marina Mirage, Southport, Surfers Paradise and Evandale. Expansion plans aim to extend the route out to Metricon Stadium in Carrara for special occasions.

The trial is expected to launch towards the end of this year (2019), but given the popularity of existing ferry services, we already know that the more sustainable public transport option of solar-powered catamarans will be a hit with anyone who wants to get from A to B in casual Gold Coast style!

At the time of printing, expressions of interest are being called with the contract due for announcement at the start of the new financial year.

Until the ferry service launches, there’s no shortage of existing river services to give locals and visitors their fix of water travel!

Here are some of the Gold Coast’s best river services already in operation on the stunning Broadwater and beyond.


Gold Coast City Ferries

Gold Coast City Ferries is the Gold Coast’s first privately-owned passenger ferry service.

With stops at Appel Park (Surfers Paradise), Evandale Park and Capri On Via Roma, passengers can hail Doris the ferry from the public pontoons and take advantage of the modern passenger service that provides an uninterrupted view of our impressive waterways.

Gold Coast Ferries is a self-funded startup business venture designed to provide Gold Coasters with a modern, convenient and enjoyable way to travel.

Check the operation times before you travel as the service is limited with plans to increase frequency in the near future.


Zane’s Water Taxi

If you need a Broadwater Taxi ride then Zane’s ferry service is your go to business at Runaway Bay Marina.  The on-demand service provides connections to most nearby destinations which are only accessible by boat including several parts of South Stradbroke Island. Bookings can be made over the phone on 0404905970.


Sea World Ferry–ferry

The Sea World ferry runs multiple times a day between Surfers Paradise and Sea World. Giving passengers the opportunity to take in the sights of the Broadwater before a fun-filled day of marine activity at the popular tourist spot, the Sea World ferry has full amenities on board and departs multiple times a day.


Sea World Cruises 

With a heart for Gold Coast marine life, Sea World is committed to educating visitors and helping them share their passion for the Gold Coast waterways.

Demonstrating that passengers are in safe hands, Sea World Cruises is the longest-running river cruise company on the Gold Coast which is a testament to their commitment to excellence and providing an unrivalled customer experience.

Hop on the luxury vessel in Surfers Paradise for a pre-arranged guided tour, or for something more personalised, celebrate that special occasion aboard a charter boat for you and your guests.


Surfers Paradise River Cruises

As the name suggests, Surfers Paradise River Cruises is one of the more popular charters on the Gold Coast waters.

Choose from a morning, lunch or afternoon cruise with an afternoon or morning tea or lunch included. Meander down the winding waterways and take in the unique sights of the Gold Coast as the salty spray follows from the water follows behind.

Unwind in comfort as you listen to the guided commentary and learn about some of the most infamous sites in the world.

Keep one eye on the water on your 90-minute cruise and look out for dolphins frolicking in the late afternoon sun while you cool down with a beer or wine from the fully licensed bar.

Does life get any better?


Aqua Duck

If you’ve ever spent any time in Surfers Paradise, you’ll have noticed the Aquaduck! And if you haven’t, it’s a giant duck-shaped bus slash boat which can travel on land or water.

See, we told you you’d have noticed it!

Fun for all the family, the combination of land and water tour is a unique way to discover the city from all angles.

The tour starts by showing you some of the more famous landmarks in the glitter strip of Surfers Paradise before the vessel transforms into a boat and takes passengers for a relaxing cruise down the infamous Gold Coast waterway.

An interactive experience for kids, the driver-come-captain is happy to show the little ones around the cab creating memories that will last a lifetime.


GC Gondolas

There’s nothing more romantic than the moonlight glistening on the night-time waters as you sail down the Gold Coast waterways arm in arm with your loved one.

Taking date night to the next level, GC Gondolas offers dinner for those wanting to celebrate any romantic occasion; an anniversary, proposal, or just to show someone how much they mean to you.


Sea the Gold Coast

Sea the Gold Coast’s South Stradbroke Island Adventure is an eco-tour not to be missed.

Tours are designed to offer an intimate, interactive experience capping group numbers at eight passengers.

Explore the Gold Coast Broadwater as you head towards South Stradbroke Island in the Moreton Bay Marine Park. Disembark from the six-metre adventure vessel at the island’s doorstep and take a leisurely guided walk across to Currigee Inlet. Keep your eyes open for native wildlife including koalas, birds and the ever-inquisitive wallabies and kangaroos.

During the cruise, look out for pods of dolphins splashing around as you sail through the Broadwater and top off the day with a cold drink at the local Tipplers Café.

Hotel transfers are available. To find out more about the Sea the Gold Coast’s South Stradbroke Island Adventure, or to book, click here.

The water is a way of life for Gold Coasters with unlimited water travel options. Find out more about travelling the Gold Coast river with Sea the Gold Coast here.