Spirit of Gold Coast’s sunset, lunch & party cruises will leave you in oar!
Spirit of Gold Coast’s sunset, lunch & party cruises will leave you in oar!
Ahoy there, mateys! Ok, so we’ve been having a whale of a time on Spirit of Gold Coast for almost three decades now, but fun fact incoming; did you know that this 24-meter super catamaran is more than a one-trick-pony? Whilst it is undeniably THE choice for whale watching #HeyMigaloo, this shipload of fun also offers sunset cruises, lunch cruises, and party cruises – and buoy are they top-‘knot’ch.
Family owned and operated, Spirit of Gold Coast will float everybody’s boat from your nautical loving nan to your boat-loving bestie, and even your water worshipping whipper snapper (say that five times over). Setting sail from Mariner’s Cove in Main Beach and perfect for any occasion, get ready to sail-a-brate with Spirit of Gold Coast.
Want to bid adieu to the day in style? Embark on a magical sunset cruise on the Broadwater, soaking up the last of the sun’s rays as twilight shows off the glittering GC skyline in all her glory. With a frozen cocktail in hand, see how the other half live with views right down to the sea-lebrity style homes on Sovereign Island.
Tuck into the tasty complimentary eats, including finger foods and wraps that are fresher than the sea breeze. Plus, there’s onboard commentary, which is like having your own Gold Coast Wikipedia, offering insights into the area’s history, environment, and wildlife. Ferry impressive! $79 per adult and $39 per mini-mate.
What’s better than carving up the dancefloor and we’ll tell you – carving up the dancefloor aboard Spirit of Gold Coast! Each Friday night from 7pm, DJ Tiki transforms the nautical nirvana into the ultimate party cruise with the latest beats and breathtaking Broadwater views.
Once again, the captain will set sail towards Sovereign Island for a glimpse of the region’s most ritzy abodes, before cranking the tunes and making the voyage back against the dazzling GC night sky. The fully licensed bar will be serving up all your faves, and snacks are available if you need to line your belly before the next frozen cocktail.
The two-and-a-half to three-hour cruise will return to Mariner’s Cove, where you’ll be docked and loaded for a night on the town! Hull yeah! Tickets are $49 per person.
If a feast on the high seas is more your speed, the Spirit of Gold Coast has a sensational lunch cruise just for you. Enjoy an award-winning 2.5-hour aquatic escapade whilst indulging in a freshly prepared seasonal lunch that’ll tantalise your taste buds.
Grab a complimentary cuppa and morning tea on arrival, before touring the iconic Broadwater – and even venturing out to sea! The GC Seaway is like a wildlife red carpet, showcasing sea lions, dolphins, marine birds, turtles, and more, so keep your phone at the ready coz if you didn’t snap it, did it even happen?
The Tiki Bar is on hand to serve up your fave tipple, and the bow of the boat is always ready for the token Titanic shot #I’mTheKingOfTheWorld. $99 per adult, $79 per senior, $59 per child, and small folk under four are free!
So, whether you’re chasing sunsets, cruisin for some beats, or craving a quality lunch with a side of sea-life, don’t harbour any regrets – seas the moment and book yourself an unforgettable Spirit of Gold Coast cruise here.
Sea you there!
Words by Bianca Trathen.
STORY SPONSORED BY SPIRIT OF GOLD COAST
Curiously, not all of us Gold Coasters are inclined to seize the day before the sun to don the lycra and punch out a sneaky few hundred kms before breakfast – no matter how stunning the sights we find ourselves surrounded by.
But did you know there’s a middle ground, offering a meandering Tour de Byron style adventure without breaking (much) of a sweat? Nestled in the heart of the lush Gold Coast hinterland lies a hidden gem, an adventure that promises to transport you far from the daily grind and immerse you in the wonders of nature. Enter, Better By Bike Byron Bay, a fun day out for all ages we wheely think you’ll lycra a whole lot.
The new adventure offering is geared towards beginners, budding cyclists and those who normally prefer their transport mode to be of the four wheeled variety, opening up a whole new way for locals and visitors to get out and experience the picturesque Northern Rivers roads trails less travelled. If you’re seeking an extraordinary experience for your team-building event or Christmas party, look no further. This adventure is a chance to rejuvenate your team’s mental health as they disconnect from the grid and reconnect with nature
For owners, Campbell Shepherd and Matt Hirst, Better By Bike was borne out of the desire to make exploring the newly completed Tweed Rail Trail approachable for everyone with an all-inclusive e-bike rental service. The duo share over 10 years experience in cycle tourism gained from serving the trails in Queenstown, New Zealand, so they know a thing or ten about good times on two wheels.
Don’t worry about logistics— Better By Bike has got you covered. Their trailside bike pickup and drop-off service is the epitome of convenience, ensuring your focus remains firmly on the magical landscapes and the bonds you’re forging.
For those starting from the Gold Coast, the most popular option is the Trailside Bike Pickup and Drop Off, priced at $125 per adult and $95 per child. Alternatively, if you’d like to begin your journey in Mooball and finish in Murwillumbah, the price is $149 per person, which includes hire and return back to your vehicle.
The 24km route takes roughly 1.5–3 hours to complete, depending on number and duration of stops – and for the record, the amount of pit stops we’ll be taking have nothing to do with our fitness levels and everything to do with supporting the local economy, mmmk?
The rental comes complete with all the mod cons you need to see the spectacular sights in comfort, safety and style. With all the essentials like helmet, map, bike lock, light for the tunnel, Gel seat and a shock absorbing seat (very essential) through to a 30 litre Pannier to load up with your worldly possessions (aka an abundance of snacks to keep that energy up, duh) supplied on the day.
The bikes come in a range of sizes for the whole fam, personalised for fit by height, to ensure all riders have a great experience. The kiddos aren’t forgotten with a variety of options including Extra Small e-bikes, tag along chariots and baby seats for the littlest tikes.
There’s also an evening Glow Worm tour, an option that’s especially popular with the tweens and teens – which would make for some rather magical birthday core mems with their best buds, in our humble opinions.
There’s a good chance you’ve not experienced the lush Northern Rivers hinterland like this before, so what are you waiting for? Get on ya bikes and #letthegoodtimesroll for the best day out ever!
Where: Better By Bike services the whole trail from Mooball to Murwillumbah
When: Bookings available every day of the week excluding Xmas Day and New Year’s Day
Words by Kellie Leader.
STORY SPONSORED BY BETTER BY BIKE
Life on the Gold Coast is synonymous with the outdoors, so naturally it makes sense that we make the most of that and squeeze in some wild animal encounters to round it out! From four-legged felines popping in for a pat while you sip your piccolo to encounters with native Australian wildlife and so much more, we’re all about taking a walk on the wild side and getting up close and personal with creatures great and small.
So, when we were looking for the ultimate animal experiences it was no surprise that there were a boat load to get amongst the action right in our backyard. Whether you like your friends furry or feathered, we’ve found the best animal encounters to add to your bucket list.
Tiger Island Dreamworld
Get up close and highly personal with some of the animal kingdoms most majestic creatures. Tiger Island is a true one-off as you’re able to watch daily shows — before the next minute finding yourself side by side and patting the big cats themselves for a photo opportunity like no other! It’s the only place in Queensland where you can actually feed the big cats, so what are you waiting for? Go get ‘em tiger.
Where: Dreamworld, Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera
Mountview Alpaca Farm
How does meandering your way around a vineyard with a glass of wine and your very own alpaca in tow sound? Be careful though; there may be some confusion around who is walking whom! These guys can be found at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard, where you can pat and feed them to your heart’s content. Why not make a day of it – kick back and set up with one of their delish picnic baskets or pizzas, there’s even a full menu with special options for the kiddies so everyone is looked after.
Where: 852 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the best places for anyone on the Gold Coast to experience wildlife since 1947! There’s a long list of animals and encounters to find yourself involved with here, from crocodile feeding, bird shows, and having your picture taken with a koala. The highlight is one of the southern hemisphere’s largest aviaries, where you’ll mingle with red pandas, tamarins, and ring-tailed lemurs! Another fave of ours is the Capybara Encounter – you’ve problem seen these little guys going viral on TikTok and for good reason, they’re pretty much giant guinea pigs so you know where you’ll find us. If you’ve already seen the Sanctuary by day, why not try a Twilight Tour for an after-dark look at your favourite furry and feisty friends.
Where: Tomewin Street, Currumbin
One of our favourite times of year, whale watching season is still upon on us for just a little longer (May — November), and you’ll be hard-pressed to see the spectacular sight of migrating whales from a better location than the sunny waters right off our coast. Spirit Whale Watching tours will take you right into the action as groups of whales make their way north around the Whitsundays to give birth before then returning south later in the year. The operator has a history of getting their guests wet with whales breaching and tail slapping the water from proximity. And if you don’t see any whales, they’ll take you on another trip free!
Kokomo Cruises, a family-owned and operated business on Queensland’s Gold Coast, offers include whale watching and sunset cruises during the winter, as well as island adventures and exclusive charters in the summer. Jump aboard their Whale Watching Gold Coast cruise and observe mother whales caring for their calves, and encounter a variety of other wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, fish, and sea birds.
Where: Spirit Whale Watching, 60-70 Sea World Drive, Main Beach and Kokomo Cruises, Marina Mirage, Main Beach
Australian Outback Spectacular
Saddle up for the night of a lifetime at Australian Outback Spectacular. A hot tip is to arrive early to get photos with the dogs and horses, the stars of the show! Once inside the arena, you’ll then get a three-course dinner. Followed then by one of the most spectacular shows you’re likely ever to see, filled with animals, Aussie songs, and a guaranteed few laughs as riders frolic about on stunning steeds — all while you look on in awe. Expect stunts, special effects, and not forgetting a tasty meal. Making for a night, you’re unlikely to forget!
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford
As far as aquatic encounters go, this is your one-stop place to see and learn about a plethora of water-based animals. From Polar Bears to penguins, seals to sharks, there is guaranteed to be an animal that will captivate everyone’s imagination. If this isn’t enough, you’ll come across a selection of shows where splashing around and seeing these magnificent creatures do their thing will leave you speechless, or maybe a dolphin encounter is more your thing: spending time in the water with these animals and their trainers! If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with a ray, Ray Reef is the place to be where you can touch some of the little guys – perfect fun for the whole fam!
Where: Sea World Drive, Main Beach
Paradise Country Aussie Farmyard
Sometimes there are so many adorable animals, yet so little time. From native Aussie wildlife to farmyard animals and even an animal nursery, you’ll be spoilt for choice at Paradise Country. If you’ve never been to a farm, this is the perfect place, only minus the hard work! It’s a great weekend adventure if you need to escape city life. They’ve got their own mob of Meerkats and Marmoset Monkeys (the cutest), as well as a pack of cheeky Tasmanian Devils — making your decision to visit, simples.
Where: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford
Crazy Cat Café
If you’re feline like you need your animal fix alongside your daily coffee hit, we’ve got the purrfect spot for you. If you’re more of a love from a distance kind of cat person, the café section is separated by a window that allows you to look in on the cat lounge while your crazy cat friend gets in there amongst the action while the kitties leap around, swat each other, and generally enjoy their cat castle. We reckon you’ll be the coolest among the cats if you get up close and personal for a sesh of zoomies and selfies with the fluffy friends.
Where: 63 Centre Arcade, 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
David Fleay Wildlife Park
Right in the heart of Burleigh is an intimate, heritage-listed wildlife sanctuary home to a vast array of animals — and most people drive past without even realising! Wander around at your own pace and soak up the serenity or go on a guided tour and learn all about everything from Dingoes and Rock Wallabies to Bilbies and Owls. There are shows throughout the day too; so be sure to carve out a good chunk of time for a visit.
Where: Loman Lane, Burleigh Heads
Words by Jacqueline Bojanowski.
When it comes to impressing visiting family and friends, is there any better way than going on an adventure and chasing a waterfall — or two? Because beyond epic beaches, and one of the world’s most renowned surfing reserves, we also have world heritage listed rainforests and breathtaking surrounds literally right on our doorstep. And the best part about these fantastic places and mind-blowing natural spectacles is they are entirely free!
So we highly recommend you clear your schedule, pack your swimmers and embark on a fun-filled sojourn into the green behind the gold in search of large pieces of falling water. Set your phone to silent and let the serenity feed your soul.
Here are a few of our favourites, all within an hour or so from the Gold Coast.
38.7km from Surfers Paradise
Just a 50-minute drive from Surfers Paradise and nestled amongst the Denham Scenic Reserve are the Beechmont rock pools — or Lip Falls as the locals call them. Once you park your car (on Doncaster Road), it’ll only take half an hour to make your way down to the falls. Be aware; these walking paths are steep and narrow and right next to deep gorges.
Where: 45-57 Doncaster Dr, Beechmont
Cedar Creek Falls
44km from Surfers Paradise
Cedar Creek Falls are one of the better-known waterfalls on Mt Tamborine and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike (be warned – it can get quite busy). Your best bet is to explore the area via the Cedar Creek Circuit (3.2km), which will take you along all the cascades and rock pools.
Where: Cedar Creek Falls Rd, Tamborine Mountain – To get there, take Tamborine Mountain Road until you get to Cedar Creek Falls Road, just past the information map stopping bay on the left. From there, it’s only a short drive down a narrow road and across a small creek before coming to the Cedar Creek Falls section and the car park at its entrance.
39.2km from Surfers Paradise
It’s a short, beautiful walk through the rain-drenched Eucalyptus forest to the magical Curtis Falls. You’ll wander past towering trees and through a canopy of ferns, down to this miniature and photogenic waterfall. There are lots of cute creatures to spot along the way too, keep an eye for resident platypuses and wallabies. The walk should only talk half an hour or less to get down to the falls, but you will likely want to stay awhile and soak up the peacefulness. It’s just a 1.1km round trip, so you can knock it over in the early morning then stop for a spot of morning tea at the Curtis Falls Cafe.
Where: 16 Eagle Heights Rd, North Tamborine – Get there via Eagle Heights Road and park right at the entrance to the walk.
Lamington National Park
67.4 km from Surfers Paradise
Elabana Falls are certainly a hidden gem located amongst Lamington National Park close to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat (a great spot to grab a bite to eat after your waterfall adventure). Park your car at O’Reilly’s and make your way through the rainforest, past Picnic Rock and further downhill for another 400 metres until you reach the cascading falls. Make sure you refresh yourself with a snack or sit down before embarking on your way back up; it gets pretty steep!
Where: Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra
Springbrook National Park
47 km from Surfers Paradise
As you probably know, Natural Bridge is a heavenly cave-like rock formation at Springbrook National Park that is home to glow worms and a colony of tiny bent-wing bats – it’s also one of the most photographed spots on the Gold Coast. Start the short one-kilometre rainforest walk clockwise to the Natural Bridge rock arch to get down to the action.
Where: Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, Springbrook – It’s super easy to find; just follow Nerang-Murwillumbah Road until you get to the car park signage at Bakers Road.
40.6km from Surfers Paradise
Start your 4km journey through the sub-tropical rainforest from the Tallabana picnic area or Canyon lookout in an anticlockwise direction. You’ll reach a small bridge, flowing water and immense rock formations after a couple of minutes (perfect for an Insta snap). Keep hiking down the track until you come across two rushing waterfalls. At the base of Twin Falls — after a worthy hike — you’ll find a large rock pool perfect for a rewarding swim!
Where: Canyon Pde, Springbrook
Purling Brook Falls
37km from Surfers Paradise
The Purling Brook Falls are immense, towering at over 100 meters in height and are naturally best visited after rainfall. Start your 2 hour hike clockwise along a scenic and elevated path into a subtropical gorge to view the amazing falls from below. Venture further down the track until you reach waterholes that are great for swimming. When you have had enough, prepare for a steady climb up through the rainforest, which will bring you back to the picnic area.
Where: 63 Gwongorella Parade, Springbrook
113km from Surfers Paradise
Yes, we know the following two locations aren’t on the Gold Coast, they aren’t even in Queensland, but it will take you a short drive along what is probably the most breathtaking scenic drive, until you reach Nightcap National Park in Northern NSW. Make sure you come prepared because getting to Minyon Falls can be quite the journey (well worth it, though). We recommend you start with Minyon Falls Lookout, providing you with outstanding views before adventuring further downstream towards the base of the falls.
Where: Nightcap National Park, Newton Dr, Nightcap
108 km from Surfers Paradise
Killen Falls are undoubtedly one of the most epic waterfalls to dive into with its large swimming hole and rock pools. The rock has been eroded significantly behind the waterfall, forming an impressive cave. Ever wanted to take a waterfall shower? Well, at Killen Falls, that’s not a problem as you can swim across the pool and climb up the rocks just to sit right underneath the falling water.
Where: Killen Falls Dr, Tintenbar – Killen Falls are super easy to find, just minutes off the Pacific Highway near Byron Bay.
But it’s important to remember, whilst it’s tempting (and refreshing) to go for a swim in the rock pools and lagoons, it’s prohibited in some, so please adhere to any safety signs and be 100% sure it’s safe to swim before diving in. Also, be sure to pack closed-in shoes, plenty of water, mozzie repellent and sunscreen (the sun will still get you between the canopy).
Last but not least, take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints behind!
Words by Alex Mitcheson.