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Jet Ski Wonderland

Jet Ski Wonderland

The Gold Coast is well known for its beautiful beaches and surf, the glittery nightlife, and the magnificent hinterland. What is not so well known is that, there is no better place for Jet Skiing than the Gold Coast either. 

The extensive protected waters around more islands than we have counted provide a never ending adventure of riding. Even on rare days of less than perfect weather, there is always somewhere sheltered.

Jet Skiing has changed so much now from when it first began. Back in the 70s, the Jet Ski was known for being an expensive toy with little range and even less reliability. Over the years, modern four-stroke motors have become standard and some of the watercrafts have developed into stable three-seaters with fuel tank capacities of 70 litres or more, allowing distances up to 160 kilometres. The storage areas have also grown to accommodate everything you need, like an overnight bag and a tent. I have even seen a Jet Skier pull out a BBQ! Despite the size increase, we can easily tow two Jet Skis on a trailer around the country for a holiday adventure.

Planning for the adventure

How far you can go is still ultimately governed by fuel availability. However, the many marinas on our waterways provide fuel on the water. We usually strap a couple of 20-litre fuel containers on the back which give us an extra 80 kilometres or so. These come in handy at locations where there is no fuel on the water, but where a petrol station is close to the shore.

Not all adventure rides can be done in one day at a leisurely pace. So occasionally, we stay overnight either camping or in a waterfront holiday rental, or bed and breakfast.

Food is available in so many places you will never go hungry on inland waters. There are luxury five-star hotels, resorts and restaurants that welcome us. There are little cafes and bars on remote islands and many places to stop with pre-packed picnic.

So with good planning, your trip is almost unrestricted. Many Southerners make their way to the Gold Coast adventure waterways for their holidays. A couple of years ago, a well-known retired Gold Coast Lifeguard, named Milton, rode a Jet Ski home from Sydney.

The weather on the Gold Coast makes it comfortable to ride all-year around. In fact, winter tends to have less wind making it fantastic for offshore adventures.

With the right safety equipment and sufficient fuel supply on board, a Jet Ski can take you well off shore to visit the many reefs known for diving and fishing. Of course, this takes you into the pathways of the migrating whales which have to be seen to be believed. Off shore is their playground and if you have a Jet Ski, this is an absolute “must do” on the adventure-riding bucket list.

Up close with wildlife

The wildlife and marine life are second to none. A Jet Skier is close to the water so you are able to get a great view of it all. We often raft up as a group and get out the coffee flasks to take a break, jibber jabber about our Jet Skis, and observe the local marine life doing their daily routine.  Once, some dolphins popped out of the water and swam backwards making a laughing sound to say hello. We often hear them clicking and whistling while under the skis. If we are in the water they will swim around us and under us having a good close look. We have even had them swim up to skis and jump over them. Dugongs are usually shy but they are also keen to have a look at us when we are still.

While stopped off the Gold Coast you can often see turtles on the bottom feeding on grass. The seals off Coolangatta come up to us if we call them. They seem to love swimming around us and having a look too, especially the little ones. Some of the fish we see are so colourful, and snorkelling around them is so much fun.

The National Parks around the inland Islands provide an array of wildlife to observe. Eagle’s nests are amazing and watching them hunt is spectacular. There are kangaroos and wallabies everywhere who love watching Jet Skis. And, yes, they do swim Once, I pulled up on South Stradbroke for a break. I was sitting on the shore having a snack and a wallaby came over and lay down next to me. At another time, our group photographer, Nigel, was taking some shots of a huge three-meter monitor lizard strolling by us. The lizard turned toward him and started to lick his lips, then took off after him. You have never seen anyone get a ski off the beach and into the water faster and the group was well entertained for the day.

Gold Coast destinations

The Gold Coast Broadwater provides a sheltered haven for tubing and wakeboarding. Wave Break Island is one of the best places to set up your base camp, and locals choose the side that is sheltered from any wind that day. Jet Skiing has been around long enough that we are now seeing third generations growing up tubing there.

A few times a year, the Gold Coast experiences huge surf. This is when you see the real Jet Ski adventurers’ trailers at the ramp. The Seaway provides excellent access through to open water but on big days it too can become a very high adrenaline experience. Once outside, the surf is tremendous. If riding in a trough, it can actually turn dark in the shadows at the bottom. Many surfers enjoy the luxury of a Jet Ski tow-in to save the paddling.

The extreme conditions are certainly not for everyone, but on most days there is a swell coming through that makes perfect conditions for some exciting wave jumping. Jet Skis are able to accelerate quickly, so timing your arrival at a steep one-meter “ramp” is an addictive adrenaline rush. For some riders this is all they do—week-in, week-out.

When you venture out of the Gold Coast Seaway and choose to go north, you have a selection of islands such as Moreton and Bribie Islands, or the Sunshine Coast. If you choose to go south, there are the Tweed, Hastings or Richmond Rivers to name a few.

Getting started

Getting started is much easier now than it ever has been. Firstly, you need a licence which is easy to obtain by completing a Jet Ski training from an accredited organisation. And of course, you need a Jet Ski.

Since the arrival of the four-stroke engine in Jet Skis, they have become capable of doing thousands of hours of reliable service. There are many pre-owned Jet Skis to choose from in a very affordable price range from as low as $3,000. If reliable and designed for the conditions, they are all capable of adventure touring.

Spending some time with experienced riders will get you on the right track in a short time. You can join the social riding groups once you feel ready and begin exploring our wonderful waterways with like-minded friends.

 

By Mandy Brown, Jet Ski Club

 

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