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Sailing on the Broadwater: Visitor’s Perspective

Sailing on the Broadwater: Visitor’s Perspective

With 260 kilometres of navigable waters that include the Broadwater and the extensive canal systems and 57 kilometres of coastline, the Gold Coast is a natural destination for boating. The Broadwater, rivers and creeks of the Gold Coast are host to various water activities.

When John Linton, owner of Portland Boats in the Whitsundays, visited the Gold Coast, he experienced something beyond his expectations. “When you own and operate a bare-boat charter company in the Whitsundays, a boat charter is either the first or the last thing you wish to do when on holidays yourself. So when my family and I were visiting on the Gold Coast, I was not really sure about going on a boat when I was not the skipper. But it was my family’s final decision to join a sail charter on the Broadwater that made me go.”

They joined a sailing charter on the Sunbird Cruises, a Seawind 1000 run by a father-and-son team, Darren and Hayden Summerville. “Being in the industry myself, it was so refreshing to see Darren and Hayden truly enjoying what they do. They were both professional, informative and great fun,” says John.

The cruise sailed past the Seaway and Wave Break Island, and headed north to South Stradbroke Island. John only had admiration for the way the crew handled the boat. “I have never seen busier waterways, yet both skipper and deckhand handled the boat and the extra crew and passengers admirably.” He was also impressed about how close anchorages were within the city. “Now, while I’m a self-confessed sailing tragic, I was a little surprised to see the boys finding a sheltered anchorage only an hour or so into our journey.”

On the Broadwater, tour operators offer diverse water activities. But while these activities are also offered individually, some tour operators provide some of these activities as part of a package, as John discovered. He exclaims, “When we anchored along South Stradbroke Island, that’s when the fun began. Out came kayaks, SUPs (stand-up paddle boards), fishing rods, tennis rackets, cricket sets, footballs, and more!”

When it comes to hospitality, a visitor may be surprised to find that Gold Coast cruise operators go out of their way to provide a hearty spread to treat the guests after a fun day in the sun. And John did not miss this experience. “Coming back to the boat was the next surprise. Lunch was served. My first thought was, ‘How can they possibly feed 18 of us?’ But they did – with great chicken salad and loads to go around, and the freshest bakery rolls, and lashings of healthy food choices for everyone.”

For one who is also in the business of boat charters, John could have been hard to impress. He says that he is the kind of traveler who would rather skipper a hire-boat than to walk along streets lined up with restaurants. But his words about his charter experience here say it all: “It was a great day and I was not expecting to be so overwhelmed. Berthed at the marina after a cracking sail home, I did not want to leave. It was a 10/10 experience for me!”


By Roselle Tenefrancia