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Brisbane to Gold Coast Day Cruise - Lady Brisbane

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by Karen Ross (subscribe)
I love slow travel, slow food and discovering new adventures and delicious regional food in new locations. I'm on an indulgent quest and I'd love you to follow at
Published February 8th 2022
An educational journey from history to high rise
In the absence of a yacht and Queenslander yachting friends, we recently booked a cruise on the Lady Brisbane. It was an excellent decision. We enjoyed it so much I thought I'd share the whole experience with you.

The boat leaves at 9am, on cruising days, from Bretts Wharf Plaza. Since we're not locals, we were slightly confused about the departure point but figured it should be in the vicinity of Bretts Wharf ferry terminal. Turns out it leaves from the adjacent Recreation Hub pontoon.

Lady Brisbane
Lady Brisbane

The boat arrived at the pontoon at 8.45am and 31 excited cruisers boarded in anticipation. Our captain, Mark, welcomed us on board and told us something of the history of the vessel.

The Lady Brisbane was built very close to our departure point, at Bulimba, in 1972. She originally cruised around The Great Barrier Reef then Hayman, Daydream, South Molle and other Whitsunday Islands. She has been owned by Captain Jim Kelly for around 26 years.

Built in Bulimba

We heard more of Lady Brisbane's past life as we cruised downstream through the Port of Brisbane towards the Pacific Ocean.

I felt wistful as we passed the empty international cruise terminal and the brand new, never used terminal that was built immediately prior to the pandemic. I made a wish for both to be returned to service this year or next.

Port of Brisbane
Port of Brisbane

It's always enjoyable to see things from a water perspective, don't you agree? Passing under the Sir Leo Hielscher bridges and then past a paper mill and a sugar refinery provided visions I hadn't seen before.

Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges
Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges

Meanwhile, cruise guests were settling into their chosen areas on the boat. There are two decks with outside seating.

Outside area on The Lady Brisbane
Outside area

Inside areas provide bench seating as well as small, fixed tables and chairs.

Tables inside
Tables inside

The crew comprised Captain Mark, James and Kath.

Our crew

Kath took care of practicalities, including the important safety drill.

Kath's safety demonstration
Kath's safety demonstration

James took his turn at the helm, shared storytelling duties with Mark and spent time below deck rustling up delicious treats in the galley. You'd have to be impressed by someone baking fresh muffins for 31 guests on board a boat.

Coffee and muffins
Coffee and muffins

As we enjoyed sipping coffee and nibbling on muffins we passed by islands large and small. Mark told tales of Indigenous and convict history. James rejoined us from below and elaborated on the tales with nature facts and other interesting information.

Islands off Brisbane
So many islands

We passed St Helena, Goat, Lamb and Coochiemudlo islands to name just a few. North Stradbroke provided shelter from ocean winds on our port side.

We enjoyed summer sunshine, sparkling water and fascinating stories of nearby island life until the tempting aroma of a barbecue turned our thoughts to lunch.

Barbecue lunch
James cooks lunch

James had applied his capabilities to cooking sausages and steak, which, combined with freshly prepared-on-board salads, formed a delicious lunch.

Barbecue lunch on board The Lady Brisbane
Barbecue lunch

I should mention that the bar had been open for a few hours by this stage and cold beers, enjoyed by many guests, were replaced by glasses of wine to accompany the barbecue lunch.

A selection of refreshing fruit followed and some guests drank coffee. Some drank more beer.

Fruit salad
Fresh fruit salad

We cruised further south, past Mosquito, Kangaroo and Eden islands and others too tiny to merit names.

Southern Moreton Bay island
Tiny island

Somewhere in the vicinity of South Stradbroke island, we saw a number of abandoned vessels in various stages of decay. Mark named this stretch of water 'Death Valley' and explained sad scenarios of boats that had sprung serious leaks or run aground and were eventually left to sink. Apparently, it just isn't financially nor practically feasible to save them.

Doomed vessel
Doomed vessel

As we passed Tipplers, Tullen and Woogoompa islands, the high rise buildings of the Gold Coast came into view.

Gold Coast
Gold Coast views

All too soon, we approached Marina Mirage, the end of our cruise journey. Pleasantly satisfied by food, drinks, sights and stories, we disembarked. Some guests were to join a coach on the return journey to Brisbane. Others, like us, were to remain on The Goldie.

Marina Mirage
Marina Mirage

I loved it that this wasn't a 'posh' cruise. Rather, I felt it was a 'real' experience on a charming old boat crewed by authentic types who clearly enjoy what they do and like to share a story or two. A day spent on the Lady Brisbane is a day I highly recommend. You'd best check the website for upcoming cruises.
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Why? This cruise has something for everyone
When: Check website for upcoming cruises
Phone: 61-07-36302666
Where: Bretts Wharf Plaza
Cost: $95
Your Comment
I'm sold!
by May Cross (score: 3|8225) 364 days ago
If I had a Brisbane bucket list this cruise would go on it. Well described Karen.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4546) 364 days ago
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