Wyndham Cruises depart from the heart of Surfers Paradise and cruise the waterways of the Broadwater. The essence of the sightseeing tour can best be described as a delicious dining experience, enhanced by the relaxed viewing of changing Gold Coast waterfront scenery. We recently climbed aboard for a lunch cruise and thoroughly enjoyed not only our meal but also the interesting accompanying commentary.
The homes of the rich and famous are the backdrop for the tour, alongside the Sea World theme park, the Palazzo Versace – Australia's only 6 star hotel, Marina Mirage and it's flotilla of yachts and the skyline of Surfers Paradise. The setting is beautiful and the glimpses of how the other half live are fascinating. The whole occasion is wonderfully relaxing and for me, was a far more enjoyable lunch outing due to the ever-changing scenery. Speaking of occasion, I would seriously consider this cruise as an option if you are looking for a special birthday venue, treat for Mothers or Fathers Day, an 18th or 21st with style or any party or family gathering of special significance.
Wyndham Cruises is the Gold Coast's longest running, river cruise company. We boarded the large, comfortable, MV Entertainer for lunch in March. The weather was perfect, with the sun sparkling off the water. We soon realized we had discovered the perfect way to combine a delicious lunch with an interesting and informative tour of the Gold Coast waterways, which our guide informed us, was larger than the canal systems of Amsterdam and Venice combined. To orientate yourself, take a jaunt up the Q1 (Australia's tallest residential tower) for an areal view of the Gold Coast and you will begin to appreciate how much water there is in the area. Despite living on the Gold Coast for over 3 years, we enjoyed a different perspective of the area from the nightlife and beaches that Surfers Paradise is renowned for.
It was time for a through the keyhole type experience, as we cruised at a gentle pace past the waterfront properties which are truly magnificent multi million dollar homes. It's not difficult to understand why it's nicknamed Millionaire's Row. The properties are amazing and you can't fail to be impressed with the variety and style of the upmarket houses. Hearing the stories of the various wealthy owners is a fun part of the whole experience. Should you want to build in your own style, there was an empty plot of land we passed - an absolute steal at $11 million. Living on the canal system, access is by road, boat – and you will see many fabulous looking vessels moored at home jetties – or for some, getting to and from home is by helicopter, with use of a helipad.
The vessel itself or I feel I should say, herself, mirrored this upmarket setting. On the coast since 1985, her charm lies in the spacious interior with its wooden fixtures and fittings and recently refurbished lounge areas at the front and rear. Inside is wonderfully air conditioned, with large viewing windows and spacious dining area.
Luxury was the name of the day. In addition to the expensive homes we passed, we also viewed the 6 star Palazzo Versace, the yachts of the Marina Mirage Queensland's finest waterfront shopping and dining resort, with its designer boutiques, day spas and award winning restaurants. Sea World and the fishing trawlers also came into view as we enjoyed a fresh catch of prawns for lunch, which were delicious.
The prawns were on offer alongside three different salads, cold chicken, bread rolls and a platter of fresh seasonal fruit. Complimentary tea and coffee was available throughout the cruise and there is the opportunity to buy an alcoholic drink from the fully equipped on board bar. I believe there is also a vegetarian choice of falafel wrap but we were so busy enjoying our seafood, I didn't notice anyone taking the vegetarian option.
I would have no hesitation recommending this lunch cruise. In fact I can't think of a more civilized way to enjoy lunch with the delicious food, changing scenery and informative commentary. Speaking of which, the information given out is interesting to listen to, using an efficient sound system, which is easy to hear. In addition, the on-board commentary is translated into 8 different languages, accessed via on-board Ipads or your Iphone. The cruise staff were friendly and efficient, the vessel was lovely and clean and our trip ran very smoothly, which made for a relaxing experience.
We looked out for dolphins, which are often seen but weren't spotted during our cruise. However we were treated to a James Bond style sighting, as a man using a jet propulsion pack shot up into the air next to shore. I hadn't seen water jet pack flying before so it was fun to watch. The open deck on top was perfect for outdoor viewing.
Also offered are morning and afternoon cruises and an evening cocktail cruise with music not commentary. Visit the Wyndham Cruises website for full details of these options. The evening departure would be a contrast to daylight cruises, as the lights of Surfers and surrounding areas come alive at night.
If you want to "Dine out with a Difference", then contact Wyndham Cruises. Departures are from the centre of Surfers Paradise, at the river end of Cavill Avenue, next to Tiki Village. Parking is easy, close by in the Bruce Bishop car park, where the first two hours are free. Check in at the company office (see photo below for easy recognition) and staff will take you down to the wharf for boarding, after which all you have to do, is relax and enjoy.
While we were up in gold Coast (October 2013), Wyndham was offering whale watching cruises on absurdly low prices. too bad we didn't have the time to take up their offer, but they do wonderful things at great prices. Hats off to them.