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HOPO Ferry - Surfers Paradise

Home > Gold Coast > Unusual Things to do | Outdoor | Day Trips | Boating
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 https://www.facebook.com/walkeatshare
Published February 10th 2022
Hop off for lunch half way
There's lots to see and do near Surfers Paradise and various ways to get around and do it all. E-bike hire is popular and the G:link tram is convenient for longer distances. A fun travel option is the Hop On, Hop Off Ferry (HOPO).

HOPO Surfers Paradise
HOPO Surfers Paradise


HOPO runs daily, from 9am, starting at the Appel Park wharf on Ferny Avenue. It stops at Home Of The Arts (HOTA), Broadwater Parklands, Marina Mirage and Sea World on its continuous circuit.

HOTA ferry stop
HOTA ferry stop


There's lots of room on board, both under cover and open-air, allowing clear views in all directions. Ferry captains give a colourful commentary which tends to change according to who is at the helm. There's generally a bit of history and geography spiced up with a tad of local 'gossip' regarding neighbouring homes/boats/schools and such.

There's lots of room on the Hopo
There's lots of room on the Hopo


I've hopped on the HOPO a number of times over the past year and learned a new tidbit of local info each time.

Leaving HOTA
Leaving HOTA


The first stretch of the journey, from the wharf at Appel Park to the Chevron Island bridge, passes palatial homes before revealing a splendid vista of the famous Surfers Paradise skyline.

Surfers Paradise vista
Surfers Paradise vista


The recently completed, 300-berth, Superyacht Marina at Southport is a focus along the journey. If you're anything like me, you'll gaze longingly and daydream about alternative life choices.

Super yacht marina
Super yacht marina


Of course, there are more minor than mega yachts and the odd, quirky sight such as a floating chapel.



There's a ferry stop near Broadwater Parklands that provides access to a main shopping precinct as well as Chinatown. Marina Mirage is next along the way and seems to be a popular disembarkation point.

Marina Mirage
Marina Mirage


Boutiques and designer shops are the attraction here as well as restaurants, cafés and other dining options.

Fisherman's Wharf, Surfers Paradise
There are plenty of lunch options


The last stop is at Sea World before the HOPO begins the return journey.

Last stop Seaworld
Last stop


For just $25 (less for children, families, seniors and concession card holders), you can ride the HOPO for the entire day, hopping off for sightseeing, shopping, lunch or a bit of a walk. The galleries at HOTA are excellent and the view from The Exhibitionist Bar is stunning. Deciding between lunch at Chinatown or Marina Mirage is burdensome but a progressive lunch might be the way to go. If you need a post-lunch (or pre-lunch) walk, hop off at Sea World and try the Federation Walk nearby.

Returning to Surfers Paradise
Returning to Surfers Paradise


It's such a versatile trip; do as much or as little for as long as you like. If you choose to remain on the HOPO, allow around two hours to complete the loop.
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Why? A fun day on the water with lots to see and do
When: Daily. 9am -5pm
Where: Appel Park Wharf, 10 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise, 4217
Cost: $25 full adult fare, all day. Concession fares available.
Your Comment
Well, I am excited. I visit the Goldie regularly - to see family, and seldom do the touristy stuff, but I will make a point of doing this trip one day. Thank you for writing about the Hopo - now I know about it.
by Di Hill (score: 2|598) 101 days ago
What a great way to get around the Coast and see the sights at the same time. Awesome initiative
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|4680) 103 days ago
What a wonderful attraction Karen. A great opportunity to see the Gold Coast from the other side of the shoreline.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4054) 103 days ago
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