Brisbane university student and aspiring writer constantly satisfying my craving for adventure and experiencing the diversity of life. Come explore Queensland with me. What will I get up to next?
Published December 12th 2013
Be the captain of your own getaway
To truly escape you have to get away from pesky reality mentally as well as physically. When you are out at sea away from the majority of modern inventions and all you can hear is the roar of the boat or the gentle lapping of the waves you could not be further away from your normal life. Recently I packed my bags and hopped onto a hired house boat from Tin Can Bay Houseboats with my partner and his family for a few days of relaxation and adventure.
They have four boats and our journey took place on the Gentleman Tom which can fit two to eight people. However, truly it is a maximum of six if you want to be comfortable and eight if you want to become a (wo)man overboard. The ship was quite spacious yet cosy. It was excellent for casual fishing off the decks and provided an upper deck to luxuriate on. My partner and I spent an evening up there eating cheese, drinking wine and snuggling as the sun fell from the horizon. It was honestly one of the more perfect moments of my life. After a quick lesson all of us were able to captain the boat. It requires full concentration but the boat comes with its own kind of GPS which directs you through the channel, alerts you when you are getting too shallow and when there is fish swarming below.
The second ship Golden Grove claims to be the best although is the same kind of boat as Gentleman Tom. Nevertheless, each boat is bedecked with different décor that shapes individual personalities and the Golden Grove has a superior and more spacious upper deck. The third houseboat Annie's Adventure is the same make as the first two and also can hold two to eight people. Their smallest vessel is Whimbrel that accommodates two to six people making it a cheaper option for couples seeking a romantic adventure. Prices vary between each boat and holiday times but I shall tell you about how much it will cost to take out the Gentleman Tom. Check out their website for more prices and information.
The minimum hire is two nights which is $1365 standard ($455 a night) and $1599 ($535 an night). Delightfully, it is the same price for three nights. Four nights is $1528 ($382 a night) standard and $1840 ($460 a night) during the holidays. Five nights will cost you $1860 ($372 a night), 2265 ($453 a night) during holiday periods. Six nights is 2166 ($361 a night) and $2610 during the holidays. If you really need an extended trip away from the world it will be $2415 for seven nights ($345 a night) and $2905 ($415 a night) during the holiday season.
Prices during the Christmas period are particularly steep and arguably not worth your hard earned money unless you have an abundance of it. Try and plan it during the off season for a more inexpensive but priceless holiday. Extra nights are $300 standard and $345 during the peak periods. Be very aware that the price for fuel is not included in the initial price. You will be charged for this after your trip. When booking make sure you ask about these extra charges.
An interesting catch. Do not worry we returned him/her back to the sea.
Each boat comes with its own tinny and a radio that you can use to call the Coast Guard and the company to check in and seek help if the time comes. The Gentleman Tom includes one double bed partitioned, two double beds downstairs, two single bunks, a freezer/fridge, TV, DVD, 3500 litres of fresh water and a BBQ on the rear deck.
The boat moves at a reasonable pace so that if you are on a voyage lasting a few days you'll have time to check out Fraser Island and stop at anchorages along the way. We stopped at Gary's Anchorage the first night which became a hiking trip the next day. However, we never made it anywhere during the two hour or so walk but were completely alone except for the birds and the pleasant feeling that nature provides for those so inclined.
Upon reaching the shore, however, it became apparent we had beached our very heavy tinny and suddenly memories of watching the TV show Lost came to me. As I was about to assemble an SOS message with rocks the boys dove into the water where we had caught a baby hammerhead (and chucked it back in of course) the night before and raced for the boat bringing back with them a kayak. We took turns ferrying each other across and clawed our way into the cramped shower to rid ourselves of the ever-present grains of sand.
A plethora of sea dwelling creatures also made a point of greeting us on our voyage. This included: dugongs, leaping sting rays, a hammerhead shark (on a fish hook), waving crabs, an undefinable sea monster as well as several glimpses of dolphins that I finally got to see on our way back as they leapt in and out of the water beside our boat. At certain anchorage points it is said that if you have a few fish and splash the water at the back of your boat two friendly dolphins will come over for a snack.
The boat also came with a tool to suck up yabbies from the mud. This was a novel activity that we tried on some muddy flats and dredged up a multitude of them to use as great bait. I stayed away from the fishing rod (I find it quite tedious myself) but others went out fishing each night/day and came back with a reasonable haul.