Tweed Endeavour Cruises offer a 4.5 hour Luncheon Cruise along the Tweed River that is perfect for unwinding and releasing pent up stress. I was welcomed aboard the Golden Swan by Captain Wayne and hostess Celeste. The Golden Swan seats 60 passengers and is fully licenced. Tables and chairs were set up ready for morning tea which can be enjoyed with windows either open or closed depending on the weather. I appreciated the memorabilia that was displayed on the tabletops. There are two toilets on board which were spotlessly clean. The upper deck is set up with comfortable seating either under a tarpaulin or al fresco to enable you to enjoy the sunshine whilst cruising. Captain Wayne's masterful navigation along the tricky riverbed was impressive, as was his commentary of the region.
Morning tea was served within half an hour of departing, by delightful hostess, Celeste. Fresh roasted coffee and brewed tea sourced from local Tweed Valley growers was on offer with cake or biscuits and fresh fruit. "This is the life," was a comment I heard from one of the passengers. I had to agree as I noticed how quickly I had begun to relax.
My doubts as to whether I would become restless on a 4.5 hour cruise were soon dissolved as I absorbed the therapeutic benefits of the sunshine, serenity, fresh air and calming effect of the lapping water. The photographic opportunities were abundant as the changes of scenery from riverside mansions to mangroves, farms, and the most spectacular views of Mount Warning were breathtaking.
Accompanying our cruise were pelicans, osprey, ibis, and plenty of seagulls coquettishly circling in the hope of finding a morsel or two to devour. Our hostess Celeste brought a plate of meat scraps to the upper deck and satisfied their hunger. There were plenty of friendly waves amongst houseboat guests and people relaxing or fishing in private coves, as we cruised past.
The cruise usually makes a 45 minute stop at historic Tumbulgum to allow passengers a stroll through the art galleries but as the riverbed was still shallow after the flooding a few months prior, the cruise stopped at Chinderah Tavern instead. Whilst we had a chance to briefly explore, Captain Wayne and our hostess Celeste began preparing lunch on board. The enticing aroma of BBQ cooking from the upper deck wafted through the air, successfully stirring up an appetite.
Lunch was a choice of either seafood (prawns, crab and oysters) or BBQ steaks and sausages. Celeste mentioned to me that Tweed Endeavour Cruises pride themselves in sourcing fresh local produce of the highest quality. Vegetarians are also catered for provided that prior arrangements are made when booking. A salad buffet was included and a variety of condiments. A selection of beer, wine and soft drinks were available for purchase. The accompaniment of classical music whilst we dined added to the already relaxed atmosphere.
As if the day was not perfect enough, we were treated to a lovely surprise when a couple of dolphins joined us for the last leg of the cruise. They put on a delightful show jumping out of the water and swimming just under the bow. This simple entertainment made everyone's day extra special and created a beautiful memory of a most enjoyable and energy replenishing experience.
If, like me, you had no idea of the therapeutic benefits of a cruise, I recommend you try it. Exchange lunch in a noisy restaurant for the serenity of the Tweed Endeavour Luncheon Cruise. It's a completely different experience that you won't forget. I'm sold, as was a group of passengers who told me they have been regulars for years because they loved it so much. Bon voyage.