On a sunny November afternoon we were kindly invited aboard the novel AquaDuck, a huge amphibious vehicle built from LARC-V parts that provides tourists and locals the chance to experience Gold Coast from both land and water.
The pick-up point is located conveniently central on Cavill Avenue in Surfers Paradise, where each guest is handed a ticket number ready to board the Duck. Once on board, our driver Dennis and conductor Jess gave us an introduction to the tour, a quick safety briefing, and we were off! Heading south-west down Hanlan Street we swiftly reached the Esplanade, then bounced north past David Evans Reserve, Macintosh Park, and Narrowneck where the South Pacific Ocean and Nerang River are separated by a single carriageway.
Jess and Dennis took turns providing commentary as we went, pointing out local landmarks, favourite restaurants, and regaling us with stories of the region's history, before reaching the part we were all excited about; the journey from land to water. At Pelican Beach we patiently waited for a woman giving her dog a bath in the river to move along, then made the slow descent into the water, smoothly cutting through the ripples with barely a splash - and suddenly we were on a boat!
The tour took us under Sundale Bridge and past Macintosh Island, peeking into the windows of the multi-million dollar houses along the shoreline and watching the jet-skiiers zoom past. Circling back past the curiously shaped Rivage Royale, the Duck cruised alongside the luxury vessels at Southport Yacht Club, out to Mariner's Cove Marina, and past Palazzo Versace where we enviously gawped at the condominiums and penthouse suites. Jess came round taking the names of kids who wanted to drive the boat, each of them taking turns to steer and being presented with an Captain's Certificate for their efforts!
With helicopters buzzing overhead, jetboats cutting waves and pelicans lounging on the sand banks, we had a few minutes of serene sightseeing before reaching the sprawling SeaWorld, where the Duck made the smooth transition from water back to land. The return journey took us along the Gold Coast Highway and past the site of the recent Gold Coast 600 motor racing event, before arriving back at the ticket office.
What a unique experience! City sightseeing tours are always fun, but combining land and water without having to change vehicles is totally novel, and is something everyone should try when visiting the Gold Coast. Big thanks to AquaDuck Safaris for inviting us along, and be sure to check out the video of our time on board!