The one thing our family seeks more than anything is spontaneity and freedom. When travelling with Braeden and his wheelchair it’s probably one of the most difficult things to achieve but we continue to look for activities that at least give us a sense of it. That’s exactly what we got when we hired a boat from Gold Coast Party Pontoons. What could be better than exploring the waters of the Gold Coast in a self-drive boat with a barbecue, toilet and wheelchair access. It was so lovely dropping anchor when and where we felt like it. You don’t need a boat licence to hire the boats. We’ve previously reviewed other barbecue boat experiences but this was by far the best, so much so, we did it twice. Destination Gold Coast hosted us for the first day’s outing and we booked and paid for the second day out.
Gold Coast Party Pontoons – accessible boat hire Gold Coast
We are regular visitors to the Gold Coast so when we return we look for new accessible ways to explore. On our most recent trip we were thrilled to discover that Gold Coast Party Pontoons offer a barbecue boat which can accommodate Braeden’s wheelchair. On a brilliantly sunny winter’s morning we met owner Craig at the wharf and hopped on board. Craig ran us through the features on the boat including how Amelia could play her own music through the speakers, which for any 20-something is super important. He also told us where we could and couldn’t go on the waterways and how many sheets of toilet paper are acceptable for the marine toilet on the boat (for the record, any more than five pieces you use the bin). Once our briefing was over, Craig drove the boat out of the marina, which is required by law, and then we were free to take over and have the boat to ourselves for the day. Craig has a nifty tender boat that he hops into and in minutes he’d left us in his wake.
The boat we hired can accommodate 12 people (any more than that and a skipper is required to drive the boat) so it is spacious and offered plenty of circulation space for Braeden to use his wheelchair to move around. Most of the time Braeden preferred sitting on the bench seating where he supervised the skipper and first mate.
With a barbecue and large esky (cooler box) on the boat we went well prepared to enjoy brunch with a view. We’d packed our own supplies but once Craig told us we were able to motor on down to Charis Seafood the temptation to add to our already ample brunch was too hard to resist. Hubby and the kids dropped me off and I waded in to shore and popped into the well-known fish shop to get some hot chips and prawns. They even sell already peeled prawns for picnic lovers like ourselves. The stop just added to the fun.
A fold up table is supplied on the boat. We did BYO a tablecloth because if we’re going to have brunch on the water I was determined it would be a civilised (read, Insta-worthy) occasion.
On our second trip out on the boat we stopped at Charis Seafood again and bought takeaway fish and chips and a cup of tea for me. So you don’t have to barbecue or get organised, if you prefer there is an easier way to enjoy the outing.
Having the majority of the day to explore the waterways we headed to Wavebreak Island where we dropped anchor, took a dip in the water and had lunch. Despite the bustling Gold Coast being visible in the distance, it felt like we were a world away – a blissfully restful and peaceful world away. It was the most relaxing way to spend the day. Although we got off the boat, it would be just as lovely staying on board.
On our return to the marina we were escorted by a pod of dolphins who looked just as happy as we were.
Gold Coast Party Pontoons accessible facts
As with most wharf situations, the steepness of the ramp to get to the pontoon is affected by the tide. It’s steep and does require some muscle power to make it back to the top on the return.
Access from the pontoon to the boat is step-free and the access onto the boat is via a gate with a 67cm clearance.
The toilet on board is narrow and has a step up to it. You can see it to the left of Braeden in the photo below.
There is sufficient circulation space to remain in your wheelchair on the boat if you wish and it’s easy to get around most areas of the vessel. Braeden liked sitting in the garden chairs or the bench seating rather than his wheelchair.
The boats are in high demand in summer and in school holidays so I suggest booking well in advance. You can find out more on the Gold Coast Party Pontoons website.
Our first boat trip was hosted but we loved it so much we booked and paid for a second day out on the Gold Coast Party Pontoons which I think is a good indicator that we genuinely had a great time.
We’ve also hired a barbecue boat when we visited Port Macquarie. You can read about it in our review.