Easter holidays in Queensland: Things to do by boat in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and The Whitsundays

By Adam Bub | Posted 4 March, 2021

So you’re counting down the days to the Easter holidays 2021 and your destination is Queensland. Top choice, if you ask us.

They don’t call it The Sunshine State for no reason. While the other eastern states start to the feel the brisk chill of autumn creeping in, Queensland turns on her sunny charm with averages of 25+ degrees Celsius across most of the state. The waters are warm, the skies are blue, and the opportunities for boat adventures are boundless.

Whether you're a local staycationer or an interstate sun-seeker, you'll find plenty of things to do by boat these Easter school holidays. Floatspace has a range of quality, accessible boat hire options across Brisbane, the Gold Coast and The Whitsundays, from great-value catamarans for relaxed sailing to luxury superyachts for special events with family and friends. All have captain and crew included, so you can just relax and enjoy.

Now, where to go and what to do? Get inspired below.

(Handy reminder of the Easter school holiday dates for 2021 per state: Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT are from April 2 to April 8; New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory are April 10 to April 26; and Tasmania is from April 2 to April 20.)

Things to do by boat in Brisbane

Call us biased, but the best way to explore the River City is from the water. Hop on at South Bank and have a lunch cruise or champagne sail at sunset aboard a luxury yacht like MV Aki, AVA or Pure Adrenalin.

Escape the city with a sail along Brisbane's Bayside, just north and south of the Brisbane River mouth. On the north side, visit the seaside towns of Sandgate, Brighton and Shorncliffe for a buzzing dining scene, watersports and the picture-perfect Shorncliffe Pier.

On the south side, take a dip at the Wynnum Wading Pool and visit the nearby Manly Boat Harbour, which is the largest boat harbour facility in the southern hemisphere. Grab delicious seafood in the local village, or pre-order a food and drinks package with your Floatspace boat if you're keen to stay on the water.

Fancy an all-day boat adventure? Sail out to Moreton Bay for long sandy beaches, lush national parks and crystal-clear waters for snorkelling or kayaking. Moreton Island boasts offshore reefs with the world-renowned Tangalooma Wrecks and plenty of marine life including the mighty dugongs.

Brisbane has a number of islands within easy reach by boat – North Stradbroke Island, Bribie Island and Peel Island among them. Take your pick.

Things to do by boat on The Gold Coast

School holidays on the Gold Coast are a busy time, but it’s so easy to shrug off the stresses of city life on The GC. From the Broadwater to Surfers Paradise to Burleigh Heads, there’s just so much fun to be had on and around the water.

One great place to go for a half-day or even a full-day boat trip is Wave Break Island. Hire the luxury catamaran Serrano (from $350 per hour) and let your captain and crew sail you out to this world-famous manmade island close to Main Beach. With more than 50 species of fish, Wave Break Island is a popular spot for snorkelling and diving. You may also want to go paddleboarding while you’re there… but a spot of beach cricket or a picnic is just as good. For ideas for what to do at Wave Break Island, read our interview with Captain Mark Tee from Serrano.

Alternately, cruise the famous canals of the Gold Coast and enjoy the multimillion-dollar real estate on show around Paradise Waters, Chevron Island and Isle of Capri. Go north up to the Sovereign Islands for extra exclusivity.

Having a special day out with family or friends? Hire Inspiration, a luxury motor yacht with room for up to 25 guests (from $600 an hour) and three stunning bedrooms if you feel like a floating overnight stay.

For more down-to-earth fun, South Stradbroke Island (or ‘South Straddie’) is a great day trip by boat. Surfing, swimming, bushwalking, camping and a conservation park with native wildlife – all reachable by a short boat ride.

Things to do by boat in The Whitsundays

From the white sandy beaches and aqua-blue waters of Whitehaven Beach to the diverse marine life of the Great Barrier Reef, The Whitsundays are as dreamy as they look in the photos. With 74 islands to explore, and many of the being only a short sail from one another, you can island-hop in style.

For the essential Whitsundays sailing experience, venture out from the buzzing gateway to The Whitsundays, Airlie Beach, to Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. It takes around an hour to two hours to get there, depending on the speed of the boat you choose. Once you're at Whitehaven Beach, make sure to sail to Hill Inlet for one of the most picture-perfect views of The Whitsundays.

Now, let's talk snorkelling. With more than 600 types hard and soft corals, 1625 species of fish and six of the world’s seven types of marine turtle, the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket-list item you need to experience. If you’ve got a large group of family or friends, we recommend taking a day cruise on a private charter like Wings (from $700 an hour, with room for up to 40 guests) for the most personalised experience of The Whitsundays. Your captain and crew will take you to remote national park islands and stunning spots for snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef.

For a mix of untouched beauty and ancient culture, The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail is a special way to follow the footsteps of the traditional owners of the Whitsunday area, the Ngaro people. On Hook Island, visit the Ngaro Cultural Site for 9000-year-old rock art and ancient caves with cultural stories.

If your boating tastes are luxurious, try a first-class experience on MY Three Rivers is a 35m luxury superyacht with inclusions such as private chef, a magnificent flybridge area with a jacuzzi, a state-of-the-art entertainment system and a full wet bar. You can hire this boat from $800 an hour, with up to 27 guests allowed on board. Find out more about MY Three Rivers here.

If you're considering staying in The Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is the only island of The Whitsundays with its own commercial airport and has six different accommodation options across the island. Pay a visit to the Hamilton Island Yacht Club to check out the impressive superyachts or have your own sailing adventure by private boat.

We know, we could go on all day about how amazing Queensland is for boating. Now it's your turn to see for yourself. Have a safe and happy Easter break - we'll see you on the water.