There is something very special about being somewhere you can only get to by boat.


When I grew up, we went fishing. That meant early mornings, long days, and a lot of sun. And while I look back extremely fondly on those times, they could be needlessly stressful.


But a day out on the water need not be that stressful. There are plenty of places around Brisbane and the Gold Coast that are easy for you to take the family and simply enjoy being out in the fresh air and ‘away from it all’.


From cruising the Broadwater for a few hours to packing a private lunch followed by a swim on an empty beach at Peel Island, there are plenty of places to create memories you’ll keep forever.


Some of these destinations are more safely reached with a capable offshore boat. The Revival boat range stocked by Coorparoo Marine is perfect for families. To learn more, we recommend reading this article on why Revival Boats are great for families.

For exploring local waterways, we also have a range of Horizon Boats for sale. These Gold Coast manufactured aluminium boats are the perfect lifestyle enhancement for fishos and families alike.

Best boating destinations for families (according to us)


We’ve asked the team at Coorparoo Marine to put together a shortlist of our favourite places to take the boat. If we’ve missed your favourite, or you’d like us to put a more extensive list together, please be sure to let us know on our Facebook page.


Please note: Any time you go out on the water, please ensure you prepare properly, carefully research the place you are going, tell a friend where you’re going and when you expect to return, and stay safe at all times.


For many of these destinations, consider you may need to:

  • Take everything you need, including sun protection, food, or shade.
  • Take your rubbish back with you.
  • Have plenty of water.
  • Purchase a permit or pass to camp or visit.
  • Prepare for conditions to change quickly.


Gold Coast Broadwater

Let’s start with the easiest one: the Gold Coast Broadwater. If your aim is to soak up some sunshine and relax to the sound of water lapping on the side of your boat, there is no better place. 


Say what you will about the Gold Coast, it is easily one of the most beautiful places in the world. Plus, you don’t have to go far to enjoy it. This is especially great if you feel you’ll need to get home in a hurry, which is very handy if you’re a parent or grandparent with young children. 


The Gold Coast is just an hour from Brisbane. You can drive all the way there or put in somewhere closer like Coomera and cruise on down, perhaps stopping for a spot of bream or the elusive Mangrove Jack on the way. Or put in close to the Broadwater if you feel you’ll want to make a quick exit as soon as the kids begin to tire.

Horseshoe Bay, Peel island 


Just 4kms from Cleveland, Horseshoe Bay is on the southern side of Peel Island. Here you’ll find an absolute gem of natural beauty. You can swim in the pristine and calm waters, or drop a line for a spot of fishing. Mind where you fish though, the island is close to restricted fishing zones so be sure to check out the Morton Bay Marine Park Map.


Overnight camping is allowed for a small fee, or drop an anchor for an overnight stay if you have a boat fitted out for sleep overnight. Horseshoe Bay is often the most protected from the elements, however, if there is a SE wind brewing you can also motor around to Platypus Bay on the northeastern side of the island where you’ll find a large historic shipwreck.


There’s plenty of history to this little island. To really wow your crew, read up on the history of Peel Island.


Caloundra & North Bribie Island


Putting in near Caloundra and the northern end of the Pumicestone Passage promises calm conditions and an all-round pleasant way to enjoy the sunny Sunshine Coast. Protected by the northern end of Bribie Island, few places compare to the beautiful blue water and the Glasshouse mountains forming the backdrop behind you.


There are creeks and rivers to explore, room to tow a doughnut or waterskis, and flathead and whiting to catch among the sanding beaches. With a boat, you can pull up on the sand dunes to pump yabbies with the kids for bait, or find an isolated cove to pull up for lunch without the crowds. The waterways around Caloundra have something for everyone and all without having to travel far from the boat ramp to get it.


Find out more about Caloundra here.


South Stradbroke Island – Tipplers & Couran Cove

South Stradbroke Island is a spectacular 1800 hectare nature reserve just off the Gold Coast. A short 20-minute boat ride from Runaway Bay puts you in Couran Cove. For young children who get bored easily, you can pull up and use the facilities at Couran Cove Island Resort (paid registration is required). 


However, there are plenty of places to pull up to the beach and explore the island, walk a bushwalking trail, swim, surf, fish, or simply relax. Or why not head over to the beachside of South Stradbroke and feel the rush of scrambling to the top of one of the mighty sand dunes (careful on the way back down!). If you’re planning to stay, you can camp at the council campgrounds at Tipplers, North Currigee and South Currigee, however, there is no camping permitted in the Conservation Park.


Coochiemudlo Island

Wrapped with clean beaches and flat calm waters, Coochiemudlo makes a safe place to take young children. Those with a keen eye can spot everything from turtles to dugongs and dolphins. And there’s plenty of space to set up an energetic game of beach cricket, or to find a quiet unoccupied part of the beach to escape the busyness of life – if only for a little bit.


The ferry makes the journey from Victoria Point to Coochie in just 7 minutes. Depending on the size and speed of your vessel, expect to take 15 to 30 minutes to arrive. There are no public moorings but you can anchor or pull up at the beach anytime. 


Tangalooma, Moreton island


For those prepared and experienced to travel more exposed waters, Tangalooma makes for a thrilling and adventurous day trip. The western beaches are the most protected, with plenty of sheltered blue waters, and diving and snorkelling is a highlight around the Tangalooma wrecks. Day passes to Tangalooma Island Resort are available to access the resort facilities for a fee.


Camping under the stars and waking up among the wallabies and kangaroos is a treat reserved for those with a boat or 4WD. Other wildlife you’re likely to see on your visit are dolphins, bandicoots and turtles. If you plan on camping, you’ll need a permit for one of the designated camping zones or campgrounds


Tangalooma is 40kms offshore from Brisbane and reachable by private boat. There are no public moorings on Moreton Island but it’s possible to pull up on the beach. Be sure to prepare properly by visiting first.