Unfortunately some of the below attractions may be temporarily closed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with individual operators for updates regarding reopening. In accordance with physical-distancing recommendations we encourage you to stay home as much as possible during this time. Save this post for later when it is safe to get out and about again. You can always show your support for local business by purchasing a gift voucher online to use at a later date.
The Gold Coast Broadwater
The Gold Coast Broadwater is a popular marine playground for visitors and locals alike. Also known as the Southport Broadwater, the Broadwater is a large waterway extending from Southport in the south to the southern end of Moreton Bay in the north and is bordered by land on both sides. It is the land bordering the waterway that gives it protection from the elements resulting in a relatively calm surface which makes for perfect conditions for diving, boating, kayaking, jet skiing, jet boating and other watersports as well as providing a home for important marine life.
About the Broadwater:
The Broadwater Gold Coast begins at The Spit and follows the coastline north to Paradise Point. Along this coastline the City of Gold Coast has constructed Broadwaterway, a network of pathways travelling along the coastline through these suburbs for 22km. The Broadwtearway is popular with cyclists, walkers, runners and people choosing a leisurely commute to work.
The Broadwater is an important part of the Gold Coast from a tourism, environmental and lifestyle perspective and central to the following:
- Marine Habitat
- The Seaway and Wavebreak Island
- Sea World Theme Park and Research and Rescue Foundation
- Broadwater Parklands
- Gold Coast Watersports and Broadwater Cruises
- Broadwater Tourist Park and resorts
The Gold Coast Broadwater, part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park, is a tidal marine estuary and is home to many marine species and birdlife some of which are included on the endangered list. International migratory birds
including Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel are often spotted in the broadwater. Each year these birds make the 20,000km flight to polar regions to breed and return to the Gold Coast again in the spring.
The northern tip of South Stradbroke island is the only known S.E. Queensland breeding ground for the endangered Little Tern migratory bird. Visitors to this area are encouraged to protect these birds by not disturbing breeding and feeding grounds and only driving below the high tide mark. Researchers also patrol the area during breeding season.
The protected waters and seagrass beds of the Broadwater provide the ideal environment for many fish species breeding grounds and nurseries to nurture their young, as well as feeding grounds for Dugongs and sea turtles. The Broadwater is bustling with life both above and below the surface.
If you are interested in exploring the Moreton bay Marine Park, our Broadwater Adventure Ride takes you on a 55minute tour into this region and is the only jet boat tour with a permit to access this area allowing you the unique opportunity to spot wildlife in its natural environment.
On the eastern side of the Broadwater’s southern end lies Main Beach and the Gold Coast Seaway, which allows access from the Broadwater to the Pacific Ocean. The sand pumping jetty which extends 500m out to sea is responsible for keeping the seaway clear so that vessels can travel through the passage safely.
The seaway rock wall is a popular spot for local fisherman trying their luck on the changing tide. The Seaway Kiosk and jetty located alongside the sand pumping jetty has been a favourite spot to enjoy an ice cream or the famous crab sandwhich after a walk exploring the rock wall.
At the mouth of the Seaway, in the Broadwater is Wavebreak Island. As its name suggests, Wave Break Island was constructed to provide protection to the mainland coastline within the Broadwater from the rougher waters of the Seaway. The protected waters provide the ideal habitat for marine species and tidal flows through the seaway transport nutrients from the Nerang River to feed marine life making the Seaway and Wavebreak Island one of the top scuba diving locations on the Gold Coast.
Just down the road from the Seaway is Sea World, located right on the Broadwater at Main Beach. If you are a lover of all things aquatic Sea World is the theme park for you. The park has many rides suitable for all ages from littlies through to the adrenalin junkies. There are many animal exhibits including the very popular Polar Bears Mishka, Hudson and Nelson living in their simulated Arctic summer enclosure. With live shows daily including Affinity Dolphin show and Seal Guardians, a visit to Sea World is educational as well as entertaining.
The Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation Inc (SWRRFI) based at the park works with various marine research and rescue projects to help increase education and conservation of marine animals and habitat. You may have even seen the SWRRFI boat in the Broadwater releasing rehabilitated marine life and sea birds.
At the southern end of the Broadwater, just past the mouth of the Nerang river, is the Broadwater Parklands at Southport, home of the Southport Pier. The original Southport Pier was built in 1883 and was 270m in length. However the original pier was demolished in 1969. The pier that stands today is around 100m long and was reopened in 2009 as part of City of Gold Coast’s Broadwater Parklands redevelopment.
The Broadwater Parklands precinct extends approx. 2.5km along the edge of the Broadwater and is a popular area for families. Features of the parklands include kids playgrounds and bouncy pillow, enclosed swimming lagoon, rock pools aquatic playground, bathing amenities, Gold Coast Aquatic centre, and kilometres of paths for riding, walking, running and scooting along. There are also a number of community spaces which are used for private and public events including food and music festivals, outdoor theatre and the annual Gold Coast Show. If you’d like to check it out online there’s also a virtual tour.
With its protected calm waters, central location and ease of access, the Broadwater has become a watersports playground for both recreational users and tour companies. Paradise Jet Boating operates adventure rides travelling up to 35km through the Broadwater allowing guests to take in the scenery and landscape while experiencing a fun thrill ride. Jet Ski Safaris offer guided tours exploring the narrow mangrove channels dotted along the coastline of South Stradbroke Island. Gold Coast Watersports operate a range of activities including high flying parasailing giving you 360* views across the Broadwater, Surfers Paradise and Gold Coast Hinterland.
One of the best ways to take in the beauty and serenity of the Broadwater is on board a calm water cruise or dinner cruise. Sailing in Paradise depart from Mariners Cove at Main Beach taking you sailing into the sunset on a catamaran cruise. Or you might like to enjoy a magical dinner cruise on the Broadwater under the stars with Sea World Cruises.
If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, a few nights at the Broadwater Tourist Park in Southport and you will feel like you’re in another world without needing to leave the gold Coast. With cabin and camping sites right on the waters edge you can fish for your dinner off your doorstep.
If you prefer your accommodation with more of the comforts of home, there are also various resorts overlooking the Broadwater from Southport to Labrador including the Crystal Bay Resort which has stunning views across the water and is located on the esplanade off the main road. You can literally walk across the road to the sandy beach and smooth waters of the Broadwater for a morning swim or paddle.
The Gold Coast Broadwater is an iconic destination within the Gold Coast, a playground for locals and tourists, and an important part of our marine environment. The best part about the Broadwater is it located right on our doorstep and free for everyone to access and enjoy responsibly.