Gold Coast Ferry Trial

  • Project typeRoads & transport
  • Project scheduleDecember 2019–June 2022
Gold Coast Ferry trial map

The City of Gold Coast, together with local business The Tour Collective, launched the Gold Coast's first public ferry service on 8 December 2019 as a two-year trial. With 9 times more waterways than Venice, this option of travel makes perfect sense.

The service is called Hopo, meaning 'hop-on, hop-off', and it links key destinations with stops at:

  • Sea World at Main Beach
  • Broadwater Parklands at Southport
  • Marina Mirage at Main Beach
  • Home of the Arts (HOTA) at Surfers Paradise
  • Appel Park at Surfers Paradise.

The service offers all-day unlimited, as well as single-use ticket options for travellers. For information about ticketing, timetables and fares visit the Hopo website or call 07 5655 3528.

Hopo is part of our transport plan to ensure the Gold Coast is a connected city, where people regularly make sustainable travel choices.

Note: We first planned to run the trial of the ferry service from December 2019 to December 2021. This has been extended to June 2022, to take into account the period of suspended services in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Benefits of the ferry service

The ferry service provides a range of benefits to our community including:

  • more ways to get around our city
  • a unique waterway travel experience for locals and visitors
  • better access to our waterways and key popular Gold Coast destinations
  • greater public transport choice with a sustainable transport offering
  • frequent and reliable trips.

Sharing the pontoons

The waterways and pontoon sharing rules haven't changed with the introduction of the ferry service. It's important to be aware of other waterway users, stick to the speed limits and be courteous when sharing the pontoons.

Public jetty and pontoon locations map(PDF, 1MB)

Speed limit exemption

City of Gold Coast continues to monitor the ferry service, and work with the operator and key stakeholders to try to ensure the ferry becomes a permanent transport option for the Gold Coast.

We have identified an opportunity for ferry services to increase travel speed between the Sundale Bridge and Cronin Island. This speed limit exemption has the potential to:

  • provide faster journey times for passengers between HOTA and Marina Mirage
  • improve the timetabling of services allowing an additional daily run
  • improve the service – if more vessels are introduced these scheduling efficiencies will lead to simpler timetables.

This exemption would apply to the section of the Nerang River running south from James Overall Park (approximately 300 metres south of the Sundale Bridge) to Harry Bond Park (opposite the tip of Cronin Island). The ferries would adhere to posted speed limits along other sections of the route.

A wash trial to test the energy wake of the Hopo ferry was undertaken on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 March 2021 to help inform the application for a speed exemption. Representatives from Maritime Safety Queensland, the Gold Coast Waterways Authority and the Queensland Water Police were in attendance at the wash trial.

We also encouraged you to get involved and have your say on the proposed speed limit exemption. The City sought written submissions between 11 March and 16 April 2021 via email and mail. This feedback, along with the results of the wash trial, is being reviewed and will be included in the application for a speed limit exemption. We will keep you updated on the outcomes of the application.

Working with our partners

We have worked in partnership with the State Government, the Gold Coast Waterways Authority, Maritime Safety Queensland, Water Police, Marina Mirage and Sea World to develop the ferry service.

The Gold Coast Waterways Authority, in its support of the ferry trial, entered into an agreement with the City to allow the service to access its pontoons at Appel Park in Surfers Paradise and at Broadwater Parklands, Southport. As part of the agreement, the Gold Coast Waterways Authority contributed $175,000 towards upgrades of the pontoons.

We're also proud to be working with The Tour Collective, who operate the service. A local business, The Tour Collective (previously Ferry 1) has been providing cruise experiences on the Gold Coast waterways since 2005. They employ more than 80 local staff and operate up to 14 cruises each day.

The City will continue to monitor the trial ferry service and work with the operator and key stakeholders to try and ensure the ferry becomes a permanent transport option for the Gold Coast.