Move over #vanlife, ’cause given the rise of sailing channels like Sailing La Vagabonde over the years, #boatlife is here to stay. As a result, thousands of people are on YachtHub daily looking at the cost of a boat.
As an Australian, there is no greater place to become a liveaboard than the Gold Coast. Balmy summer days and mild waters make it the perfect spot, and it’s little wonder why I lived there for 4 years right across from the Southport Yacht Club.
I recently did some research to find some marinas on the Gold Coast that allow liveaboards, either short-term or long-term. And while you can stay on an anchorage for 7 days, sometimes you might want to stay longer to ride out an approaching storm front, restock your boat or do some necessary repairs. Or work directly from your boat!
Either way, I’ve got you covered. Here are 9 highly recommended liveaboard marinas on the Gold Coast:
1. Mariner’s Cove Marina (Main Beach)
My #1 best pick is always Mariner’s Cove Marina. Its location means you’ll have access to grocery stores, boutiques and public transport links. If you fancy catching some waves in the morning, then Main Beach and Narrowneck serves up an incredible 2-foot to 5-foot swell in the winter months.
2. Southport Yacht Club
Right next door to Mariner’s Cove is the Southport Yacht Club. Often it’s less likely that you’ll find an available berth here but alas, still worth a mention given the central location. There is nothing better than having lunch here on a weekday and catching up with the locals who all have one too many stories to tell.
3. Runaway Bay Marina (Hollywell)
The Runaway Bay Marina is still quite central and a place to spot some of the nicest waterfront homes around the Gold Coast. It can get a little crowded here so it’s worth calling up in advance to check if any of the 196 marine berths are available for temporary bookings. This is one popular spot for cruising catamarans and yachts coming in from Fiji and the rest of the South Pacific.
4. Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard
If you need some serious work done to your hull, engines or batteries, then you need to get it over to the Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard. This place is huge! Aesthetically-speaking, it isn’t the best given it’s a full-service boat-works area just like The Boat Works mentioned below, but well worth checking out regardless.
5. Calypso Bay Marina
The latest marina to open on the Gold Coast is Calypso Bay who allows liveaboards for short-term occupancy. The area is stunning and quite a distance away from the party boats and tourists of the Gold Coast. The area is still in development but you can see some real money here with the beautiful waterfront homes and upmarket dining options.
6. Tweed Marina
Fancy heading south? Across the border and into New South Wales, you’ll find Tweed Marina. They allow liveaboard cruisers for the short-term and this is the only marina you’ll find until you get down to Brunswick Heads. That said – you won’t want to leave with just how peaceful it is here at Tweed Heads with its numerous cafes and vibrant waterways worth exploring. No jet skis here and rarely do you find powerboats too!
7. Hope Island and Hope Harbour Marinas
There are two marinas here. You’ve got Hope Island Marina and Hope Harbour Marina which both allow liveaboard cruising couples needing a save haven for a little while. You can stay here year-round except for April and May where the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show comes to town.
8. The Boat Works
The Boat Works is a highly recommended place to find quality marine mechanics and upholstery experts, as well as staying in the marina. The place is quite busy and no doubt you’ll spot a few large superyachts as well. Based on Coomera, their claim is “Australia’s greatest boatyard” and I certainly would agree. Plenty of marine trades here and world-class facilities, though not always the best place to enjoy the serenity.
9. Bayview Harbour
A top spot to enjoy the quieter side of the Gold Coast is Bayview Harbour. This happens to be one of the oldest and most established marinas on the Gold Coast and you can certainly stay here as a liveaboard. Unfortunately, apart from some local cafes, there isn’t much shopping or much else to do here, so it’s really for the short-stay liveaboards.
And I’m done! That’s 9 great marinas worth checking into if you live aboard your boat. Of course, you’re unlikely to stay long term (several years) in these locations but you can certainly stay short-term. To get around some of the rules, you can always head off to one of the Gold Coast anchorages for a few days and then return, or head off to another one of these beautiful marinas!