Buggy tours are a favourite family activity for us. It’s a popular activity with the whole family but particularly BJ. That’s why on our recent holiday we decided to try Gold Coast Island Buggy Tours which took us to South Stradbroke Island for a blissful day of fun and relaxation.
Our day started with a cruise from Mariners Cove to our destination of Couran Cove on South Stradbroke Island. Exploring the Gold Coast’s waterways was a lovely way to start the day. Included in the tour is a cruise to South Stradbroke, buggy tour, segways and time at Couran Cove for lunch (lunch isn’t included). We were fortunate to have a lovey family from the US sharing the day with us. One lady worked at a school with children with special needs and they also had a relative with cerebral palsy so they treated the kids like rock stars and BJ loved that.
Arriving on the island we were given a safety briefing for driving the buggies and had to fill out a quick test based on the briefing before being allowed to drive. National Parks have strict regulations and Gold Coast Island Buggy Tours are the only operator allowed to run tours on the island. It’s great to see the island and environment is being looked after to ensure it remains as pristine and beautiful as it is.
AJ was disappointed she couldn’t drive but you must have a valid driver’s license to drive the buggies.
During our safety briefing we were told we may spot wallabies along the way and soon after we started on our journey we spotted several grazing at the water’s edge.
BJ loved the shrieks from us girls as the mud splashed up as we did a small water crossing. He has a wicked sense of humour that boy.
In fact he couldn’t wipe the grin off his face and kept checking in the rear vision mirror to see if AJ and I shared his enthusiasm.
The island was quiet and we were amazed at the miles and miles of beach we explored without spotting a soul.
We had a break half way through the tour and our guide Hamish shared his knowledge of the island’s history and the local marine life. We joined the rest of the group for a short walk up the sand dunes. BJ was reluctant to leave the buggy but did manage to make it to the first sand dunes. It wasn’t long until he was asking to go back to the buggy though. He’s definitely all about the action.
I did manage to capture a sweet sibling moment before BJ insisted on hurrying things along by getting back to the buggy.
The water was inviting but given we were visiting in winter we hadn’t taken our swimmers.
After the buggy tour, Hamish lined up the Segways and after a short instruction everyone was off riding their Segway around the track. Hubby’s first spin on a Segway made it look easy. AJ wasn’t keen so she and I kept BJ company. Although the offer was there for BJ to give it a go, he’s not a fan of unstable experiences since his falls. He was amused watching Hubby though.
We had worked up quite an appetite after all the fresh air and activities so we headed into the Couran Cove Resort to have lunch at the poolside café. It was a good opportunity to chat to our fellow travellers and compare the differences between Australia and the US. They were finding it interesting the way we pay for our food at a counter and then it’s delivered to the table. We also set them straight on tipping in Australia. They were being super generous in restaurants and commented the waiter the previous evening had kissed them when they left $100 as his tip! Trips like this one are always such a great opportunity to meet new people and our family certainly enjoyed their company.
We had challenges on our tour but we were aware of them prior to the trip and knowing BJ would enjoy it so much we decided to just make it work somehow. We know we are really lucky BJ can do a standing transfer and this made the day possible.
Ramp access is available at both Mariner’s Cove (Main Beach) and on Couran Cove to and from the boat. It’s steep and the gradient is tide dependent. We walked BJ on and off the boat and the captain of the boat helped us lift BJ’s wheelchair into the boat. BJ managed the step on and off the boat.
Once on the island there is some sand which needs to be negotiated before getting to the path. We would have found this much easier with BJ’s off-road tyres on but we didn’t travel with them on this trip.
The bathrooms near the buggies are up three steps but the toilets at the resort are accessible.
We were able to leave BJ’s wheelchair in a safe location while we were on the tour.
Couran Cove Resort is fully accessible with stand-alone unisex bathrooms available near the café. The resort also has accessible accommodation. I inspected one of the rooms but sadly guests had only just checked out so it was still dirty which meant I couldn’t take photos.
BJ was happy sitting on the seat with the rest of us but could have stayed in his wheelchair if he’d preferred. Hamish was very accommodating and helpful throughout the day and made sure we were all comfortable on the tour.
South Stradbroke is a lovely spot to retreat from the busyness of the Gold Coast for a day. We paid for our tour and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. We had been in two minds as to whether to book it as it was an expensive day but we did find it was good value for money.
You can find out more about Gold Coast Island Buggy Tours on their website.