River to Bay is the result of a long- held dream to connect the people of Brisbane and the city’s visitors to the attractions of Moreton Bay and its islands. In years past this connection was provided by old tour boats including Koopa and Mirmar – in their day quite famous and very well patronized.
As the old vessels retired, the concept of a day out on the bay disappeared. Brisbane grew rapidly as a city that turned its back on the river, and to a large extent also Moreton Bay.
Then, a great thing happened to our city.
The arrival of World Expo in 1988 forced us to look once more to the river as an asset, and the Southbank development inspired a shift in attitude. Since that time, there has been an increasing development of tour attractions along the Brisbane River and into the bay. These developments have been well supported by both the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council.
As participants in a number of waterfront businesses, the owners of River to Bay – along with everyone else – could see that the biggest hurdle to maintaining this impetus of tourism growth was a lack of connection between Brisbane CBD and the bay attractions. As opposed to Sydney, where the city is located directly on the coastline, Brisbane is some 10 miles upriver. This has led to the development of bay tour departure locations in industrial areas, closer to the rivermouth but far from the CBD and its people.
In an effort to bridge this gap, River to Bay entered a partnership with the Queensland Government to build a fleet of fast tour boats. Large enough to provide safety and comfort but small enough to travel the river at high speed with minimal impact to the environment and other river users.
The initial vessels are 12.5 metres long and have a capacity of 32 passengers. Each boat is equipped with 3 x 300 horsepower Yamaha outboard motors, driving them at a maximum of 45 knots with a high economical cruising speed of 27 knots.
Subsequent fleet build may incorporate variations to cater for specialist use such as smooth water customization and increased capacity.
River to Bay is locally owned and operated by Brad Ross and John Sharpe.
Anthony is the CEO and is a former Naval Officer and maritime lawyer. Brad is a diving instructor, tour boat skipper and current Managing Director of Tangatours on Moreton Island. John Sharpe is an internationally recognised tourism entrepreneur, most widely known for his Riverlife adventure tourism business in the Brisbane River.
Our business network includes close affiliations with Tangalooma Resort, Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Council, Story Bridge Adventure Climb, Riverlife, Tangatours, Walkabout Creek Adventure Tours, The Gifting Owl, Howard Smith Wharves, The Star, Shakas Adventure Tours and Brisbane Marketing.
We are proud and excited to bring this fantastic product to the people of Brisbane and our visitors. Hopefully, from the River to the Bay, we can unlock a world of wonder and adventure to a whole new generation of people.