Friday, February 16, 2018

Our next adventure - Houseboat?

After my camper van adventure in 2014, I decided that the next adventure would be on water - house boating.

I checked out house boating in Australia, New Zealand, and even Canada. Canada because when we were travelling in Canada in late 2012, we passed by Shuswap, British Columbia, which claims to be "the house boating capital".

And I have a few options.

The simplest option was just to travel with the wife and kid. Three of us on a cosy little houseboat for 4 to 6.

Another option was to bring my in-laws and maybe my mom. This would mean a slightly larger houseboat, and likely would be more expensive. And I would have to bear the travel costs for some or all of them.

And recently, I had another idea. More on that later.

But it's 2018 and I haven't gone house boating yet.

If this is simply a family holiday (for three of us including the toddler/pre-schooler), a small 4-berth or smaller houseboat would be sufficient.

Australia has a few houseboat sites.

Tweed River

One of the earliest sites I found and love was Berger Houseboats. Subsequently, I found that they had blacklisted visitors from Singapore. So I had to use a VPN to look at their site again. I think they had a few bad experience with Ugly Singaporeans. Sad.

They had some good offers - like the Misty Blue for 4 persons and very reasonable rates.

Fortunately, there is another houseboat rental. With reasonable rates. A little higher than Berger, but still reasonable.

If we are doing a family trip, this could be a good starter houseboat adventure for us.

Murray River.

The other popular site for house boating, if I am not wrong, is the Murray River.

The Unforgettable Houseboat website is quite enticing, though a little pricey.

Their optional extras include an on-board chef (for an evening), transfers to the airport, and even hotel accommodation. The airport transfer seems useful.

Riverfun is another operator with some lovely houseboats. And one really cute and cosy boat that could be the starter houseboat for me.


Coomera is in Queensland, and is well located.
"Coomera Houseboat Holidays only being 5 minutes from Dreamworld and another 5 minutes to Warner Brothers Movie World and Wet ’n’ Wild water park, you can stay berthed on our jetty while you take in some theme park fun. Get out and enjoy our amazing waterways and then get in some theme park fun, at Coomera Houseboats Holidays and get the best of both worlds."
They have house boats that look more like boats, and seem like a camper van on water. And surprisingly, can sleep up to 7. 

To large floating homes with a spa that can sleep up to 12.

A large houseboat (Sleeps 12), living area.
Spa (Jacuzzi) on houseboat.

Tumb Pub
Where to go?

I am partial to trying Tweed River because it sounds really laid back. Small sleepy towns to visit. If I were going with just the wife and kid, Tweed River would be it.


Murray River would be my second choice. It seems to have a little more happening for it, but still laid back. And it seems like a house boating place - lots of places to anchor. Lots of places to visit. 


I've been to Coomera. When we visited Brisbane, Queensland,  and Movie World and discovered Buderim Ginger Beer. There was a harbour cruise as part of a package, and we saw the Coomera River, or the fjord? It was a really happening place, sort of like cruising around Sentosa Cove - lots of private homes, expensive looking, and exclusive, and yachts, and restaurants and islands, and other marine traffic. 

It's happening, busy, and very popular. If we ran into trouble and needed help, we would probably be able to get help easily. 

Very civilised. 

And of course conveniently located. As Coomera Houseboat Holidays suggests, we can dock there and visit Movie World, Dreamworld, and Wet & Wild Water Park. If we are so inclined.

When to go

If we were going alone (just the three of us), we would be free to choose a non-peak period, when airfares are cheaper, and houseboat rentals are off-peak. 

We would probably avoid June and December which is SG's school holidays. December is also Australia's school holidays as well. So probably in May or August. Or a month before or after.

Then there is the season. Summer is in December and that is the peak period. Winter is in July, but Murray (South Australia) in June would be about 5 C (at night) to 17 C during the day.

That could be a little uncomfortable. Or cool. 

In Dec, the temperature would be from 14 C to 31 C.

Coomera in June would be more comfortable at 11C to 22C. If we go in June, maybe we should go to Coomera.

Or Tweed River (NSW, but just South of Gold Coast, also about 10 to 22 C).

The latest idea is to have our family holiday - my siblings and I, and our kids - on a houseboat or two.

If we go in Dec, it would be summer, and the Murray River would be more tolerable.

Coomera would be mild - 19 to  27 C.

Family Holiday

We last had a family holiday with everyone (my parents and siblings and their partners) in 2000 to Sydney.

Then, there was only one nephew at 5 months old. My father was still alive. And there were just 10 of us, if I counted correctly.

Now there may be 21, depending on who can join in. All in, there are 13 in the next generation now. And my father has passed away10 years ago.

We would need TWO houseboats with over 10 berths each to hold us all.

And because of school, for those kids in Singapore, the school holidays are in June and December and dictates when this Family holiday can take place.

Then there is my brother is in Canada, and his school-going child, and Canada's school holidays to take into consideration.

It would be... a logistical nightmare! That I would love to tackle!

Other options I'm keeping in mind.

Because I have a brother in Canada, and as I mentioned about Shuswap River, that might be another option.

Canadian or North American Houseboats cater for large groups. I believe houseboats are popular with graduating classes and so some of the houseboats can take over 20 persons. It's like a floating hotel and resort.

This one is gorgeous (link - sleeps 30)!

But these are probably not feasible.

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