Noosa Dream might have the glamorous good looks of an old-style Hollywood starlet but like many leading ladies of that era, she is racy. With sleek mahogany woodwork and shiny metal trim this bespoke Noosa Dreamboats speedboat is as beautiful as it is fast. Owner Michael Guthrie and his wife Sandy have always enjoyed spending time on Noosa’s waterways and wanted to share them with others. After falling in love with the timeless beauty of classic 1940s American-style powerboats on a trip to the United States they commissioned a specialist boat builder in Seattle to create Noosa Dream and created their tour business, Noosa Dreamboats.
Our ‘Lake Escape’ cruise begins with a quick safety briefing and a leisurely trip along Noosa’s canals. Even without the promise of a beautiful morning on the water, it is a pleasure to spend time with someone who so obviously loves their job. Michael has been taking passengers around Noosa for more than five years but you would never know. His enthusiasm feels brand new and it is contagious. Multi-million dollar mansions pass by alongside us as Michael explains that the majority of them are holiday homes which remain vacant for most of the year. My husband and I could never afford a house like this but we have fun imagining which one we would choose if we had the money.
All eyes are drawn to Noosa Dream as we cruise along the canals. Sunlight glints off the polished burgundy hull as people enjoy breakfast on their balconies and stand-up paddle boarders glide past against the backdrop of a perfect blue sky. Our friendly waves are returned even though we know it is not us they are looking at. It is interesting to see a different part of Noosa and enjoy a tantalising glimpse of what it must be like to live here.
It has been a relaxing trip so far but as we leave the ‘Go Slow’ zone of the Noosa River Michael reminds us to hold onto our hats. ‘How fast does she go?’ asks my husband. Michael lets out the throttle and we find out. Noosa Dream might look historic but everything about her is brand new – including the 225 horsepower engine. What begins as a purr turns into a throaty growl as we pick up speed and experience an incredible sense of freedom zooming up the river with the wind in our hair.
Most of the other craft we pass are houseboats so Noosa Dream has not got much competition. We are easily the fastest boat on the river today. The fresh smell of sea water tickles our noses and tree-lined river banks flash past at impressive speed. Even though we are travelling quickly it is still possible to take in the sights. We pass Goat Island and Sheep Island which are now part of Noosa National Park. When a group of passionate environmentalists formed the Noosa Parks Association in the early 60s only the small section of land at Noosa Heads was listed as national park.
Now nearly the whole coastline from Rainbow Beach to the mouth of the Noosa River has been classified and protected from future development. Most Noosa visitors have gone walking through the bush at the end of Hastings Street but this cruise provides a whole new perspective on this beautiful national park. Eucalypts and melaleuca are reflected in the tannin-dark water and square-tailed kites soar overhead. Michael points out a huge nest in one of the trees and we watch tiny heads emerge as one of the kites returns with food. After the kite flies away Michael cuts the engine. We can hear nothing but the calls of the birds and the sound of the wind in the trees. It is hard to believe the hustle and bustle of Noosa is only a short boat ride away.
One the way back we motor slowly past Makepeace Island, a heart-shaped private hideaway owned by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Blue (Australia) co founder Brett Godfrey. It is easy to understand why this part of Noosa would be appealing to those craving a little privacy. This part of the river is so quiet that it feels like it is yours alone. Our tour finishes with a trip to the mouth of the Noosa River. Distant waves ruffle the ocean but here the water is calm and dotted with beaches that are almost impossibly white. Michael pulls up alongside one of them and jumps onto the sand. Passengers can arrange to have a private picnic here but we are only stopping for photos. When Michael holds up the camera there is no need for him to say ‘smile’. We haven’t stopped since we climbed on board.
Disclosure: The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism Noosa.
If you’re after some things to see and do in Noosa, you could go dolphin spotting, cruise the Noosa Everglades in a vintage wooden speedboat or on a kayaking trip, get fit with some healthy Noosa activities, go on a Kanu Kapers Everglades Tour, a Noosa helicopter tour, or a dolphin spotting adventure with Noosa Oceanrider. Find out all you need to know with The Ultimate Guide to Noosa.