Ferry Operator Revives Brisbane to North Stradbroke Island Route, Adds ‘Manly Shuttle’ Service

After temporarily suspending operations, River to Bay has decided to resume its fast ferry service, whilst introducing a new ‘Manly Shuttle’ route, providing seamless connectivity for passengers embarking on the journey from the city.

Read: New Ferry Service Offers Fast Trips to Stradbroke from Manly

River to Bay has reached an agreement to pay the necessary charges after initially cancelling their services due to what they called “exorbitant” fees imposed by the local council for using a public jetty on the island.

This paves the way for their fast ferry service to recommence shuttling passengers from Brisbane River to North Stradbroke Island. 

Photo credit: River to Bay/Facebook

“This is a massive undertaking for our small business, and we need your support to make it work. I know not everyone will like our plan, our timetable, our pricing, our business model or even our boats BUT so many good people have got behind us and that has encouraged us to keep going,” the company said in a Facebook post.

Photo credit: River to Bay/Facebook

The “Straddie Shuttle” ferry services from Manly to Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island will resume operations next Saturday, March 30, whilst Manly Shuttle will also commence that day. They will run all services on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with the potential to add more days to the schedule if demand warrants it.

They commenced operations on March 1, offering direct connections between Hamilton Wharf, Manly, and the island’s One Mile jetty. However, the company announced that services would cease on Sunday, citing prohibitive annual fees of $78,000 allegedly demanded by the Redland City Council for their two vessels to dock at the island’s public pontoon.

Photo credit: River to Bay/Facebook

The operators expressed frustration, alleging that the council’s actions were effectively stifling tourism to the island. They claimed to have been notified of the substantial fee hike just a day before the service’s launch, leaving them blindsided.

Despite efforts to plead with the council to reassess the “exorbitant” fees, the company grudgingly halted services, citing the regulatory and financial constraints as unsustainable. They contrasted the council’s approach with that of Brisbane City Council, where ferry operators are not charged fees to use public jetties.

Read: Fresh Catch: Manly Boathouse Launches New Seafood Market The Trawler

Regarding this issue, Redland City council defended its position, stating that it has an approved schedule of fees applicable to all commercial operators using council-owned or managed jetties. The council cited the need to maintain jetties in good working order and alleviate the cost burden on ratepayers as justification for the fees.

Published 22-March-2024

New Ferry Service Offers Fast Trips to Stradbroke from Manly

A new high-speed ferry service launching from Manly next month will provide an alternative way to reach North Stradbroke Island without going through Cleveland.

Read: MA Financial’s $33 Million Acquisition to Deliver Manly Harbour Expansion

Tour operator River To Bay announced that starting March 1, its fast boats will run multiple trips per day between Stradbroke and Brisbane. Departures will be from Manly and Hamilton up to six days a week.

According to a spokesperson from the company, the target market is tourists and daytrippers wanting a quicker journey to the island.

Photo credit: River to Bay/Facebook 

The journey time will be just 30 minutes from Manly, versus an hour from Hamilton. The boats can hold between 28 and 38 passengers and are designed for an adventurous, albeit potentially wet ride.

Passengers will meet the ferry at Manly Harbour’s William Gunn Jetty on Wyvernleigh Close, and the boat will arrive at One Mile Jetty on Dunwich.

Photo credit: River to Bay/Facebook 

The new Stradbroke ferry service includes a choice of one way or return tickets, life vests, bathrooms on board, and knowledgeable local staff to assist passengers in planning their time on the island. 

In the past, River To Bay operated tours but not a regular ferry service. The new owners decided to restart passenger transport to Stradbroke, announcing the decision on social media earlier this month.

Photo credit: River to Bay/Facebook 

Bookings are recommended to guarantee a spot, but walk-on passengers can also pay on board. The first few days are fully booked, with tickets already up for grabs for Manly trips starting in March.

The company stated that the new service will hopefully provide economic benefits to Stradbroke residents and businesses that have struggled to attract tourists from Brisbane. The company also clarified that they do not aim to take business away from the Cleveland ferries used by locals.

Read: Fresh Catch: Manly Boathouse Launches New Seafood Market The Trawler

For more details, including timetable and ticket prices, visit River to Bay’s website.

Published 19-February-2024