Gold Coast
Locally Owned & Family Owned


Gold Coast Locally Owned & Family Owned Businesses

Would you believe 97.4% of all Australian businesses are micro or small businesses? 

A micro or small business is one that employs 19 or less people, overall they employ 44% of the Australian working population and contribute 33% of the national GDP. Not only are small businesses a massive part of the Australian economy they are usually family owned, supporting households and often multiple generations of family members.

At Aquaduck, we are passionate about small business because we are one and most of our friends are small business owners too. Tourism in Australia is made up of thousands of small businesses offering experiences that they are passionate about. Below we are showcasing just a few Gold Coast Locally Owned & Family Owned tourism businesses. We would love for you to support them.


Paradise Jet Boating

Another one of the Aquaduck owner families is Tony, Karen and Callie Johnson who also own Paradise Jet Boating. Tony started Paradise Jet Boating 17 years ago when his daughters were teenagers. He spent 7 days a week working on the business and in the business to get it up and running. The business is now the premier Jet Boat company in South East Queensland with 4 boats offering 3 different tours. Tony is semi retired working just 5 days a week!  Callie, Tony’s daughter and her partner are in the business working alongside Dad creating a strong family foundation for the business and their futures.

Paradise Jet Boating Owners

Get Wet Surf School

Get Wet Surf School is a family run surf school at Main Beach that began 15 years ago by Kerri & Andrew Jekyll. From small beginnings Get Wet has grown to have 10 staff which includes Kerri & Andrew’s daughter Sam who is one of their most popular surf instructors on the Gold Coast. Over the summer months you can also catch Flynn and Angus, Kerri & Andrew’s sons pitching in to help in the family business by washing rashies, cleaning boards and helping customers. Not only does Kerri have her family working in the business she also ensures her staff are part of the family with weekly family dinners at her house for the entire team and their partners. When you go to Get Wet Surf school you feel like part of the family. 

“Being a small business owner isn’t always easy and there are a lot of challenges however, having your family by your side makes it so worthwhile” Kerri Jekyll.

Get Wet Surf School Owners

Go Vertical Stand Up Paddle Boarding & Kayak Hire

Linda Spiteri started Go Vertical Stand Up Paddle Boarding on Budds Beach 9 years ago from a love of paddle boarding. 4 years later she met her partner through a love of paddle boarding and the rest is history! Now Linda, Rob and Rasta the dog are paddle board mad and so passionate about teaching others how to do it. Linda and Rob have travelled far and wide to pursue their love of paddleboarding and over time have built a community or family around the sport. There are many beautiful sunny days when you can catch Linda, Rob and Rasta paddling on the water.

Go Vertical SUP Owner

Gold Coast Watersports 

Kate and Kai Forrester bought Gold Coast Water Sports in 2018 so they could work together and build a great family business through Kai’s love of watersports and Kate’s marketing prowess. They have two sons, Cooper 2 years old and Chase 10 years. During school holidays Chase helps out in the office, does some cleaning but prefers to be out on the water with Kai and the crew. 

“Life’s pretty good when you can do what you love everyday with your family and making people smile at the same time is a huge bonus.

Owning a family business is not for the faint of heart, it pushes you to your limits but it rewards you all in a way like no other. We get to feel the ups and downs of life together whether it’s through our business or our kids and we love being able to share that with each other. There are hard times but it’s always made better knowing you have each other’s back. 

Gold Coast Watersports Owners

Southern Cross Day Tours

Steph and Darran Wallace stepped into the world of small business ownership 15 years ago when they purchased Southern Cross 4WD Tours. At the time the company had been running for about 11 years. They have taken the company from 1 bus with 2 tours to 7 buses with 6 tours. 

Southern Cross specialises in small group Hinterland and Rainforest tours. They are famous for their Glow Worm Nocturnal tours. Steph and Darran’s kids Jake and Aidan are younger than the business so they know no difference having spent endless hours on tour, helping mum and dad clean busses, modelling in photos and spending their entire COVID homeschooling experience at the depot.  

“As a family, we love the outdoors especially the rainforest so we have put that passion into the business and the tours to share it with locals and visitors.”  Steph Wallace


Southern Cross 4WD Owners

How can you help?

As a community we need to get behind our locally owned small businesses and ensure their long term survival.
Here are a few ways you can help:

  1. Buy from a local business to help create jobs and support families. 
  2. If you have a business, work with others to support each other. Buy supplies for your business from a local small business.  
  3. When you buy gifts consider buying vouchers for experiences for your family and friends. This is a great way to create memories for them.  
  4. Encourage your network on social media to buy locally by highlighting small businesses you use or recommend.  
  5. Use the #locallyownedfamilyowned and #GoLocalFirst in all social media posts to draw attention to small business.


Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and please when you are out and about or even shopping online support local businesses wherever you can.