The inaugural Northshore Christmas Boat Parade was a sight to sea, as it set sail on the Brisbane River with a fleet of festively decorated boats that left spectators aglow with Christmas cheer! Nearly 10,000 people gathered along the Northshore waterfront from Hamilton Reach to Portside Wharf to experience this glittering spectacle of lights and festive fun.

The Boat Parade saw a new star illuminate itself on Brisbane’s Christmas calendar – one that celebrated not only the joy of the festive season, but the Brisbane River itself. As one of Brisbane’s most significant waterfront developments, with a rich maritime history, it felt only fitting for Northshore to deliver an event that honours the river, as well as the diverse vessels that work on and enjoy our city’s waterways.

The Boat Parade served as more than just a celebration of Christmas lights; it was an opportunity to reflect on and recognize the bravery and selflessness of Queensland’s emergency search and rescue volunteers and organisations. When the floods hit Queensland in 2022, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue, Queensland State Emergency Service (SES), and Volunteer Marine Rescue Brisbane answered the call to assist their fellow Queenslanders in need. Their dedication and unwavering commitment were essential in the flood relief effort, and as we gazed at the brightly lit boats sailing down the Brisbane River, we were reminded of the power of community and the importance of supporting those who serve it.

From dazzling boats that illuminated the water, to elves soaring through the sky on jetpacks, tugboat ballet, and RACQ LifeFlight helicopter flyovers – the river was agleam with activity and excitement, eliciting ooh’s and aah’s from the crowd. Santa even ditched his sleigh for the night and was seen making several house(boat) calls to our vessels as they cruised up and down the river.

The Party Hubs kept the good vibes going onshore with food trucks, live music, Christmas markets and Christmas carols, and plenty of ‘elfies with Santa and his Gingerbread Gang.

Byblos and Gianni’s at Portside Wharf sold out, overflowing with merry guests spilling out onto the waterfront as they toasted each other in the afternoon sun, while Eat Street Northshore enjoyed a record-breaking Sunday.

The team from Channel 9 and B105 decked out a VIP area for special guests and competition winners who enjoyed the parade from a premium position, with deck chairs, picnic rugs and cushions and delicious picnic hampers.

The Northshore foreshore was awash in a warm, joyous glow that transformed the precinct, from a sunny December afternoon into a clear, crisp evening, as onlookers eagerly waited for the 20 gorgeously decked out boats to take to the starting line. In fact, many of the festive floats were filled from bow to stern with sea-faring spectators who purchased tickets to enjoy the parade from the captain’s seat on a variety of special Christmas charters.

The whole affair ended with a bang – literally – as a sparkling spray of fireworks lit up the night. The Jetpack Elves also cheekily returned for one last curtain call as they zipped and somersaulted through the sky, shooting sparks and giving guests an impressive pyrotechnics show!

This year the parade will have a new captain at the helm, as the SES Brisbane was voted the winner of the Best-Dressed Boat. They earned the honor of leading the 2023 parade, and a $1000 lighting voucher from Lightbomb to make their display this year even more electrifying.

We can’t wait to deck the hulls again in 2023 as we prepare to make the Northshore Christmas Boat Parade bigger, better and brighter than ever.


Northshore Brisbane would like to give a special thanks to our incredible precinct and event partners, without whom the Northshore Christmas Boat Parade would not have been possible. Our Party Hub partners Eat Street NorthshoreHamilton Reach, FrasersProperty.AU, Portside Wharf, Brookfield PropertiesFlipside CircusFresh CollectiveThe River Room Café, Northshore HamiltonByblos, Gusto da Gianni, Dendy and Alcyone Hotel Residences. Our charity partners LifeFlightState Emergency Service – Brisbane Region and Volunteer Marine Rescue Queensland. Our media sponsors, Channel 9 and B105 Brisbane. The rest of the dream team – Aruga, BonBon, CBRELightbombEvents Made SpecialTLC Events CoQueensland Fire and Emergency Services – QFES and Queensland Police ServiceBrisbane Cruises and a special thanks to Lew Bromley.