Our Story


"Scenic Rim's Tour Operator" Yearly Excellence Awardee!


"Top Gold Coast Attraction" Celebrated by Travelers 2011-2013!


"QLD Tourism's Tour Operator" Annual Excellence Honoree!


"TripAdvisor Excellence" 2011-2017 Award-Winning!

Southern Cross Tours van parked at the Best of All Lookout, ready for an adventure
Chris Weide and Tony Johnson, owners of Southern Cross Tours, standing with Curtis Falls in the background

About Us

New Beginnings

Tours and Attractions group who own Aquaduck Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast purchased Southern Cross Tours from Darran & Stephanie in May 2021.

The owners of Aquaduck, Chris Weide and Tony Johnson have worked with Darran & Stephanie for the last 10 years, partnering on businesses, joining forces with combined products, travelling extensively overseas, selling each other’s tours and many, many tourism trade shows.

When Darran & Stephanie decided to sell Southern Cross Tours they only had one future owner in mind. They knew Our team would be able to ensure their legacy was carried on, the tours sold internationally when it’s possible to do so and the business reinvigorated in a POST COVID world.

Over the last 10 years, Chris owned; iVenture Card and iTourstix and were key sales agents for Southern Cross Tours. Selling hundreds of tours per year and booking thousands of customers. Chris was really impressed with the unique tours, quality of experience and nature based tourism Southern Cross Tours offered.

“I have always loved Southern Cross Tours, the very first tour I ever took on the Gold Coast was the Southern Cross Tours Evening Rainforest and Glow worm experience. The passion of the tour guide, the organisation of the tour and the educational components around the rainforest, flora and fauna were exceptional. The Gold Coast Hinterland is a phenomenal asset and provides a connection with ancient trees, amazing look outs, unique wildlife and the connection with nature we all crave. When Darran approached me to buy Southern Cross Tours I knew we had to do it, as we are just as passionate about the natural environment as Darran & Stephanie are. ” Chris Weide

Tony Johnson, owner of Paradise Jet Boating travelled extensively with Darran throughout Asia with multiple trips to Singapore, Malaysia and India. They were both directors of Gold Coast Tour Alliance a group of Gold Coast operators who travelled together, cross promoted, shared sales and marketing resources and marketed the Gold Coast destination overseas.

Following that in 2015, Tony & Darran joined forces to create Gold Coast Tours & Attractions business with two tour desks selling local tours. The desks were located at Novotel Surfers Paradise then named Hotel Grand Chancellor and at Aquaduck on Cavill Avenue.

“We consider Darran & Steph as part of the family and were so grateful they came to us when they wanted to sell. Southern Cross Tours is a great touring business which has a strong brand, offers exceptional service and provides customers with a a natured based experience which is unrivalled anywhere in Queensland” Tony Johnson

Southern Cross Tours media release We recently undertook the Tourism Queensland Transformational Experiences Mentoring program with Jayne Jennings. to look at every aspect of our experience and how we can provide a better experience to our customers, contribute more positively to the community, the environment and humanity. During this process we developed our brand principle and what we stand for.

Southern Cross Tours van driving through the scenic rim view in the hinterland, surrounded by stunning landscapes
Stephanie and Darren Wallace, the previous owners of Southern Cross Tours, with their two children, featured on the About Us page

Legacy Chronicles

Darran & Stephanie Wallace

Stephanie & Darran Wallace were the owners of Southern Cross 4WD Tours from 2004 to 2021. They both grew up on the Gold Coast and lived near the areas we visit on our tours. When time permits, they spend their time-off is spent camping and exploring, not just South-East Queensland, but all over Australia.

Being involved in four-wheel driving at a personal level, Darran had an abundant knowledge in all aspects of the tours; both with unique local knowledge and driving safety.

Darran wrote articles published in Australian 4wding and camping Magazines. Besides exploring by 4wd Darran is also an avid trail and endurance OCR runner competing at events all over Australia and the World.

Everything Darran & Steph did personally was reflected in the business with careful planning and risk management for passenger safety and enjoyment. Heavily involved in both the Four Wheel driving industry and Tourism Industry.

Over 17 years Darran & Stephanie had significant success in building the business into a highly regarded international brand with multiple itineraries, 7 vehicles and operated . They sold the tours around the world and had significant business form USA, UK, Europe, India, Malaysia and Singapore. They are now well known and respected throughout the tourism and 4wding community.

Southern Cross Tours van parked atop a mountain, overlooking the breathtaking Hinterland and Gold Coast view

Southern Cross Tours

Southern Cross Touring since 1994

We have been operating on the Gold Coast, Australia since 1994. Over this time the business has changed, grown and developed but maintained it’s passion for the rainforest, the environment, conservation and showcasing our backyard to the world so visitors can experience that amazing connection with nature.

For international visitors we have developed tours where you can experience a piece of the Australian country lifestyle and learn more about the environment and country we live in. It’s a tiny but amazing piece of our homeland that we know you will remember and cherish forever.

Our point of difference is the uniqueness of what our tours offer, exclusive venues, small group tours using modern, safe and comfortable Mercedes vehicles. Our guides are very passionate about their jobs, the conservation of our home and providing you with an exceptional experience in the rainforest, national parks or bushland in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Over the last couple of years we have also been involved in both regional and Queensland Tourism awards with great success:

Winner – Scenic Rim Tour operator of the Year(Scenic Rim takes in Lamington National Park and Tamborine Mountain)

Finalist – QLD Tourism Tour operator of the Year

Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor2011, 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017!

WinnerFor the Gold Coast attraction receiving the most positive feedback from travellers during the season 2011, 2012 & 2013!

Tour in style and comfort!

Southern Cross Tours uses several types of vehicles for tours to best cater for our tour locations and our customers. When we purchase a vehicle we have 4 important standards that must be met.

  • Must be forward facing Seats – (Lots of Legroom)
  • Must be air-conditioned and comfortable in all weather, hot or cold
  • Must have the best in relation to standards for 4wding and getting off the beaten track in safety
  • Good viewing positions in all seats to see the stunning scenery and wildlife that this area offers

All our vehicles adhere to these standards and the addition of our new Mercedes is the benchmark of what you will see in the tour industry as technologies evolve from the days of levers to the electronic world of safety and comfort.

We purchase Mercedes-Benz vehicles to ensure the very best in safety and comfort for customers.

The most modern vehicle, not just for us but in Australia, is our 4WD Mercedes. This vehicle is not only of the highest standard in safety but also in luxury. This Mercedes tackles the same tracks as our other vehicles and has the most advanced technology in its class. This technology works both on and off road. For those that are interested here is the technical stuff: Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Acceleration Skid Control (ASR), Anti-Lock Brake Control Module (ABS), Brake Assist System (BAS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD).

Our Other Adventures

Aquaduck Gold Coast Logo

Aquaduck Gold Coast

Aquaduck Gold Coast offers a unique and thrilling land and water adventure. Experience the excitement of a guided amphibious tour that takes you from the city streets to the scenic waterways, providing a memorable and entertaining exploration of the Gold Coast's most iconic landmarks.

Aquaduck Sunshine Coast Logo

Aquaduck Sunshine Coast

Aquaduck Sunshine invites you to embark on an unforgettable amphibious adventure. Dive into the excitement of our guided tours, seamlessly transitioning from land to water, as you explore the picturesque Sunshine Coast. Join us for a thrilling journey that showcases the region's beauty and charm.

Paradise Jet Boating logo

Paradise Jet Boating

Paradise Jet Boating invites you to a high-speed adventure on the Gold Coast. Experience the thrill of jet boating through the waterways, where the excitement meets stunning scenery. Join us for an exhilarating journey that captures the essence of the Gold Coast's beauty and excitement.

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