Arguably the world’s most underutilised waterfront, the city portion of the River Torrens is mostly filled with high school rowing clubs and tourists out for a paddle. Recognising the potential of the quiet Torrens strip known as Pinky Flat, Martin and wife Andrea Kloeckner decided to fill it with a brand new barbecue/boating concept: BBQ Buoys.
Starting Saturday, October 1, the first bookings will set sail on the river. The donut-shaped boats are made of sturdy thick plastic (much like a kayak), with seating that wraps around a central grill, or interchangeable table-top. Two boats with 10 seats and one with eight are currently ready to hire, featuring a large overhead umbrella for shade.
“We wanted to move to South Australia regardless,” Martin says. “It wasn’t really our plan to start this business but when we saw it online we really believed in the [success of the] concept. After seeing the buoy/boat/grill contraptions in their home country of Germany, the pair decided to visit the manufacturer and discuss business plans. Eighteen months and a few metres of red tape later, three round vessels are sitting in the river just waiting to “chill and grill”.
“We have an online booking on our website for one or two hours, we have some extras like coolers and ice or the barbecue package which includes the grill units and cutlery,” Martin says.
Currently they are inviting guests to bring their own food for the grill option, and drinks can be purchased in a package (no BYO due to licensing issues). For those booking outside mealtime hours, Martin says: “You can do it without food, you just take the barbecue out and put the beverage bowl in.” Fill it with ice and you’re good to go.
The driver must remain sober for the ride but with a highest speed of six knots, there isn’t much chance of doing damage to wildlife or other Torrens paddlers. “We had to move the boats recently because of the OzAsia fireworks, and we noticed that the paddle boats were even overtaking us,” Martin laughs.
With food options currently BYO (sans some small snacks), the Kloeckners hope that they can build provider partnerships along the Torrens in the near future. “We are open to partnerships in general.
We’d like to partner with providers around the river to make it more of a local thing. Hopefully this means in future people will be able to select their preferred catering option [when booking].”
Bookings are currently open for the Saturday, October 1 launch date. Packages start at $49 for a one-hour cruise for two people.
Full details and contact information can be found at www.bbqbuoys.com.au