Prepare your paddle, here are the best kayak and canoe day trips in Australia

Prepare your paddle, here are the best kayak and canoe day trips in Australia

Words by Thomas Glare

Captain your own kayak or canoe and explore parts of Australia only accessible by water.

What could be a more refreshing change than to spend time on the water, outdoors after being cooped up inside for such an extended period, due to the pandemic? Thankfully, Australia has some of the most wonderful spots for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts to indulge themselves to their heart’s content.  

The pandemic has brought life to a standstill because of the lockdowns, social distancing, and other restrictive measures. While Australia initially escaped the brunt, we are not still out of the woods, with the new variants leading to the usual imposition of restrictions. If you are looking for something exciting indoors, playing online games like starquest would be a great choice. For those looking forward to heading outdoors and interested in watersports, kayaking would be a perfect choice. We have just the ideal paddling destinations to head out to this summer. After all, when it comes to canoeing, Australia is home to some of the best spots.  

While canoeing camping trips are an excellent way to spend the weekend, for those looking for a shorter stay, there are canoeing day trips offered by tour operators. The benefit of using professional agencies is they are familiar with the best places to go canoeing and can create a tailor-made itinerary as per one’s needs. 

Whether you choose the ocean or prefer something calmer like the best canoeing rivers, this is a water adventure to keenly look forward to.

There is no dearth of paddling locations across the country. Canoeing in Australia is extremely popular with a lot of folks, so get ready to grab the gear, slip on your best shoes for canoeing (don’t forget the sunscreen), and be ready to tackle the best spots mentioned below.  

South of Eden

While Bondi Beach grabs all the attention in New South Wales, Mowarry Beach does not even figure on the list of most visitors. It lies in the Ben Boyd National Park towards the south coast, with few venturing there. Visitors are advised to check the local weather conditions when planning a visit. Boydtown makes for an excellent starting point with a trip to the calm Twofold Bay waters. The highlight is the national park area that lies on the other side of Edrom. Those that follow the coastline will get glorious views of the abundant marine bird species, including cormorants, that populate the area. There is even a spot near the beach that is popular with skinny-dippers (for those up to it).   


Sydney Harbor

A kayaking trip on the Sydney Harbor is always going to be hectic but fun with loads of watercraft sharing the water. A nice spot to start would be Rose Bay, moving in the direction of the Opera House and towards the bridge leading to the North Head before making a U-turn to the starting point of the Rose Bay. The total distance will be anywhere between 15-35 kms depending on the route taken.     

Noosa River

Those visiting Queensland in the Lake Cootharaba region can head to Boreen Point for a relaxing day trip kayaking along the Noosa River. The shores of the lake are shallow, and kayakers can head over to its southern outlet. The river runs through a stretch of Casuarina and Melaleuca forests and heads towards Lake Cooroibah along to the Noosa Bar. Along the route, there are ample birdwatching opportunities, with plenty of migratory birds nesting in the area. There are great surfing spots as well for those that are interested and have the time. While the complete stretch is about 20 km, it depends on an individual if they want to shorten the trip.

Point Nepean National Park

A location known for its exceptional beauty at the east end of Prince Phillip Bay is Point Nepean National Park. For those that seek a sedate experience, kayaking in the Phillip Bay Area itself is ideal. However, the more experienced could consider trying the Bass Strait that is tricky, to say the least. To grab a bite of some delectable fish and chips, head to Sorrento, or take on the challenge and head out into the ocean.  However, a caveat here is there are strong winds and tides to contend with, so be sure of what you attempt. The stretch known as ‘The Rip’ is among the diciest spots to kayak. 


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King George Sound

Located in Albany in Western Australia is King George Sound, once a popular haunt with whalers. With government restrictions on commercial whaling, thankfully, the whales can visit in peace. They populate the area in the period between July to October. Kayakers can begin their journey at Middleton Beach along the Easter coast of Vancouver Peninsula until they arrive at Frenchman Bay. While in the area, a tour of Whale World is recommended. The area is also a draw with snorkelers in the summer months.      

Moreton Bay Islands

The area lies off Moreton Bay in Brisbane and is extremely popular among kayakers of all levels. It is a peaceful getaway from the hubbub of Brisbane, with paddlers enjoying the rich and varied marine life and bird species that thrive in the area. Do not miss the cute dugongs that live in the area as well. Some of the other islands worth checking out in the area include Coochiemudlo, St Helena, and Green islands. For those that want to transport their kayak, they can do so on the ferry they board to arrive here. 

Innes National Park

Located in the Yorke Peninsula in the Southern part of the country, Innes National Park is one of the biggest stretches of indigenous vegetation in the area. It is renowned for its jagged coastline and huge surf breaks. The starting point could be idyllic Stenhouse Bay, move in the direction of the west if you feel up to signing on the challenging Chinaman’s surf break spot. However, if the swell is forming, be prepared for a rough and exciting ride. Just bear in mind that this is a relatively isolated spot. 

Rottnest Island

When it comes to canoeing, Western Australia has quite a few lovely locations to explore. A popular location would be a stretch of the Indian Ocean. It covers approximately 30 km, so be prepared to stretch yourself before you decide to take the trip. The area is quite breezy, often, so if you are not too keen to row against the strong winds, just kayak around a few of the main points and head back to any of the bay areas. Getting to the location will not be difficult as there are regular ferry rides from Fremantle, Hillary’s Boat Harbor, and Barrack Street Jetty. If you are the athletic type and a genuine kayaking enthusiast, paddling the distance of 17 km from the mainland should be right up your alley. 

Lake Burley Griffin

Visit the capital city of Canberra, where all the political shenanigans take place, and home to the scenic Lake Burley Griffin. This is an area far from the seacoast and is completely landlocked. Thankfully, Lake Burley Griffin that was formed by building a dam over the Molonglo River offers respite for kayakers and water sports lovers. The calm and soothing waters are ideal for newbie kayakers that are not confident to take on the rough and tumble of choppier ocean waters.     

Hobart Waterfront

Take the same route as the world-famous Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the difference being in a kayak minus the cameras. Cut through the water effortlessly in the Sullivan’s Cove area, while those watching on land envy as your kayak glides through the water seamlessly. Kayakers get to enjoy the scenic background of Mount Wellington with multiple access points on the waterfront. Later, after a pleasurable few hours of kayaking, head for a spot of lunch in the area. There are kayak rental agencies in the area for those not carrying their craft. 

Have you ever been on an expedition canoeing Australian waters? If so, what was your experience, and would you like to share your experiences? Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments with us! 


About The Author: Thomas Glare

Thomas Glare is an avid outdoors enthusiast with a deep appreciation for nature in all of its forms. He has traveled to over thirty countries in the past decade, meaning to learn and experience as much and bring it to his following online audience. He has written articles on travel, lifestyle, and culture for various online magazines as well as in-print newsletters around the globe.