Where to Go Kayaking in Sydney, Australia

Kayaking on the Hawkesbury River offers an abundance of beautiful scenery
Kayaking on the Hawkesbury River offers an abundance of beautiful scenery | © David Ball / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Georgie Young
5 August 2020

You’ve climbed the bridge, walked along the harbourfront and filled your camera with sunset snaps. Now, it’s time to see Sydney from yet another gorgeous angle: by hitting the water in a kayak. Read on for some local tips on where to paddle to see the best of the city’s waterways.

Sydney Harbour

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View
dan-freeman-7Zb7kUyQg1E-unsplash
© Dan Freeman / Unsplash

You can paddle Sydney Harbour’s yacht-dotted waters solo or opt for a guided tour with Sydney by Kayak – its best one starts before dawn. The early start time (an eye-watering 5am) allows you to avoid the many tourist boats, meaning you can catch the water in a rare still moment, reflecting the sun rising over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Still feeling bleary-eyed? Swallow down the offered antidote – a hot coffee, which is kept warm by the built-in cup holders in each boat. Recommended by local insider Angharad Jones

Narrabeen Lagoon

Natural Feature
Map View

With silky waters rimmed with flossy trees, photogenic Narrabeen Lagoon doesn’t have a bad angle. It’s best viewed from a single or double kayak that you can hire from ProKayaks, which also provides some advice about the unmissable spots on the lake. Alternatively, if you’re no stranger to a roof rack, bring your own set of paddles and spend a tranquil afternoon exploring these beautiful shores. Recommended by local insider Angharad Jones

Rose Bay

Natural Feature
Map View
Rose Bay in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs in New South Wales, Australia, with Vaucluse seen in the background.
© Robert Wallace / Wallace Media Network / Alamy Stock Photo

Kayaking in Sydney Harbour can be a busy affair thanks to the huge number of tourists who take to its waters every day. Rose Bay is a little farther outside the watery central business district (CBD), and as a result, it’s much quieter. However, what it lacks in boat traffic, it more than makes up for in cityscape views. It’s also a well-placed springboard to explore Sydney’s lesser-known harbours and islands, such as the rugged shores of Milk Beach and tiny tree-tufted Shark Island. Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith

Hawkesbury River

Natural Feature
Map View

Hawkesbury River is irresistibly charming. There are many glorious (and fantastically named) scenic spots to look out for as you paddle down its leaf-licked shores, such as Dangar Island, Dead Horse Bay and Little Wobbly. Foodies won’t want to miss Cottage Point Inn; its seven-course tasting menu is the perfect fuel for a day on the river. If you’re a prolific kayaker and fancy taking a longer trip, stop by Hawkesbury River Kayaks in Brooklyn with your credentials and pick up a sea-worthy boat. Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith

Pittwater

Natural Feature
Map View
view of Pittwater from Palm beach Sydney,new south wales,australia
© sammybez / Alamy Stock Photo

This aquatic playground is just 55 minutes north of Sydney’s CBD. There’s more to it than beautiful beaches, although soap opera fans will recognise the shores of Palm Beach as the filming location for Home and Away. The Ku-ring-gai people are the traditional owners of this land, and you can learn about their history by joining one of the kayak tours offered by Pittwater Kayak Tours. You’ll paddle across Pittwater to one of its more secluded beaches before tramping through the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park on a guided bush walk with staggering views over the headlands. Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith

These recommendations were updated on August 5, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.