Kayaking & Stand up Paddleboarding in Sydney

Paddling on Sydney’s beautiful waters is a memorable experience, from the spectacular Sydney Harbour to the magnificent rivers to the deep blue sea. Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are two fun ways to admire the natural beauty. You can even battle rapids on an Olympic waterway.

An exciting range of kayaking and SUP adventures is available. Join a kayaking tour of one of the world’s finest natural harbours. You can also explore the sparkling Pittwater in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The meandering Hawkesbury River in the Hawkesbury is a wonder to discover too.

Two kayakers paddling at Palm Beach, Sydney

Other splendid natural waterways for paddling include:

Whether you're a beginner or experienced, you'll find locations to suit your skill level. If you’re a novice, there are schools and boat hire centres that provide lessons and equipment to get you on the water in no time. Remember always to wear a life jack and follow the laws of the water.

Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve, Manly

Kayaks, canoes and SUPs are available for hire at various locations, including the Manly Kayak Centre in Manly, Paddlecraft in Pittwater, Bundeena Kayaks in Bundeena, and the Audley Boatshed in the Royal National Park. In Penrith, you can hire water craft from Horizon Line, near the Nepean River.

Stand-up paddleboarding is growing in popularity. If you're keen to give it a go in Sydney, there are several SUP schools, including Watsons Bay Stand Up Paddling in Watsons Bay and Let’s Go SUP in La Perouse. Or hop on a ferry in Cronulla and travel to Bundeena, where SUP lessons are available too.

For Olympic-scale kayaking, Penrith Whitewater Stadium is perfect for thrill-seekers. You’ll navigate rapids on the 2000 Sydney Olympics course as if you’re on a wild river – 14,000 litres of water a second rush over the moveable obstacle course. There are whitewater rafting experiences, too.

Sydney Swimming safety

NSW has a wide range of wonderful swimming options including beaches, ocean pools, harbourside pools, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes at the bottom of waterfalls. However to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment, swimmers should follow this general advice:

Look for patrolled beaches (this is where lifesavers are on duty; you will see red and yellow flags that indicate this). You should always swim between the red and yellow flags as they mark the safest place to swim.

Never swim alone at night, or under the influence of alcohol, or directly after a meal.

Always check water depth, as rocks or trees could be submerged, and never run and dive into the water from a beach, riverbank or other surface.

Check for signs regarding advice on water conditions at your chosen swimming spot and at any natural swimming hole. Always proceed with caution as surfaces could be slippery and water conditions may not be immediately apparent; particularly if the area has recently experienced heavy rain or flooding.

Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming. 


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