In Perth, we’re lucky to have plenty of top-notch lakes and picturesque rivers right on our doorstep so it can be hard to narrow down the best places to go kayaking.
With the Swan River stretching through our natural landscape and right past the stunning city skyline, all you need is a kayak and you’ll be treated to views of everything from sandy beaches and suburbia to dolphins and pelicans.
Ascot Waters To Garvey Park
Ascot Waters is a quiet and tranquil spot perfect for kayaking amateurs. Launch off at the Hardey Park boat ramp and head north for Riverside Gardens and you’ll see beautiful houses and boardwalks—you might even catch a glimpse of dolphins if you stick to the canals. Continue east towards Garvey Park and head back to complete this 11km journey.
Narrows Bridge To Elizabeth Quay
With all of the food and drink options at Elizabeth Quay, this trail might have you finishing off a little heavier than you started—but we’re all for it. Start off at the sand beach under the Narrows Bridge, cross to the north side of the river and follow the shoreline until you reach Elizabeth Quay—when you see the 20-metre high arches of the footbridge, you’ll know you’ve made it. Stay out of the ferry channel by entering the first section of the inlet, and hug the left until you see the narrow beach hidden in the southeast point of The Island. We recommend that kayaking foodies grab a coffee and burger from V Burger followed by some handcrafted happiness from Gusto Gelato before heading back.
Mount Pleasant To Salter Point
For a super chill paddle between two points, strap the kayak to the roof rack and head straight to Deepwater Point in Mount Pleasant. Take in the distant city views before you cross the Canning River and head under Mount Henry Bridge. From here, follow Salter’s Point foreshore along to Salter Point Reserve. Once you’re done admiring the crystal clear water, cross back to Shelley Beach on the other side of the river and follow the foreshore back to where you started.
Burswood Paddle Trail
If you’re heading off on the Burswood Paddle Trail, you can expect spectacular views of popular Perth architecture including Optus Stadium and Matagarup Bridge. Park up at Banks Reserve in East Perth and start your paddle by crossing the river. Pity the freeway drivers as you pass under Windan Bridge, then head further south for those stunning views of Optus Stadium and Burswood. As you head further towards Heirisson Island, cross to its north end and you’ll find a secluded lagoon which makes for a perfect picnic spot—just be sure to pull your kayak beyond where the water reaches. When it’s time to go home, follow the west shoreline until you reach Banks Reserve.
Middle Swan Reserve To Lilac Hill Park
One of the most popular parks in the city, Middle Swan Reserve is the best place to launch your kayak for a protected paddle on the Swan River. Hang around nearby and enjoy the blissful sound of silence (and occasional chirps of nearby birds) or follow the west shoreline down to Lilac Hill Park and back for more of a workout—whatever floats your boat.
Rockingham To Garden Island
If you don’t mind a longer drive, set your sights on Point Peron in Rockingham. Suited to more competent paddlers, this 5km trip will see you cross the open ocean as you stick to the western side of the causeway to and from Garden Island. For this trip, it’s also super important that you go with a paddle buddy, and that you both have all of the required regulation safety gear. Although this one sounds intimidating, the crystal clear waters of the open ocean are really something else.
Port Kennedy To Secret Harbour
Take a break from the city and head for this serene stretch of undeveloped coastline. Start your journey at Port Kennedy boat ramp and stay close to the shore as you go left past the point on your way to Secret Harbour. Remember, kayaking in open water calls for travelling with a buddy and wearing the proper safety gear (including a life jacket). If you have the kit and want to take it up a notch, this is also a super popular spot for fishing.
Prefer stand up paddleboarding? Here are the best places to SUP in Perth.
Image credit: Nil Castellví