15 Of The Best Spots To Go Kayaking In Sydney

By Ally Parker

Sydney/Eora is blessed with wide harbours and secluded waterways aplenty, which means there's no shortage of sweet spots to grab an oar and go kayaking.

Start planning your next paddle—here are Urban List's picks for the best places to go kayaking in Sydney.

Malabar Beach


On a day with no wind, you won’t find crispier waters to kayak through than the currents at Malabar Beach. The narrow channel means you can paddle from one side to the other with ease, otherwise there's plenty of sea to wash over closer towards the headlands.

Sydney Harbour

From Glebe

kayaying sydney harbour opera house
Image credit: Destination NSW | Hamilton Lund

If you're keen to get out and explore Sydney Harbour from water level, this 3.5-hour, expert-guided kayak tour that takes you from Blackwattle Bay to Goat Island/Me-Mel and back and back is a bargain. 

Paddle past iconic Sydney scenes before stopping off on Goat Island for a walking tour, with your National Parks Landing Permit and pics of you and your kayak in front of the Harbour Bridge included in the tour cost. Book here.

Parramatta River


This 14km river runs from east to west from Sydney Harbour with plenty of interesting sites as you kayak through its waterways. During your paddling escapade, you’ll find Indigenous murals on the Parramatta River Foreshore Reserve (creations of Ngemba artist Jamie Eastwood), Old Government House and Lennox Bridge.

There are some exclusion zones for busy areas like Circular Quay, Garden Island and Silverwater Bridge, usually marked by yellow buoys.

Simpsons Bay


Kicking off your South Sydney kayaking adventures in Simpsons Bay will make for a session filled with big views out to Kurnell and even the Pacific Ocean. If you don’t own your own kayak and gear, hit up Bundeena Kayaks who stock a fleet of single and double top-style kayaks (and paddleboards too) available for hire.

The crew here run a slew of daily guided kayak tours but you can also take the kayaks out for a spin without.

Sandy Beach Reserve


kayaking sydney pittwater palm beach
Image credit: Destination NSW | Jem Cresswell

At Pittwater Kayak Tours, take a two- or three-hour kayaking tour at sunrise or mid-morning and learn about the area's First Nations and settler history before cooling down with a swim and view of Palm Beach, Barrenjoey headland and the rest of Pittwater's sparkly surrounds.

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Right by Dangar Island and Little Wobbly lies Brooklyn. You'll want to hit Hawkesbury River Kayaks because these guys have a small fleet of single and double kayaks and tours here take you to some prime paddling real estate.

Kayak upstream and camp at a secluded beach, explore Jerusalem Bay, picnic on one of the small beaches or have lunch at picturesque Cottage Point.

Rozelle Bay


Not set on the long drive? Keen to get your toosh in a watercraft already? Rozelle Bay has you and your instant gratification needs sorted. Visit the Balmain peninsula or paddle up to Cockatoo Island with a rental from Annandale Boat Hire.

River Road Reserve

Nepean River

kayaking sydney nepean river penrith
Image credit: Destination NSW | Robert Gray

This one’s for the keen kayakers with an appreciative eye for bushland and a Kathmandu membership. The Nepean River is nothing to sneeze at, stretching 100 kilometres, 25 of which are tide-free near Penrith, and practically made for cruisin’. Rental kayaks can be found at Horizon Line so dive on in and enjoy the scenery of one of NSW’s largest catchments.

Balmoral Beach


If optimum paddle-boarding waters, a netted swimming area, and a seafood platter at The Boathouse weren’t enough to tickle your fancy, the kayaking digs will certainly win you over.

Kayak rental is available from a number of nearby businesses including Balmoral Boatshed (off the back of The Boathouse) and the local sailing school. You’ll enjoy views of Sydney Harbour and The Heads before heading back for a beach lie.

Narabeen Lagoon


We can’t recommend Narrabeen Lagoon enough. As much as we loathe a cliché, it really is "fun for the whole family". When you need a rental, go for Pro Kayaks, but if you’re no stranger to a roof rack and have your own gear, head to Middle Creek reserve quick smart for prime, unspoiled kayaking.

The Basin

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park 

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a heavy-hitter on the "best places to kayak in Sydney" spectrum. Smack bang in the middle of Berowra and Avalon Beach, this National Park is a health retreat on water—just close your eyes and glide along.

A 16km tour is also available should you wish a little guidance—we can’t all be Bear Grylls. Take a break between paddles for a Bobbin Head picnic, or a stroll along the Aboriginal Heritage walk featuring rock art and engravings from the Guringai.

Rose Bay Beach

Rose Bay

kayaking sydney harbour rose bay
Image credit: Destination NSW | Dallas Kilponen

Harbourside, easterly and too good looking for its own good (you can see both the Opera House and Harbour Bridge), Rose Bay is perfect for kayaking around in search of an ambient Sydney backdrop.

Kayaks are available from Rose Bay Aquatic Hire in both double or single seats. Pro tip: choose the double and sit upfront if you’re more of a sidecar kind of person or have the upper body strength of damp linguine.

The Spit


Spit Bridge is the spot for kayakers who prefer their elbows kept to themselves. Whether you bring your own or grab a rental (care of Sydney Harbour Kayaks), one thing’s for sure, it beats sitting in traffic waiting for the bridge to lower. Stop off at Chinaman’s, Clontarf or Balmoral beaches to the east, or Sailors Bay to the west for a mid-paddle siesta. 

Manly Cove


Check out Manly Kayak Centre for a choice spot of kayaking. They rent one or two-person kayaks by the hour and offer a ffour-hour guided kayak tour—did we mention it includes a picnic lunch on the beach? 

Manly Sailing offers see-through kayaks for hire so you can enjoy the underwater scenery a little more as you paddle. Head out on your own, or book one of their two- or four-hour guided tours and explore the hidden beaches around iconic Manly Cove. 

The Boatshed


Don your best neoprene and toss your possessions in a water-safe bucket, you're headed for kayaking on the Woronora River. Hedged by the Dharawal State Conservation, the 36-kilometre long trek will give you a run for your money with steep banks, rocky platforms, tributaries (Loftus Creek and Georges River) and at the end of day, arms Michelle Obama could only dream of. Pop into The Boatshed at Woronora for canoe or kayak hire at a great price, and an all-day breakfast that’ll have you questioning the true purpose of your trip.

Audley Boatshed 

Royal National Park

Open seven days a week, Audley Boatshed is here for you, rain, hail or shine. Start off at the Boatshed; they’ll get you set up with a kayak (with a winning deal of $80 for all-day hire), before choosing your adventure. Will you go for a short paddle up Kangaroo Creek or Huckleberry Finn it up Hacking River?

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Main image credit: Destination NSW | Hamilton Lund

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