The natural beauty of Sydney makes it one of the world's most popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. Travellers frequently take in the area's attractions by hiking through the bush of the Blue Mountains, checking out the CBD tourist attractions, or soaking up the sun on one of Sydney's many isolated beaches.

However, if you are interested in experiencing the remarkable scenery of the Harbour City from a unique point of view, be sure to add a kayaking adventure to your itinerary! Whether you wish to leisurely paddle for just a couple of hours, spend an entire day on the water, or embark upon a multi-day camping adventure, there is a suitable choice for you. With that in mind let's check out four top spots around Sydney for kayaking.

Top Kayaking Spots In The Sydney Area


Kayaking through the Pittwater Waterways is a remarkable way to take in some of the best ocean landscapes in New South Wales. It takes approximately three hours to paddle through the Pittwater and back when departing from the Basin Campground in Ku-ring-Gai Chase National Park. 

There are numerous pit-stops you can make along the way, including several pristine beaches with crystal-clear water. You will probably notice how many species of brightly-coloured fish are visible from your kayak! The Pittwater Waterways are a paradise for bird lovers. In fact, you will most likely spot lyre birds, goannas, sea eagles, and kookaburras during your trip.

Various locations along Pittwater, such as Coaster's Retreat, are only available by boat and are suitable places to picnic, camp, or rent accommodations.

There are guided kayak safaris for those who are new to kayaking. Barbecuing and overnight camping is permitted at the Basin Campground.

Palm Beach Reserve

Rose Bay

Rose Bay in the Eastern Suburbs provides tourists with a number of options for kayaking. If you are looking for a relaxed paddle, head west towards Point Piper or east to Vaucluse. Kayakers seeking more of a challenge should consider paddling from Point Bay out to Shark Island.

If you cruise out to Point Piper, you can pass the elegant Seven Shillings Beach Resort; alternatively, paddling out to Vaucluse can land you at Milk Beach, which is notorious for its wild beach parties. Both locations boast warm, shallow waters and don't require advanced kayaking skills. 

In contrast to the calm waters of the previously mentioned routes, the trip out to Shark Island can prove to be a somewhat difficult task since you are paddling over choppy open water. Despite its harrowing name, the waters surrounding the island aren't particularly shark infested. Don’t worry, you are no more likely to encounter a shark while paddling or swimming than in other areas around Sydney. Instead, the island was named for its shape when flying over, which vaguely resembles that of a shark.

The distance between Shark Island and Rose Bay is 1km, and there is a small landing fee of $7 for kayaks. There is no overnight camping on the island, but because it's a relatively short paddle from the bay, you should have ample time to explore the area. Kayakers who visit Shark Island during weekdays often find that they have the island to themselves!

Beach rose baay sydney harbour HDR

Nepean River (Blue Mountains)

If you prefer a kayak adventure that is further inland, consider paddling the Nepean River; this is an extraordinary journey of nearly 26kms to explore in one direction. This is a relatively easy paddle but can prove a little more challenging during the summer season due to the increased use of motorboats.

The unique landscape of New South Wales is captured perfectly by traversing the Nepean River, not to mention the abundance of wildlife. You will pass by the craggy cliffs of the Blue Mountains, view the Penrith Plains, and encounter a myriad of birds, foxes, and fish. Bring your fishing kayak as fishing is also quite popular on the Nepean River, with Australian bass being the most common catch. Additionally, trout are caught during the wetter months in Sydney.

Due to the length of this waterway, a Nepean River paddle is a fine choice for those who would like to make multiple stops to swim, fish, birdwatch, or rest. Blue Mountain National Park offers various campgrounds that are accessible from shore, including the Ingar Campground in Blue Mountain National Park.

Penrith is a great place to launch your kayak.

Nepean River - Penrith NSW (5209641109)

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The last excursion on this list is for kayakers who would like to witness the magnificence of Sydney's cityscape. Kayaking under the Harbour Bridge is genuinely one of the most spectacular ways to appreciate the dramatic beauty of the world's largest natural harbour. Being situated so close to the landmarks such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge is a thrilling experience.

If you wish, paddle out to some of Sydney's most cherished coves along this route, such as the ferry port at Mosman Bay. This is a spot where you can get up close and personal with some of Sydney's most extravagant ferryboats.

Passing through Kirribilli Point is an exciting adventure, especially for those who are passionate about architecture and building design. Kirribilli is one of Sydney's most affluent districts and home to many famous Australian locals.

The structures that you'll pass during your trip are absolutely stunning. This route typically amounts to four hours of your day and is well worth the trip. Expect to pass luxurious yachts, massive boats, and some of the most recognised urban scenery in the world.

sydney opera house harbour pixabay

Whether you would like to view immaculate sandstone cliffs, turquoise waters, or stunning city lights, there is certainly a kayaking excursion in Sydney that won't let you down! Talk to your local Mad Travel Agent (found at all Nomads Hostels) about kayaking tours in and around Sydney or around Australia.

Author: Mark from Kayak Guru.


Get 10 nights or more to spend at any of our hostels with the Bed Hopper Accommodation Pass