From tranquil inlets and backwaters to picturesque rivers and gorges, Australia offers many places to paddle. Canoe the Blackwood River, which meanders through Western Australia’s south-west, or along the maze of calm waterways in South Australia’s Coorong. Sea kayak off St Kilda Beach in Melbourne or under Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. White water raft the furious rapids of Tasmania’s Franklin River or the Tully River in North Queensland. Canoe or kayak through the Northern Territory’s Katherine Gorge or paddle around Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. Hire a kayak for a few hours or spend a few days on a canoeing safari through one of our pristine national parks.
Freycinet National Park, TAS
Glide through Hobart’s waters at twilight or head south to the sheltered coves around Kettering. Further east, paddle past the impressive dolerite cliffs of Tasman Peninsula on a fully-guided kayaking tour. For adventure, join a multi-day kayak expedition to Bathurst Harbour in the remote Southwest National Park. Sea kayak past pink granite mountains and secluded white beaches in Freycinet National Park. Spot dolphins in the turquoise water and sea eagles wheeling through the air. White water raft the North Esk River from Launceston. Ride the wild Franklin River or kayak the calm Gordon River in the World Heritage-listed wilderness near Strahan.
Canoe down the tranquil Blackwood River from Bridgetown or Nannup in the state’s south-west. Coast along the Frankland River past woodlands and national reserves from Walpole, further south. Glide past eagles, songbirds and wetland waders on the rocky banks of the Murchison River, in Kalbarri National Park in the north. Raft down the wild rapids of the Avon River from Northam, where the professionals tackle the challenging Multiplex Avon Descent each August. Sea kayak over technicolour fish and coral on Ningaloo Reef and with pods of bottlenosed dolphins in Monkey Mia. Paddle close to sea lions, little penguins and dolphins at Seal Island and Penguin Island near Rockingham.
Murray River National Park, SA
Kayak alongside dolphins, shipwrecks and mangroves in Port River, just 15 minutes from Adelaide’s centre. Canoe with an Aboriginal guide through the Murray River’s scenic lakes, rivers and lagoons. Glide from Loch Luna past birds and Aboriginal heritage sites, discover Chowilla’s labyrinth of interconnecting billabongs or do a gentle trip from Katarapko Creek. In Coffin Bay National Park, you can sea kayak past ancient cliffs, beaches and sand dunes. Kayak along the lagoons and waterways of the Coorong with an Aboriginal guide. Sea kayak from Tumby Bay and Port Lincoln through the Sir Joseph Banks Group Conservation Park.
Canoe Melbourne’s Yarra River, from Docklands to Federation Square and beyond. Kayak off St Kilda Beach or join seals and dolphins on a day tour of the Mornington Peninsula. Learn to sea kayak from Anglesea and Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road. In the Grampians, you can paddle the waters of Lake Bellfield, Lake Fyans or Lake Wartook. Whitewater raft the Mitta Mitta River or the Howqua and Delatite Rivers in Victoria’s High Country. In Gippsland you can canoe and kayak through the Snowy River or glide from Bairnsdale along the Mitchell River to Gippsland Lakes. Take on white water adventure on the Upper Murray River near Corryong.
Kayak from Rose Bay to Sydney Harbour beaches or paddle around Manly. Kayak through the Royal National Park from Bundeena in Sydney’s south. Coast along the Colo River in the Hawkesbury Valley, west of Sydney. Canoe the gum-lined Edward River in Deniliquin, in the state’s country heart. On the North Coast, kayak with dolphins at Nelson Bay or through Bongil Bongil National Park. White water raft on the Nymboida River or in Barrington Tops National Park. Glide along the Bellingen River or through Ballina’s mangrove forests. South of Sydney, sea kayak in Jervis Bay or canoe through Kangaroo Valley. Kayak through the wilderness of Ben Boyd National Park on the Sapphire Coast, further south.
Canoe, kayak or aqua bike around Moreton Bay, near Brisbane. South on the Gold Coast, learn about the area’s Aboriginal history sea kayaking with a local Balunjali guide. Meet dolphins, turtles, rays and fish on a kayaking trip from 1770. From Cairns, raft more than 45 rapids on the Tully River or float your inflatable boat down the Barron River in Barron Gorge National Park. Do a rafting trip down the wild North Johnstone River or the gentler Russell River. Kayak from Mission Beach to Dunk Island and other rainforest-covered islands on the Great Barrier Reef. In Queensland’s outback, canoe Lawn Hill Gorge in Boodjamulla National Park or along Muttaburra's permanent waters.
Canoe or kayak the Katherine River past paperbark and pandanus forest and through the dramatic sandstone walls of Katherine Gorge. Do a day trip or glide through all of the eight interconnecting gorges on an overnight trek. Travel with an Aboriginal guide and learn about the area’s significance to the traditional Jawoyn owners. Camp on white beaches on the river’s edge. See a wild diversity of birds, iridescent butterflies, crocodiles and fish. True canoe enthusiasts can spend six days paddling to the upper reaches of the Daly River. In Flora River Nature Park, south-west of Katherine, you can canoe through calm waterways past tufa dams and dense riverine vegetation.
Paddle around Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin on a canoe, kayak or hydro bike. Float from Commonwealth Place past the Captain Cook Memorial and groomed parklands. Spot black swans and other birds in the Kingston Harbour wetlands. You can even kayak across Lake Burley Griffin to the Molonglo River on a food and wine tour. Savour regional foods while looking back over the vineyards to Canberra’s iconic cultural buildings. From Canberra, you can canoe the quiet, bush-bordered waters of Googong Foreshores, which sits south of Queanbeyan. Sail past Limestone Bridge Arch, the limestone remains deposited by an ocean floor 420 million years ago.