Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a great way to experience Australia's spectacular beaches, lagoons and waterways.
By Katrina Lobley
If you've never given stand-up paddleboarding a try, Australia is the place to do so. Sign up for a lesson or just hire a board and head out onto the water to give it a go. Australia has a SUP experience that's right for you.
At the quiet end of Balmoral Beach, tucked into a curl of Sydney's northern harbour, is Balmoral Paddlesurf. Learn to stand-up paddleboard in calm, clear waters with simple tips on balance, body alignment and stroke technique. Lessons also cover basic safety and weather advice, how to self-rescue, and different ways to turn and manoeuvre your board. Opt for a morning lesson and enjoy breakfast afterwards at The Boathouse Balmoral Beach.
Want to take your SUP skills to a whole new level? Try using a SUP board for a yoga class with a difference with flow mOcean in Manly. After an overview of paddle techniques on land you'll take a 10 to 15-minute paddle to your floating studio. You'll then do a one-hour yoga class while balancing on a board. You don’t have to be a yoga expert. It’s about having fun.
Just a short stroll from the popular beach at Maroubra is Malabar – a hidden bay considered a favourite with locals. Here, you can try SUP with a fun and easy introductory lesson from Let’s Go Surfing. You’ll be taught the basic techniques while enjoying the calm and pristine waters in this secluded and quiet bay.
SUP lessons at Byron Bay will not only teach you the basics of this fun water sport, they also provide the opportunity to spot some amazing marine life including dolphins, fish, sea birds, and sea turtles. This 2.5-hour small group tour with Let’s Go Surfing makes it easy to enjoy the unique experience of walking on water while surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape.
Explore the Noosa River's peaceful corridors, which trail from several freshwater lakes to the Pacific Ocean near Noosa's main beach. Paddle past multimillion-dollar mansions and the waterfront restaurants of Noosaville, Noosa Marina and Tewantin into the Upper Noosa River, known as the river of mirrors. Those who have built up their SUP skills can keep on paddling to reach lakes Cooroibah and Cootharaba, part of an area known as the Noosa Everglades. Hire a SUP or take a lesson from SUP Noosa at Noosaville.
Lord Howe is a stunning World Heritage-listed subtropical island paradise 600 kilometres (373 miles) or a two-hour flight north-east of Sydney. Take a SUP lesson with SUP Kite Surf’s Chad Wilson or head out on a SUP guided tour of the island, which has a calm lagoon with astonishing views of the towering blocks of rock, Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird.
Tasmania's waters might be best known for their incredible seafood but there are also some extraordinary paddling adventures to be had here. Hobart Stand Up Paddle and Surf, in conjunction with instructors from Bic Life, can help you start exploring the area's serene inlets and exposed water runs. It also has paddleboards for hire and can advise on which waterways around Hobart will suit you best.
Learn how to SUP in the calm waters of Perth's Swan River. Stand Up Surf Shop, billed as Australia's biggest SUP specialist store, offers two-hour lessons at Freshwater Bay on weekends starting at 8am. Instructor Cameron McKay knows what he’s talking about: he’s competed in 20-kilometre (12-mile) SUP marathons. The store also hires SUP boards for the day, the weekend or an entire week.
Stand Up Paddle SA, with a prime location in front of the sailing club at Adelaide's Seacliff Beach, offers group and one-on-one lessons ranging from beginner to expert guidance. If you want to correct your paddling skills you can even book in for a video session to help fine-tune your technique. SUP yoga classes on the ocean are available, weather permitting. SUP rentals include short, long and inflatable boards.
The waters at Apollo Bay (along Victoria's Great Ocean Road) can be on the fresher side, so wetsuits are included in a SUP lesson with Apollo Bay Surf & Kayak. The store, opposite the town's information centre, offers 90-minute lessons that cover entering and exiting the water, paddling technique and water safety.
Nestled within Queensland's Boodjamulla National Park you'll find an oasis in the outback - Lawn Hill Gorge. The calm, emerald waters are perfect for paddling, and you'll find wildlife, walks and cultural sites nearby. Plus, you can stay right next door at Adels Grove, which borders the Lawn Hill Creek, another top SUP spot. The camping park offers campgrounds for tents and RVs, but there are plenty of options for those who want to sleep off the ground. Take the hassle out of camping in a bunkhouse, ensuite room or permanent tent.