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Kayaking in Sydney Harbour

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posts: 2,188
reviews: 39
Kayaking in Sydney Harbour

Are there any outfitters that provide half-day tours in the harbour area? What are the highlights?

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
posts: 17,405
reviews: 146
1. Re: Kayaking in Sydney Harbour

Haven't tried this but saw it on TV. It got good reviews here's the link


Not sure I'd take my kids out beside the ferries!

posts: 361
reviews: 33
2. Re: Kayaking in Sydney Harbour

Love your title, Middle Aged Man. I assume you have the wisdom of the outstanding Saturday Night Live Mike Myers character !!

I'm a keen kayaker (most mornings) and a regular on the harbour on different sorts of craft.

By and large, unless you're very experienced and don't mind dealing with quite severe wash, I'd stay away from touring the main harbour. It is a very busy working harbour with constant ferries, cruise boats and, on Wednesday afternoons and all weekend, it has all manner of yacht races going on. A pain to keep dodging all of these and combined with the natural swell and waves even small boats have a rough time of it.

The most picturesque place to kayak tour is in Middle Harbour and there are two operators doing tours from the Spit Bridge (you can get bus to there easily from the CBD). Sydney Harbour Kayaks is one, as mentioned by Guruswife. You can google up these. My strong recommendation is to do your tour from here since they do go out into the main harbour on good days.

As for highlights of the harbour, there are many. It is a very varied place. The entrance to the harbour can be a wild place. On a windy day you can get 5-6 metre seas across the harbour heads with very interesting reflected waves. The sea is regularly up over 1.5 metres here making kayaking interesting.

The central harbour is wide and appealing with most areas being seemingly quite built up (particularly on the south side) but with plenty of bushy bays on the north side. There are beaches throughout the harbour on both sides. Just cruising along looking at the suburbs is quite fun.

My favourite places are the little coves around Manly (like Quarantine Bay) and almost all of Middle Harbour where, if you go up as far as Bantry Bay you'll feel you're in a remote national park. One small note from a kayakers point of view is that there ARE sharks in the harbour, particularly near the entrance. I have paddled past ones near Manly a couple of times and have seen them from boats. They're mostly not very interested in kayaks, although there was a story a couple of years ago about a guy who had his kayak chomped by a hungry one (apparently upstream from the Harbour Bridge which is unusual in itself) and ended up shinning up a navigation pole. If you're with a group this won't be a problem.

Where I live now, in Broken Bay which is the next harbour north of Sydney, we see sharks regularly as we cross the open water but there's no history of them attacking people here.

The inner harbour, past the Bridge, is much less hilly and is more of a riverscape. Pretty in many places but not as dramatic. Don't tour here in preference to Middle Harbour.

Hope this helps.

posts: 361
reviews: 33
3. Re: Kayaking in Sydney Harbour

Further to my previous post, I took a quick look at the tours on offer (I normally go by myself or with friends). As expected Sydney Harbour Kayaks runs out of the Spit. Their ECOtour is the Middle Harbour half day. Looks good.

There are other companies running tours around Watson's Bay and Rose Bay. Quite nice too, but much more built up. One adventurous operator (KayakSydney) takes you under the Harbour Bridge. That would be quite adventurous for anyone except quite competent paddlers except on a very quiet day. Definitely not something to do on a busy Saturday !!

posts: 2,188
reviews: 39
4. Re: Kayaking in Sydney Harbour

Thanks OnThePoint.

I've contacted the Sydney Kayak Tours and am planning on doing the EcoTour the day after I arrive.

Good tip! Thanks alot.