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Kayak Sydney Harbour - Kayaking Sydney Harbour | Don't Ever Look Back

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Kayaking Sydney Harbour

Kayaking Sydney Harbour

Back in early 2012, we discovered that kayaking was a fantastic way to discover a new city when the two of us paddled around Hobart.

But the opportunity to paddle around the world-famous Sydney Harbour, including going directly under the Harbour Bridge, is something that should be on bucket lists right around the world.

My day started at Lavender Bay Wharf at 7:00am, meeting the friendly Patrick from Natural Wanders. I was lucky enough to be the only person on his tour that morning and being a public holiday in Sydney, the Harbour was relatively quiet and perfect for a morning of kayaking.

Starting point for Sydney Harbour Kayak

After re-introducing me to the basics of kayaking and the safety procedures, Patrick and I set off from the wharf in a double kayak and headed straight past the much-loved Luna Park and towards the Harbour Bridge.

“Slow down”, Patrick warned me, letting me know that slow and steady would prove much more effective than my fast-paced start with the paddle.

About to kayak under the Sydney Harbour Bridge

I took Patrick’s advice and settled into a reliable stroke, working in tandem with him to glide through the water as we approached the iconic Harbour Bridge.

Before long we were directly underneath this epic structure and we were able to take a moment to soak it all in. The photo below doesn’t even do it justice!

Directly underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge

After passing underneath the Bridge, we paddled our way around to Kirribilli Point – the location of the Sydney residences of Australia’s Prime Minister and Governor-General.

When our PM is in town she resides at the gothic-style Kirribilli House, built in 1854. You could get quite a good view of the property from the water, much better than you could ever see from solid ground.

Kirribilli House is the official Sydney residence of the Australian Prime Minister

As we continued to paddle, we passed the Royal Sydney Yacht Squardon which was founded in 1862 and headed into Milsons Point. Patrick impressed me tremendously with his knowledge of the boats housed at R.S.Y.S. and their history.

From “Nerida” which was built in 1933 and won the 1950 Sydney-to-Hobart race on handicap to “Australia”, the 1977 and 1980 challenger in the America’s Cup finals, he seemed to know anything and everything and my countless questions didn’t phase him.

Australia Boat

It wasn’t just boats that Patrick knew about though – it was the historic buildings in the area. From “Sunnyside” built in 1862 to “The Walder” built in the 1920s, this man was an expert. One of the most interesting was “Once Upon A Time”, built in 1936 at Potts Point and moved by barge during WWII to make way for a naval dry dock construction.

Once Upon A Time

There was also plenty of wealth on show around the Harbour with one example being a home that was purchased for $13 million and demolished to make way for a brand new luxury mansion. We kept on paddling around to Cremorne Point and Robertson Lighthouse, which was quite some distance from our starting point.

Robertson Lighthouse

After seeing some more impressive houses and getting a glimpse of a stingray in the water at Mosman Bay, Patrick offered me a well-earned rest. I wasn’t one to say no so I sat back in the kayak and enjoyed the views of Sydney’s skyline through the trees before it was time to head back.

Mosman Bay

We slowly paddled back through the Harbour past the Opera House and under the Harbour Bridge for a second time. It was a little busier now that a couple of hours had passed and the water wasn’t quite as steady but it was just as memorable.

By now I was starting to fatigue and my hands were getting sore from the paddling, but I couldn’t resist Patrick’s offer to head over to Goat Island and see one of Sydney Harbour’s hidden gems – a sea eagle sitting in a tree just watching the world go by.

Sea Eagle

The eagle had a massive wingspan and was a beautiful site to see at the end of this adventure around Sydney Harbour. We eventually returned back to Lavender Bay Wharf having covered a whopping 17.3km in just under 4 hours.

Patrick offers very personalised tours with small groups and can also do private tours for 1-2 people. If you’re looking for a unique perspective of Sydney that you’ll never forget, a kayak around Sydney Harbour is something definitely worth considering.


Experience Sydney in 360˚

Sydney 360

A brand new innovation from Destination NSW allows us to participate in some of these iconic Sydney experiences before we even book a flight there.

We can now surf on Bondi Beach and kayak on Sydney Harbour without getting wet! We can also fly a helicopter over the Harbour without leaving the ground thanks to the new 360˚ video developed and launched by Destination NSW.

Check Sydney 360˚ out at sydney.com/sydney360


  1. Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Yep, you’ve just added yet another thing to my Aussie bucket list 😀 Thanks!

  2. Posted June 11, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Wow! I had no idea you could do this, how fun!!!

    • Posted June 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      So much fun! There are other companies out there in Sydney but doubt they’d offer an experience as good as this one.

  3. Posted June 11, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    That’s so cool that you got to see a stingray! I went kayaking at a beach last Sunday and I know what you mean about being sore but wanting to see more… Sounds like you had an awesome experience! It’s cool that you got to see the city from a different perspective 🙂
    Beth recently posted..lisbon gems pt.2

    • Posted June 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      The stingray was very cool, they like to hide in the shadows so was very lucky to see it. The sea eagle was even more impressive!

      Yeah a few minutes of extra pain was well worth the reward!

  4. Posted June 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Really wish it didn’t rain on us during our time in Sydney – would have loved to try this! Gerard and I recently did kayaking in Bay of Halong, VietNam. Even got a chance to do night kayaking! It was incredibly beautiful. Next time we’re in Sydney though, I’m adding this to my list, rain or shine.
    Jacob Marlfoyle recently posted..Facebook Contest – Win a free Halong day trip for two every week!

    • Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      It definitely wouldn’t have been as enjoyable on a rainy or windy day, that’s for sure. Night kayaking sounds amazing! Hopefully the next destination we do it is with the Orca whales off Vancouver. 🙂

  5. Posted June 13, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a great way to see the iconic sights of Sydney. We managed to join the crew of a yacht sailing in the twilight series on the harbor during our stay last year and I have to say it was an awesome experience. I’m definitely adding this to my list for the next time we visit!
    Wanderlusters recently posted..Travel Talk | Religion and Respect

    • Posted June 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Totally jealous of your experience! Would love to be on the Harbour in a yacht, particularly if the chance was there during New Year’s. Hope you can do it the next time you’re in Sydney. 🙂

  6. Danny Delnison
    Posted July 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    This’s look so great. But i can’t swim. Although protection but kayaking don’t match with me.

  7. Reb
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Everyone talks about the Harbour Bridge Climb but kayaking is also such a brilliant thing to do.
    Thanks for the detailed insight.
    I’m visiting Sydney next month for the first time and want to get my hands on more things to do when in Sydney.

One Trackback

  • By Best Places to Take Photos in Sydney | View From The Club on September 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    […] Lavender Bay: Catch a ride to the harborside suburb of Lavender Bay for views of the Sydney skyline and a walk onto the Lavender Bay Wharf. If you don’t mind getting wet, take your camera onto the water and kayak Lavender Bay for sea-level views like these from the travel blog Don’t Ever Look Back. […]

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