WE'RE SPOILT FOR CHOICE when it comes to deciding which Aussie paddling destination to tackle. Grab your gear and take on summer's cream of the crop, picked out by AG's 2009 Spirit of Adventure award winner, Andrew Hughes.
Whether you're finally trotting down to the water's edge to wet that old kayak you found in the garage or have smashed through more beach breaks than you've eaten summertime ice creams, the bubbling surf, smooth-as-silk lagoons and rambling rivers that make up Australia's waterways continue to serve up great classics and new surprises when it comes to paddling adventures. With more than 30, 000 km of exhilarating possibilities, here are our top suggestions for launching into a liquid adventure.
Best kayak day trips in Australia
1. Sydney Harbour, NSW
It would almost be worth fitting a rear view mirror to your sea kayak for a day trip around Sydney Harbour. Water craft of every conceivable description will be sharing the bays, points and bits in between. Start at Rose Bay and head towards the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Paddle beneath the bridge and make tracks to North Head before returning to Rose Bay. Depending on how many corners you decide to cut, the journey will be between 15 and 35 km. This day trip is glittering and hectic, everything Sydney should be.
If dodging furry quokkas on 'Rotto's' bike tracks sounds too tedious, take to the clear Indian Ocean waters with a paddle in hand. The full circumnavigation is up to 30 km and requires the sort of commitment you shouldn't really be bringing to the island. If it's breezy, as it often is, or you're a sand lover, just slide around a few points and linger in one of the many idyllic bays. Ferry's operate daily from Hillary's Boat Harbour, Fremantle and Barrack Street Jetty in Perth itself. The straight line distance is about 17 km from the mainland so you could even paddle over and save yourself the ferry fare.
3. Moreton Bay Islands, Qld
On the coast off Brisbane's Moreton Bay and between 1 and 10 km offshore, the Moreton Bay Islands are a sea kayaker's haven. Far from the mania of the city, paddlers can skim across sand and mud flats observing the prolific bird and sea life, including dugongs. Head across to Peel Island for a circumnavigation of areas only accessible by kayak, or check out Green, St Helena or Coochiemudlo islands. Pack binoculars, a camera and a little notebook and pretend you're Sir David Attenborough as you wildlife spot. You can also transport your kayaks to Moreton Bay Island on the Ferry and cruise the coast, in between ship wrecks, dolphins and whales.
Mowarry Beach isn't quite as popular as Bondi. Actually, it's not even close. Tucked into the far south coast of NSW in the Ben Boyd National Park, few people venture there. Check the wind and swell conditions before you set out. Start at Boydtown and paddle out of the sheltered waters of Twofold Bay. The national park begins on the other side of the woodchip mill at Edrom. Stick close to the rocky coast to view cormorants and other sea birds filling their bellies. Mowarry Beach sits beside a cleared area that used to be a farm and now makes an ideal base for a skinny dip.