Bucketlist Travels logo

Travel bucket list idea:

Kayaking on Sydney Harbour

  • Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Last updated: 04 April, 2024

Recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful waterways, Sydney Harbour offers plenty of hidden coves, islands and secret beaches to visit – perfect for kayaking. It’s also a great way to get out and appreciate Circular Quay and the major landmarks from a different perspective – the Opera House, for one, looks very different from the water side.

Guided tours leave from several locations, but Rose Bay and Balmoral Beach are particularly scenic, with sandy beaches, flash waterfront property and plenty of luxury boats. If you want to see some of the city’s famous landmarks, then book a small group tour from the Domain.


Price from: £70
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around
Duration: 2 hours

Getting there & doing it

For safety reasons, it’s best to join an organised tour rather than kayak independently. Sydney Harbour is a commercial waterway and weather conditions can change abruptly. There are several companies operating from bases on the lower North Shore, Middle Harbour and the Eastern Suburbs.

If you are staying in the city centre the obvious choice is OzPaddle, which is based at Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool in the Domain. They offer a two-hour excursion, taking in Woolloomooloo, Fort Denison and the Sydney Opera House, as well as to other picturesque sites like Rose Bay. Open to all ages.

If you prefer to go independently, you’ll find several places to hire kayaks, including Manly, Rose Bay, Rozelle Bay, Balmoral Beach, The Domain and the Spit Bridge.

Rose Bay is accessible by bus or ferry, but you may need an Uber or cab to reach the best kayaking locations on the Lower North Shore and Middle Harbour; the Spit Bridge is a particular favourite among kayakers.

Since you are likely to get wet, if not soaked, wear shorts and a tee-shirt or swimwear and a tee-shirt. Take a dry change of clothes. A hat and sunblock are absolutely essential

When to do it

Kayaking is a year-round activity on the harbour, but the water is obviously pretty chilly in the southern winter (June to August). Mornings are best for kayaking, before the strong easterlies kick in.