Sydney & Hunter

Want to know the best places to go kayaking, canoeing, and stand up paddling in the Sydney and Hunter regions of New South Wales? These guides are free for Global Paddler members and yearly memberships are available now from the Global Paddler online store. To download a detailed trip description for a great paddling destination with photos, paddle map, GPS coordinates, fishing information, and recommended places to eat, drink and stay the night, simply click on its name in the table below.

Trip Locator Map for Sydney & Hunter Regions

1. Lake Glenbawn Lake Glenbawn is a lovely expanse of water that stretches out in the Upper Hunter from the largest earth-filled dam in the country. It’s the big bass capital of NSW, the freshwater turtle capital of the region, and it’s just down the road from Scone, the horse capital of Australia.
2. Lake St Clair Lake St Clair is a photogenic family-friendly water sports venue nestled in the rolling hills of the Hunter Valley. Many visitors take advantage of the waterfront camping to stay for more than just one day and there is always peace to be found in its secret outer reaches.
3. Allworth Allworth was once a famous Karuah River port from which steamships collected timber and farm produce for transportation to Sydney. Those days have gone and it’s now just a quiet village, but that’s exactly why it should be on your own secret tourist trail.
4. Clarence Town In 1801, Colonel William Paterson ventured up what is now known as the Williams River in search of its navigable limit. He found it at the site of present-day Clarence Town. Pick up where he left off and find your own navigable limit.
5. Karuah Seen recently on Facebook… Ivanna Paddlenow is looking for recommendations. “Hi Guys, Anyone know a great place to go kayak camping?” Nobody suggested Karuah but they should have. This trail features two Karuah National Park campgrounds and enough water for at least two days of paddling.
6. Tea Gardens The town of Tea Gardens lies at the mouth of the Myall River on the northern shore of Port Stephens. Immediately upstream an inland archipelago divides the river’s path into an array of secret channels and secluded inlets that are way too enticing to ignore.
7. Hunter Wetlands This adventure promises the opportunity to appreciate the sheer majesty of the mighty Hunter River estuary, a chance to lose yourself in the mangroves of the Hunter Wetlands National Park and the prospect of observing critically endangered migratory wading birds in their summer home.
8. Cockle Creek Cockle Creek is a sheltered little waterway behind The Five Islands at the northern tip of Lake Macquarie. It has a surprisingly colourful and sometimes chequered history that it whispers to visitors through place names, geographical features, and human footprints.
9. Blackalls Park Blackalls Park is a community which has had the pleasure of growing up around a lovely pair of bays at the north western corner of Lake Macquarie. The residents’ focal point is a pretty peninsula parkland which is a fantastic place to start an exploration of their hometown waters.
10. Dora Creek This is a trip for those paddlers who believe that variety is the spice of life. Partly out on the open waters of Lake Macquarie and partly inside the peaceful sheltered environment of Dora Creek, it’s more like two adventures than one.
11. Pulbah Island If wide open spaces are your kind of thing, you will love paddling out to Pulbah Island in the southern end of wonderfully expansive Lake Macquarie; the largest coastal salt water lake this side of the equator.
12. Wallarah Creek Apart from an unusual claim to fame when its name was used for a Pacific Motorway interchange, Wallarah Creek has remained relatively unheralded to anyone except locals and meticulously inquisitive explorers. This little natural wonder definitely deserves more time in the sun.
13. Wyong River Some places have spiritual energy that inhabits the headspace of the creative and compels them to express their feelings in works of art. The Wyong River is just such a place, inspiring a gorgeous contemporary folk song by musicians Nick and Liesl.
14. Webbs Creek Webbs Creek is a place where you can discard the “responsible adult” onesie that the world of grown-ups forces you to wear and you can just be a kid again. The only people you are likely to see here are other paddlers who have discarded their onesies too.
15. Mangrove Creek The best reason to paddle Mangrove Creek comes from the largest yoga retreat centre in the southern hemisphere. The Mangrove Yoga Ashram has based itself here because “people have always enjoyed travelling to beautiful locations to get away from it all”.
16. Spencer Alchemy, magic, charisma, call it what you will. Some places have an irresistible blend of beauty and charm which compels you to make a special home for them in your heart. The tiny village of Spencer at the junction of the Hawkesbury River and Mangrove Creek is one of those places.
17. Mooney Mooney Creek This is an aquatic exploration of the Brisbane Water National Park using creeks that are traced by the “Somersby & Mooney Mooney Creek Loop” section of the Great North Walk, so it’s a great chance to test the theory that paddling is just like bushwalking on water.
18. Mullet Creek Mullet Creek runs alongside the train line between Sydney and the Central Coast and is just a few kilometres from the F3 Freeway but the laid back lifestyle of the oyster farmers that use it makes it feel remote in both distance and time.
19. Woy Woy The Sydney rock oysters grown in the Woy Woy area are regarded by some as the best in the world and lucky paddlers can get them fresh from the farm. A multitude of bays and channels also make this a really interesting environment to explore.
20. Patonga As the home and hub of heaps of paddling adventures, this hidden Hawkesbury hamlet has helped turn a host of heartfelt hopes into happenings, from the heavenly to the heroic. It’s a happy haven for hydrophilic humans.
21. Juno Point The trip from Brooklyn to Patonga is on expansive waters at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River and at times can be like sea kayaking, particularly when you are amongst the rise and fall of the ocean swells.
22. Berowra Creek Berowra Creek is a tributary of the Hawkesbury River that is flanked by thick natural bushland. The steep and often spectacular terrain has preserved it from development and made it one of Sydney’s favourite weekend getaways.
23. Pittwater Beaches Pittwater is home to many of the wealthier members of Sydney society and the filming location for much of the ‘Home and Away’ television series, but you don’t need to be rich or famous to come here and paddle.
24. McCarrs Creek Venture out of the tranquil waters of McCarrs Creek into an area filled with secluded settlements not reachable by road. The only access is by boat across Pittwater or on foot through the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
25. Jerusalem Bay The sheltered waters of Jerusalem Bay are in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park just north of Sydney and only accessible by boat or on foot. It is a real luxury that we have somewhere so untouched so close to a major city.
26. Narrabeen Lakes Narrabeen Lakes is a popular paddling spot on Sydney’s northern beaches. Surrounding hills provide great shelter and the water is calm and accessible. The fact that it’s next to one of the world’s best surf beaches is an added bonus.
27. Smiths Creek This paddle consists of three creeks but don’t let that mislead you. There is a real feeling of space. Most of the trip takes place on wide deep waterways surrounded by steep hills covered in dense native bushland.
28. Cowan Creek A trip like this makes you appreciate the fact that we have national parks. “How’s the serenity?” It feels like you are going where no one has been before as you wind your way through this unspoiled peaceful valley.
29. Nepean Gorge The Nepean Gorge is in the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park and its steep walls soar high on either side. Nothing takes your breath away quite like paddling through a magnificent natural gorge.
30. Middle Harbour Creek This trip through the Garigal National Park just north of the Sydney CBD is a wonderful tonic for city life. It’s also perfect for beginners because it’s sheltered and walking tracks follow both shores.
31. Scotts Creek In the late 1800s and early 1900s “in the know” Sydneysiders travelled to this area to get away from it all. Some things never change. Come and experience one of Sydney’s best kept secrets for yourself.
32. North Harbour Manly is unquestionably a tourist mecca and a great place to visit on its own, but there is so much more to this area of Port Jackson, not least the North Harbour Aquatic Reserve, an important breeding area for the little penguin.
33. Middle Harbour Paddle past sunken wrecks in Salt Pan Cove and historic houseboats in Pearl Bay, under the landmark Spit Bridge, and on to the great beaches of Middle Harbour, all less than 10 kilometres from the Sydney CBD.
34. Lavender Bay See world-famous iconic Sydney landmarks like you’ve never seen them before as you explore bays on the northern shore of Port Jackson and visit Goat Island, known to local Aboriginal people as the eye of the Harbour.
35. Lane Cove River The Lane Cove River winds its way through suburbia just 10 kilometres northwest of the Sydney CBD, but thanks to Lane Cove National Park and surrounding parklands it can feel a million miles from anywhere.
36. Parramatta River The Parramatta River is Sydney Harbour’s primary tributary. Its shoreline and bays contain lasting records and poignant reminders of the colourful history of what is undeniably one of the best known and most captivating cities on earth.
37. Sydney Harbour West A day on Sydney Harbour is always a treat due to the wealth of legendary landmarks and fascinating history. The four islands and three bridges of this ultra-urban paddle ensure that it is no exception.
38. Sydney Harbour East Sydney’s Port Jackson is arguably the most beautiful harbour in the world. Stunning views of natural shores, and snapshots of the landmark features, are waiting here to be yours, on a paddle through its eastern reaches.
39. Towra Point Towra Point is very close to where Captain Cook first landed in Australia. Despite being surrounded by development, it is one of the few places in Sydney that has remained virtually unchanged since.
40. Simmos Beach Coming in 2021.
41. Georges River National Park Twenty five kilometres south west of Sydney, nestled between Sutherland and Bankstown, is a beautiful narrow strip of riverside bushland which is the perfect backdrop for a paddle on the Georges River.
42. Salt Pan Creek Salt Pan Creek is a small tributary of the Georges River dividing the suburbs of Padstow and Riverwood. The area has something of a chequered history but you should not let that discourage you from paddling what is now rehabilitated as a peaceful recreational corridor in urban Sydney.
43. Lime Kiln Bay Rehabilitation of wetlands at Lime Kiln Bay has improved the quality of water flowing into the Georges River and given protection to a variety of native bird species. It also provides a quiet refuge for paddlers away from the hustle and bustle of the larger waterways of the area.
44. Woronora River North Approaching the beautiful Woronora River valley, the view is dominated by the broad sweep of the high-level bridge standing some 38 metres above water level. A shared use path suspended beneath the bridge offers a spectacular view over the river in the direction you’ll be paddling.
45. Woronora Woronora is a charming riverside village in a densely forested valley with one access road and several houses only reachable by water. It sounds and feels like somewhere remote, but it’s in the Sutherland Shire, just 27 kilometres from the Sydney CBD.
46. Port Hacking West Port Hacking has a purity that is part nature, part nurture. It is open to the sea so its waters are naturally refreshed by the tides, and the protective presence of the neighbouring Royal National Park ensures that it remains perfect for paddling.
47. Boat Harbour Four-wheel-drive may be the preferred mode of transport around Boat Harbour at the north end of Sydney’s famed Cronulla beaches, but it’s not the only way. For more adventurous paddlers, a visit by kayak or SUP offers a very different perspective.
48. Cabbage Tree Basin The twin settlements of Bundeena and Maianbar bookend the entrance to a hidden oasis on the southern shore of Sydney’s Port Hacking. Protected by the surrounding Royal National Park, Cabbage Tree Basin is a naturally formed deep water amphitheatre known to locals as simply The Basin.