From peaceful inlets to graceful meandering rivers and impressive gorges, Australia is a haven for paddlers. With such a great diversity of waterways, anyone from the beginner to the pro can try their hand at canoeing, kayaking or rafting on a spectacular river or catching a wave at a popular beach. Here are a few examples as to where you can go to explore some of Australia’s most magnificent waterways.
A popular paddle on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is the Noosa River at the northern reaches of the coast in the district of Noosa. Accommodation can be found near places that rent canoes and kayaks so you can get set up and on your way. This river provides a dynamic paddle suitable for all experience levels that will take you snaking through the charming residential areas and skirting the edges of outstanding lakes as you admire the mangrove forests, wildlife and impressive sand dunes. Accommodation in Noosa can be found easily and for a reasonable price if you want to bring along the family for a day on the water.
A popular destination for the traveling tourist, Byron Bay is famous not only for its alternative vibe, great shopping and spectacular surfing. It is also a good spot to view humpback whales as they pass by on their seasonal migration. There are many kayak touring companies who take you out into the Bay so that you can have an up-close and personal view of the passing sea creatures.
Nothing is more thrilling than the feeling you get when you are careening down through a mountain valley, taking on waterfalls and rapids and feeling the energy of the river pushing you along as you battle to stay afloat. For the experienced paddler, there are plenty of places in the Snowy Mountains where you can do some white water kayaking, and if you are less experienced then why not join a white water rafting tour so you can get the adrenalin rush without the worry. There is no better way to get the heart pumping than this!
The Murray River
If it is a more leisurely and meandering paddle that you are after, then get your canoe packed up and try a section of the Murray River. This long, slow moving and sinuous river is best to paddle over multiple days if you want to get the most out of it. A great place to start is near the South Australia-Victoria border and to continue in a southwest direction towards the Southern Ocean. Along the way, you will be rewarded with abundant wildlife, dynamic scenery, great fishing and a slow, relaxing pace.
The magnificent Katherine River in Australia’s Northern Territory provides the adventurous paddlers with a spectacular multi day trip through dramatic gorges, closed-in paper bark forests and fascinating rock formations. The best way to see this river is on a 3-day guided tour as you will need a local to show you where all the best and safest campgrounds are along the way. This adventure has a bit of everything; slow, meandering rivers, short sections of small rapids, quick portages and a little danger what with the lurking saltwater crocodiles!