Our Experience Kayaking on Middle Harbour, Sydney

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Looking for a unique adventure in Sydney? Then be sure to explore the hidden treasures of Middle Harbour in Sydney by kayaking.

Kayaking on Middle Harbour allows you to get off-the-beaten-path and get an intimate connection with nature and breathtaking views of the Sydney Harbour waterway.

But before you grab a paddle and hit the waters, here is what you can expect from a kayak tour of Middle Harbour based on our personal experience.

Where Is The Best Place to Go Kayaking In Sydney?

kayaking near sydney harbor bridge

When it comes to finding the best place for kayaking in Sydney, there are numerous stunning locations to choose from.

While most tourists expect to see views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, this part of the harbour is very busy with boats and is not the ideal place to kayak Sydney’s waterways.

One top spot is Middle Harbour, a hidden gem that offers a tranquil and picturesque kayaking experience that allows you to see the true beauty of our harbour.

Here you can paddle through the calm waters and explore hidden beaches and secret coves that are only accessible by kayak.

For those seeking a unique adventure, Goat Island in Sydney Harbour is a great place. Those who kayak to this scenic island will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city skyline and the amazing opportunity to explore hidden coves. See kayak tours to Goat Island here.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly option, Narrabeen Lagoon is a fantastic choice. This expansive estuary system in the Northern Beaches provides a safe and enjoyable kayaking experience for all ages.

Other noteworthy kayaking spots include Malabar Beach, Parramatta River, Manly Wharf and Manly Cove, Balmoral Beach, and many more. Each location offers its own charm and natural beauty, ensuring a memorable kayaking experience in Sydney.

Outside of Sydney, Ku-Ring Gai Chase National Park and Royal National Park are also great places to have a kayaking adventure.

About Middle Harbour Eco Tours

  • Our Middle Harbour Eco Tour was with Sydney Harbour Kayaks
  • The tour runs for 4 hours every Saturday and Sunday starting from 8.30am at The Spit in Mosman.
  • Tour cost: $145 per person including guide and equipment use.
  • The tour includes instruction on safety, a qualified and friendly guide, life jacket, all paddling equipment and portable floatation devices needed, storage of your belongings and safe, stable double kayaks.
  • The tour is suitable for first-timers and kayakers of all skill levels
  • You can park your car near Spit Bridge, this is the closest parking lot to the tour starting point

Our Experience Kayaking Middle Harbour

caz in kayak on Sydney Harbour
Ready to go

It was hard to believe that we were paddling on one of the world’s busiest harbours.

All that could be heard was the gentle splashing of the beautiful waters of Sydney as the oars sliced through it from one side of the kayak to the other.

boats docked in water

Megan and I, friends only since yesterday, already had fallen into a silent rhythm softly interrupting the stillness of the air around us.

“The water is like glass today. I have never seen it so still before. Perfect kayaking conditions” Our guide, Carly, a Canadian on an Australian working holiday experience informed us.

a kayak in water

After a week of rain and a summer of horrid weather, I soaked up the sun on my skin as it beat down from a clear, blue sky highlighting just why Sydney Harbour is the known as one of the most stunning harbours in the world.

We were on Middle Harbour.

I am ashamed to admit, I did not know about it until the kayak tour. Sydney Harbour’s foreshores extend for over 150 miles so you can be forgiven not knowing everything about it.

I know the suburbs that sat on Middle Harbour: Mossman, Clontarf, Sea Forth, and Northbridge. I certainly knew about the wealth that lived there anyhow.

We marveled at the mansions sitting on the cliff face as we slowly paddled by, wondering about the life lived in a place where the only entrance in and out were steep stairs and inclinators, as the cliff face elevators are called in these parts.

“How do they get their furniture up there? Where do they park their cars? What must their boats look like?

We chose our favourites from the little cottage tucked into the corner with its own private sandy beach, the million dollar mansion with vine covered balconies and palm trees obstructing our intrusive eyes, or the wooden cabins camouflaged into the foliage of the bush.

Civilisation soon gave way to the most amazing parts of Middle Harbour, the remote natural bushland of the Garigal National Park. The cicadas deafening sound greeted us, alongside the squawks of crows and cockatoos.

a boat on sydney harbour in front of opera houes

Our kayaks soon ran up onto the sand underneath, the low tide forcing us to say goodbye to our journey through the healthy mangrove system of the National Park – that would be for a story another time.

Our entrance was forbidden, but they were not shy in farewelling us with an empowering stench of rotten egg, similar to that of a puffing volcano.

Maybe the stench is a protective mechanism to stop humans, once again, destroying a very important part of our ecosystem.

The mangroves being responsible for depositing tonnes of leaves each year into the ocean which is the start of the food chain. Maybe the smell is a reminder to us to live harmoniously with the branches that feed us.

Our conversations across the three canoes were filled with banter as we traded stories of dangerous animals, outdoor activities, and food of the five nations that separated us: Australia, England, US, NZ and Canada.

people kayaking on middle harbour

The talk of food prompting our bellies to paddle up to the beach of the the small cove that appeared around the bend for a cuppa and a snack.

Did it have something to do with thoroughly enjoying every present moment paddling in such a beautiful setting that made the watermelon so fresh and juicy and the instant coffee so creamy? Let’s not even go there with the double choc cookies.

Our wholesome morning tea break was enough to fuel us up for the second half of the morning, although the heaviness of the arms became noticeable once we started paddling again.

I welcomed it though, as a sign that I as moving my body and hardening up; I had become way too soft.

We battled with the wake of passing cruise boats, becoming like those Olympic athletes we saw training on kayaks in the distance, racing across the channel to avoid being T-boned by the larger vessels we shared the harbour with.

sydney harbour bridge and views of the harbour and skyline

In reality it was because Carly had just informed us that we were sitting above the black hole, the deepest part of Sydney Harbour; an abyss where sharks liked to play.

I’m all about seeing the native wildlife, but sore arms or not, nothing gets me moving faster in water than the ‘S’ word.

It was satisfying, yet disappointing end when our paddles hit the sandy bank of home. Our time in the water was far too short. I’ve known Sydney Harbour all my life and spent plenty of ways getting to know her.

This was my first time experiencing her on a kayak and I discovered a different side: a quiet, calm, and natural environment.

I liked this new side to her.

Final Thoughts

Kayaking on Middle Harbour is a serene and awe-inspiring experience. The tranquil waters, surrounded by untouched nature, create a sense of calm and tranquility.

Exploring hidden coves and lovely beaches from the vantage point of a kayak allows you to gain a sense of serenity in the solitude, and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where have you enjoyed kayaking before? Let us know in the comments.

Don’t miss these other popular Sydney Harbour experiences:

My stay in Sydney was hosted by Destination NSW and our kayak trip by Sydney Harbour Kayaks. All opinions are of my own.

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