Top paddling towns


It all seems so easy. Get home from work early, load-up the car and get out of town before peak hour hits so you can enjoy another weekend getaway. Inevitably work gets in the way and you wonder whether you’ll ever get out of the office at all! But once you’ve left those city lights and worries behind you, you know that another great experience is just a short drive away. Even easier is planning a paddling experience that leaves directly from the town or city you are staying in.


Australia has a massive network of spectacular waterways with rivers, bays, estuaries and lakes making perfect places to do some canoeing. Looking at the land from the water is a totally different experience to looking at the water from the land. Within just 3 hours easy drive of all of Australia’s capital cities you can find beautiful places to spend time canoeing. Or if you can afford to get away for

longer, there are some special places overseas that are worth a visit.


Internationally, there are many great cities perfect for sea kayaking, and where a stones throw away from the central launching site you can be immersed in your own wilderness experience.



Nagambie is the pushing off point for the Nagambie Lakes in the Goulburn Valley. With a population approximately 1,900, Nagambie sits amongst some of Victoria’s leading wineries and award-winning restaurants, and is situated on the shores of Lake Nagambie, a national standard rowing and canoeing course that is reputably Victoria’s premier inland waterway. For day trips you can canoe or kayak on the Goulburn River and perhaps even sample fine wines and gourmet produce at renowned wineries such as Mitchelton Wines and Tahbilk Winery and Vineyard.

Nagambie is just over an hour from Melbourne travelling along the Hume Freeway to Seymour then taking the Shepparton turn-off onto the Goulburn Valley Highway. This is easily the area for any fitness or skill level and great for day trips. Not only that but if you prefer to stay in comfort, instead of roughing it, there are plenty of hotels around. The wineries of the region offer great menus and tasting plates of local produce, as well as the expected wine tasting.


Located less than 200km south of Sydney, Vincentia, on the shores of Jervis Bay, is the jumping off point for a myriad of adventures in the Jervis Bay region. Vincentia is in close proximity to other villages like Huskisson and Hyams Beach - each with it’s own special tourist attractions. All types of accomodation and restaurants abound. This means you can easily take day trips to satisfy your need for kayaking and exploring or take longer trips, and overnight iin areas such as the Booderee National Park boasts several out-of-the-way camping spots such as Green Patch and Caves Beach also some great bush walking tracks. The Jervis Bay Marine Park spans over 100km of coastline and adjacent ocean, extending from Kinghorn Point in the north to Sussex Inlet in thesouth and including most of Jervis Bay. It is a multiple use park that aims to conserve marine biological diversity and marine habitats, while catering for a broad range of recreational and commercial activities. The Park is used for Whale Watching Cruises, scuba diving, fishing charters, sea kayaking, visiting museums and lighthouses. Its outstanding scenery, clean clear water with white sand beaches and wildlife make it a natural destination.



This is the gateway to Glacier Bay, National Park, and is perhaps the best town accessible touring anywhere in the USA. Although its great for kayaking, the town has no night-life unless you count the northern lights, and it is also a “dry” town, so not for party-goers. However, with only 400 year round residents, the small quaint charm is relaxing and the terrain doesn’t get any better. The settlement

is located at the base of Glacier Bay, which is home to 16 tidewater glaciers, and is located across the Strait from Chicagof Island and the humpback Whale mecca of Pt. Adolphus. The town itself consists of a petrol Station, Hardware Store, Café, grocery Story, School Post Office and a few Bed and Breakfasts. Glacier Lodge is the only accommodation within the Park Boundaries, and that’s about it.




This is the place that you are most likely to encounter wildlife while out kayaking. Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Whales, Bears and Otters abound! And all surrounded by a vista of snow capped mountains. Although you won’t paddle tidewater glaciers here, this quaint town is the jumping off point for most of the SouthEast coast, providing miles and miles of calm water kayaking suitable for almost any standard. Sitka sits among the Tongass National Forest, the worlds largest temperate rainforest, which means that the weather is often wet. But beyond the wetness are great trips and access to fantastic camp sites. Good short trips from town can take in Pirates Cove or Entrance Bay.Longer trips (up to two weeks) could head through the Islands or south to Necker Bay. Paddle to the Sitka historical Site and take in towering Spruce and totem poles – the work of Tinglit carvers.


Bar Harbour has become one of the USA’s primary paddling destinations, and its no wonder. Nestled on the eastern shore of Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbour is flanked by Granite Cliffs, Spruce and Fir forests and the Dark, Cold waters of Acadia national park. Not only that, but there are over 100 Islands in the vicinity, all abounding with animal life. Wherever you paddle, keep a watch for harbour seals and porpoises, bald eagles, osprey and other sea birds. You’ll also get a glimpse of the other main, the working waterfront. Lobstering and other commercial fishing boats outnumber recreational boaters, and the western side of the Island has aquaculture pens dedicated to raising Atlantic Salmon. Once you are done exploring, Bar Harbour offers a variety of restaurants, night life and accommodation. This is a great place to explore, particularly if you are more inclined to rest in a comfortable bed, rather than a tent.





Famous for such things as John Steinbecks’ Cannery Row, Monterey is rapidly gaining popularity as one of the most popular sea kayaking destinations in the USA. In September 1992, Monterey Bay became the largest marine sanctuary in the USA, covering over 4000 square nautical miles. The Sanctuary is home to Gray Whales, sea otters and sea birds. This is the perfect destination for those inclined to partner sea kayaking with snorkelling or diving. Monterey Bay is also home to massive kelp beds, which house a multitude of fish species. Monterey is a classic Californian area, with a huge variety of eateries, restaurants and accommodation.



There are plenty of towns in Fiji to use as your base for sea kayak adventure. Fiji is a South Pacific island nation comprising 322 tropical islands spread over the reef-strewn Koro Sea in the southwest Pacific Ocean. many of the islands are volcanic and are strictly populated by native Fijians. About 100 of the islands are inhabited, and range from large mountainous wooded landmasses to coral cays that you can walk across with a few steps. Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu covers 10,388 sq. km. and has 80% of the population. Any jumping off point will prove spectacular. each new vista shows great beaches, amazing local villages and sunshine. If you base yourself in Nadi you can contemplate day trips, but will largely visit only the more populated areas of Fiji. For a longer trip where you can get away from the crowds, you should consider a selfsupported trip through some of the less populated islands, such as the Yasawa group in Northern Fiji.

The Yasawas are a chain of 16 volcanic islands lying to the NW of Viti Levu, and are strictly populated by native Fijians.This is the ultimate sea kayak adventure, and if you go with a tour company, you can spend time as a guest of a traditional Fijian Village.A popular tour allows exploration of a secluded uninhabited desert island, and uninhinited enjoyment of tropical sunsets, white sandy beaches fringed with swaying coconut palms, cathedral-like limestone caves and snorkelling over exquisite coral reefs.


Ihe most humbling and powerful place on earth, and a sea kayaking holiday in Antarctica is an experience not to be missed. Every day holds new wonders, from face to face encounters with whales, penguins and seals to serene paddles among brash ice and through narrow fjords dwarfed by enormous Antarctic icebergs. While the closest town to use as your base would be Ushuaia in Argentina, you can safely class the Polar Icebreaker not only as your accommodation or the trip to the continent, but also as your town. The ship houses more than 50 people plus crew, and some are very luxurious cruise ships with cinema and other luxuries on board.

Antarctica is truly a wild place of indescribable beauty, and by basing yourself on a motorized cruise ship, you are fully able to appreciate the grandeur of the continent through short one day kayak trips, or even trips of only a few hours. Kayak trips give you the opportunity to become intimately acquainted with ice bergs, pancake ice, penguins, whales, sea birds, seals and other creatures. You easily have time to set up the most amazing photo opportunities, touch and feel the last frontier on earth, and still return to comfort at night.



Milford Sound is truly New Zealand’s most spectacular sea kayaking destination – it is the only way to really experience the magnificence of this world famous fjord. Kayaking allows you to become part of the environment, paddling beneath towering granite overhangs, waterfalls, the Pembroke Glacier and mile high Mitre Peak. Base yourself in Te Anau, a small resort town close to the National Park. This will enable you to partake of day trips, or if you are more adventurous, you can pack for an extended voyage, taking in some of the specactular walks in the area. Escape the crowds and explore; fur seals, Fjordland crested penguins and playful dolphins frequent the fjord. Te Anau offers seven days a week shopping facilities with a wide variety of competitively priced goods. Visitor service is excellent with two major banks, rental cars, medical and dental services. Te Anau is also known for its very fine restaurants with their extensive selection of award winning New Zealand wines. The focus of many of these is Lake Te Anau itself. The second largest in the country, several scenic cruises operate on the lake, and there are also opportunities to hire rowing boats, motor boats, kayaks and jet-skis.



Historically, the Bay of Islands was a cradle for early Maori civilisation, as well as for the first European settlements of the early 1800’s. Remote Maori pa sites (fortified village headlands), such as Rangihoua Pa abound throughout and kayaking is the perfect way to gain access to hike these panoramic archaeological sites. Magnificent stretches of coastline stretch both to the north and south of the Bay of Islands, provide a perfect setting for adventurous, scenery inspired ocean kayaking. The numerous sea caves, archways and rock pinnacles along the way will enhance the paddling experience. Arriving into the heart of the Bay of Islands, your first port of call will probably be the bustling seaside town of Paihia. It’s a great place to base yourself during your stay in Northland. There are great local bars and even a wine bar; wineries within 40 mins. There’s also gift stores, a pharmacy, and souvenir shops. Just make sure you reserve your accommodation before arriving as it can often be booked out on busy days. Novice kayakers with a sense of adventure, good level of physical fitness and a desire to learn ocean “kayak seamanship” skills will find these trips very rewarding. Experienced paddlers will be able to further their kayaking skills in the many areas of expertise required for exposed coastal paddling.