Australia // Magnificent kayak trip in Sydney Harbour

We’ve been in Sydney for about five months now, and still can’t believe how much there is to do and see around here! Last weekend we finally managed to tick off something from our to-do list that was on there from the very first day we set foot in Australia: doing a kayak tour in the Sydney Harbour!

About a million coves, lakes, bays, creeks, lagoons etc. can be found in the Sydney area and many of them are perfect for a great kayak trip. We didn’t seek the adventure too far from home (for once ;-)) and hired a double kayak for a couple of hours at the Manly Kayak Centre located at the Manly Wharf.

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Because of the ferry routes from Manly to Sydney the kayaking area is limited to the coastline that runs from Manly Wharf towards Quarantine Station. At first we were a bit worried about the “small” area that we were allowed to paddle in, but the gorgeous coves and pristine beaches soon made us forget all about it!

It was going to be a boiling hot day with temperatures rising to 42°C (107.6°F) so after rubbing ourselves in with a thick layer of factor 50 sunscreen we zig-zagged in between the sailing yachts and motorboat anchored at Manly Cove until we rounded Manly Point.

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We entered Little Manly Cove and had a quick peek at the Little Manly Beach and Little Manly Point Park (where once the Manly Gasworks factory was being operated) before reaching one of the prettiest locations of the Manly Peninsula: Collins Flat Beach.

Australia // Kayak Manly Beach

Collins Flat Beach can also be reached overland by a short bushwalk along the coastline, but we realized that paddling our way in through the Sydney Harbour is a lot more exciting!

This tiny beach is only 50m (165ft) long, but there is usually plenty of space to spread your towel and have your skin fried by the scorching sun. There is also a small waterfall where you can wash off that sticky salty water if you want to!

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If for some reason you can’t find any spare spot left on Collins Flat Beach there is an even better option right around the corner: Store Beach! Now, what’s the catch? Well… this secluded beach is only accessible by water so you’ll either need to be a good swimmer or have a kayak/boat available like we did :)

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After getting some tan and taking a dip at Store Beach we got in our kayak again and paddled a bit further down the coast until we reached the North Head Quarantine Station, the last stop on our kayaking trip before heading back to the Manly Wharf.

At last… a little bit of culture on our kayaking trip! The Quarantine Station has played an important role in Australian history as this was one of the places where arriving immigrants were quarantined when they were suspected of having a contagious disease. Once they were granted a clean bill of health they could continue their journey to Sydney to settle as an Australian resident.

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Our kayak time was almost up, so we flexed our muscles one last time and quickly paddled our way back to Manly Wharf. It might have been a short trip, but definitely worth it!

Feel free to share your comments and thoughts below!

Quick tips:

  • Price for a double kayak starts at AU$25/hr. Three hours will set you back AU$85 (lifevest and waterproof dry bags included).
  • Not a big fan of water sports? No worries! – as the Ozzies would say :)  Take the Manly Scenic Walkway which runs along all of these amazing beaches (except Store Beach) all the way to the Fairfax Lookout. This viewpoint offers breathtaking views of the ocean, harbour and Sydney skyline!
  • Don’t forget a hat when you’re out on the water!
  • Want to know more about the history of the Quarantine Station? Check out the free exhibition at the Station, or join one of the guided history tours (