Hit the water and go kayaking or canoeing at these stunning locations across WA. You’ll find hire gear on-site, nearby or the option of a guided tour.
Frankland River, Nornalup
The Frankland River offers spectacular paddling in WA’s southern forest region. From Nornalup there are two paddle trails you can take on the Frankland.
Starting from the jetty in Nornalup town, paddle upstream on a marked loop trail that’s 13km return and will take you through dense forest in Walpole-Nornalup National Park. Or head downstream from Nornalup and into the wide expanse of the Nornalup Inlet and then north to Walpole town. Nornalup to Walpole is about 10km one way.
The beautiful sheltered lagoons, clear waters and stunning marine life in Shark Bay make this an ideal spot for sea kayaking.
As these are open waters where you could get caught in strong tides, a guided tour is recommended. A full day group eco-tour on the water, exploring local Aboriginal culture, is a great way to enjoy this World Heritage area. Along the way you can spot turtles, manta rays, dolphins and maybe even one of the region’s elusive dugongs. Tours leave from the town of Denham.
For experienced paddlers who are well prepared and travelling in a group, it’s also possible to take on longer tours with overnight camping stops, heading north into Big Lagoon.
There are marked kayaking sites throughout the Ningaloo Marine Park where you can hitch your kayak to one of 10 moorings while you snorkel along the reef. The moorings are for kayaks only and each one can hold up to 10 kayaks. You can explore the incredible underwater wonders of the reef at each stop. The visitor centres in Coral Bay and Exmouth have leaflets with the locations of each mooring.
Kayaks can be hired in Coral Bay and Exmouth or take a guided kayaking tour of the reef with one of the local operators.
Denmark River and Wilson Inlet
Around Denmark you can cruise through the Wilson Inlet or head up the Denmark River - both offer stunning sites to explore.
The Denmark River paddle trail is a 9km loop starting from the Denmark River mouth and heading upstream past riverbanks lined with tall karri trees. There are grassy banks where you can also stop for a picnic. Or for a longer trip, paddle out into the Wilson inlet and explore its many secluded bays.
There are both kayaks and canoes available for hire in Denmark.
Point Walter to North Fremantle
This paddle trail takes you past two sets of spectacular river cliffs. Start from the sandbar at Point Walter in Attadale and head south along the cliffs of Black Wall Reach, staying on the same side of the river until you get to the East Fremantle Yacht Club.
From there you can head across the water towards Mosman Park, paddling past Minim Cove Park, and following the river around into Rocky Bay at North Fremantle where there are more limestone cliffs that plunge into the water. At low tide be cautious of the rock ledges just under the water at the North Fremantle cliffs and avoid getting too close. Kayaks are available for hire from Attadale foreshore.
Shoalwater Islands Marine Park
From the Shoalwater foreshore in Rockingham take a kayak out to explore the Shoalwater Marine Park, including Penguin and Seal islands along with other small limestone outcrops dotted through the park.
You can stop on Penguin Island and visit the Penguin Island Discovery Centre, snorkel along the reefs and look out for some of the resident bottlenose dolphins and Australian sea lions.
Kayaks can be hired in Rockingham. As these are open waters ensure you don’t paddle out in a strong breeze and plan your return before the breeze sets in. Also note that landing is not permitted on the beach at Seal Island.
In the protected and vast Mandurah Estuary you’ll have many options for either a slow cruise or a more challenging kayak adventure.
You can take a relaxed paddle past Dolphin Quay, then head to Mandjar Bay and paddle around the Mandurah canals.
For a longer trip, keep heading south and into the Peel Inlet, passing Channel and Boundary islands. Along with a huge variety of bird life, there’s a good chance you might pass some of the bottlenose dolphins that are regular visitors.
Kayak hire is available from a number of locations or book a guided kayak tour.
Wellington National Park
West of Collie in Wellington National Park, the Honeymoon Pool kayak trail is an exciting kayak adventure on the Collie River for those keen to experience a few shallow rapids and some movement in the water, without taking on anything too challenging.
From Honeymoon Pool, follow the river for about 500m downstream and then stop before you get to Gelcoat Rapid. You’ll need to walk around this one as it is steep. Look out for a sharp right-hand bend in the river where you’ll see a rock slope. There’s a landing point just before it where you can get out and walk your kayak around to continue on calmer waters on the other side. From there you can paddle for about 2km until the river veers right again. This is where you’ll need to turn around as there is a sharp drop into a small waterfall which should not be paddled.
Warren River, Pemberton region
Glide down the pristine Warren River past towering karri trees in the ancient old growth forests of the Warren National Park.
You’ll experience some of the South West’s most spectacular forest scenery. Guided tours can take you safely down the river with tours for all fitness levels. There are also campsites along the way for longer paddling adventures.
Murray River, Dwellingup
Drive just an hour and a half south of Perth to enjoy a paddling experience among pristine jarrah forest in Dwellingup.
There are a number of great places to paddle along the Murray River in Lane Poole Reserve.
The waters here are calm and ideal for flat water paddling from spring to autumn but in winter the rain creates faster currents and whitewater more suited to experienced paddlers.
Canoes and rafts can be hired in Dwellingup with the option of having them delivered to the river. Hire of soft roof racks is also available.
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RAC Parks & Resorts, in nine iconic locations across WA, are a great base for exploring the State's many waterways.