By: Vanessa Pogorelic
From the river to the ocean, you'll never run out of options for great places to kayak around Perth.
Kayaking is great for building your fitness and also an interesting way to just explore your own backyard from the water. Whatever your reason is for picking up a paddle, we’ve found 10 different kayaking trails around Perth, from the ocean to the upper reaches of our rivers, that you should put on your paddling ‘to-do’ list.
1. Rockingham to Garden Island
Set out from Point Peron and paddle north across the channel straight towards Garden Island, with the causeway linking the island to the mainland on your right.
There’s a bay to the west of the causeway on Garden Island where you can land. You’ll need to stay on this side of the causeway though, as public access is restricted on the eastern side. It’s a fairly short trip at just 2.5km each way but as you’re crossing open ocean, you’ll need to be a competent paddler.
Don’t set out if the wind is strong or if there’s a chance of being caught in a strong wind on the way back and always have regulation safety gear if paddling out into unprotected waters. You should also go with a paddle buddy when heading into open waters.
2. Rockingham to Penguin Island
From the beach where the Penguin Island Ferry leaves, it’s a short paddle across to Penguin Island. A sandbar links the island to the mainland which means at low tide you’re also paddling in fairly shallow water.
Once on the island you can do a circuit around it or if you’re keen for a longer trip, head north to nearby Seal Island.
As with all open water paddling, go with at least one other person, and if you’re heading more than 400m offshore, take the appropriate safety equipment, including a life jacket and flares.
You can hire kayaks in Rockingham if you don’t have your own.
3. North Fremantle to Chidley Reserve, Mosman Park
Park at the end of Johannah Street in North Fremantle and then head north on the water, with the shore close to your left-hand side. You’ll pass the boat pens at the front of Pier 21 Resort, then the WA Water Police, where you can also get an update of wind conditions from the big electronic sign on the building.
Just around the corner are the steep limestone cliffs at Mosman Park. There are rock ledges just under the water in some parts so don’t get too close. Keep following the river around past East Fremantle Yacht Club and Bicton Baths until you get to the sandy beach at Chidley Reserve in Mosman Park.
You can then come back on the same side of the river or head over towards the cliffs at Blackwall Reach and loop back on the other side. Either way, take care as this is a busy channel for boats, which can produce a lot of wake.
4. Little Island, Hillarys
From the beach north of Hillarys Boat Harbour, it’s approximately 2km across to Little Island in Marmion Marine Park. The shortest trip across is from Mullaloo Point. This small sand and limestone island is, as the name suggests, tiny so there’s not a lot to see but the loop there and back makes a nice trip through the clear waters of the Marine Park.
Bear in mind though that you’re not actually allowed to land a kayak or any watercraft on the Island. As with any open water paddle, go with a friend, only go if the wind is low and carry the correct safety equipment.
5. Maylands to East Perth or Ascot
Start at Maylands Foreshore Reserve where there’s parking just off Clarkson Road. From here you can either head upriver towards Ascot or turn the other way and go towards East Perth.
Heading towards Ascot, just around the river bend, you’ll come to Kuljak Island. Located in the middle of the river, the Island was once used as a rubbish dump but has been rehabilitated into a wildlife sanctuary.
You can do a loop around the Island and head back or continue on under Garrett Road Bridge to the Ascot riverfront. Alternatively, if you head towards East Perth from Maylands, you’ll pass Belmont Park, then go under Windan Bridge before getting to Claisebrook Cove on your right where you can pull in for a break before heading back.
6. Port Kennedy
This paddle offers a stretch of undeveloped coastline where you can feel like you’re a million miles from the city and suburbia.
Start out from Port Kennedy Boat Ramp, off Port Kennedy Drive. From there, stay close to the shore and either turn right towards Warnbro or go left past the point towards Secret Harbour.
This is also a popular area for kayak fishing if your kayak is rigged up for it. Remember to stay safe on the open water by making sure you never head out in a strong breeze, always wear a lifejacket and go with a paddle buddy. If you plan on heading more than 400m offshore, you’ll also need to have other safety gear with you.
7. Mount Pleasant to Salter Point
Put your kayak in the water at Deepwater Point in Mount Pleasant, taking care to avoid the ski area, and cross to the other side.
From there follow the river around past Mt Henry Spit, under Mount Henry Bridge and along the Salters’ Point foreshore to Salter Point Reserve. From there it’s a short paddle back to the other side of the river near Shelley Beach Park where you can follow the river back to Mount Pleasant, past the waterfront in Rossmoyne and under Mount Henry Bridge before returning to Deepwater Point.
8. Riverton into Canning River Regional Park
If you’ve paddled many parts of the Swan River, the upper reaches of the Canning River in Perth can be a very different experience, as the river breaks off into narrow streams.
Launch your kayak from the Riverton Canoe Launch on the south side of Riverton Bridge. From there, paddle towards the river bend at Bicentennial Adenia Park and then head north east, further into the Canning River Regional Park, finishing at Kent Street Weir.
9. Murray River, Pinjarra
The 17km section of the Murray River from Pinjarra to Ravenswood is popular with keen long-distance paddlers but you can choose your own end point and then loop back.
Start off from the Henry Street boat ramp in Pinjarra and head north west, following the Murray’s twists and turns. You’ll have tree-lined banks on each side throughout the paddle as you head through bush and farmland towards Ravenswood.
Kayaks can be hired for the day not too far away in Mandurah if you don’t have your own.
10. South Perth to Burswood
Head to the foreshore at the end of Coode Street in South Perth, where you’ll find plenty of parking. From there, paddle across to the city-side of the river, taking care around any other watercraft passing through, then head east towards Heirisson Island.
You can stop at the south end of the Island where there are two or three kangaroos inside a enclosed area. Keep going under the Causeway but stay on the west side of Heirisson Island, as the waters on the eastern side are closed to all vessels other than high powered water craft used in the powered water sports area. Turn around when you get to the northern end of the island and head back the same way to the South Perth foreshore.
If you don’t have a kayak you can hire one at South Perth where the catamaran hire is on the west side of Coode Street Jetty.
Save on fuel for your trip RAC members save 4 cents per litre at participating Puma Energy, Caltex, and Better Choice service stations across WA.* *Terms & Conditions apply. See www.rac.com.au/fuel for details.
Save on fuel for your trip
RAC members save 4 cents per litre at participating Puma Energy, Caltex, and Better Choice service stations across WA.*
*Terms & Conditions apply. See www.rac.com.au/fuel for details.
Last updated: January 2022