River Kayaking

AUSTRALIA’S BEST DESTINATIONS FOR OVERNIGHT KAYAK TRIPS

Spending all week stuck in my office, I often find myself looking out the window in the direction of the ocean looking for inspiration of where to spend the upcoming weekend. Dusting off the kayak and heading out on an overnight trip is the best way to leave work at work and unwind.

In Australia, we are spoilt for weekend getaway destinations. Here are some of my personal favourite waterway destinations to escape to whenever I get the chance.

HAWKESBURY RIVER SYSTEM, NEW SOUTH WALES

Kayaking from Windsor to Brooklyn can be done in a day at a fast race pace, but taking in the 111km at a leisurely pace is a great way to spend a long weekend. The river is like a passage through time, as it takes in the old British colonial settlements and houses, who used the river as a trade hub.

I launched off a little downriver from Windsor Bridge and hugged the shoreline to avoid the water skiers and wake boarders. They threw up a few swells, but were good blokes and offered me a beer for my troubles.

I camped between Sackville and Lower Portland, but if you want to get a B&B there are plenty along this stretch which have their own ramps and jetties. The following day I paddled down to Trollope Reach and stopped for the night before making the final push to Brooklyn in the morning. The lower Hawkesbury River system feels much less developed and feels like nature has won and claimed back the area. This was my favourite part of the whole trip and I could feel my worries and stresses dissolving away with every paddle.

More information available here.

MURCHISON RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

For rugged rocky gorges and a real outback feel head to the Murchison River. The whole river is around 780km long. I have aspirations of kayaking the whole river in 7 or 8 segments, but have only completed around 150km currently.

This is one of my favourite kayaking rivers in Australia. The fishing action is great. The river is abundant in Bream, Whiting, Mulloway and heaps of Mud Crabs. The views are also absolutely staggering, taking in plenty of sandstone cliff faces before the river spits you out into the turquoise Indian Ocean.

More information available here.

KATHERINE GORGE, NORTHERN TERRITORY

Katherine Gorge, in Nitmiluk National Park, keeps me coming back. I’ve been several times now, but still haven’t visited all 13 gorges on offer. The first few sections of the gorge are usually teeming with tourists, but if you are camping and have a couple of days, you can get a lot deeper and leave the crowds behind.

The last time I went was pretty late in the dry season and we had to drag the kayaks over some pretty long dry patches, so I would recommend going a little earlier to make the most of the rains. There are good camping locations between the fourth and fifth gorges at Smitt Rock and at the eighth gorge. If you can carry your stuff up over the rim there is a pool and waterfall with a white sand beach which was ideal for camping.

More information available here.

 


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Oli Ward
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Oli has camped and hiked his way around Australia and most of Europe. He also loves writing about his experiences and sharing his knowledge.