BEST EASY PADDLE ROUTES FOR FAMILY DAYS OUT
Nothing beats a leisurely weekend paddle. I leave the adrenaline junkies to their whitewater white-knuckle rapid flumes, and the kayak fishermen to their afternoons chasing fish. For me, it’s all about the simple things, and a lazy paddle down a gently flowing river with my family is the ultimate in therapeutic relaxation. Here are my top paddle routes for those who want an afternoon of relaxation on the water.
GORDONVILLE TO BELLINGEN BRIDGE, NEW SOUTH WALES
This 3-hour, 12km summer route is ideal for canoes and kayaks. The flat, calm water makes this a great weekend family paddle. Go in the summer during lower river levels as this route does have some very gentle rapids. If you go when waters are higher, the route becomes a little more challenging. Start the route 7km west of Bellingen, at a place called Gordonville crossing to complete the route in its entirety.
NINGALOO, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Ningaloo Marine Park now has plenty of well-marked kayaking locations and the whole reef area can be explored by kayak. There are plenty of mooring sites to tie up and go snorkelling in the crystalline waters. Organised tour operators provide support and security out on the water for a fee.
The Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve offers some accessible waters for canoeing and kayaking. There is a boat launch area with picnic facilities at the reserve itself. If you head off upstream of the Brisbane River, towards Mount Crosby, you will almost instantly find yourself on some peaceful and relaxing waterways.
WIVENHOE TO KHOLO, QUEENSLAND
If you fancy something a little longer, the length of the Brisbane River from Wivenhoe to Kholo can be done in 3 days, but any stretch of the 55km route makes the perfect family day out. There are places to launch your canoe or kayak in Wivenhoe, Lowood, Twins, Savages, Burtons and Kholo and there are camping spots around these launch points. We did the complete route over a series of weekends and it became a great family project to complete the whole 55km route.
DWELLINGUP, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Canoeing on the Murray River at Dwellingup makes for a great day trip out of Perch. The Jarrah Forest is just an hour and a half south of the city and there are plenty of places to rent canoes and kayaks, along with a number of tour providers offering half-day and full day paddle and picnic tours on the Murray River and the local pools.
DARTMOOR TO NELSON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA/VICTORIA
The Glenelg River has an easy flat paddle route from Dartmoor to Nelson. The whole route takes in spectacular gorges in the lower section and lush forests further upriver. The river is wide, making it easy to avoid obstacles. There are launching locations all the way throughout the stretch, along with camping spots for those wanting to complete the whole route, although be sure to book these well in advance as space can be hard to find during peak seasons.
With younger children or slightly more inexperienced paddlers, launch from Pines Landing. This way you can avoid some of the awkward sections of the upper part of the river.
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