There has long been a connection between Deep Cove Kayak and Sydney Harbour Kayaks – maybe it’s the perfect summer to summer transition, or the fact that, like us, they are situated just a bit out of the city so you can see some real wilderness without going too far! However it first began, I was really excited to get to their location and see how they do things down under on their Eco Tour, which runs every Saturday and Sunday from 8.30-12.30.
The group got organized with Paddles and pfds, and then guide Angela Welsh went round and asked us to introduce ourselves which was great as there were 13 of us altogether. There was a real mix of people, but all were somewhat local to Sydney apart from me, and from chatting to most people as we paddled around there was a real mix of reasons for getting out. Some people had been given the tour as a gift, a couple had been kayaking before and wanted to go around in Sydney, and at least two couples were for sure just out for fun! Angela went over Paddle strokes, and also a bit of history about the indigenous people and their wooden canoes too.
As I was one of the singles out of the group and had experience I was set up in a very comfortable Mirage single kayak, while everyone else was in doubles. I had a rudder, and the footboard was set up sort of like an epic 18x with your heels resting on a board and your toes controlling the rudder.
Sydney Harbour Kayaks is located on Mosman Spit, about 20 mins north of Sydney (?), and Angela led us out of the marina and under the spit bridge to start us off. We went past some HUGE motor yachts, and then as we paddled into the inner harbour also some HUGER houses overlooking the water, it’s clear this is somewhere that the wealthy of Sydney live…sound familiar haha. We grouped up a couple of times for Angela to firstly share some gummy worms – an Australian delicacy I’m told – and also to tell us about some of the wrecks around the harbour, most of which seemed to have been caused by mishaps with gunpowder!
Once you got through the main body of the harbour, the water goes into the bays of the Garigal national park, so there are no more houses just gorgeous bays and trees coming down to the waters edge, and when we got to the end of one side, the mangrove trees are right in the water. It was really peaceful at this point, no motorboats or roads and it was very tranquil. It felt like you were a million miles from such a huge city.
We went into one of the bays, Flat Rock Beach, where we pulled up and had snacks – tim tams (another Australian delicacy), cheese, crackers, dips and tea or coffee – it was a fantastic spread for keeping energy levels up. It was really warm by this point and just a lovely place to chill out, chat and enjoy the peace and quiet.
After the break we headed back to where we’d started and I was really sad to go under the spit bridge again and back in having had such a lovely explore. Thanks so very much to Shannon who owns SHK who made me feel so very welcome, and to Angela for being such a fantastic guide. I’m told she won Australian Canoeing Professional Paddler of the Year this year and you can see why! She was great at keeping the group together and making sure that she talked with everyone and checked they were having a good time.
So if ever you’re in Sydney, check out Sydney Harbour Kayaks – the eco tour was great but you can also take lessons or just rent kayaks (obviously check out their policies and call before you go) and enjoy kayaking Sydney style!