What’s the best way to see Sydney Harbor

I’ve joined Sydney by Kayak for a sunrise paddle on the harbor. It was dark when I arrived at Lavender Bay. Lights from the tall city buildings stood out against the moody sky, their reflections twinkling across the water.

After welcoming our small group, guides Alex and Shona handed out life jackets. I stowed my phone and hand towel in the small pocket. The towel “is to dry your fingers as phone screens don’t react to wet fingers”, Shona explained, adding, “You’ll want to take lots of photographs”.

Alex called us out by name and handed us our pre-ordered coffees. I gratefully sipped my first coffee of the morning. With the sky gradually lightening, we walked down to the beach and the waiting kayaks.

As I sat in my orange kayak, Alex reassured us that the short, wide kayaks were built for stability and are “almost uncapsizable”. He demonstrated the correct use of the paddles and showed us “the selfie adjustment” on our lifejackets so they don’t bunch up around our necks.

Under Shona’s guidance, I wiggled my footrests into a comfortable position. Then she walked to the front of my kayak, leaned forward, grabbed a handle on the bow with both hands and pulled, heaving me and my kayak into the water. Suddenly, without even getting my feet wet, I was floating on Sydney Harbour.

Now a sense of calm settles over me as I bob between the large yachts moored in the bay, their rigging tinkling with the gentle motion of the water.

No stranger to kayaking, I confidently follow Shona, rhythmically plunging my oar into the water then pulling the blade towards me. Left, right, left, right, water dripping down the shaft onto my hands and along my arms. We’d been warned we would get wet.

Shona checks the time as the noisy Parramatta Rivercat pulls up to McMahons Point Ferry Wharf. With three loud blasts of the horn, it departs. That’s our cue to paddle beneath the jetty towards Blues Point.

With the sun starting to appear from behind the bridge, we stop for photos. Awaiting my turn, I rest my oar, lean back and drift with the current, happy and relaxed. After the photo stop, we paddle along the foreshore and Alex explains how Blues Point got its name and tells the story of construction worker Vincent Kelly, who survived a fall from the Harbour Bridge.

Returning to Lavender Bay, the woman next to me announces, “My shoulders will be sore tomorrow”. Mine will be, too, but it’ll be worth it.


  • Meet at the Lavender Bay boat ramp. The meeting time depends on the sunrise. Beginners are welcome.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that can get wet. The two-hour Sunrise Coffee and Kayak tour costs $155-$185.
  • The Clean-up Kayak tour costs $65.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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