A Kayaking Adventure on Sydney Harbour

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A few weeks ago Lisette was scanning through the daily group buying deals to see if there was anything interesting when she came across a 2-for-1 deal on Cudo. It was for a 4 hour Middle Harbour Eco Tour with Sydney Harbour Kayaks (a big change from the normal health and beauty or restaurant offers).

Well, last weekend we had the pleasure of taking the tour…. and boy did it live up to expectations!

The morning started at 8.30 am with a comprehensive briefing on safety and how to paddle correctly in a kayak. It’s actually quite interesting how much of a difference a little technique can make in both speed and performance but more importantly in how sore you feel the next day.

Sol explaining the technique
Sol explaining the technique

We had gone canoeing over the Christmas break in Jervis Bay and I can tell you that my technique must have been horrible as I was in pain for days after.

The obligatory ‘name and shame’ of the group followed when our guide made us introduce ourselves and say where we had heard about the tour. Needless to say, EVERYONE had purchased it through Cudo. Shameless promotion I know but you have to admit that these group-buying sites are powerful. In fact, our tour guide (Sol) explained that they had 2,500 people purchase the coupons and were subsequently booked solid.

Preparing the kayaks to go
Preparing the kayaks to go

After a quick setup of our rudder, we were in the water. We started by paddling out and across the harbor from the Spit Marina and I guess I mustn’t have been listening in the briefing as my arms were already sore. Luckily for us, the weather was perfect though, zero wind, gorgeous blue sky, and about 28 degrees.

Paddling under the Spit Bridge we were surrounded by mega luxury yachts and cruisers on one side and multi-million dollar waterfront houses on the other. In fact, one of the houses was designed by the famous architect Jorn Utzon who is responsible for the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Lisette and the group on the water
Lisette and the group on the water

We continued around a few bays making sure that the group stayed relatively bunched and hugging the shoreline for safety. It was amazing to see how much isolated parkland there was considering we were still smack–bang in the middle of Sydney. In fact, Sol pointed out that the geographic center of Sydney was up a small tributary not far from where we were.

I was now starting to have a few issues with my butt and left leg going numb. I guess it was because our rudder was a little off-center and I was constantly battling it to stay on track. About 1 hour 45 mins into the paddle I was praying for a break and luckily for me it wasn’t too far off.

When we hit the halfway point we paddled across the bay to a beautiful little beach landing that was very secluded. We had a bit of an explore while Sol set up the picnic for morning tea. By this time both Lisette and I were famished so we happily devoured the cheese and crackers, Tim Tams, and sliced watermelon washing it down with a cup of coffee.

Lisette on the beach
Lisette on the beach

Once we had let our food settle a bit and had a good chat with some of the other group members we were off again. Making our way around the next point Sol explained some of the history of the area. There were some old buildings to our left that were used as ‘powder houses’. These fortified buildings were used to store the explosives for commercial demolition back in the day. There was a big sign warning not to dock….we didn’t want to take our chances.

Knowing that we were now on our paddle back I was amazed at the transformation of how I felt. I started to get a good rhythm and the pain had gone away which made the paddle so much more pleasant.

Getting ready for morning tea on a secret beach
Getting ready for morning tea on a secret beach

Just before we made it back to the marina we came across a young family with 3 children paddling in a canoe. The kids were so excited to see our group and yelled out to challenge us to a race. It was on! I have to let you know that both myself and Lisette are rather competitive people and we didn’t want to go down so we paddled like there was no tomorrow. There was yelling back and forth “we are winning…no we are winning” and in the end, it was too close to call.

The last stretch of water and a headwind had picked up which made us really work hard to get home. Finally, we made it back and said our goodbyes before grabbing our stuff and heading home. It was a great morning out on the water and I would definitely recommend the experience if you have time.

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Michael Glass

Michael is the founder of Backpacker Travel. He also runs walking tours in San Francisco and is a freelance travel writer. Michael is extremely passionate about travel and loves to explore festivals around the world.

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3 comments on “A Kayaking Adventure on Sydney Harbour”

  1. Awesome to hear you had a great experience with your group buying deal.

    I totally agree with you that it is good when there are some more interesting deals rather than teeth whitening, fitness bootcamp and laser hair removal!

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