Ultimate Guide to Kayaking Melbourne

In our ultimate guide to kayaking in Melbourne from Kayaks2Fish, we'll share our favourite locations for kayaking Melbourne. Here we'll offer tips for a leisurely cruise while kayaking and fishing in one of the world's most liveable cities.

In our ultimate guide to kayaking in Melbourne from Kayaks2Fish, we'll share our favourite locations for kayaking Melbourne. Here we'll offer tips for a leisurely cruise while kayaking and fishing in one of the world's most liveable cities.

Kayaking in Melbourne is one of the best ways to see the city close up. You can travel down the Yarra River and into the bay. While the Yarra River can be silty (giving a delightful brown tinge), Port Phillip Bay is simply stunning.

One of the best things about kayaking in Melbourne's bay is the crystal blue water and the fishing! Fishing in the bay is fantastic, and you can catch Snapper very easily from your kayak. If you fancy squid, then Melbourne is known for hosting some complete monsters.

Not only is kayaking in Melbourne a brilliant way to see the city, but it is excellent exercise. Make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen and a few snacks for the day. From Frankston to Sorrento, you can stop at a beach and find somewhere to grab a bite to eat. After you've had a feed, it's back on the kayaks for the return journey.

There are over 130 beaches in Port Phillip Bay. So, you'll have no trouble finding a place to stop. If you're lucky, you'll find a secluded beach and have it all to yourself.

The best places to go when kayaking in Melbourne

If you want to explore Melbourne, then kayaking is an excellent choice. If you're visiting the city, then you'll find several places to hire kayaks. However, taking your own gear is best because there are no time constraints.

With beautiful Melbourne as the backdrop, you may want to spend all day!

The Yarra River is the most famous waterway in Melbourne, but you have the Maribyrnong River and Werribee River to explore as well. At Point Nepean, you can visit the dolphin sanctuary and hope to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures.

Recreational fishing or taking any shellfish is not allowed in any marine national parks. However, you are welcome to drop anchor and go for a snorkelling trip. Watching out for the Weedy Seadragons, Fur Seals, and Dolphins is an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

Fur seals and dolphins are protected in Australia. It would help if you kept clear of them at all times. There are dedicated tour operators who can take you out if you're interested in swimming with dolphins.

Kayaking in Melbourne City & the Yarra River

Kayaking in Melbourne City is brilliant. However, there are some busy sections of the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay. Luckily, as the waterways are very open, you can avoid these areas and stay out of the major shipping lanes.

These are the Kayaks2Fish best kayaking spots to visit when you're in Melbourne.

Lower Yarra River

The Lower Yarra is best seen on a bright sunny day or during the twilight hours as the river is impressive at night. Take a trip up and under Princes Bridge, head past the Royal Botanic Gardens and circle Herring Island and back.

On the Lower Yarra, you'll go past South Wharf and Federation Square. With this unique view, you may marvel at the building or scratch your head wondering what they were thinking!

Launching Point: Morell Bridge, Williamstown Boat Ramp and Yarra Bend Boat Ramp

Upper Yarra River

The Upper Yarra River is ideal for experienced kayakers seeking some thrills close to the city. You can start at Warrandyte and cruise around this excellent stretch of the Yarra.

You'll find a good number of rapids ranging from Grade 1-3. At only a thirty-minute trip from the city, this is ideal for a short weekend trip.

You can book in for a guided kayaking tour of the river. This can help if it's your first time on the Upper Yarra River.

Launching Point: Lower Homestead Road

Port Phillip Bay

The waters of Port Phillip Bay are ideal for novice and experienced paddlers. It is best to check on the weather before heading out, as it can get choppy when it's windy.

You can get in a single or double kayak and make a full day of it. If you're seeking a little more excitement, the nearby Mornington Peninsula back beaches are ideal. If you like, you can even visit the infamous Cheviot Beach.

When you're kayaking in Port Phillip Bay, you shouldn't cross The Rip. This no-go zone for kayaks goes from Point Nepean National Park to Point Lonsdale and Shortlands Bluff to Point Nepean National Park. This region is notoriously difficult to navigate. Due to the narrow gap and large tides, the sea can be very rough.

Mornington Peninsula

When kayaking on the Mornington Peninsula, sticking to the front beaches is best. Here you'll find sparkling water, and that's perfect for novice kayakers and families.

There are plenty of beaches where you can stop and grab some fish and chips. You'll find an array of secluded beaches, as well as some that are heavily populated. You can choose which one you prefer!

If you're interested in swimming in calm waters or just a casual place for a picnic, then head for Shelley Beach. You can pull up the kayaks and relax under the sun on a warm day before heading back out for the journey home.

Launching Point: Half Moon Bay and Sorrento Front Beach

St Kilda Beach

If you're looking to hire a sea kayak in Melbourne, St. Kilda Beach is probably the best place to start. However, when you have your own gear, you are free to explore this magnificent part of Melbourne.

St Kilda Beach is a kayaking hotspot and a trendy destination for tourists and locals. If you head towards the breakwater, you can often see the colony of penguins that live in the area.St Kilda is home to many water sports, such as kite surfing and jet skis, but there's plenty of room for everyone.

Are you interested in catching Snapper? Then fishing at dawn or dusk during the high tide is the best option. St Kilda Pier is very popular with land-based fishing. If the pier looks filled with rods, it may be best to give it a pass. Head to Princes Pier instead, and target the Pinkies.

St Kilda beach is a very family-friendly place, and you can take single or double kayaks to the area. You can pull up on the sand and grab a few ice-creams at a local store if the day gets too hot!

Launching Point: Williamstown Boat Ramp, Middle Brighton Pier, and Elwood Pier

Altona Bay

Altona Bay is a part of the Hobsons Bay council area. The area offers excellent kayaking and some brilliant places to fish. You'll find it is dotted with small piers, pontoons, and wharves. This makes it ideal for fishing from a kayak as you can get in close to the action.

The waters at Altona are relatively calm. It's an excellent area for paddling with your kids or if you want to have a relaxing day on the water.

You can go from Altona Beach and head east, past Altona Coastal Park and Jawbone Nature Reserve, and then you'll arrive at Williamstown Beach. At Williamstown, you can pull up to the beach and take a breather for lunch in one of the local shops.

Launching Point: Altona Pier and Altona Boat Ramp

The best places to kayak in Victoria

While there are many places to kayak in Melbourne, some of the best kayaking spots will see you have a drive for a couple of hours. You may like to plan a weekend away or make a week of it and camp out for a few days in some of these areas.

You have the option of going down excellent rivers or settling in for a relaxing beach kayaking session.

River Kayaking in Victoria

There are many rivers available in Victoria, and these are highly regarded for kayaking. You can go for a day trip or pack up all your gear and head out for a multi-day journey. If you're looking to get out of Melbourne City for some genuinely tranquil river kayaking, then Victoria has some stunning surprises.

The best time for kayaking these rivers is from September to April. These rivers are dotted with magnificent eucalyptus trees mixed with abundant wildlife. You're truly in for some quality laidback kayaking.

Murray River

You can't talk about rivers in Victoria (NSW & SA) without mentioning the mighty Murray River. The Murray River is the third-longest navigable river in the world (after the Nile and Amazon). You'll find there is almost an infinite number of flatwater areas you can take your kayak.

You can choose any town on the banks of the Murray River and set off with your paddling gear, and enjoy the wonders of all the native wildlife and beautiful scenery.

The Murray River is just over 2500 km long. You can paddle it from start to finish if you have enough time to spare!

Launching Point: Echuca East Boat Ramp

Snowy River National Park

If you're a bit of an adrenaline junkie, then kayaking the Snowy River is for you. There are several places where you'll find rapids at Grades 1-3. Starting at McKillops Bridge, about 6 hours from Melbourne, you'll be treated to some excellent kayaking. You can head all the way down the river until you get to the Buchan River Junction.

There are plenty of camping spots available if you want to take a few days to fully experience the river. The Snowy River is best for experienced kayakers looking for something slightly more thrilling than other rivers in Victoria.

Visiting the Parks Victoria website is recommended for more information on kayaking the Snowy River.

Launching Point: McKillops Bridge

Glenelg River

The Glenelg River is about a 5-6 hours' drive from Melbourne. This makes it perfect for the weekend trip. But the sheer amount of perfect kayaking means it'll all be worth it.

The river flows through the Lower Glenelg National Park is probably home to the best river kayaking you'll find in Victoria.

It is possible to spend 4-5 days exploring the river, so feel free to pack your gear and head out from Dartmoor or Nelson for up to 75km of calm kayaking. If you're heading out for a few days on the river, it is best to book campsites at Parks Victoria to secure a spot to stay.

Launching Point: Nelson Boat Ramp, Donovan's Landing (SA), and Fort O'Hare Campground

Barwon River & Barwon Heads

Barwon Heads is an excellent place for kayaking and stand-up paddleboards. Heading here for a summer getaway is perfect for anyone living in Melbourne. There are places nearby to hire kayaks and paddleboards. Hiring a kayak is ideal for sampling what is on offer before going out with your own gear.

You can kayak in the Barwon River up to Inverleigh. On the river, you'll find some rocky areas and small weirs in places. Barwon River is separated from Barwon Heads at the lower breakwater as Lake Connewarre.

Launching Point: Barwon Heads Boat Ramp, Barwon River Boat Ramp and Lake Connewarre Picnic Area

Sea Kayaking in Victoria

If you're looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne City, there are plenty of places along the Victorian coastline to visit. In the west, you have all the brilliance of the Great Ocean Road, and to the east, Ninety Mile Beach gives you a nearly endless number of options.

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay is about 200km from Melbourne City, but it offers one of the best kayaking locations in Victoria. Apollo Bay is situated on the Great Ocean Road, and this is a premium destination for anyone visiting Victoria.

In Apollo Bay, you'll have access to the Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary, and it is home to some fantastic kayaking spots. Recreational fishing is outlawed while you're in the Marengo Marine Sanctuary. However, you'll have access to Mounts Bay all the way to Skenes Creek Beach. On a calm day, you can kayak to the S. S. Casino Shipwreck and play spot the sea urchins!

On the southern end of Mounts Bay, you'll find Little Henty Reef. This area is ideal during no swell conditions, and snorkelling around it is perfect during low tide. Take a double kayak, and your ride back will be waiting when you surface!

Launching Point: Apollo Bay Boat Ramp

Ninety Mile Beach & Gippsland Lakes

Ninety Mile Beach is a part of the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park and Lakes National Park, but it deserves a spot all of its own. This beach stretches for 151 km (94 mi). It is located about 260km to the east of Melbourne. The beach goes from Seaspray to Lakes Entrance, and you'll be treated to an abundance of native wildlife as you travel along this gorgeous coastline.

Launching Point: Seaspray Boat Ramp, Paynesville Boat Ramp, and Reeve Landing Jetty

Frequently Asked Questions for Kayaking in Melbourne

Kayaking in Melbourne City

Melbourne is located at the end of Port Phillip Bay, and this entire area is easily used by boats and kayaks. If you're looking for a gentle river cruise, heading up the Yarra River is the perfect way to see the city. You can also cruise the river as it gets dark and see the city all lit up!

Can you kayak in Melbourne?

Yes, kayaking is available in Port Phillip Bay and all along the Yarra River. You can also kayak in the Maribyrnong River and Werribee River. Always be mindful of larger boats, and if you're not confident paddling, you can stay reasonably close to the shoreline. Ferries regularly leave Docklands near Marvel Stadium. But, if you keep upriver from Bolte Bridge, you can avoid them altogether.

Where do you launch the kayak in the Yarra River?

The most accessible point is from Bellbird Park in Kew. Here you'll find a purpose-built launching area. You can launch from the VRA Landing in front of the rowing sheds. Berthing at VRA must only be completed downstream after passing through the southern arch of Princes Bridge.

You can also use the public kayak launch facilities at Anderson Reserve and Clark Street Ramp.

Are there any restrictions for kayaking in Melbourne?

You cannot venture into some areas, and most of these are due to safety issues. You should never try to cross The Rip in Port Phillip Bay. This area is difficult enough to traverse in a powered boat.

Fishing in a kayak in Melbourne

Melbourne is home to some of the best fishing available in a large city. You can find all sorts of different species, and there are many structures available to try your luck. We've found that fishing around the historic Princes Pier will get excellent results, especially for Pinkies.

What's the best place to go kayaking and fishing in Melbourne?

Port Phillip Bay is the best place to go fishing in Melbourne. You have an incredible number of places to choose from, and you'll find small and large Snapper from October to March. You can also target Flathead, Whiting, Salmon, and Squid all in the bay. The water is clean, so you'll have no problems eating fish caught in the bay.

What rivers are best for fishing in Melbourne?

The Gippsland Lakes are excellent for fishing, and you have the chance for saltwater, estuary, and river fishing, all nearby. You can fish in Lake Nagambie, Buckland River, Upper Murray, Kiewa River, Lower & Upper Goulburn, Mitchell River, and Mallee. The rivers in Melbourne and Victoria have a good supply of native fish species.

Safety tips for kayaking in Melbourne

Should I use a sea kayak in Melbourne?

Port Phillip Bay is reasonably low risk for kayakers. It can become choppy in windy conditions, but on a day of little wind, you'll find there are few waves to deal with. A sea kayak is unnecessary, provided you take suitable safety gear (life jacket, etc.).

Can I kayak in marine sanctuaries?

Yes, kayaking in the protected reef system and marine sanctuaries is possible. However, you need to be mindful of the local fur seal colony and other animals that live in the area. You cannot touch seals or dolphins, even if they appear sick.

If you suspect a sea animal is sick or beached, contact the proper authorities on 1300 136 017.

What are the safety requirements for kayaking in Melbourne?

Checking the Maritime Safety Victoria website will help keep you up to date with everything you need to know. The basic requirements to keeping safe on your kayak so to wear your lifejacket, use a paddle leash, and carry some form of communication.

It is also recommended that your kayak have markings to help identify you, such as your name and phone number.

Where can I buy a kayak in Melbourne?

At Kayaks2Fish, we have all sorts of kayaks available, and these are suitable for use in these locations around Melbourne.

We have sea kayaks suitable for open water. Our double kayaks are for taking your family or partner out and about, and single kayaks are for when you want to go it alone (or in a group!). Pedal kayaks are ideal for when you need to get to fishing places in a hurry. Getting your kayak to the water is easy with a set of roof racks fitted with kayak carriers. Our kayaks are designed for stability, and they can easily be used as a standing fishing platform.

All our kayaks can be equipped with a kayak trolley, which is excellent if you're launching from a beach in Melbourne. With the tides in Melbourne and parts of Port Phillip Bay being relatively shallow, you could end up with a long walk. A kayak trolley with beach wheels can help you out in that situation.

Kayaks can be ordered directly from the Kayaks2Fish online shop. Our kayaks are available for shipping directly to your home, or you can choose to collect them from our Melbourne location.

For any assistance in choosing the kayak that best suits where you plan on taking it, you can contact our local team, and they'll offer their advice. When you buy one of our kayaks, don't forget to grab a life jacket!