Ultimate Guide to Kayaking Perth

In the Kayaks2Fish ultimate guide to kayaking in Perth, we'll uncover some of the best places to go in and around the city.

Perth is an incredible city that is perfect for exploring with a kayak. You'll be treated to exceptional views of the city if you choose to kayak down the Swan River. If you prefer saltwater kayaking, you can explore Garden Island or challenge yourself and head to Rottnest Island.

Best Spots for Kayaking Perth

The Swan River is the most prominent kayaking spot in Perth, and it'll offer you a unique look at the city skyline. You can head out during the day and return as the sun sets and the city lights up for the night. After you take in the city's sights, you can head north up the river and go as far as you like before heading back. There are several established kayaking routes for the Swan River. You can follow these as a part of a kayaking group (or tour) or stop wherever you'd like to have a rest.

North Fremantle

North Fremantle sits between the Swan River and the ocean. If you're in the region, you have a choice of kayaking in the salty water of the Swan River (leaving from Johnston Street Boat Ramp) or launching off Cottesloe Beach and into the open sea.

At Fremantle Harbour, you'll find a hive of activity, as ships are arriving regularly. Provided you keep clear of any large vessels, you are free to explore all the region has to offer. As you kayak around the sea, you'll have an excellent opportunity to see the many luxury homes built along the water's edge.


East Perth

When you're in East Perth, you can access the Swan River by launching your kayak from the Banks Reserve. You can follow an established kayaking path by crossing the river and heading downstream. From there, you'll pass under Windan Bridge and the picturesque Matagarup Bridge. You can stop at Burswood Park and enjoy a picnic lunch if you'd like a rest. The southern side of Heirisson Island is usually reserved for the West Australian Water Skiing Club, so make sure you stay on the island's northern side. 

There is a lagoon on Heirisson Island, and it's an excellent place to leave your kayaks and explore the nature reserve. After you leave Heirisson Island, you can keep heading downstream until you get to Mill Point and Narrows Bridge. At this point, you may wish to turn around and head back to your starting point.

South Perth Foreshore

The South Perth Foreshore is an excellent place to visit if you want to watch the sunset. You can launch your kayak from Coode Street Jetty, go across the river and head upstream. Once you get to Heirisson Island, you can loop around for the return trip. Otherwise, you can keep going towards Middle Swan Reserve, it's a fair distance, but it is worth the trip. If you don't have a kayak or have left yours at home, you can hire one at South Perth Foreshore, located near the Coode Street Jetty, for a few hours.

Canning River Regional Park

You'll find a dedicated kayak launching point at Kent Street Weir, and from this section, you can head upstream or downstream to explore Canning River Regional Park further. The weir blocks most of the tidal waters from entering the river, and you'll find the upstream is primarily freshwater.

If you're interested in exploring the upper regions of the Canning River, you can launch from Riverton Canoe Launch. From this point, you can paddle upstream, where you'll get a good view of the homes built along the river. You can continue until the river joins the Swan River and then paddle back to your starting point.

Islands and Ocean Kayaking in Perth


Garden Island

Garden Island is located about 2-3 kilometres from the mainland, and it's a very popular location for kayaking in Western Australia. The island is around 10 kilometres long and less than 2 kilometres wide, which makes it ideal for a day trip.

Getting to the island is easy, and you can launch from the Rockingham Foreshore or head out from Point Peron Boat Ramp. You'll find the closer you launch to Cape Peron, the larger the waves you'll encounter, so it depends on what experience you're looking for. You can land anywhere on the island, but you can only be there from sunrise to sunset. There is also an exclusion zone near the naval base; you can follow this guide to help plan your trip to the island.

When you visit the islands, you'll have a strong sense of isolation, as there are very few people occupying the area. If you stay on the island's western side, you don't need to be concerned about the naval bases, and you are free to land on the beaches and walkabout. As you head back to the mainland, you can take choose which side of the causeway will provide better protection from the wind.

Seal Island & Penguin Island

Seal and Penguin Islands are often incorporated into one kayaking trip, but you can do them separately if you prefer. You can launch from Shoalwater Bay and head into Shoalwater Marine Park toward Penguin Island. From the mainland to Penguin Island, you'll travel a little over a kilometre, but make sure you keep out of the ferry path.

Penguin Island is the largest of the islands that make up the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. The wildlife that exists on the islands will steal the show as you paddle past. In addition to penguins, you can see dolphins and other marine creatures, including a large pelican colony. You can land on the beaches and explore the island further, or you can circumnavigate the island before heading north towards Seal Island, which is about 2 km away.

When you visit seal island, you'll be treated to the sight of the sea lions as they warm themselves in the sun. The island is relatively small, and you can rest for a moment as you watch the seals in their natural habitat. After Seal Island, you can head back to Shoalwater or head up further north to explore Bird Island and then onto Cape Peron.

FAQ for kayaking Perth

Questions about Kayaking in Perth

Are you allowed to kayak on any river?

You can kayak down any river in Western Australia, provided you can do so safely and not disturb the environment. When choosing a river to kayak, reading about the experiences of others will give you a good idea if the river is suitable for your skill level. Most rivers are graded 1-6, with a Grade 1 being the easiest.

Can you kayak in Bibra Lake?

You can kayak in Bibra Lake. However, there are currently no dedicated launching facilities for the lake other than entering from the bank. It may be best to visit the lake to find a suitable launching spot before taking the kayaks.

Can you kayak to Garden Island?

Kayaking to Garden Island is a popular activity, and you can launch off the beach at Rockingham. You can land on Garden Island at any of the small beaches located to the right of the causeway. However, you are only permitted to land during daylight hours. A round trip from Rockingham to Garden Island is about 10km, and it takes several hours depending on your fitness and the weather conditions.

Where can I kayak on the Swan River?

Kayaking down the Swan River is an excellent way to see the city. There are several established kayaking routes, but you can enter the water at any safe location and make your way up the river. It is also possible to book a guided kayaking tour of the river.

Safe kayaking in Perth

Where can you legally kayak?

It is legal to kayak in any navigable waterway unless it is signposted stating that you cannot. It is best to familiarise yourself with the rules and guidelines before entering the water. The main guidelines are that powerboats should give way to paddle craft and sailboats, which are more maneuverable. If you're not sure about the rules of boating, you can read more on this website.

Can you launch a kayak anywhere?

Provided it is safe to do so and no signs stating that you cannot enter the water, you can launch from any location. However, as there are boat ramps and designated launching spots, these are best to use if you're new to kayaking.

Do I need a license to kayak in WA?

You do not need a license to operate a kayak in Western Australia. However, some rules apply to kayakers. These rules include the wearing of lifejackets, carrying appropriate safety equipment, and registration requirements. If you're operating your kayak in protected waters (lakes, rivers, etc.), you do not need to carry safety equipment, but your kayak will need to be registered if it has a motor attached. You can read more on the West Australian Government website

Fishing kayaking in Western Australia

Can you fish while kayaking?

Yes, you can fish while kayaking. The only difference between fishing in a kayak and land-based or boat fishing is that you're limited to space. But, you open a world of opportunities for fishing because you can go to locations that most others cannot. In a kayak, you can move to where the fish are, and because you're reasonably silent, you won't scare anything away, which is perfect for targeting Bream and other fish species.

How do you fish while kayaking?

Your exact setup for kayak fishing will depend on how you like to fish. Kayaks are very stable and will act as a movable pontoons. You can stand and cast, but most people prefer to cast from a sitting position. When you start kayak fishing, you'll need your rod, tackle box, a few personal items (sunscreen, water, snacks, etc.) and a place to store the fish if you plan on keeping your catch.

Is it worth buying a kayak for fishing?

You can find a kayak to suit most budgets. The amount you choose to spend will determine its value. When you're starting, you may choose to buy a base level kayak and see if the sport fits your personal experience. Later on, you can upgrade your setup to a pedal kayak or a dedicated sea kayak if you wish.

Where are the fish biting Perth?

Perth has a very active fishing community, and you can find good-sized fish at many different locations around the city. A few popular fishing spots around Perth include Mosman Bay, Rottnest Island, North Mole Lighthouse, and Woodman Point Jetty. You can also ask in any local tackle shop, and they'll offer some good suggestions, especially regarding suitable bait and lures. 


Where can I buy kayaks in Perth?

At Kayaks2Fish, we have an excellent selection of fishing kayaks for you to choose from. If you're new to kayaking, you can choose any model and buy additional accessories as you gain experience. A pedal kayak is suited for the open sea and anyone who wants to keep their hands free for fishing. If you're mainly using the kayak in saltwater, then a sea kayak is best for getting through waves.

When you decide on the right kayak, you can consider how often and who will use it. A double kayak is suitable for couples and families with young children. Double kayaks are rated to carry larger weights and are brilliant for use with children who are too young to handle their own kayak. If your kids are a little older and looking to get in on the fun of kayaking, you can find a smaller kayak that is perfect for their size.

After you choose the perfect kayak, you can place an order through our online store. We have all our products listed based on availability, including any wait times for stock arriving soon. All our kayaks are available in a variety of colours, and they come equipped with a seat and paddle. You can have your order sent to your home or collect it from our Perth location. If you need any assistance in choosing a kayak, please contact our local team, and they'll be happy to offer their professional opinion.