Ultimate Guide to Kayaking Wollongong

In the ultimate guide to kayaking in Wollongong, we'll discuss our favourite places to go and the best places to launch a kayak. We'll showcase a few unique areas and talk about what you may experience in that region.

Wollongong is a popular holidaying spot for kayakers, and it is very accessible for anyone living in Sydney or the southern region of New South Wales.

Canoe and kayak adventures in Wollongong

Wollongong is about 90 km south of Sydney, and it can be an excellent place for a weekend trip or an extended holiday with the kids. You'll find there is a good range of waterways suitable for your kayaking adventures. There are some excellent beaches to explore and several rivers to navigate. If you're staying in Wollongong, you can access many premium kayaking locations in the city, or they're only a short drive away.

Lake Illawarra

Lake Illawarra is the most prominent location in Wollongong for kayaking. There are many canoeing and kayaking hire operators in the area, or you can find a tour operator for a guided experience. The lake is home to many water skiers, and sailboarding and stand-up paddle boards are also very popular.

The lake offers something for everyone, and if you have the family with you, you can all go out together, or they can make use of the many biking and walking tracks. You can launch a kayak from many different points around the lake, such as the Boonerah Point Park Jetty, Oak Flats Park, or Kanahooka Park.

If you're interested in heading out to the open sea, you can launch from one of the jetties at Windang Foreshore Park. Timing your departure and arrival times with the tides can make your experience easier. After leaving the jetty, you can head north into Karrakwah Bay and Pur Pur Bay or south around Windang Island and into Windang Bay.

Nepean River

The Nepean River in New South Wales offers some brilliant kayak opportunities. While the entire length of the river can provide a challenge, there are several places where you'll have an excellent time as the river winds its way through a natural bushland setting.

While the Nepean Gorge is the most stunning part of the river, launching from Douglas Park Bridge and heading to Menangle River will give you about 14km of premium kayaking. As you approach Menangle Railway Bridge, be mindful of the weir nearby and ensure you don't go over it.

As a part of the overall trip, you'll pass the Cataract River, and you can explore this river if you're looking for something a little more challenging.

Minnamurra River

The Minnamurra River is only suitable for paddling in the tidal section of the river, and it is best if you choose to go with the high tide. You can launch from James Oates Reserve or Trevethan Reserve and experience the many mangrove forests lining the banks for about the next 6km. The river is surrounded by natural bushland up until just after the Princes Highway Bridge. After that, you'll be cruising through farmland until you reach the tidal limit.

Wollongong Harbour

Wollongong Harbour is a well-protected location if you're a novice kayaker or you have young children looking to explore the sea. You can launch directly from Brighton Beach or the boat ramp near Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse. The outer breakwater is perfect if you're looking to catch some squid during a calm evening.

If you want to experience the open sea, you can head out of the harbour and along North Wollongong Beach up to Fairy Meadow Beach. Alternatively, you can head south to Wollongong City Beach.

Port Kembla

Port Kembla is mainly used for international trade, and it can see large vessels moving in and out of the area. About 800 vessels are docking each year but provided you keep a clear distance from the shipping lanes. The port can be an excellent place to launch your kayak as you head out to open water.

Launching from Port Kembla Outer Harbour Boat Ramp, you can make your way along the Southern Breakwater and out to sea. After you exit the harbour, you can head south to explore North Beach and Red Point and then circumnavigate the Five Islands.

Shoalhaven River

Only about an hour drive south of Wollongong, you'll find the mighty Shoalhaven River. This river located in Nowra runs for over 300 kilometres starting at Moruya until it enters the sea as Shoalhaven Heads. 

You can take a day to explore as much as you can, or you can book some of the camping sites available and turn it into a multi-day adventure! The best places to launch a kayak include Wharf Road Boat Ramp or Shoalhaven Heads Boat Ramp.

FAQ for kayaking Wollongong

Choosing destination NSW for your kayaking adventures

New South Wales is a top-rated destination for kayakers. You'll find there are plenty of places to go, all within a few hours drive from Sydney. Kayakers will travel to find the best locations, and Wollongong is an excellent location for anyone living on the south side of Sydney.

Where can I go with a kayak in Wollongong?

Most waterways and rivers are open for the use of kayaks and other personal watercraft. However, not all places are suitable because of fallen trees, submerged logs and other obstacles. When choosing a place to take your kayak, look for commonly used areas. You can check with local information sites for updated information.

Is kayaking good for getting fit?

Kayaking is a great way to keep fit. Paddling a kayak is a low impact activity, and you can pause at any time for a rest. If you're planning a return trip in a river, it is best to start paddling upstream and then using the current to help you get back to your starting position. If you're concerned about your current fitness level, then choosing a flat body of water is best. 

Where can I kayak in Lake Illawarra?

Lake Illawarra is open to all watercraft, and it is a very popular spot for water skiing and sailboards. While you can go out into the middle of the lake, sticking reasonably close to the shoreline will provide a better experience for kayakers. You can launch from Woolamai Point Jetty or Tuggerah Bay Jetty and hug the west bank before exploring Hooka Creek or Mullet Creek, and then around Gooseberry Island before heading back.

Is kayaking an expensive hobby?

You can find a kayak suited to most budgets, and there are no upkeep costs other than repairs. You do not have to register your kayak, and it can be stored in most garages and sheds of the family home. Transporting your kayaks is easy with a set of roof racks or a standard trailer. 

Where is the best place to put an anchor on a kayak?

The best place for an anchor on your kayak is either the stern or the bow. If you place the kayak off the side, it has the potential to flip your kayak if the wind is strong. A kayak anchor should be reasonably light and strong enough to keep your stray while fishing or hold the kayak still if you choose to go swimming.

Rules for kayaking in NSW

Do you need a Licence to use a kayak on a river?

You do not need a license to kayak in NSW. When you head out into any busy waterway (e.g., Sydney Harbour), it is best to familiarise yourself with the rules for boating and what many signs mean. Almost all other boats will consider a kayaker as a pedestrian and will move to avoid you. However, larger boats may not see you, and you should avoid getting in their way.

How much does it cost to get into kayaking?

Kayaking is a very affordable hobby. If you've never been on a kayak, it is recommended you take the chance to go out on a guided kayaking tour or hire a kayak for a few hours. You can find an entry-level kayak for a reasonable price. You can store most kayaks in the family garage, and they are transported easily with a set of roof racks.

Kayak Fishing in Wollongong NSW

How do you fish while kayaking?

The main difference between fishing in a kayak and other forms of fishing is that you'll be casting from a seated position. If you're fishing around structures or into shallow banks, this gives you a lot of control and allows you to get your bait or lures into the right spot more often. Kayaks are incredibly stable, and you can stand on them if you prefer casting that way. 

Is it worth buying a kayak for fishing?

When you use a kayak for fishing, you will get a lot of value from it. Kayaks are very versatile, and they can be used to transport, entertainment, fishing, or fitness. With so many different uses, you'll likely get more for your money than if you were buying a boat. A kayak will also save you money, as they don't need registration, transport is easy, and you can store them in most garages.

What is the best lure for kayak fishing?

You can use any lures while fishing from a kayak. The best lures are those suited to the type of fish you're targeting. Bream is a popular target for kayak fishing, as you can get close to their habitat without scaring them away. Bream can be picky when it comes to lures, but using soft plastics coated with an attractant is usually a good choice.

Where can I buy kayaks in Wollongong?

At Kayaks2Fish, we have an excellent assortment of kayaks to suit people of all skill levels. There are double kayaks which are perfect for couples or families with young children. If you have kids looking for their own kayaks, we have smaller kayaks that are brilliant for younger children. In our online shop, you'll find everything you need to make your kayaking experience as comfortable as possible.

After you choose the kayaks you'd like, then you can have these shipped directly to your home, or you can choose to collect them from our Wollongong (or Sydney) location. All our kayaks are designed with fishing in mind, and that means you get a very stable kayak which makes it ideal for anyone learning to kayak. Our kayaks are perfect for lakes, rivers, and the sea.

If you need any assistance in choosing your kayaks or need more accessories, you can call our local team. We'll provide you with the right advice to make an informed decision on the best kayaks for you and your family. At Kayaks2Fish, we aim to have everyone out on the water and have an excellent time!