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Kayaking and canoeing

Kayaking and canoeing give you the chance to enjoy the tranquility of the open water at the pace that you like. Whether you're feeling adventurous and want the freedom of hiring a kayak or you'd prefer guided kayak tours, you'll find we have a kayaking or canoeing experience to suit. Discover our top locations to kayak or canoe including Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne.

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97 Results


It’s time to hit the open water onboard a kayak and experience the tranquility of the ocean and surrounds. RedBalloon offers a variety of experiences including kayaking tours, self-guided hires, single or double kayaks, caneo packages plus more. It is the perfect water sport for exploring the magnificent ocean that edges a city, coastal town or river. We also offer packages across the country from the iconic Sydney Harbour in NSW to Rottnest Island in WA and plenty of locations in between.

What is kayaking?

Kayaking is a water sport involving paddling a double-sided oar in a small boat called a kayak. The paddler sits facing forward and alternates the paddle strokes from side-to-side. The boat can come in a variety of sizes and types depending on the purpose of their use and conditions. Kayaking is a great experience for all levels, from beginners who are looking for a leisurely activity through to those with advanced skills and enjoy it on a regular basis.

How to paddle a kayak?

Paddling a kayak involves the simple technique of alternating strokes from side-to-side. First you’ll need to adjust where you hold the shaft so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. The most important movement during kayaking is the forward stroke which involves rotating the blade in the water, switching from side-to-side after every stroke. For the best technique it always helps to engage your core muscles which will help slow down how quickly your arm muscles fatigue.

What muscles are used when kayaking?

Kayaking involves a range of muscles and can be a great physical activity to keep you in shape. Whilst it definitely involves using muscles in your arms, you may be surprised to know that there are other muscles in the body used during this activity. During kayaking you’ll engage lats in your back, shoulders, forearms, chest, core and grip muscles.

What to wear kayaking?

It is important to wear clothing you’re comfortable getting wet such as swimmers and quick-dry clothing. We also recommend bringing warm layers on cooler days to protect you from all weather conditions. Remember to dress appropriately for sun protection including wearing sunblock, a hat and sunglasses. You may also want to wear suitable footwear such as trainers or waterproof shoes that you are comfortable getting wet. Some experience providers will provide a life-jacket and dry bag for personal items but please refer to each product for more information.

Where to go on a kayaking tour?

Australia offers a variety of breathtaking locations that are perfect for a kayaking tour. You can find all these packages on RedBalloon but to help make it easier, we have listed below the top spots to enjoy a kayak adventure.

  1. Sydney Harbour, NSW
  2. Rottnest Island, Western Australia
  3. Melbourne City, Victoria
  4. Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
  5. Gold Coast, Queensland
  6. Exmouth, Western Australia
  7. Byron Bay, NSW
  8. Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
  9. Jervis Bay, NSW
  10. Goolwa, South Australia

What is the difference between a kayak and canoe?

People often get confused between kayaking and canoeing and tend to use the two words interchangeably. The biggest difference is the structure of the boat. Canoes tend to have an open top, use one-bladed paddles and require the paddlers either sitting on small benches or kneeling. Whereas kayaks have a closed-deck with a whole in the middle for the paddler to climb into it. Often you’ll sit with your legs stretched in front of you and use a double-bladed paddle.

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