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Sydney by Kayak

  • Things to do
  • North Shore
  1. Photograph: Peishan Tan
    Photograph: Peishan Tan
  2. Photograph: Peishan Tan
    Photograph: Peishan Tan

Time Out says

Get up at dawn and watch the sun rise from an enviable position

The most challenging part of the Sunrise Kayak and Coffee tour is getting up at 5am – but rising early gives you glassy waters and glorious photo opportunities that’ll make your hungover friends incredibly jealous on a Sunday morning.

Instructor Laura Stone and husband Ben run weekly dawn tours that make the most of Sydney Harbour before most people turn and hit snooze. They set up single kayaks at Lavender Bay Boat Ramp ready for the 5.10am meeting time and while we’re learning the best way to hold our paddles, Laura is picking up everyone’s coffee orders from a local café.

Each raft has a custom coffee holder, and the ceramic cups keep the brews warm until you’ve paddled under the Bridge. The harbour water is velvety smooth, and the kayaks are very stable so you don’t need to work hard to paddle around Luna Park and into position as the sunlight hits Sydney Opera House.

Our fleet rafts up to enjoy the view, sipping flat whites through the salty silicone lids and snapping away with our phones. If you don’t want to risk dropping your own camera, there’s a photographer on each tour snapping pics that you can take home for free.

Though the kayaks have glass-bottom windows the water’s still too dark to reveal any sea life – however, we do spot a fur seal frolicking by Blues Point Reserve. After an hour or so of gentle paddling we glide over to Sawmillers Reserve to check out the shipwreck. The ferries don’t start until 8am, so there’s time to go slow.

It’s one of the drier tours we’ve encountered; expect to get wet legs from paddling, but you probably won’t need that towel, or extra set of clothes. Though you set off in the dark, you’ll appreciate packing a pair of sunnies for when daylight hits.

Sydney by Kayak also runs fitness sessions including Kayak Boxing and Kayak Netball, as well as Middle Harbour and brunch tours.

Emma Joyce
Written by
Emma Joyce


Lavender Crescent
North Sydney
Opening hours:
Sun 5-7am
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