THE BEST STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING SPOTS NEAR SYDNEY

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RUBY YEATS

SEP 26, 2019

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IMAGE VIA WATSSUP

Our Sydney is famous for its wonderful weather, iconic landmarks, and literally hundreds of pristine beaches — which is already a bit boastful. But that also means it pretty much hits the trifecta when it comes to stand-up paddleboarding!

Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a first-timer ready to see what this SUP thing is all about, there are some truly epic spots around the city for you to hit. And to take the guesswork out of planning your route, we’ve tested the waters. So, here it is: our pick of Sydney’s best stand-up paddleboarding spots!

Notorious for its swanky restaurants and epic real estate, Rose Bay is also one of the hottest destinations in paddleboarding! Sheltered from major tidal activity, warm enough to accommodate those inevitable tumbles into the water, and serviced by multiple gear hire spots and affordable water sports lessons, Rose Bay really does have it all. Plus, since it’s dog-friendly, paddleboarding ’round Rose Bay almost guarantees you’ll spot some adorable puppies en route. Unbeatable!

You don’t have to hit the north or east of the city for a picturesque boarding adventure — Sutherland Shire’s Cronulla Beach is as good a place as any to launch the board and enjoy some waves! With boards available to buy or rent from the Gunnamatta Bay area, there are kilometers of undisturbed coastline to explore around Hungry Point and all the way up to the main beach area on the Bate Bay side. It’s a full 7km loop — so be sure to check out the range of tasty dining options along The Esplanade to refuel after that paddling effort!

One of the North Shore’s best beach spots is also an incredible place to get the board out to indulge in some leisurely paddling. If you’ve got the energy, we recommend paddling up to Cobblers Beach, where you can check out the historic Middle Head fortifications, barracks, and WWII Batteries that stand proud on the coast. Fitt Tip: on a clear day, you can see across the bay to Grotto Point Lighthouse — no matter if you’ve paddled here once or hundreds of times, Balmoral is the perfect spot for some Sydney sightseeing.

Tucked away just before the Rose Bay turnoff, Point Piper offers secluded bathing areas, beautiful city views, and a well-stocked kayak and SUP store that offers gear rental for keen SUPers. Take your board and paddle round the aforementioned Rose Bay, or head up to the Prince Edward Yacht club to check out some seriously impressive luxury schooners. And there’s a well-kept secret in the Inner East when it comes to flawless swimming spots: Bellamy Beach at Rose Bay Park. The small beach’s calm waters and proximity to Regatta make it ideal for an all-day, SUP-filled hangout!

If it’s freshwater fun you are after, look no further than Northern Beaches’ Basin estuary, just 50 minutes’ drive from the CBD or an easy ferry ride across from Palm Beach. This beautiful stretch of coastline, one of NSW’s most popular beach camping spots, is also a fantastic place to get out on the water. You can easily turn it into a full weekend getaway and complement your SUP time with a hike through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park via the Basin Trail. You’ll need to lug all of your own gear — but it’s well worth the effort for those gorgeous beach views and rare native beauty!

Unbeatable views of the Sydney skyline? Multiple postcard-worthy beaches? Fascinating local scenery and a chance to spot migrating humpback whales? Watsons Bay has it all! (Oh, and one of Sydney’s best fish & chipperies to boot!) The area is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best local spots to eat, swim, run, and—you guessed it—paddleboard! You can rent a board from the friendly crew at WATSSUP and head out solo, or take part in a guided lesson or tour of the bay. Fitt Tip: to add a little more sweat to your SUP session, try one of WATSSUP’s SUP Fitness classes, held every Saturday morning at 7am. It’s a 60-minute session aimed at improving skill and endurance on the board, during which time you’ll paddle more than 5km!

Immortalised by good old Home and Away, Palm Beach is second only to Bondi in Aussie fame and recognition. And there’s another reason to love this North Sydney gem: it’s a fantastic place to take the paddleboard out! If you want to experience the best Palm has to offer, grab a board from the rental shop just outside the SLC and mosey up towards Barrenjoey Head. Cruise past the golf club, try your luck spotting Hugh Jackman at The Boathouse (we hear he loves the oysters!), and take in the sights and sounds of the beachfront parks regularly dotted along the coast until you’ve reached the shadow of the impressive lighthouse. Fitt Tip: pick a clear day — this little slice of paradise is fairly exposed, which makes it an amazing vantage point for nature spotting but does leave it open to some pretty ferocious coastal winds!

Another South Sydney paradise for the outdoor adventurer, Bundeena Bay offers a stunning setting for your next paddleboard escapade! Launching from the beachside gear shop at the base of the Deeban Spit, you can head inland through Cabbage Tree Basin, where you might just catch a glimpse of Wedding Cake Rock and the winding local hiking trails. Though, if it’s open water you’re looking for, head north to one of the five-plus secluded beaches around Cronulla Head, east towards Jibbon Beach, or west to Lilli Pilli and its expansive nature reserve. Spoilt for choice!

Pristine surf conditions and an easy commute from the city centre make Malabar a great destination to SUP! If you’re an experienced paddler, you can just rock up with a board and hit the water. But if you don’t feel quite so confident, why not check in at Let’s Go SUP for a quick refresher lesson (and some local knowledge about the best spots to visit). From Malabar Beach, you can paddle all the way down to Little Bay to spot the famous grouper and check out NSW’s best coastal golf club. If you want to keep things more local, there is plenty of shoreline to explore closer to the launching point. Whichever way you choose to paddle, hit Cromwell Park afterwards to replenish your energy with an outdoor picnic — you’ve earned it!

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