One of the greatest ways to enjoy the water is out on a kayak, and whether you choose to paddle your way down a freshwater creek, an inland river or head out onto the open ocean, it can be truly exhilarating.
Of course there is a certain amount of skill required to understand the basics of paddling, but you don't need to be an expert by any means. Most places that hire kayaks will give a basic rundown before you head off, whether you are part of a kayaking tour with a guide or you are venturing out on your own.
You will find river kayaking can be quite different from sea kayaking and the good news is there are plenty of places to do both in Far North Queensland.
River and creek kayaking
One of the best things about kayaking down creeks and rivers is often the scenery, as every winding twist and turn in the river leads to a new destination. In FNQ, lush green rainforest is often the backdrop as you paddle your way down the many rivers. The rivers without crocodiles are preferred by most kayakers, for obvious reasons, but also because you can stop for a swim along the way in the knee-deep and usually refreshing water.
River kayaking is also appealing as the current only runs one way so unless it's wet season with high water levels and a surging rush of water, kayaking can be quite leisurely if you follow the direction of the current.
Two great places to enjoy river kayaking are Babinda and Tully, with both Babinda Creek and Bulgan Creek being croc-free. Babinda Kayaks set you up with single or double kayaks and life jackets and send you off down Babinda Creek in the direction the current flows, so you don't need to paddle against it.
There is no guide but you don't need one as there are no rapids, the water isn't too deep and it is a fairly easy paddle to reach the destination pick-up point.
Another great operator is Ingan Tours in Tully who run full-day guided kayak tours down Bulgan Creek providing initial training in the morning, afternoon tea and indigenous interpretation throughout the tour. There are a few rapids so the river is best tackled with a guide, but nothing too dangerous as many kids also do this tour.
Kayaking on the open sea requires some confidence as well as a fairly flat, calm ocean if you are not an experienced kayaker, as tackling rough waves is not for everyone.
However, sea kayaking can be good fun. Although it is still important to be aware of your limitations, wear a life jacket and be able to swim if your kayak tips over. Often it is hard to tell how deep the water is when out on the open sea and you need to be mindful of marine animals that frequent the area you are kayaking, as well as jellyfish during stinger season.
Some top spots to enjoy sea kayaking in FNQ are on Fitzroy Island and also Cape Tribulation. Raging Thunder run three-hour kayak tours and also hire kayaks by the hour at Fitzroy Island which is a great way to explore along the beach in front of the island resort. Paddle Trek Kayak Adventures run various kayaking tours at Cape Trib with kayaking out to Snapper Island, off Cape Kimberley, kayaking around the Cape headland and also kayak fishing tours. All of these are with a guide and in small groups.
Kayaking can be a fantastic way to take in the sights and explore waterways you often miss when travelling up north. Whether travelling solo, as part of a group or with the family, it's something everyone can enjoy.
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