The Best Places to Go Canoeing and Kayaking in Perth and Surrounds

canoeing in Perth

In Perth, everyone is so lucky to have plenty of incredible rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water right on their doorstep. However, when they’re as beautiful as the ones listed below are, it can be insanely hard to choose which one is the best to visit for your kayaking and canoeing needs in Perth. Perth-ites are so lucky to have the gorgeous Swan River that sprawls throughout the stunning natural landscape and past the famous city skyline.

To enjoy these stunning views, you just need to grab your canoe or kayak and enjoy peering at the white, sandy beaches, taking in views of suburbia, and making friends with the friendly local wildlife such as pelicans and dolphins. If you’re looking for the best place to enjoy kayaking and canoeing in Perth, keep reading below!



Kayaking and Canoeing, Perth 

Middle Swan Reserve

This spot is great to head to for some kayaking, canoeing, and picnicking action. Enjoy sitting on the shore and eating some of your favourite treats. Afterwards, hop on your kayak or canoe and explore this gorgeous part of the Swan River. It can get pretty busy at the Middle Swan Reserve, so get in early to make sure you set yourself up for success and a fun day of exploring the Swan River.


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Little Island, Hillarys

If you’re a more experience and confident paddler who likes an adventure, you should definitely try out the Little Island Trail that starts off the beach north of the Boat Harbour. From the starting point, you head on out to the gorgeous Little Island which is a very small sand and limestone island.

Just know you’re not allowed to land on the island. However, you are allowed to go snorkelling and swimming around the islands if the conditions are right. Just make sure you check the conditions ahead of time and stay up to date with them.

This paddle is approximately 2km to Little Island. You will love the clear water views all the way to and from this quaint little island. It is truly a great experience by yourself or with your friends or family members.


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North Fremantle to Chidley Point Reserve, Mosman Park

To enjoy this path, park your car at the end of Johannah Street in North Fremantle. From there, you can head north on the water while keeping the shore close to your left-hand side. As you go along, you will pass the boat pens situated at the front of Pier 21 Resort, then the WA Water Police.

As you pass, you will be updated on the wind conditions thanks to the large, electronic sign on the building. Around the corner, you will spot the gorgeous yet steep limestone cliffs at Mosman Park. Just ensure that you don’t get too close as there are rock ledges under the water at various points.

From there, continue following the river around past East Fremantle Yacht Club and Bicton Baths until you hit the gorgeous, sandy beach at Chidley Point Reserve in Mosman Park. You can then head back on the same side of the river or follow along the cliffs at Blackwall Reach and loop back on the other side.

It is important to note that this is a busy area for boats and there is a lot of wake in the area most of the time.


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South Perth to Burswood

The gorgeous Burswood area of the Swan River is filled to the brim with awesome sights and delights for you to explore and view as you please. This paddle will keep you busy for a long time! You can enjoy the impressive views of Optus Stadium, riverside marshes, the stunning Mediterranean views of Claisebrook cove, gorgeous city views, and even the interesting spectacle that is Matagarup Bridge.

To enjoy this paddle, head to the foreshore at the very end of Coode Street in South Perth. You will find plenty of parking here for your convenience. From there, paddle across to the city side of the river. As you do this, beware of any watercrafts passing through and head on towards Heirisson Island.

You turn near Burswood Park and then head back to the South Perth foreshore. If you don’t have a kayak or canoe, don’t worry! You can hire kayaks at South Perth where the catamaran hire is on the west side of Coode Street Jetty. This paddling spot is a favourite for people living in Western Australia.


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Murray River, Pinjarra

The gorgeous section of the famous Murray River that spreads from Pinjarra to Ravenswood is super popular. Long-distance paddlers from all over WA travel here as you can easily choose your own endpoint and then loop back as you please. We recommend you begin at the Henry Street boat ramp in Pinjarra and head northwest while following the twists and turns of the Murray River.

As you paddle down the river towards Ravenswood, you will be between tree-lined banks. You will also view plenty of farmland and bush in the area. Not too far away in Mandurah, there are plenty of places where kayaks can be hired for you to enjoy if you don’t have your own. There are plenty of great places nearby for you to grab a bite to eat once you have finished your paddle.


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Maylands to East Perth or Ascot

Begin your paddle at the Maylands Foreshore Reserve where you will find convenient parking just off of Clarkson Road. From this spot, you can choose to go upriver towards Ascot, or head the other way towards East Perth. If you head towards Ascot, you will go just around the river bend and find Kuljak Island in the Ascot waters.

You will find this island in the very middle of the river. Once used as a rubbish dump, this gorgeous spot has now been turned into a stunning wildlife sanctuary. You can then loop around the island and head back or continue to head under the Garrett Road Bridge to the Ascot riverfront.

If you would prefer to head towards East Perth from Maylands, you will go by Belmont Park, head under Windan Bridge, and then find yourself at Claisebrook Cove on your right where you can land for a break before you head back to Maylands Foreshore Reserve. This tranquil spot captivates people in and around Perth due to the amazing views and the paddling experience as a whole.


Riverton into Canning River Regional Park

The upper reaches of the Canning River in Perth provide a completely different experience for kayakers and canoers. The river here breaks off into many narrow streams and allows for a lot of diversity. You can launch your kayak from the Riverton Canoe Launch on the southern side of Riverton Bridge.

Once you’re in, paddle towards the stunning river bend at Bicentennial Adenia Park and go northeast/ You can then go into the Canning River Regional Park and finish at Kent Street Weir. This paddle will provide a very new and exciting paddling experience for people of all capabilities.


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Elizabeth Quay

If you’d prefer to head on a luxurious paddle that allows for cultural immersion, you should definitely check out Elizabeth Quay. While paddling along, you can enjoy stunning views of the Perth architecture, meet plenty of sea creatures, and enjoy being out in the fresh air. Set off on your paddle from under the Narrows Bridge and head out into the waters of Elizabeth Quay.

As you continue along the city side of the river, you can enjoy impressive views of the Ritz-Carlton. If not, head south along Mounts Bay Road and check out the old Swan Brewery. There is so much to see on this paddle, you will love it!


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Shoalwater Marine Park

If you’re looking for a little more adventure as you set sail, you should check out the popular Shoalwater Marine Park in Rockingham. You can check out Point Peron, Penguin Island, and even Garden Island if you’re a more experienced and confident paddler. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for marine life including seals, penguins, bottlenose dolphins, seals, and even reef sharks!

We recommend making a day of it as this adventure is absolutely phenomenal. You will want to take your time and enjoy everything on your way.


Mandurah Canals

The Peel region is full of amazing potential when it comes to kayaking and canoeing opportunities. In fact, the Peel Estuary alone offers a massive number of nooks and crannies for you to immerse yourself in and explore. Once you have spent some time exploring some of the gorgeous historical sites and natural bushland along the way, you can paddle through your choice of canal networks.

These networks are lined with huge, stunning houses, and some very friendly bottlenose dolphins that will say hello on your journey.


Rockingham to Garden Island

As mentioned above, this trip is more so for the more confident and experienced paddlers out there. You can set out on your paddle from Point Peron and head north across the channel straight out towards Garden Island. The causeway links the island to the mainland on your right.

There is a bay situated to the west of the causeway on Garden Island where you are able to land as you please. Make sure you stay on this side of the causeway as public access is restricted on the eastern side. The trip is only 2.5km each way which makes it fairly short.

However, before you head off, you do need to be aware of the fact that you’re crossing open ocean which is why you must be a competent and confident paddler. If the wind is proving to be too strong, make sure you don’t set out as there is a chance of being caught in the strong wind. Make sure you always have regulation safety gear while paddling out in unprotected waters.

Make sure you’re always with a buddy when you head out into open waters.


Mount Pleasant to Salter Point

Drop your kayak into the water at Deepwater Point in Mount Pleasant and begin your paddle to cross to the other side. Just make sure you take care to avoid the ski area. From there, you need to follow the river right around past Mount Henry Spit, under the Mount Henry Bridge, and along the gorgeous Salters’ Point Foreshore to Salter Point Reserve.

From there, it is only a very short paddle back to the other side of the river near Shelley Beach. From there, follow the river back to Mount Pleasant, past the waterfront in Rossmoyne, and back under the Mount Henry Bridge before you head back to Deepwater Point.



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Port Kennedy

This awesome little paddle offers up a gorgeous stretch of undeveloped coastline for you to enjoy. During this paddle, you will feel as if you’re a trillion miles away from the city and suburbia. Begin your paddle from the Port Kennedy Boat Ramp.

From there, stay hugging the shore and choose between turning right towards Warnbro or going left past the point towards Secret Harbour. If your kayak is rigged for it, there is a really cool area for kayak fishing. Just make sure you stay safe and aware on the open water and never head out when there is a strong breeze.

Keep a life jacket on at all times and take a paddle buddy with you. If you plan to head over 400m offshore, you will need the right safety gear.


Rockingham to Penguin Island

From the gorgeous beach where the Penguin Island Ferry leaves, it is only a very short paddle over to Penguin Island. A very sturdy sandbar links the little island to the mainland which means you’re paddling in very shallow water during low tide. Once you’re at the island, you can do a little circuit around it or head north to Seal Island if you’re looking to go on a longer trip.

As said above, just make sure you take another person with you and ensure that you have all of the necessary safety equipment with you including flares and life jackets. If you don’t have your kayaks, there are plenty of places to hire out kayaks in Rockingham.


Whether you’re heading into the rivers or the sea, Perth is home to many stunning spots to hop in your canoe or kayak and paddle as far as you’d like for as long as you’d like! As long as your equipment is up to date and you’re going with a friend, you’re ready to go. Enjoy!


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