Airlie Beach | exploring Whitsundays by kayak

Everything you need to know about exploring the Whitsundays by kayak

Kayaking the Whitsundays is essentially exploring paradise on your own time. Comprised of over 70 islands, The Whitsundays, off the Queensland central coast, are packed with hidden coves, empty beaches and unexplored inlets just waiting to be explored, oceanside.

You’re the captain of your own vessel; all you need is a sense of adventure.

Take to the seas for a day

Kayaking Whitsundays

Photo by @olivermunoz

In search of the best snorkelling spots in the Whitsundays or secret beaches? Almost all resorts and tourist centres offer kayak rentals, so finding those hidden gems just got that much easier. What’s more, you don’t even need to go far.

South Molle Island

South Molle Island is just five kilometres offshore from Shute Harbour; an easy full-day paddle to some of the most magical spots in the island chain. Disembark at Paddle Bay on the northern tip, where you have easy access to walking trails which fan out across the island.

Airlie Beach

Half-day guided tours from Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour let you explore the rugged coastline of White Rock, Repair Island and Shute Island up close. With ample stops along the way to explore fringing reefs and deserted beaches, there’s a high chance you get frequent glimpses of the Green and Loggerhead turtles that call this pocket of paradise home.

Nara Inlet

Hook Island’s Nara Inlet is blessed with calm waters and a protected coast. With ocean like glass, impressive walking trails dotted with freshwater rockpools and secret caves revealing ancient Indigenous art at the Ngaro cultural site.

If you want to take the pressure off, join a guided kayaking tour of the Whitsundays for unparalleled access to local knowledge and secret spots off the beaten track. The choice is yours.

Your DIY, multi-day kayaking itinerary

Set your own pace and take your time; exploring the Whitsundays by kayak with nothing but yourself (and your crew) for company is as freeing a feeling as it gets.

Map your route

Whitsundays Ngaro Sea Trail

Photo by @kikinemoy

 The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail – a route linking seaways and walking trails on Whitsunday, South Molle and Hook islands—is a fantastic self-kayak journey for experienced kayakers and novices alike, dotted with untouched fringing reefs, sandy cays and camping sites aplenty. Oh, and it just so happens to be home to one of 10 Great Walks of Queensland.

Spend your nights under the stars

Kayaking Whitsundays

Photo by @4xpaw_crew

Whitsunday and Hook islands have 10 campsites between them, and kayakers naturally gravitate here. Note: To camp anywhere in the Whitsunday National Park, you’ll need a permit. These are easy and inexpensive to attain, but the rule of thumb? No permit, no play.

Prep your kit

Kayaking Whitsundays

Photo by @jase_hickson

Kick off your watery adventure by visiting the team at Salty Dog Sea Kayaking for all your kayaking needs. A Shute Harbour-based company, the team here have over 20 years’ experience and offer unique guided tours as well as extended kayak hire right around the region.

Still questioning a kayaking trip in paradise? Here’s everything you need to know about holidaying in the Whitsundays.