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Looking for interesting blogs, news, information and guides to all things paddling? Paddlecraft, Pittwater's leader in kayaking, wants to educate and help you choose your own experience with the right equipment, safety and advice.


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Discover the best birthday party event for your child!

 

When planning your kid’s birthday party, it is the activity choice & location that defines the experience and getting that right means staying on top of the trends and booking in early!

 

With headlines trumpeting child hood obesity and increasing risks to children from prolonged screen time, mothers longingly recall simpler times and birthday memories from their own childhood and wonder how to recreate those unforgettable times. With Sydney’s enviable weather and stupendous outdoor settings, kayaking with Paddlecraft on Pittwater in Sydney’s Northern Beaches offers an unforgettable mixture of excitement, outdoor water activities and old-fashioned fun that is guaranteed to produce memories of a lifetime.

 

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With excessive screen time, and the inactivity that goes with it, kids as young as 15 are at greater risk of obesity and chronic disease, research shows from a Sydney University Pediatric study. Only 1 in 5 Australian children move enough to meet the national guidelines of 60 minutes moderate to vigorous activity a day. Aussie kids spent an average of just 25-30 minutes doing moderate activities and only 5-7 minutes a day in vigorous sporting activities. For 8- to 12-year-olds, the average daily time spent using screen media was 4 hours and 36 minutes, according to a 2015 Common Sense Media report, with tweens spending 6 hours daily with all media, including reading and listening to music. Our kayaking birthday parties will provide a 1 1/2 hour on water paddling session with a Paddlecraft instructor for a minimum of 6 kids, 8 years and older with an additional 1/2 hour of free play. We generally provide double sit on top kayaks and offer an additional free single kayak for another adult to accompany the group.

Coupled with this reliance on technology and time spent indoor, there is a worrisome decline in the younger generation’s exposure to nature, appreciation of the outdoors and time just generally spent outdoors. Only about 10 percent say they are spending time outdoors every day, according to a new nationwide poll from The Nature Conservancy. And it shows! In 2014, America's national parks attracted a record-setting 292.8 million visits, but the typical visitor to the country's biggest parks is edging closer to retirement age, with the average age around mid fifties years old.

 

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Exposing kids to nature is a crucial step to getting kids to care about environmental issues, the poll finds. However, those with personal, positive experiences with nature were twice as likely to view themselves as strong environmentalists and were significantly more likely to express concern about water issues, air pollution, climate change and the overall condition of the environment. “That subset of youth is markedly different from those who have not had personal experiences with nature," says David Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates. "They are almost twice as likely to say they prefer spending time outdoors and more than twice as likely to strongly agree that protecting the environment is cool. Clearly, getting kids meaningful experiences outside is key to getting them to care about the environmental issues of our day."

Be the first in your group to introduce your son or daughter and their mates safely to an on-water activity, like kayaking on Pittwater and book a party with Paddlecraft. Bordered on the western foreshore of Pittwater by Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Paddlecraft is located just under an hour from Sydney CBD. Fostering a healthy way to celebrate a birthday and enjoying themselves with friends can help to create a life long commitment to outdoor appreciation and a physical life style that will be a birthday present that they will never forget! Click here for more information and to book a party with us this season.

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How to choose a kayak – what’s right for you?

How to choose a kayak is probably one of the most frequent questions asked at Paddlecraft. The answer is always different, but the kayak selection process always starts at the same place – with you! 

 

Single or Double Kayak?

 

Clearly an important decision in selecting a kayak is to know if you want to paddle solo or if a tandem kayak is preferred. Sometimes, a tandem is double the fun, but there are those who believe they can become divorce courts! In general, tandem kayaks are heavier than single kayaks and are certainly less expensive than purchasing 2 single kayaks. Most doubles are easily lifted onto car roof racks by 2 people and paddling as a team is far easier than paddling alone. So overall the work is halved, but you are certainly are dependent on a partner. Quite a few doubles come with seats that adjust to the center to allow for one paddler, but as a single paddler, the paddling experience will be less rewarding than being on a kayak built for one. For a family, double kayaks are a really great choice for family paddling. Most double kayaks have a high maximum weight capacity, and depending on the cockpit or seating layout, can accommodate 2 adults, 1 adult and 2 children, or even a party of 4 paddlers! Stability also becomes an important factor in this situation and the next decision emerges.... 

 

Sit on top or Sit in Kayak?

 

Sit on Top Kayaks are very stable, even allowing paddlers to jump on and off without capsizing or even being able to sit on the side of them with your feet dangling in the water. The kayak hull features a wide flat bottom with ridges that break the water tension promoting a more stable ride. The sit on top kayak also has water holes, allowing the water to flow in and drain out again, making them suitable for the surf and still water. These kayaks are great for kids and also serve as a dive platform for people interested in snorkeling or scuba diving. Fisherman are also big fans of the sit on top kayaks because it allows for a wide range of movement, easily accommodate storage and can be paddled many different places.

 

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Sit In Kayaks offer a different paddling experience and suits a paddler with a bit more experience, flexibility and fitness. The sit in kayaks feature a cockpit that requires some flexibility in the entry of the kayak as well as some covered storage within the kayak hull. This type of kayak generally provides better seat support, is overall a dryer paddle without water holes and the smooth bottomed hull provides more speed but less stability. Sit in Kayaks vary greatly in length and storage capacity and can be fitted with or without a rudder. Recreational kayaks range from about 3m to 4 meters length and are suited for day trips and still water areas. Touring and sea kayaks boast greater lengths and storage capacity and feature hull designs and other accessories that support ocean going adventures and several day camping trips.

 

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Single or Double, Sit in or Sit On Kayaks – these basic decisions are the first steps in choosing the right kayak for you. Of course, many other factors, like price, manufacturer, transport and weight of the kayak and material of the kayak, will provide further information to finalise your selection and is certainly deserving of much consideration. But one of the best ways to choose your kayak is to have a paddle in various models, after all people come in as many shapes and sizes as there are kayaks! Most kayak shops will have both sit on and sit in models, and at Paddlecraft, we have many demo models to paddle when you are ready to start trying some models out. Choosing the right kayak can be a rewarding experience with the right advice and match of craft to paddler. So, do some research, get out there on the water and start paddling!

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Attention all beginner kayakers! Don’t miss our spring start to Paddlecraft's Social Paddle Club

Have you wanted to try kayaking but just don’t know how to get started? Or maybe just feeling unmotivated about exercising and want to get fit outdoors?

 

If you lack the proper equipment or knowledge on how to get out on the water safely on your own and don't know how to start, you may miss another great season of kayaking on Pittwater in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Selecting and purchasing the right equipment is challenging and expensive for the novice paddler, so hiring from a wide range of equipment and paddling in a group can help get you out on the water quickly and with very low cost.

 

The best way to get out on Pittwater is joining Paddlecraft's Social Paddling Groups. Safe and fun, these groups provide beginner paddlers of all ages with paddling guidance, instruction and equipment and are supervised by experienced paddlers. Paddlecraft has been leading group paddling activities for paddlers of all levels of experience for many years. Our hire fleet has a wide range of kayaks, from sit on top kayaks, sea kayaks to surf skis and all are available to hire on an hourly basis. Many of our social paddlers have been with Paddlecraft for many years and have made new friends and gotten fit, all while learning a new water activity at the same time.

 

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Our popular morning groups, affectionately known as the “Bayview Blizzards” for some member’s all weather attitude towards paddling, is all inclusive and a great start to learning about kayaking. The Saturday Social Paddle, starting at 7:30 am, is about (1) hour long and launches directly from the beach area at our marina shop. The cost is $20 per session for a single kayak and includes the hire cost of the kayak and all safety equipment required and is suitable for all ages 18+.

 

Starting now, new members paddle for free at their first session, so grab a friend or just come yourself and don’t miss any more time on the water! Register your details on our website here and book yourself in for our next Saturday social paddle.

 

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The Top 2017 Trends for Corporate Group Activities

 

The most important 2017 trends for planning corporate group team building activities reflect the increasingly personal values in companies’ goals and vision statements.

 

Businesses are including unique corporate activities into their events that communicate and support these ideas to their employees. Recreational activities that give the illusion of “doing something” are no longer enough and both organisers and employees are looking to achieve outcomes that both align with their values and contribute to a greater good.

A significant theme that has been growing in the last few years embraces teambuilding activities with sustainable outcomes, ideally in outdoor settings. Even as physical environments have become less rigid, technology driven work practices still necessitates a significant time spent indoors. By stepping outside the demands of the workplace and exchanging the external backdrop for a natural environment, an outdoor activity can reset and refresh team dynamics.

 

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Echoing this trend was the 2017 Pantone Colour of the Year, a consumer service that monitors and documents what is taking place in global culture and through colour expresses a mood and an attitude. The top colour selected is Greenery, nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving is to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world.

Some companies are incorporating charitable components into team building and executive retreats. Charitable projects can be used very effectively in team building as companies recognise the importance of giving back to the community. Activities can range from hands on physical endeavours to fund raising events with financial outcomes for causes that have personal meaning to the organisation and participants.

 

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Bookings are also increasing for activities promoting mindfulness and wellbeing workshops, which encourage companies to think differently about the ways in which their employees react to stress and productivity issues. Based on techniques adopted by athletes for performance improvement and clinical studies of meditation, team building activities teach employees the benefits of self-awareness and being in the moment.

Lastly, small, more personalised experiences, whether within a larger event or tailored for smaller teams within a business are on the rise. More value is being placed on exclusivity and authentic activities, and moving events away from the main stream and preferably into tech free zones.

Combining many of these trends, kayaking or stand up paddling in Pittwater easily captures the aspirational objectives that many businesses are seeking in their corporate events. As Eco Pass operator for the national park, these activities can also provide direct charitable benefit to the national park system and heritage. Sustainable, set in a natural environment and employing “in the moment” experiences, Paddlecraft can craft an unforgettable corporate event for your business’s next corporate function.

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New for Spring 2017 - SEA, SUN & SUP Tour in Pittwater

With spring warmer  weather coming soon, Paddlecraft is offering more ways to have fun on Pittwater!!

 

Riding the wave of our new success on Airbnb’s Sydney experiences, Paddlecraft is launching the “SEA, SUN & SUP” in just a few weeks. Targeting the spring season in early September 2017, the half day guided tour hopes to continue to attract the international and domestic tourists that have been finding their way to the Northern Beaches, exploring Pittwater, Sydney’s other harbour.

 

An excellent fitness activity that can suit any age or level of experience, as well as, awesomely fun to do, stand up paddling has been rediscovered here in Australia. Originating in Hawaii in the early 1960’s, the stand up paddle (SUP) was simply devised as a way to provide a happy snap for tourists learning how to surf by the local Hawaiian beach boys, thus the phrase “Beach Boy Surfing” sprung up,  another term for this modern sport of SUP.

 

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Only an hour outside Sydney, Pittwater is an ideal spot for this activity for paddlers of all experiences, with its many secluded bays and still water areas. Using 11’4” length boards and adjustable paddles, Paddlecraft’s stand up paddle boards are very stable and will suit any size paddler. The SUP Board tours include all paddling and safety equipment necessary with a start up tutorial from our guides that will get you out on the water quickly.

 

Accommodating up to 12 paddlers, this personal tour showcases local areas of Pittwater only accessible by water. Starting with an early morning launch at the sheltered waters of McCarr’s Creek, we will explore the southern end of the creek and gain confidence on the water. After paddling northward past mangroves, gum trees and the sandstone embankments lining the foreshore of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, our group lands at the off shore community at Elvina Bay, where a morning tea will be provided. After a short bushwalk, jump back onto our boards, and with perhaps a few quick dips in the water, our happy group of paddlers will head home to our Bayview Marina location. 

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What Everybody should know about Pedal Powered Kayaks

Pedal powered kayaks are currently one of the biggest changes in kayaking!

But deciding to leave behind your paddle and jump into one of these new type of kayaks is not as simple as you think. As always, finding the right type of craft takes a bit of research and time, especially for a craft that has more design features and mechanisms to consider than your average kayak.

Looking at the history of these craft, pedal powered kayaks originated in the US from the iconic Hobie brand in Southern California when Hobie Kayaks first introduced the Mirage Drive, a pedal-powered device, in 1997. While pedals were already being used in various small watercraft, Hobie made it popular among kayak anglers and recreational paddlers. In 2008, another American brand, Native Watercraft introduced their own version of a pedal device called the Propel. Both brands have been available in Australia for some time, but now more manufacturers are bringing new foot propulsion crafts that are less costly and with improved design features, like Perception Kayaks and Feel Free Kayaks.

 

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There are many benefits in considering a foot propulsion system in a kayak, but of course, there are always some corresponding drawbacks. Probably the primary advantage to the pedal powered kayak is the hands free enjoyment allowing paddlers to enjoy other outdoor activities, such as fishing, photography, bird watching and many more opportunities imaginable. However, each pedal powered craft have different steering and rudder systems requiring hands on control for retracting the under mounted fins in shallow areas, as well as turning and reversing the craft, so there are times that you will needs to use your hands to engage the system or use a paddle that is stowed on the craft. (There is much more to review between brands regarding the specific benefits of each foot propulsion systems, but a good comparison review of Hobie & Native Watercraft can be found here.)

Another huge benefit is the speed that can be achieved in a pedal powered kayak relative to the amount of effort required. Most brands use either a rotational pedal or a push pedal system that moves your legs on the pedal, like walking or riding a bike, with a full movement of your leg and foot. While rotating the propeller or fins with your legs, an uninterrupted motion is created and even when pedalling does stop, very little momentum is lost. So maintaining a good cruising speed for longer distances and durations requires far less energy than the more traditional paddle powered craft but obviously, using an entirely different muscle group to power. The concept behind a pedal-driven kayak enables the kayaker to utilize the larger leg muscles than the arms and torso muscles normally used in paddling with a paddle. (Whether the foot pedalled kayak is faster than a paddle propelled craft is a more complex issue to measure and debate, and an amusing discussion can be found here.)

 

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Other important benefits to consider are found in feature such as seats with superior back support, adjustability in seat heights and a moveable seat location in the craft allowing paddlers to customise the seating arrangement to suit a wide range of activities, as well as, paddler comfort. With the main propulsion mechanism located under the kayak, overall splashing is also reduced from traditional paddling and it makes them quiet and stealthier. But most importantly, these kayaks still provide you with the ability to get into areas of water that traditional boats are unable to go, giving you the close and personal experience with nature that paddling is all about!

But of course, there are a few drawbacks to using a pedal fishing kayak compared to a paddle fishing kayak. Compared to a traditional sit on top kayak, these kayaks have less storage space and the footwell area is not as open with the drive system taking up space in the footwell. Also depending on the brand, navigating shallow waters requires the pedal drive to be removed and put somewhere, or retracted. So overall, there is much more interaction and maintanance required with the foot propulsion mechanism than a traditional kayak. Although considered quieter than a motorised craft option, they are also still not as quiet as a traditional paddle driven kayak, and lastly, the pedal powered kayaks are generally much more expensive and much heavier than a sit on top kayak of similar length.

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Similar to deciding and comparing options for any craft that you are looking to purchase, knowing what you want to use the craft for and what will suit your budget and needs is the most important considerations for any paddler. As the leader in kayaking on Pittwater, Paddlecraft is always happy to discuss with you which type of kayak will best suit you, helping you choose your paddling experience with the right advice, safety and equipment. Coming soon, in early April, we will be stocking the new pedal powered Perception Pilot 12, so book in your demo paddle soon!

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Five Reasons to Rescue your New Year’s Resolution!

Did you know that it's very rare to keep your NY resolutions for the whole year?

According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are against you!! But at Paddlecraft, we know why and how you can keep your NY resolutions on track, whether it’s improving your paddling, getting fit or just trying something new like kayaking.

 

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The top reason to start paddling is that the autumn months have the perfect air temperature for water sports. Late summer temperatures continue until the last few weeks of March where maximum temperatures hover around a very pleasant 25 °C and the temperatures in autumn are usually consistent and stable, lacking any extremes that tend to be experienced in spring and summer. Like Goldilock said, “Not too hot, or too cold, but just right!”

 

A close second reason is the water temperature is even warmer than in summer! The sea surface temperature cools much more slowly than air temperatures due to the amazing heat capacity of water. The water temperatures lag on a seasonal timescale by about 3 months with the lowest temperatures usually observed in early spring and the highest temperatures are observed in early autumn. Even though you should spend more time on top of the water when paddling, dipping a toe in the water is a pleasant surprise.

 

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If the perfect weather doesn’t get you out on the water, a third reason many people find it hard to stay motivated is because they feel alone and have no support to achieve their goal. Pittwater has a large community of paddlers, and at Paddlecraft, we offer many types of group activities to suit all levels of paddlers. For beginner paddlers,our social groups provide a great place to try kayaking with us in stable kayaks for an hour session. For those interested in training and challenging themselves, we also offer group coaching for surf ski paddlers focussing on stroke technique and racing.

 

Too much thinking and not enough doing can also sabotage many well intentioned resolutions, Many people like you, aspire to achieve their ambitious goals, but It’s not that their resolutions are useless. In fact, research has found that people who set explicit goals are 10 times more likely to achieve them So to overcome this fourth roadblock of procrastination, let us help you find the right solution and get you started on the water with our large range of demo skis and low hire costs. We personally work with our customers to make sure they get the right equipment and advice to be able to paddle safely and with enjoyment.

 

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Lastly, paddling improves your life and makes you feel better! Spending time in a natural environment reduces stress, improves your mental health and provides many positive benefits to your well being, as proven in many scientific studies. We believe at Paddlecraft that spending time on the water, helps all of us to realize our connection to this planet, and we hope by introducing paddlers to Pittwater, it will help us safe guard this area of the world we call home.

 

Make a change now and rescue your New Year’s resolutions with our help!

Our passion, as Pittwater’s leader in kayaking, is to help you choose your paddling experience with the right equipment, safety and advice. Contact us at info@paddlecraft.com.au for more information and see you on the water soon!!

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Best Outdoor Activities in Pittwater and Sydney’s National Parks

Looking for outdoor activities to do in Pittwater and Sydney’s National Parks? Try our new kayaking tours!

Explore the Northern Beach’s Pittwater and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in a kayak for an unforgettable experience. Beaches, water, sun and spectacular bushland, just across from Palm Beach, this area is only an hour away from Sydney.

With the launch of our new tour website, these new guided half day and full day Pittwater Discovery Tours, extend our goal of “Choose your own adventures with the right equipment, safety & advice” by providing a greater range of experience to visitors than our current self guided hire service. As self described “environmental guardians of Pittwater”, we are passionate about the Sydney Harbour landscape that is Pittwater and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. We feel that by getting more visitors out on the water, we will raise awareness of our place in nature and help protect this area.

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Our half day Pittwater Discovery Tour, a moderately active guided tour allows visitors to experience a small taste of the spellbinding areas of Pittwater within four hours. Including a morning tea, this tour navigates around Scotland Island and into Lovett Bay with a leisurely bushwalk. More information is available here.

The Bush to Beach tour, a full day exploration from West Head to southern end of Pittwater is a highly adventurous experience that is unforgettable. This full day paddling tour around Pittwater’s bays and waterways incorporates bushwalks to diverse natural features and Aboriginal artefact & art locations, morning tea and lunch at local boat houses and swims at remote national park beaches. Check out the map with more information here.

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Through participation in our tours, new visitors will increase their environmental education and conservation awareness and their appreciation of the national parks. Our guide’s tour introduction will honour and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, seek permission for our use and introduce the visitor to the connection of land, water and people from the past to the present. Observing the ecosystem of the national park and Pittwater, through bushwalking and kayaking, we hope to promote awareness of the need to provide governance to future generations through support of the national parks. Our Tour guides will point out the changing seasonality in wildlife and environment and tour highlights will include local residents sharing their off shore experiences.By lightly travelling through the environment, and leaving no trace, visitors will learn by example how participation within nature can enhance our own lives with out cost to the future.

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Looking for the best outdoor & on the water activities in Sydney?

Looking for the best things to do in summer in Sydney? Interested in the top water activities and adventures available? Explore Pittwater, Sydney's other harbour - just an hour away from the city. Bordered by Ku-ring gai Chase National Park on the western foreshore of Pittwater, this waterway offers creeks, bays and islands with beaches only accessible by water, To find out more about these areas, check out our guide to the top five secret places of Pittwater we love to explore!

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PADDLECRAFT WINS GRANT TO PROMOTE PITTWATER

Top (3) tourism goals met in our new Pittwater Discovery Tours

“Establish a world-class journey on Pittwater” was identified as a Priority 1 project in the Sydney Harbour National Landscape Experience Development Strategy developed by Tourism Australia and Parks Australia. Through identification of the Experience Seekers as the ideal tourist profile for Sydney, it was found that “nature”, “Aboriginal” and “journeys” was nominated as the greatest opportunity for Sydney to deliver spellbinding visitor experiences for the international market. (Source TRC Tourism 2013). Paddlecraft successfully met these visitor objectives in their new 2016 tour packages and was selected to receive a grant for small tourism business operators from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The Visitor Economy Taskforce Report (2012) from Tourism Australia suggests that Sydney has lost its number one status across a range of measures. It has been outperformed by competitor destinations in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region over recent years. Over the last decade, Sydney’s market share of international visitors has declined from 53.6 % to 47.7 %. Sydney is Australia’s major gateway, receiving 2.6 million international visitors in 2012-13. This represents 42 per cent of all inbound arrivals. However, this share has declined over time, down ten points from 57 per cent in 2000, with Sydney losing market share to competitors such as Melbourne. This is reflected in the city’s average inbound visitation growth rate of 0.3% per annum, lagging behind the national average of 1.9 per cent 11. (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2013) – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, June 2013)

Pittwater Discovery Tours are guided tour offerings that combine one day and multi day bushwalking and kayaking journeys in a spectacular national park and marine landscape located within an hour’s drive of Sydney. Traversing bushland to beaches on a kayak, these tours allow visitors to experience varied ecosystems, Aboriginal artwork & artefacts and bushland & aquatic wildlife first hand in a natural environment. By providing a range of nature based experiences through the uniquely aquatic perspective of kayaking, these tours meet the visitor’s desires for an authentic and distinctive Australian experience of nature, promote education and conservation values and broadens Sydney’s appeal by highlighting her natural attributes.

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