Flanked by almost 4,000km of pristine coastline and crisscrossed by jaw-dropping waterways and rivers, one of the best ways to explore South Australia is at water level.
Kayak through seaside caves, float down meandering estuaries or paddle beside dolphins on the ultimate kayaking adventure in South Australia. From the turquoise ocean of the Eyre Peninsula to the serene waters of the Murray River, captain your own kayak or canoe and explore parts of South Australia only accessible by water. An eco-friendly kayak tour is also one of the most sustainable ways to experience these fragile environments at eye-level with nature. Here’s our guide to the best kayak experiences in South Australia.
1. Rapid Bay and Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula
The Fleurieu Peninsula coastline is home to some of the best beaches in South Australia, and prime kayaking country. On the tip of the peninsula, secluded coves, seaside caves, and abundant aquatic life await at Rapid Bay and Second Valley, one of the best spots to kayak in South Australia. Here, jaw-dropping limestone cliffs tower above pristine sandy white shores and sparkling turquoise water spilling out to the ocean beyond. Strap on your kayak or hire one from Second Valley Kayak and SUP Hire, wind your way along the coast and float through secret ocean grottos and explore a labyrinth of caves, coves and rock pools.
2. Kayak with dolphins, Adelaide
Float through an ancient mangrove forest as dolphins duck and dive in the surrounding waters… minutes from Adelaide? One of Adelaide’s best kept secrets, Port Adelaide’s Dolphin Sanctuary offers the unforgettable experience to get up close to the ocean’s most charismatic residents. With a 10,000-year-old mangrove forest, this river system is home to around 40 resident bottlenose dolphins, while another 300 transient dolphins also frequent the river to feed, play and nurse their young. Abundant birdlife, sting rays, long-nosed fur seals and endangered Australian Sea lions also call the area home. The perfect family friendly activity near Adelaide, Adventure Kayak, Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary and Dolphin Sanctuary Kayak Tours run tours suitable for all ages.
3. Canoe the Coorong, Fleurieu Peninsula
Cast off in your kayak and explore one of the most abundantly rich and varied ecosystems in Australia. Bordered by towering dunes and snow-white sand, Coorong National Park is the epic meeting point of the Murray mouth and Southern Ocean. Sprawling over almost 500km with snaking estuaries, streams and creeks that vein the land, this culturally significant area is best explored with a knowledgeable guide by your side. Jump on tour with Canoe the Coorong and glide through glass-smooth waters which cut through some of the most scenic and pristine sections of the Coorong on a full-day, sunset or overnight tour.
4. EP Cruises, Eyre Peninsula
Imagine paddling next to majestic whales as the sun sets over the ocean. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, head to the Eyre Peninsula, a quick 90-minute flight from Adelaide to Ceduna or epic road trip along the Seafood Frontier and discover one of the most unique sea-kayaking experiences in Australia. Departing from Fowlers Bay, venture out into the stunning cove at sunset or sunrise with an experienced EP Cruises guide and spot seals, dolphins, birds and sting rays. If you’re kayaking during June to September, chances are you’ll be joined by Southern Right Whales as they make their way along the coast on their annual migration to feed and raise their young in these turquoise waters.
5. Canoe the Murray River, Riverland
The Riverland is home to numerous backwaters, creeks and lagoons which are best explored by canoe or kayak. From Renmark, the Murray River carves its way through iconic Australian bushland and gives way to breathtaking wetlands where wildlife flourishes. Jump in your kayak and weave your way into the narrow inlets and take picnic supplies for a tranquil waterfront lunch where kangaroos, emus, koalas, goannas and birds will be your only company. For the intrepid, go on a self-guided 'canoe camping' expedition with Canoe Adventures or jump on a sunset kayak tour with Canoe the Riverland to spend more time in nature learning about the river’s biodiversity.
6. Adelaide Kayak Tour
Slip down the still waters of the River Torrens at sunset on a guided kayak tour with Earth Adventures. See Adelaide from water-level as you paddle down the most significant river system on the Adelaide Plains, past some of the city’s most iconic buildings and picturesque riverbank gardens. The Adelaide City Kayak Tour is one of the most unique ways to experience Adelaide with day and sunset options to suit all experience levels.
7. Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action
Spot kangaroos and koalas as you glide through the still water of Harriet River on a leisurely 2-hour paddle. Just a stone’s throw from the famed shores of Vivonne Bay, a guided tour with Kangaroo Island Outdoor Action will give you a unique view of Kangaroo Island set to the soundtrack of birds and the gentle lapping as your paddle hits the water. Each tour is tailored to your interests with single and double kayaks are available.
8. Nullarbor Traveller, Murray River, Lakes and Coorong
Explore Australia's longest river on a day tour from Adelaide with Nullarbor Traveller. Flowing more than 2,500 kilometres from the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, through the Riverland and onto the Lakes and Coorong in South Australia, the Murray River is around 130 million years old and is one of the most spectacular places to kayak in Australia. Spend two hours drifting and weaving through the meandering Murray, kayaking past river red gums while spotting a huge variety of birdlife. Afterwards, wind your way through the Adelaide Hills to Hahndorf and refuel at the German Arms Hotel.
Best Swimming safaris
Dreaming of more aquatic adventures? Give the paddles a rest and dive into a swimming safari somewhere in South Australia. From diving with sharks from the safety of a cage to splashing with playful sea lions without in the wild, here are out top 8 swimming safaris in South Australia.