Australia isn’t just full of the outback and kangaroos; it’s also home to some stunning waterways that are perfect for paddle boarding.
The world’s largest island is made up of six states, six external territories, three internal territories, and one autonomous territory. In our article today, we’ll mainly focus on the six states and one of the internal territories that is called the Northern Territory.
So, if you’re taking your SUP down under, here are the best places to paddle board in Australia.
Paddle Boarding Australia
The first state we’ll dive into is New South Wales, located on the eastern side of Australia. New South Wales is known for it’s seaside villages, wine regions, the nation’s biggest city, Sydney, and the country's capital, Canberra.
The state also has some fantastic SUP locations with calm and pristine waters, amazing marine life, and beautiful surrounding nature.
Byron Bay is a coastal town in northern New South Wales and is home to Australia’s most easterly point, incredible festivals, and out-of-this-world beaches.
The stretch of beach along Byron Bay has something for everyone, with waves along the South Pacific Ocean coast that are suitable for thrill-seeking SUPers to calm waters along the Richmond River, which is full of wildlife and vegetation.
If you paddle out far enough, you may even catch a glimpse of some of the animals Byron is famous for. Sharks, turtles, and whales are regularly spotted along the coastline, so take your snorkeling gear and refresh yourself in the crystal clear water.
As Byron Bay is a popular travel destination in Australia, there are many stand up paddle boarding rental companies dotted along the coast where you can hire a SUP or go on a guided tour to experience the best paddling areas Byron has to offer.
Lord Howe Island is a small island in the Tasman Sea with picturesque white-sand beaches, tropical forests, and incredible scuba diving locations.
As the water is jam-packed with incredible marine wildlife, paddle boarding on the crystal clear waters surrounding the island has become increasingly popular and paddle board rental companies have set up shop for those who wish to rent a SUP.
The easiest way to travel to Lord Howe Island is by plane, and flights run from Sydney Airport fairly regularly.
Just a 20-minute drive from Sydney airport is the secluded and quiet bay of Malabar Beach. The sheltered bay features soft sand, calm waters, and rock pools on its southern foreshore.
The bay even has two shipwrecks popular with divers, the MV Malabar and the Goolgwai.
Manly Beach is a location for the SUP surfers and is one of Australia’s most famous surfing beaches.
We recommend only the most experienced SUPers try heading out to the waves as they’re known to be big and busy with local traditional surfers.
SUPs are available for hire at a few locations near the beach and it’s best to get there early before the crowds begin to form.
The harbourside position of Balmoral Beach shields the area from winds and big waves, making it an excellent destination for swimming, paddling, and picnics.
You can hire paddle boards and kayaks, take a SUP lesson or even try a one-hour yoga class from the comfort of your paddle board.
The next state on the list is the Northern Territory at the top end of Australia and is true Aussie outback. The city of Darwin, National Parks, and the world-famous Uluru provide one-of-a-kind scenery that you won’t find anywhere else.
Nitmiluk National Park has 13 gorges carved by the Katherine River from ancient sandstone and are best explored on foot or by kayak/paddle board.
You can find SUP conditions for all types of paddlers in one of the 13 gorges, some with rapids and waterfalls, others with tranquil waters excellent for beginners.
As you’re paddling in a National Park, the number of wildlife sightings is endless, and you can expect to catch glimpses of ospreys, cockatoos, parrots, and so much more.
Before paddling in the Nitmiluk National Park, it’s best to head over to the visitor center 30 kilometers east of Katherine and ask for information regarding the park’s landscapes and geology.
The third state on our list and the second biggest in Australia is Queensland, also known as the sunshine state on Australia’s eastern coast.
Queensland is home to the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands, and the warmest winters throughout the whole of Australia, making it a haven for water sports like paddle boarding.
Lawn Hill Creek in the Boodjamulla National Park has calm turquoise waters surrounded by incredible red rock sandstone cliffs.
The park has a diverse selection of wildlife, from numerous fish species to Australian freshwater crocodiles (but don’t worry, they aren’t the man-eating kind.)
For the best experience in the National Park, we recommend camping at the Lawn Hill Gorge camping area and heading out for a paddle at sunrise or sunset.
The waterways of Currumbin Creek link the region’s rainforest mountains and create an entrance to the protected coastline oceans, which have become a popular haven for many different water sports.
SUP board rental companies can be found just a short stroll away from the water, or bring your own inflatable SUP and head out for a leisurely paddle along the creek and into the ocean.
The upper Noosa River is a popular paddling destination for both paddle boarders and kayakers alike. The slow-flowing and tranquil waters along the river are perfect for stand up paddle boarding and you can choose to take a SUP guided tour or head out on your own accord.
The Whitsundays are possibly one of Australia’s most beautiful places thanks to their crystal clear turquoise waters and pristine white sand beaches. 74 islands make up the Whitsundays, and located right in the heart of them all is the most famous reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef.
Due to the incredible waters throughout the Whitsundays, paddle boarding is becoming increasingly popular amongst tourists, and SUP rental companies are everywhere.
While paddling through the waters, sea birds, sea turtles, and countless fish species will be swimming and flying above and beneath you, giving you a truly unforgettable SUP experience.
South Australia lies at the bottom of the country and gives off a laid-back vibe that is ideal for a relaxing getaway.
The Seacliff Beach in Adelaide not only has incredible conditions for paddle boarding, but it also has large grass picnic areas, public facilities, and RV grounds close to the water’s edge so you can really turn your SUP trip into a weekend adventure.
West Lakes is another SUP location in Adelaide that has long stretches of calm waters that swimmers and paddlers of all types regularly frequent. After you’ve finished your paddle for the day, you can head into the city and visit the Westfield West Lakes shopping center.
Tasmania is separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait and is the smallest state in Australia. Tasmania really is a paddler’s paradise equipped with amazing beaches, scenic landscapes, and winding rivers.
Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart is surrounded to the east by the Derwent River, which is easily accessible by paddle boards, and has beautiful vegetation on its river banks.
New paddlers can take SUP lessons at one of the many stand up paddle boarding schools in the area, or you can launch your SUP and head out on your own adventure.
The South West National Park in Tasmania is a Wilderness World Heritage Area with rainforests, jagged mountains, and paddle board-friendly waterways.
Lake Gordon and Lake Pedder are the best areas in the South West National Park for paddling, and it’s recommended to bring a lightweight or inflatable SUP if you’re heading to the park.
Tasmania’s east coast has a spectacular and picture-perfect oceanic bay that is a must-see when visiting the state with a SUP.
Forests back wineglass Bay, with its turquoise waters and white sand, and although it’s roughly an hour walk from the nearest car park, it is definitely worth packing an inflatable SUP and taking the hike.
Because the bay is so secluded, you’ll most likely be one of, if not the only, paddlers there that day. To make your trip even more special, you can also camp out at the campsite located at the end of the beach.
Victoria is on the southeastern coast of Australia, and the state’s capital of Melbourne attracts many tourists each and every year.
Wilsons Prom on the southernmost tip of Australia is a National Park with remote bushland trails, gorgeous beaches, and granite peaks.
The white sand Norman Beach is excellent for paddle boarding, and you can even go snorkeling from your SUP in Victoria’s largest Marine National Park.
The Mornington Peninsula is a holiday destination outside Melbourne and has stretches of soft sand beaches and clear turquoise waters.
Mount Martha Beach is one of the best beaches in the area for paddle boarding, and if you aren’t bringing your own SUP, you can rent one along the coastline.
Eastern Beach is Geelong’s main swimming beach and is backed by the Eastern Beach Reserve. The beach is an excellent destination for families because of its diving towers, children’s pool, enclosed sea baths, and nearby playgrounds.
Western Australia is Australia’s largest state and has a tremendous amount of coastline with ample opportunities for paddle boarding and swimming.
Exmouth, like the Whitsundays, is a truly incredible destination that looks like it should feature on the front of a postcard.
Found on Western Australia’s Northwest Cape, Exmouth has white sands, clear waters, and interesting marine wildlife in the Ningaloo Reef.
The Ningaloo Reef is one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world and gained its World Heritage Listing due to its abundance of wildlife. One of the most spectacular animals that frequent Ningaloo are whale sharks that congregate the reef each and every year.
The Swan River runs through the city of Perth, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle that comes with a city and paddle out peacefully along the water. You really get the best of both worlds.
If you paddle along the Swan River, you’ll soon realize it is teeming with many species of waterfowl as well as fish and Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins.
The last must-visit Australian paddle boarding destination on our list is Rottnest Island. Rottnest Island is most famously known for its population of extremely cute quokkas, limestone reefs, and underwater caves.
The beaches around the island are breathtaking and perfect launch sites to set up your board and enjoy the immaculate waters and animal life that the island has to offer.
Australia is full of incredible SUP destinations, all with their unique features and waterways. Some of the best places to paddle board in Australia include:
You can stand up paddle board in most places throughout Australia; however, it is best to research your desired location beforehand to ensure you’re able to and can handle paddling in the water conditions.
For example, if you’re a new paddler, it would be wise to paddle on flat waters and not to the coast where waves are present.
New South Wales has some great SUP locations, and the sport of paddle boarding is getting incredibly popular amongst many NSW waterways. Some of the best places to paddle board in New South Wales include - Byron Bay, Lord Howe Island, Malabar Beach, Manly Beach, and Balmoral Beach.
Yes, it is possible to paddle board on the Yarra River, so grab your SUP and get going!
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