Top things to do in Sydney
When travelling to Sydney, Australia for a holiday, its common to look for the top things to do in Sydney or in Australia. For Sydney, the obvious choice is Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. An epic hike up the side of Sydney’s famous Harbour Bridge. The views from the top are pretty spectacular and the thrill of being up so high is amazing. Having said that, not many people have considered kayaking under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Where it all began
When I started Sydney by Kayak in 2013, I was a fitness instructor, who spent the majority of my time inside the sheltered Lavender Bay, offering kayak sprint training, fitness games and kayak drills that got the heart pumping. Don’t get me wrong, I paddled out every morning and looked towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge, perfectly framing the Sydney Opera House, right before I jumped into our heart-pumping fitness session. I loved that view. It was my absolute favourite moment in my day. A fresh coffee in my hand. A flat canvass of a day ahead. It was an indescribable feeling to just sit and be. Six years later and I still love that view and it is possibly still one of my favourite times of the day (second to giving my little boy a hug).
It took me months before I actually got a group together and suggested a longer paddle. We kayaked out of the bay and around to Thelma and Louise café for brunch. I’ll never forget my first time gliding across the glassy waters at sunrise, staring up at the 52,800 tonnes of steel that is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The incredible planning, foresight and infrastructure, and the amazing history behind its incredible build. To this day, it still blows me away, every time I kayak under it.
Like a kid at Christmas
Having kayaked under the Sydney Harbour Bridge for almost 6 years, nearly every day, you’d think it would lose its appeal. This is far from the truth. It’s a little bit like being a kid at Christmas and then being a parent at Christmas. It becomes fun again when you are able to share something this magical and see others enjoying it for the first time, too. Their faces as they kayak past Luna Park and out past the last moored boat in Lavender Bay, feeling so tiny on such a huge, quiet waterway, surrounded by a major city! When you see paddlers faces light up when they realise where they are, sitting in a kayak on one of the worlds largest and most beautiful natural harbours. Words just can’t describe it.
There isn’t a lot of fitness going on in my kayaking sessions these days. My local, regular fitness paddlers used to see me with my coffee in my kayak and before I knew it, they were asking me to grab one for them, too. They would join me for a warm-up paddle out to the edge of the bay, where we would all sit in silence and just enjoy the view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. I’d look around and wonder if they all felt the same way I did. Like nothing else in that moment mattered. This was their time. Their 10 minutes of peace, drinking their first coffee of the day, watching the sun come up over Sydney Harbour.
From fitness class to kayak tour
Even though I offered boxercise classes, run clubs and small group training sessions, my on-water kayak fitness classes were by far the most popular. My local endurance paddlers would post stunning photos on Facebook and would even invite their visiting friends along to enjoy the view (but not really take part in the fitness). On weekends, we started kayaking under the Sydney Harbour Bridge on long endurance paddles, so we could benefit from a more social paddle and enjoy our coffees. Before long, we had dropped the fitness classes altogether. From here, the kayak classes turned into kayak tours, with more and more visitors and tourists learning about what it was we were offering. Drinking coffee in a kayak, watching the sunrise on Sydney Harbour. It was the making of a bucket list experience that has had us out on Sydney Harbour nearly every day since (even on Christmas morning!.. just while our little boy is too young to understand) 😉
Introducing the Waterbike
Recently, we met an incredible guy named Mark, who introduced the Chiliboat Waterbikes to Australia. Mark has been into watersports his entire life, growing up in Sydney, but traveling and working on the water all over the world, diving, kayaking and having a “yarn” with anyone and everyone he meets. He is a legend and has so many fascinating stories and life experiences to share. Mark joined our team as Head Waterbike Guide earlier this year, offering stunning Couples Waterbike tours at sunrise (with coffee), as well as shorter #instagramtour style experiences around Lavender Bay, including that epic photo that we all love, the Sydney Harbour Bridge framing the Opera House, with Luna Park and Sydney’s city skyline either side. You can be one of the first people to cycle under the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a waterbike if you join Mark this season!
Book your bucket list experience today!
If kayaking or waterbiking under the Sydney Harbour Bridge is on your bucketlist, now is the perfect time of year to book a tour with us. The sunrise tours are all scheduled with 40 minutes to spare, prior to the sun hitting the horizon. This is so you can be briefed, set-up and on the water in time to sit in my favourite coffee spot in the world.. just in time to witness the sun hitting the horizon. All of this before the ferries and boat traffic start, meaning we have the entire Sydney Harbour to ourselves. Its just magical.
Give it try. Join us for an experience you’ll never forget 😊
See you on the water.