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The Story Of Our Living Seawall Boulders

Created by Sydney By Kayak

Wednesday, 22nd November 2023
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As passionate eco-warriors of Sydney's magnificent harbour, we at Sydney By Kayak are constantly seeking innovative ways to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of its waterways. We're thrilled to share our latest initiative that showcases our commitment to environmental conservation – the installation of our world first Living Seawall Boulders, in collaboration with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS), Reef Design Lab and North Sydney Council. These 18 boulders stand as an ecological wonder and a testament to the collaborative efforts in protecting our natural environment.

The Need for a Sustainable Solution

Sydney's iconic waterways have long been a hub of natural beauty. However, with increased urbanisation, the health of marine ecosystems faces considerable challenges. Alarmed by the destruction of marine habitats, we recognised the urgent need for a sustainable solution that would not only combat the issue, but also engage and inspire our community to learn more and take action.

The Living Seawall Boulders were born

Collaboration was at the heart of this visionary project. With the expertise of SIMS, Reef Design Lab's innovative designs, and the backing of North Sydney Council, Sydney By Kayak embarked on a mission to create a 3D living seawall that would enhance marine life, and offer an educational platform for our community, marine biologists and universities. 

Designed with Purpose

The 18 Living Seawall Boulders, strategically placed in Lavender Bay, embody the fusion of art and science. Each boulder was meticulously designed by Reef Design Lab, with 15 pattered boulders placed at different tide heights, mimicking the natural features of the marine environment. In this case, natural rockpools, ensuring they would provide a welcoming habitat for marine creatures. These boulders combat the loss of natural habitat and enhance biodiversity in our home bay, Lavender Bay.

The Power of Collaboration

The successful realisation of the Living Seawall Boulders project is a testament to the incredible impact that can be achieved through collaboration. Working alongside SIMS, Reef Design Lab, and North Sydney Council allowed us to pool our strengths, resources, and expertise, resulting in a project that far exceeded our individual abilities and expectations. Felicity Wilson's unwavering support throughout the journey was heartwarming and reassuring to know we have the backing of our local community and leaders.

Educational and Environmental Impact

Beyond their ecological significance, the Living Seawall Boulders stand as a living classroom, offering a unique opportunity for education and engagement. We firmly believe that awareness drives action, and these boulders serve as a tangible reminder of the importance of our actions and their impact on the environment. Through guided kayak tours on Sydney Harbour, plastic recycling workshops, and community events, we aim to inspire a generation of environmentally conscious people, who are empowered to protect and cherish our waterways.

Monitoring and Celebrating Success

Our commitment to this project, both with our time, support and funding, led us to pursue a monitoring system to measure the ecological and environmental impact of the boulders, so we can further share the success and findings of the project. Collaborating with SIMS, we have been tracking changes in marine biodiversity, and habitat restoration. The positive results we're witnessing not only reaffirm the effectiveness of the project, but also feed our determination to continue implementing innovative solutions. At just 6 weeks, we’ve already discovered 16 new species living in and on the boulders!

Future Prospects

Looking ahead, we are brimming with excitement about the potential of the Living Seawall Boulders project. We envision expanding this initiative to other areas, amplifying its impact on marine ecosystems and engaging even more individuals in the journey toward sustainability. The success of this project has set the stage for us to dream bigger, push further, and advocate for the protection of our natural environment.


As Sydney By Kayak celebrates our commitment to environmental conservation, our journey has led us to transformative projects that inspire change and unite communities. The Living Seawall Boulders embody our dedication to preserving Sydney's waterways for generations to come. With the invaluable collaboration of SIMS, Reef Design Lab, North Sydney Council, and the incredible support of Felicity Wilson, we've created more than an ecological masterpiece – we've ignited a movement that encourages everyone to become Citizen Scientists and eco-warriors for our precious marine environment. The Living Seawall Boulders are a symbol of our unwavering passion for conservation, our innovative spirit, and our belief in the profound impact we can achieve together.