A regular question from customers here at Kayak & SUP is “where are the best places to Kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard on the Sunshine Coast?”. If your visiting, recently moved here or have been living here all your life you may be surprised just how many safe places there are to paddle here on the Sunshine Coast. With a Kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard, you can access waters that are often unreachable by any other watercraft and simply immerse yourself in the calm that nature has provided us.
We have listed 5 top locations to Kayak or Paddleboard based on both our staff and customer picks, there are certainly many many other great places to explore here on the Sunshine Coast but these few will help you get started exploring new waters in your kayak and stand up paddleboard. These locations are all safe and are all perfect locations to involve the kids too.
1 – Cotton Tree – Island hopping explore the plaza or catch a wave.
Cotton tree in Maroochydore offers a huge variety of options for Kayaks and Paddleboards and often has some of the clearest water on the Sunshine Coast. Park the car at or near Cotton Tree swimming pool or caravan park you can then choose from a few adventures.
Explore Goat Island & Channel Island – Directly opposite Cotton tree beach are 2 sand islands full of life in the mangroves, Goat Island & Channel Island. At high tide, you can paddle inside the maze of mangroves getting up close to birdlife, stingrays and more. At only a little more than ankle deep (just enough for a shallow paddle stroke), this area is protected from other noisy watercraft so can be a peaceful adventure in the heart of busy Maroochydore. Fun for young and old is to paddle over to the sand bars where you will be amazed at the swarms of soldier crabs scurrying to get away from you (watch the toes and fingers).
Explore the Sunshine Plaza – From the same launch spot paddle under the 2 bridges that lead to the Sunshine Plaza and end up right in the middle of the shopping mall. A fun thing to do in there is paddle under the mall itself and feed the many fish hanging around waiting for scraps to fall over the sides of the walkways.
Catch a wave – Cotton tree is a great place to launch and paddle towards the river mouth and seek a wave. This spot offers waves for the beginner to advanced paddler so a great place to learn to surf on a Standup paddle board or even in the kayak. The tip here if your learning is to go on the incoming tide just to be safe and always with a friend.
Important points to note about the area if you’re planning a trip for the first time
- Very tidal, being so close to the river mouth the current can flow very fast at certain parts of the tide so be aware of the tides when you plan your trip.
- Get there early or take a trolley with you as there are lots of activities for people to enjoy in the area including the pool, cafes, playgrounds and more so parking can fill up fast
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2 – Ewen Maddock dam – freshwater getaway
If you’re looking to escape the crowds or just enjoy some different scenery, then Ewen Maddock dam has a lot to offer. Located inland from Caloundra this freshwater dam is very paddle sport friendly with plenty of parking, toilet facilities and excellent water access for paddle craft on trolleys. Other than a few small areas which are clearly marked you can access the whole dam enjoying the local birdlife and turtles. In the peak of summer, this is one of the best places to take a refreshing swim. This is just a relaxing getaway close to home and often forgotten by the locals so you may find at times you have this place almost to yourself.
3 -Noosa Everglades
The still, peaceful waters of the Noosa Everglades provides a serene and beautiful experience in one of the most spectacular waterways of the Sunshine Coast. These waters wind through wild natural landscape allowing paddlers to get up close and personal with all the native flora and fauna that make South East Queensland such a unique destination.
If you want the best experience then drive right to Harrys Hut and launch from there which puts you in the heart of the Everglades. Listen for the chorus of cicadas while the fish leap out of the water, breaking the mirror-like waters all around you, giving you truly meaningful insight into what makes Noosa and its surrounds so special.
4 -Mudjimba Island – paddle around, discover and snorkel
This is a trip well worth doing but certainly more for those with some experience. Best to plan around a weather pattern of little to no surf if your planning to land on the island. The Island itself can be landed on easy enough when there is little swell by a small inlet on the Northern end of the island. Its very rocky so plastic kayaks and either foam or inflatable paddle boards are preferred to avoid damage. Once inside the inlet simply drag the paddle craft onto the island and explore, you will need footwear as there are a lot of cactus and dried coral.
Take a snorkel and mask as the life underwater in close to the island is amazing including many many many turtles that reside around the island. A great place for the kids to discover the world of snorkelling with tropical fish right on our doorstep. The rock pools and sheltered inlet holds enough activity without the need to explore further if the kids are not confident yet. Some great cafes await you after the adventures are complete.
“The island is the subject of at least two Aboriginal legends. One involved two women making a home on the island, where there were midyim berry bushes. When only one of the women could be seen on the island, it became known as Old Woman Island. The same legend concerned the midyim berry bush – hence ‘midyam’ becoming altered to ‘Mudjimba’. A second legend interpreted the island as being the head knocked off the top of a warrior, Coolum, which is represented as the flat-topped Mount Coolum about six km northwards.” Taken from https://www.queenslandplaces.com.au/mudjimba
Key things to note
- Trolley is a must as the walk from carpark to beach is a good one through soft sand
- Take footwear if your landing on the island
5 -Noosa National Park – Explore and snorkel
This gem is something special both for locals and visitors, tropical blue waters stunning natural scenery and endless opportunities to get up close to the wildlife. Launching from Noosa main beach, head straight into the Noosa National Park sticking close to the coastline but out of the way of the surfers making your way to Tea Tree beach for a picnic. This is a relatively short but enjoyable paddle with a high likelihood of an encounter with turtles or dolphins and in the season even whales. On your way there don’t be shy to jump in the water for a snorkel as you head around the point, on good clear days the fish life is amazing.
Tea tree beach is a great place to relax, snorkel and keep a look out for koalas and goannas. If you’re feeling adventurous head a little further north past Granite Bay and beach the kayaks or paddle boards to walk up to the very popular and stunning Noosa fairy Pools. A key point to note is to make sure you have a trolley as parking close to the beach can be hard to find so expect a walk unless your early or get lucky.
Looking for a Kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard ? We have the largest range instore and the only indoor test pool so you can try before you buy right here. Our expert staff will help you choose the right product for your needs so you can have hours of enjoyment on the water. Come see us Kayak and SUP Sunshine Coast, 188 Nicklin Way