Last updated: December 13, 2022
Stand-up paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing water sports, and for good reasons. With a bit of practice, anyone can take up this sport and start exercising in the great outdoors.
If you’re living in Sydney, there is no shortage of scenic spots to go for a stand-up paddling session, with such a long coastline, so many bays, and various lakes at your doorstep.
Read on, as we reveal 11 of the best places in Sydney to put your SUP board to good use.
Top 11 SUP Locations
Pick your favourite from the following 11 SUP locations in Sydney.
1. Gunnamatta Bay
Gunnamatta Bay forms the natural boundary between the suburbs of Cronulla and Burraneer, west of the Cronulla Peninsula. The water is usually very calm there because it’s away from the ocean.
There are many places along the shore where you can launch your paddleboards, such as Gunnamatta Park and Darook Beach. But you can also hire a board or do a class with Cronulla SUP at the north end of the bay.
But Gunnamatta Bay is not the only spot in Cronulla where you can go stand-up paddling. Depending on weather conditions and tides, you can also try Shelly Beach or South Cronulla Beach on the other side of the peninsula.
2. Royal National Park
There are several places in the Royal National Park where you can go for a scenic paddling session, but the Bundeena area might be the most obvious.
Drive to the Bonnie Vale picnic area or campground to launch your paddle board and either follow the Bundeena coastline or head into the Cabbage Tree Basin for a more secluded session.
Audley is another excellent location for water sports. Head to the Allambie Flat Picnic Area (next to the Audley Boatshed) or the Ironbark Flat picnic area to go for a paddle on Kangaroo Creek. Otherwise, park your car at the Bus Stop Flat picnic area for a SUP session up the Hacking River.
3. Malabar Beach
If you’re keen to try stand-up paddling in the ocean, head to Malabar Beach just south of Maroubra.
Malabar Beach is nicely sheltered between two headlands, so the water is usually relatively calm. The closer you paddle to the open ocean, the more challenging the water becomes.
You can easily walk into the water with your SUP board from the beach, or otherwise, try the boat ramp at the end of Fisherman Road.
4. Nepean River
For a fantastic SUP location in Western Sydney that is both pretty and easily accessible, the Nepean River in Penrith should be on your list.
The section of the river between the Victoria Bridge (A44) in the north and the Penrith Valley Bridge (M4) in the south is perfect for an extended paddling session with great views along the way to enjoy.
And if you’re hungry after your workout, go to the East Bank down by the river for a good feed at one of the restaurants.
5. Rose Bay
For beginner SUP enthusiasts, Rose Bay is a great place to practise your paddling skills as there are two shops where you can hire a board.
The most popular and busiest one is Aquatic Hire at Rose Bay Beach, east of Lyne Park. Hire a board there, and you can paddle in a secluded area away from the ferries and the seaplanes. For the best conditions, go in the morning.
The other option is the Point Piper Kayak Centre at Bellamy Beach, west of the Rose Bay ferry wharf. This is a great starting point to explore the Rose Bay shoreline from the water.
6. Davidson Park in Forestville
Another great spot to go paddle boarding away from the coastal beaches is Davidson Park in Forestville on Middle Harbour.
From Davidson Park, just north of the Roseville Bridge, paddle northbound towards Middle Harbour Creek. The further north you go, the calmer the water will be.
It’s an incredibly quiet and peaceful area with walking tracks on both sides of the creek. Parking is available at Davidson Park, where you can also enter the water with your SUP board.
7. Sugarloaf Bay
Sugarloaf Bay is a small bay located between the leafy suburbs of Castle Cove and Middle Cove on Sydney’s Middle Harbour.
A good spot to launch your stand-up paddleboard in Sugarloaf Bay is at the jetty near the end of Willis Road in Middle Cove, where you’ll also find kayaks and other watercraft nearby.
The popular North Arm walking track also passes this jetty, should you wish to combine a SUP session with a nice bushwalk.
8. Manly Dam Reserve
Manly Dam Reserve, also referred to as Manly Reservoir, is the largest freshwater lake in Sydney, created by a decommissioned, heritage-listed dam.
The reserve, including the lake and surrounding bushland, is a recreational area with many activities, such as mountain biking, hiking, swimming, picnicking, and even water skiing.
The freshwater lake also lends itself well for stand-up paddling. Note that parking within the reserve is expensive, so it’s recommended to park on the streets nearby.
9. Manly Cove
One of the prettiest SUP areas is the stretch between Manly Cove and Quarantine Beach, past Little Manly Beach, Collins Beach, and Store Beach. Bring your own craft or hire a board at the Manly Kayak Centre next to the ferry wharf.
If you prefer to go stand-up paddle boarding on the other side of the Manly peninsula, head to Shelly Beach. From there, paddle to Manly Beach for a nice workout in beautiful surroundings. This area forms part of Cabbage Tree Bay, a protected aquatic reserve that covers an area of around 20 hectares.
Find more things to do in the Manly area in our guide to the best activities and attractions in Manly.
10. Narrabeen Lagoon
Narrabeen Lagoon, also referred to as Narrabeen Lakes, is a beautiful coastal lagoon located right behind Narrabeen Beach in the Northern Beaches area.
The lagoon is perfect for water sports, as the water is usually very calm with various places along the shore where you can enter and exit the water.
If you don’t have your own paddle board, not to worry. Head to Pro Kayaks at the end of Narrabeen Street on the eastern side of the lake, where you can hire stand-up paddle boards and kayaks.
11. Clareville Beach
Clareville Beach is a small, beautifully secluded strip of sand just south of Palm Beach, facing Pittwater. There is a SUP shop at the beach where you can book a lesson or hire a board.
As the water is usually very calm there and the surroundings are so pretty, it’s the perfect beach for a stand-up paddling session.
Other areas around Pittwater that are great for stand-up paddling are Bayview further south, and McCarrs Creek and The Basin in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
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