Best kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding spots in Ningaloo
Cover photo: Exmouth Adventure Co., Ningaloo. Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia.
Western Australia has over 10,000 km of astoundingly beautiful coastline. With world-class beaches about as picture-postcard-perfect as beaches can get, we are spoilt for choice in WA. And for ocean enthusiasts, the North West Cape is a bucket-list destination to enjoy a wide range of water sports.
There are never-ending opportunities to explore the warm, tropical waters of the Exmouth Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Our alluring clear turquoise waters – and 320 days of annual sunshine – draw tourists from across Australia and the world. They visit to experience a slice of paradise and take advantage of the opportunities available to sea lovers in Ningaloo. It’s a stellar spot if you enjoy spending time on and in the water.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUPing) on the stunning Ningaloo Reef is an experience not to be missed. We have some of the best spots in the country to enjoy what has become the world’s fastest-growing water sport. Kayaking is another low-impact water sport and a popular activity to hit the water and spend time in nature. Regardless of whether you prefer to SUP or kayak, you’ll enjoy experiencing a sense of tranquillity as you traverse the open waters.
SUPing and kayaking are fun activities for people of all ages and fitness levels. But for maximum enjoyment, you need calm weather for SUPing. While wind can be a prohibiting factor for stand-up paddleboarding, it is not so much an issue for the more stable kayaks. However, recreational kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders should always exercise caution in windy conditions.
Both stand-up paddleboards and kayaks are a great way to get out on the water and marvel at the Ningaloo Reef from a different perspective. Both water-based activities are good exercise. And best of all, you don’t have to get your hair wet!
The beauty of Ningaloo is that it is so accessible. You can kayak or SUP right off one of our many beaches, straight into the beautiful, protected clear waters teaming with coral, fish, and marine life, like turtles and rays.
So, without further ado, we want to share some of the best local spots for kayaking and SUPing with you.
On the western side of Exmouth, about an hour from town, you’ll find Osprey Bay. This small sandy beach is one of our favourite spots for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. Located around 80 km from Exmouth in Cape Range National Park, the sheltered bay is adjacent to the Osprey Sanctuary Zone. The waters here are teaming with coral and marine life, making it popular for snorkelling and swimming, too. There are moorings here, should you feel like snorkelling the UNESCO World Heritage reef.
Sandy Bay is right next door to Osprey Bay. Known for its sandy bottom – hence the name – it’s just a short walk north from Osprey Bay. Sandy Bay is an idyllic spot for stand-up paddleboarders, as well as kayakers. The blue crystal-clear waters here are generally calm and shallow. It’s also a favoured spot for wind and kite surfing on a windy day. If you prefer to SUP or kayak away from the crowds, we recommend heading to Sandy Bay.
Bundegi Beach is another calm and sheltered bay. The conditions make it the perfect spot for water sports enthusiasts, particularly those who enjoy kayaking or SUPing. It’s easy to get to, being a short 15-minute drive north from the centre of Exmouth. Like Osprey Bay, Bundegi has the bonus of kayak moorings. So, you can tie up your kayak and spend some time snorkelling the underwater world of the world-famous reef. Recreational fishing from the shoreline is allowed here. If you like to SUP with your best furry friend, you’ll be pleased to know that dogs are allowed at Bundegi Beach.
Yardie Creek Gorge
As much as we love spending time on the ocean, there’s no denying that one of the best places to enjoy some SUP or kayaking fun is Yardie Creek Gorge. It’s a spectacularly scenic spot, located at the tail end of Cape Range National Park and protected from the wind. Enjoy a relaxing paddle as you wind your way through the calm water of the gorge and take in this area of outstanding natural beauty. But watch for the charter boats which frequently traverse the waterways. Yardie Creek is home to some of Western Australia’s most interesting native wildlife, like the rock wallabies that like to hide in the walls of the red cliffs.
Things You Need to Know About Kayaking and SUPing in Exmouth
- Always research the location, as well as the water and weather conditions before you head out. If you’re new to stand-up paddleboarding, it’s best to stick to paddling on flat water first, before hitting the ocean waves.
- Other good locations to kayak or SUP include Kori Bay, Lakeside, Pilgramunna, and Tantabiddi.
- There are four kayaking trails in the Ningaloo Marine Park, all with designated buoys so you can tie off your kayak, put on your snorkel and explore the reef. They are: Tantabiddi Sanctuary Zone, Bundegi Sanctuary Zone, Osprey Sanctuary Zone, and Coral Bay.
- Because Exmouth is situated just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, the region benefits from a hot semi-arid climate. Just bear in mind that during the summer months (December to February) it’s generally hot and sticky. Daytime temperatures can range from the mid to high 30s if not early 40s.
- If you don’t have your own equipment, it’s easy enough to hire a paddleboard or kayak in Exmouth. Try Exmouth Surf Centre, Ultimate Watersports or Exmouth Adventure Co.
- Other essentials you’ll need to pack include reef safe sunscreen, swimmers, a rash shirt, insect repellent, water, and a hat. A National Parks Pass is also required to enter Cape Range National Park.
- There are local tour operators that offer sea kayaking and SUP tours, including ClearSups, Exmouth Adventure Co, Exmouth Surf Centre, and Exmouth Dive and Whalesharks Ningaloo.
Exmouth is a paradise for ocean lovers and the best place in the world for snorkelling, swimming, SUPing, kayaking or beach hopping. Come and visit and enjoy a whole host of unforgettable experiences that exist nowhere else in the world. For more inspiration, read our recommendations for the best things to see and do in Exmouth and Ningaloo.
Summer is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited. To celebrate, we’ve launched a special offer so you can explore more of Ningaloo and save money on your Exmouth holiday accommodation. From now until 1 March 2024, if you stay for three nights in our caravan and campsites, we’ll give you a fourth night for free.