For beginners, a popular introduction to kayaking is a guided tour. You can either go solo, or team up with someone else in a double kayak to explore Lake Burley Griffin. After you’ve been kitted out, had a full safety briefing and instruction, you’re ready to hit the water with your guide. The placid waters are ideal for beginners, and provide excellent views of some of Canberra’s monuments, as well as passing though the wetlands of Jerrabomera and the Molonglo River, so there’s lots of nature and wildlife to be seen. Whilst you’re enjoying your time on the water, guides will point out important sights, and that includes the Captain Cook Jet, which you might like to avoid, and tell you fascinating facts about the city and how it was built.
If you like the idea of the guided tour but prefer to do things under your own steam, why not try the self-guided version of the tour. You still have the briefing and
instruction if necessary, but then with map in hand you’re free to explore solo. This is an excellent way to explore the city from a different perspective, you also get to see areas you would otherwise miss on foot such as the Jerrabomera wetlands and the Molonglo River.
Now for the serious stuff, these are some suggestions if you’re an experienced
Cotton River: The Cotton River has Grade II/III and III+ levels of water with courses that last from 30 minutes to three hours.
Curtin Creek: Also known as Yarralumla Creek, Curtin Creek is Grade II/III. The river can only be paddled after heavy rainfall, when it consists of some fun rapids and a weir; remember to check out the depth first though!
Tuggeranong Creek: Normally a grade III, but after high rainfall can it can be classed as a grade IV. The creek is 20 minutes from the city, and a relatively short course lasting around 20 minutes. The first part of the course is considered the best, with some fun rapids and one challenging part.
If you’re really serious, the following creeks and rivers are also extremely popular
places, although they are between a one and a two-hour drive from Canberra.
Murrumbidgee River: There are three sections to this river all classed between grades III and IV. There are some significant rapids on all sections, as well as flat water and a few surprises, so this is best tackled by experts, or as a group.
Wingecarribee River: Another grade III-IV course will test your skills. There’s lots of variety with rapids, flat sections and gorges, another course which is best tackled as a group.
If you’re a serious kayaker, the link below will take you to some of the courses mentioned with more detail on what’s involved as well as driving distances and where you can put in and take out of the water.