52A Saundersons Road, Risdon TAS, Australia

Distance: 11-12km one way

Skill level: Basic

  • limited previous paddling skills or experience
  • the basic skills to manoeuvre your kayak forwards, backwards and sideways
  • competent to paddle in 10km/hour winds
  • practiced how to recover if you capsize
  • the skills to land your kayak on a boat ramp or beach without breaking waves
  • basic navigation and map reading skills
  • can understand the Bureau of Meteorology marine weather forecasts and observe signs of changing weather conditions

You can paddle it as one trail or break up different sections to suit the weather conditions, your available time and interest. When paddling under the Tasman Bridge be aware of other vessels and stay away from the main navigation spans.


  • Spectacular cliffs at Bedlam Walls.
  • Views towards the 100 year old zinc smelter factory on the waterfront.
  • Sheltered waters of Shag Bay with significant historic and cultural values including Tasmanian Aboriginal sites, remains of the fertilizer factory, quarrying and past resting place for old historic boats.
  • Aboriginal rock shelter south of Shag Bay.
  • Paddle under the Tasman Bridge and view the span that was rebuilt after the Illawarra collision in 1976, which cut off vehicle access between the eastern and western shores.
  • Paddling into Geilston Bay, Lindisfarne Bay and Kangaroo Bay.
  • Paddle past Kangaroo Bluff, a former gun emplacement in the 19th Century to help defend the early colony.
  • Option to paddle across to the western shore in favourable weather conditions on the river.

Clarence Kayak Trail waterproof/tear-proof hard copy and pdf

The Clarence Kayak Trail is available for purchase as a waterproof/tear-proof brochure folded to A5 size and a pdf version is also available. Find out more…


  • Kayaking

Hazards: This section of the river can be exposed to strong winds from the northwest, west and southwest making paddling difficult into the wind and waves. Strong southerly and southwesterly sea breezes can occur in summer. A southwest swell can cause surf breaking on the beaches and make it difficult to land or launch.


All coastal waters can be dangerous at times and it is recommended that you read about the paddling conditions, the skill level proposed for sections of the Clarence Kayak Trail and go through the checklist before you decide where to go for a paddle.

There are specific risks in paddling the coastline and users should do so at their own risk. Trail users should exercise due care, skill and diligence in undertaking the activity and undertake appropriate weather checks with the Bureau of Meterology and MAST beforehand and take appropriate safety measures. Paddlers should ensure they comply with all applicable laws and regulations.  

Be prepared, check out our Paddlers Checklist.

Paddling Conditions

River and open water conditions can vary according to many factors such as:

  • wind strength;
  • direction and duration that the wind has been blowing;
  • fetch (the distance over which the wind has blown);
  • depth of water;
  • physical characteristics of the shoreline;
  • tide and currents; and
  • air and water temperature.

You should access up-to-date weather and wind forecasts on the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology: www.bom.gov.au/australia/meteye/ or ring Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) marine weather on 6233 9955 before setting out to obtain the latest weather forecast.

MAST has a website for paddle craft users: www.mast.tas.gov.au/recreational/paddle-safe-program/kayak-canoe/

You can also use beachsafe.com.au to obtain information about beach conditions and available facilities.

You should always consider having an alternative plan when planning your trip and know where you can get off the water if the weather conditions change.

When on the water keep a look out for:

  • Changing weather conditions especially strengthening winds and off shore winds
  • Other boats and users of the coastal waters
  • Pylons, navigational buoys, rocks and any other hazards
  • Avoid main navigation spans on the Derwent River