The coastline is very diverse with estuaries, salt marshes, tidal flats, ephemeral lagoons, surf beaches flanked by dunes, rocky headlands, urban and coastal living areas, as well as parts of the coast that are managed as protected areas and open spaces. There are great views up and down the estuary including impressive vistas to kunanyi/Mt Wellington, Sullivans Cove, Alum Cliffs, Bruny Island, Iron Pot, Betsey Island, surf beaches, the Tasman Peninsula and Frederick Henry Bay.
Paddling a kayak is one of the best ways to explore and enjoy the coastline and its many features of interest. However to do so, you need to be prepared and mindful that the conditions on the river and open seas can change quickly. The Clarence Kayak Trail provides information to help you plan for your kayak trip and make the best decision about where to go. It breaks the Clarence Kayak Trail into eight coastal sections.
- Risdon to Little Howrah Beach
- Little Howrah Beach to Rokeby Beach
- Rokeby Beach to Gorringes Beach/Eastern Bezzants Road
- Rokeby Beach to Opossum Bay
- Opossum Bay to South Arm
- South Arm to Cremorne
- Cremorne to Lauderdale
- Lauderdale to Seven Mile Beach and Sandy Point
This means you can choose the section that best suits your paddling skills, your available time and the type of recreational experience you are looking for.
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…
The suggested skill level for paddling sections of the coastal trail is based on the knowledge and insight of regular kayakers who know the local coastal locations and conditions. It is important that you assess if your kayak or paddle craft is suitable for the length of the trail and the conditions expected to be encountered. Three skill levels have been identified:
Basic (marked on the map in green)
- 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
Intermediate (marked on the map in blue)
- all the above listed for basic skills
- reasonable fitness to paddle longer distances
- competent to paddle in 20km/hour winds
- good navigation and map reading skills
- skills and experience to handle larger waves (up to 1 metre), swells and winds
- skills to land your kayak onto a rocky shore or beach with breaking waves
Advanced (marked on the map in red)
- all the above listed skills for intermediate skill level
- high level of fitness to cope with paddling longer distances and in more adverse coastal conditions • competent to paddle in 25-30km/hour winds
- skills and experience to handle difficult sea conditions with big swells, waves and strong winds
- the skills and experience to enter or exit beaches through surf
- the knowledge to deal with emergency situations
The approximate distance for paddling the sections of the coastline are given in the notes for each map. The time you should allow for paddling these sections will vary greatly depending on the weather conditions, the kayaks being used, your skills and your experience of the coastline. As a rough rule of thumb, someone with basic skills may comfortably paddle about 3-4km in an hour in good coastal weather conditions. An intermediate may paddle about 4-5km in an hour. An advanced paddler should be able to maintain a cruising speed of 6kms an hour for long distances. Paddlers with intermediate or advanced skills may choose to cross from the western shore of the Derwent River to link into the Clarence Kayak Trail when the river conditions are good. Launching sites include Cornelian Bay, the Hobart Regatta site, Marieville Esplanade, Nutgrove Beach, Long Beach and Taroona Beach.
For one way trips a car shuttle will need to be arranged to return to the start.
Paddling in Pitt Water: Pitt Water provides a large wetland of international significance, recognised as both a Tasmanian Nature Reserve and an international wetland site. Paddling provides the opportunity to view the coastline, tidal waters and Tasmanian shoreline birdlife. It is recommended that paddling in Pitt Water occurs outside of the breeding season (November – February). Parts of Pitt Water can be very shallow at low tides and can be exposed to strong winds, predominantly from the west and northwest.
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.
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