“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
Our Kayaking season
Our sea kayaking operation is based in tropical Australia so we get a wet season and a dry season. All our expedition trips are run during the dry season from May to November and we close down our operation during the summer wet season. Our Coral Sea Kayaking Beyond Borders trips to the Louisiade Archipelago (PNG) are run during April/May then again in Oct/Nov.
As with any ocean going activity we are governed by the tempestuous nature of the sea. During the dry season the weather is mostly stable but as with many tropical regions of the world we get a trade wind which mostly blows from the South East during the winter months. When the wind is not in our favour we may have to change our paddling plan to suit the conditions and to ensure the safety and comfort of the group. So with such a dynamic environment to deal with on a daily bases we ask our customers to be dynamic individuals regarding the flexibility mother nature often demands in the itinerary. Rest assured though that your guides are out there to give you the best experience possible.
Your safety is our first priority. At coral sea kayaking we believe that safety is no accident that’s why we pride ourselves on having the best guides in the industry to lead our trips. Our guides are true professionals who manage the risks of sea kayaking on a daily bases. They have many tried and tested systems that you will learn which help to keep our groups safe on and off the water. We have an impeccable safety record and uphold a very high standard in all our field practices. All our guides are trained in first aid and all our expedition trips are provisioned with a comprehensive medical kit, satellite phone and an EPIRB. Our equipment is of a high quality to ensure safe and happy paddling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to be an experienced kayaker?
No, you don't need to have paddlesports or sea kayaking experience. Our guides are fully qualified to instruct you in all the basic paddling strokes and are there to help teach you all the skills you need to complete the trip. Sea kayaking is not a complex skill, so most people pick it up quickly. Though like many watersports you do need to have moderate fitness, be water confident and a comfortable swimmer.
How many people on a trip?
We strive to run very low impact kayak trips. By having a low ecological footprint on the Island and sea environments we help to continue the preservation of the wild places we are fortunate to paddle in. We therefore keep group sizes small and only allow a maximum of 13 customers per trip, however on average most trips depart with between 6 and 8 participants. Two kayak guides accompany our average size trips and by keeping group sizes small we are able to offer a more personalised boutique service. Small groups also help customers immerse, appreciate and understand the natural environment better.
Can we book a bespoke trip?
Yes, we often run bespoke trips for groups of friends, organisations, clubs and families. If you have a group of people interested in a bespoke, private trip please contact our office to discuss possible itineraries and dates. The advantage of bespoke trips is we can customise the paddle plan and itinerary to suit your groups needs and desires, plus travelling with a group of friends and family often makes for a fun adventure holiday and a great way to catch up with folk.
How fit do I have to be?
You don't have to be an athlete to join our sea kayaking trips; anyone who enjoys some regular exercise can do it. We do however; encourage a reasonable level of fitness, as we find this will add to your enjoyment of the trip. But don't worry, many people with desk jobs join us too! It is also beneficial if you are water confident and a comfortable ocean swimmer.
How many hours a day do we kayak for?
On an average day we paddle between 3-5 hours and stop for regular breaks along the way. On many of our trips we paddle mostly in the morning and early afternoon arriving in camp in the afternoon with enough time to explore the island, go snorkelling, walking or just relax in a hammock. We find the majority of our customers are very pleased with how balanced our kayak trips are.
Do you supply dry bags to keep our personal gear dry?
Yes, we supply a 40L personal dry bag per person for the bulk of your gear and a smaller 10-20L dry bag which you can use as a day bag and access whilst paddling.
How do I know what gear to bring?
4 weeks prior to the trip departure we will email out a pre- departure document which will outline some more details about the kayak trip including a list of recommended personal gear to bring along.
What marine life will we see when paddling?
Whilst paddling we may see dolphins along the coast of the islands and turtles relaxing and resting on the surface. When we paddle over the fringing reef we often see rays and other fish. Dugongs do frequent the local waters but they are very shy and are only seen on occasion. Not only will we see plenty of marine life but also many species of birds, including eagles and the Sooty Oystercatcher. During the months of July, August & September we are often lucky enough to encounter the superb humpback whales that migrate annually to these northern waters.
What are the guides like?
At Coral Sea Kayaking we believe that the cornerstone to an exceptional trip is having exceptional guides. We pride ourselves on employing the best guides in the business to lead our trips. All our guides are highly qualified with years of sea miles behind them. They are not only skilled kayakers and gracious hosts but also gourmet chefs who can whip up gastronomic delights on camp stoves. Our guides are nature lovers, these islands are their back yard and they feel a strong connection to them. They take great pride in not only sharing the wonder of this environment but also acting as stewards for its preservation. Ultimately and most importantly our guides are genuine humans, friendly, kind souls who pride themselves on making authentic connections with all who journey with them.
Can I join the trip on my own?
Absolutely, many people join our trips on their own, our trips appeal to people who are looking for a new and adventurous way to experience nature. The small group sizes and the style of trip brings people together and encourages new friendships. If you are a solo traveller we can offer you a single tent and if you are an experienced kayaker a single kayak.
Do you offer snorkelling?
Yes, we do provide snorkelling gear and you can snorkel off the beaches over the fringing reef and if visibility is good you will see corals and small colourful fish. If you haven't snorkelled before our guide will be more than happy to help you get started.
Should I be concerned about crocs?
Essentially estuarine crocodiles exist all through the coastal regions of Far North Queensland from Bundaberg north to Cape York, so in that regard we do paddle in what is considered croc country. Mostly crocs are isolated to mangrove estuaries and lower reaches of river systems on mainland Australia. It is incredibly uncommon and unlikely to find them out on the islands and in 25 years of operation Coral Sea Kayaking has not had any encounters with crocodiles and customers swim, snorkel and paddle on a daily basis. We do not paddle in high risk croc habitats and our kayak guides always do their upmost to keep customers safe and happy. The most common croc encounter we have is with the footwear variety, which makes for a great sea kayaking shoe. So don't worry be happy.
How do I book on a trip?
To make a reservation on any of our kayak trips please email or phone our office and we will email you back booking forms and other relevant forms. Once we receive those booking forms back we will book you in for your chosen departure date. Our booking system works on a first in first serve basis so if you are interested in joining one of our trips please book whilst there is still availability as often trips sell out.
How does payment for a trip work?
When you initially book onto one of our kayak trips we require a 20% downpayment. Full payment for the trip is not required until 4 weeks prior to departure.
What if I have a pre- existing medical condition?
If you have a pre-existing illness or injury its important to outline this on the Medical Questionnaire we send out with the booking forms so that Coral Sea Kayaking has prior knowledge of your condition before beginning the kayak trip. If your condition is serious and may hinder your ability to function on the kayak trip it is imperative that you contact our office directly to discuss options. We will not necessarily stop you from joining the trip but understanding customers medical needs prior to departure is of upmost importance.
What if I have dietary requirements?
If you have any dietary requirements especially ones that cause an allergic reaction please make note of this on the medical questionnaire we send out with the booking forms. Our guides are accomodating and experienced at cooking for people with dietary requirements.
Does Coral Sea Kayaking host a pre-departure meeting?
Yes, before any kayak trip we run a pre-departure briefing which will allow customers to meet their kayak guides, discuss the paddle plan, disperse relevant gear and discuss any questions customers have about proceedings. Normally the pre- departure briefing is ran at 7pm the evening before the trip.
Where can I park my car whilst away on the kayak trip?
Customers are welcome to park their cars at our kayak base in Mission Beach while they are out paddling in the islands.
Where can I store excess luggage when away on the kayak trip?
We recommend storing any luggage that you don't take on the kayak trip at your accommodation especially if you intend to stay at the same accommodation after the kayak trip. If this is not possible then we are more than happy to store your luggage at our kayak base in Mission Beach.