After a fun Friday night in Surry Hills we had a hard time waking up at 04am. When we arrived at Lavender Bay we felt much better. The sun was slowly coming up and the view over the harbour of Sydney was amazing. Even with a hangover, we were very excited: we are going on a sunrise kayak paddle to have breakfast on the water!
I found out about this off the beaten track experience thanks to travel app Leezair. I got in contact with kayak babe Laura. When we set a date she asked me: “how do you drink your coffee?” I thought it was a pretty random question until she handed over a very welcome cappuccino at 05:15am. I sat down in the kayak and she pushed me off. A few paddles later I found myself between gorgeous yachts right next to Luna Park, overlooking the iconic harbour bridge and opera house from an angle that was new to me. They both looked so big and with the sun just coming up, they looked prettier than ever. I forgot to paddle and just enjoyed my morning coffee with the best view ever.
Breakfast on the water
Slowly we paddled our way through the harbour with the sky changing every 10 seconds. We reached a spot where you could easily lay still. Here Laura told us that we would find our breakfast in the tip of the kayak. A cute little package was between my legs and there I found two little TimTams (the number one chocolate cookies from Australia) a croissant, a fruit pack, a handful of blueberries, a yoghurt and for the first time ever I tried a Lamington (another typical Australian sweet treat; a sponge cake covered with chocolate and chocochips) We snapped a few photos and by the time we finished our brekkie, Ben spotted some dolphins!
Although thus far the trip had been pretty chilled, now everyone was paddling like they were heading for a pot of gold. The group of dolphins popped up again only a short distance from our kayak. Quietly we were waiting and hoping they would come closer. Unfortunately, they moved further away from us. We kept staring until they disappeared from our sight.
Laura said that in her six years of kayaking through the harbour, this was the first time she saw dolphins. We were very lucky!
Meeting the Locals
I got into conversation with Laura and asked her to tell me a little bit about the company. I It was interesting to hear that she actually started out as a fitness/boxing trainer, and did fitness in a kayak. She taught fitness techniques and practised sprints and turns.
Although more and more people would show up for her classes, there were a lot of people who weren’t really paying attention. They were busy taking selfies and making videos of the harbour. She then decided to split the class into two different activities; a kayak class for fitness and a social paddle in the morning.
After a few weeks, the social paddle group was getting bigger and bigger and the kayak class got less popular each week. This made Laura reconsider and change her whole business. Her love for kayaking became the core of the company and she does organises lots of different activities around it.
Her tours and kayak activities are actually not booked by tourists all that much, more so by the people in the area that know where, and how to find her. She is really just a local businesswoman who just loves being on the water with some company.
Our kayak experience
I really liked the chilled morning on the water. This was really the best possible way to start our hangover day. What made it even better was the lovely company and the stories Laura shared with us. I always love to connect with locals and learning about why they do what they do. The fact that I am contributing to their passion and helping them keep it alive makes it all the more rewarding.
When I have the choice between the cheapest deal from a travel company and a real experience by a local entrepreneur, I will always choose the latter. I am happy we’ve met Laura and Ben today, they offer a truly different way of experiencing the Sydney harbour.
And like I said, the views weren’t too bad either: