Garigal NP, NSW
15.0 km (5 hrs )
Middle Harbour is one of those hidden gems that surprise you with the beauty of Sydney's natural harbour foreshore. This was a delightful day out on the water - one of the best tracks that I have done in my kayak so far.
The carpark at Davidson Boat ramp was already nearly full when I arrived at 8 am, however, there were very few boats on the water, which made for an ideal paddle on the harbour. While Middle Harbour is open to the sea and subject to tides, the upper reaches of the harbour feels almost like being on a river, so narrow is the valley. Making your way down to Bantry Bay is a pleasant paddle through the bushland of Garigal National Park and Explosives Reserve. A nice place to pull into is Flat Rock Beach, just before Bantry Bay. There is a waterfall above the beach, but this is best left viewing if you are doing the hike on the Explosives Track.
Bantry Bay has some interesting history with the former Explosive Magazine storing explosives here during 1915 - 1972. The site is still off limits due to remaining explosives residue, but you are able to get good views of the buildings from the water. Very different from the occasional glimpses you get from the Explosives Track that winds its way above the site. It is also a short 100 m hop across to Timber Getters Picnic Spot, unlike the long and arduous route by land! I took the opportunity to explore the mangrove forest that lines the upper reaches of the bay. Being high tide, I could paddle in amongst the mangroves.
From Bantry Bay, you have the option to return to Davidson Park, or continue exploring the many idyllic bays that make up Middle Harbour. If you are lucky enough to have someone pick you up, you could continue all the way to Tunks Park Boat Ramp or the Spit Bridge. There are numerous little sandy beaches on the northern side of Middle Harbour that you can pull into, as well as the nice Clive Park Beach in the south where I stopped to have a break.