Nestled just south of Perth CBD lies the Ramsar-listed Peel-Harvey Estuary, a sprawling and diverse estuarine complex known for its peaceful waters and natural beauty. Recently, Mandurah, the ‘meeting place of the heart’, has unveiled a network of paddle trails that meander through its expansive estuarine complex. With the Peel Inlet, Harvey Estuary, and the Murray, Serpentine and Harvey Rivers at its core, these trails promise paddling enthusiasts an array of options, catering to diverse weather conditions and paddler preferences.
The Peel-Harvey Estuary stands as the largest and most diverse estuarine complex in south-western Australia. Its interconnected and peaceful waterways offer a wonderful opportunity for kayakers to explore and immerse themselves in the surrounding natural beauty.
There are 8 trails currently within the network, ranging from easy to difficult and branching into different sections of the estuary and river systems. These trails can be accessed now from 3 purpose-built launch sites dotted around the complex.
Osprey Waters launch site (located near the Mandurah Estuary Bridge in Erskine) and Novara Foreshore Reserve launch site (located at the Novara Boat ramp in Falcon) are the most central access points and are general use launch sites, providing access to the Osprey and Pelican Trails.
Dawesville Channel launch site, located on Estuary Road in Dawesville, provides access to the Pelican Trail. However, novice paddlers should not go near the Dawesville Channel, as it has strong tidal flow and very often, hazardous water disturbance within the channel and across its openings.
The Riverside Gardens Foreshore Paddle Launch Facility will be open in early 2024 and will be a custom-built universal-access and group paddle launch site, providing access to the Serpentine River trails and Heron Trail.
"With 134 square kilometres of calm inland waterways, Mandurah is a true paradise for paddlers, and we welcome kayakers and canoe enthusiasts to explore our pristine surroundings all year round.
In Mandurah, we are relaxed by nature – and as soon as you arrive you can see why. Home to one of Australia’s largest and healthiest dolphin community and over 130 different bird species of native and migratory birds, Mandurah is the place for all people who want to reconnect with nature, less than an hour south of Perth.
What sets Mandurah apart is not just its vast waterways but its commitment to becoming a premier destination for paddlers. As part of a dedicated effort to enhance the experience for kayak and canoe enthusiasts, the City has invested significantly in infrastructure development. These improvements not only cater to the growing water sport community but also offer locals and visitors additional opportunities to embrace the city's unique natural beauty from a new perspective.”
- Anita Kane, General Manager at Visit Mandurah.
The Peel-Harvey Estuary Paddle Network opens a gateway to a world of natural beauty and adventure. It invites individuals and families to immerse themselves in the region's biodiversity while fostering a deeper appreciation for the importance of preserving these ecosystems.
Whether you seek tranquillity amidst nature or a challenging exploration of winding waterways, these kayak trails promise an unforgettable experience, leaving indelible memories of Mandurah's breathtaking landscapes and its vibrant aquatic life. So, grab a paddle, set off on the water, and let the beauty of this unique ecosystem enchant you at every turn.
Take a guided tour!
If you are new to paddling or would just prefer to explore the region with a local expert, then join Down Under Discoveries on one of their incredible kayak tours. With the founder Chelle Fisher, an eco-certified guide, you’ll glide through some of the most serene waters in WA, where each paddle stroke is a new chapter of connection and discovery in Mandurah.
Safety on the trails.
Always plan ahead: Check weather conditions, familiarise yourself with the trail maps, and ensure you have the necessary safety equipment and skills for the trail you are embarking on. Comprehensive Paddle Safe information can be found here: Paddle Safe WA
The Ramsar listing of the Peel-Harvey Estuary signifies its global significance for wetland conservation. These kayak trails serve not only as recreational avenues but also as platforms to educate paddlers about the delicate balance of this ecosystem and the importance of preserving it for future generations.