It’s no wonder that the relatively new sport of stand-up paddle (SUP) boarding has grown significantly in recent times, all around Australia – it is tons of fun, a brilliant way to explore a new location and a fabulous means of incidental exercise. Did you know that SUP boarding was born in Hawaii, created as an alternative to the more traditional sport of surfing?
Once you get the hang of it, SUP boarding is a great sport for developing both upper body and especially core strength, as it requires a solid mix of coordination, strength and endurance. SUP boarding is perfect for people of all ages, provided you are a confident swimmer and are relatively fit, and is guaranteed to make you laugh as you learn to master this unique sport and way of exploring!
Thankfully for people new to this fun activity, hiring a SUP board is pretty easy, as they are available to hire in a wide range of stunning locations all across the country, be it beaches, lakes, river systems and the like. Some spectacular locations including exquisite Fitzroy Island (nearby to Cairns in Tropical Far North Queensland) even give you the opportunity to hire SUP boards with a built-in glass viewing panel, to make exploring the magical Great Barrier Reef below even more awe-inspiring!
In this article we shall introduce you to some of the very best stand-up paddle boarding locations near the tropical Queensland city of Cairns.
Mulgrave River, Wooroonooran National Park
Exploring the Mulgrave River, which runs through the Goldsborough Valley of Wooroonooran National Park via SUP (and drift snorkelling) is an incredible experience and can be achieved by participating in a six-hour tour offered by What’s SUP Cairns. As you glide down the clear, pure river, you shall have the chance to spot fish, turtles and eels as well as beautiful and unique birdlife.
A 60-minute drive shall see you arrive at Goldsborough Valley, following pick-up from your relevant Cairns accommodation. This tour begins with a stunning tropical rainforest hike towards Kearney’s Falls, at which your tour guide will help to prepare you for your SUP journey along the pristine Mulgrave River. A refreshing river snorkel and tasty morning tea shall conclude the end of your tour, before being returned to your accommodation.
Double Island, near Palm Cove
If SUP boarding along the ocean’s surface is your thing, then consider taking part in the Kayak Turtle Tour from Palm Cove (a northern Cairns Beach) to Double and Haycock Islands, coordinated by Pacific Water Sports.
With some luck, on this tour you may have the opportunity to admire numerous sea turtles gliding about in their ocean home, alongside spectacular and majestic rays and perhaps even shovel-nosed sharks. A SUP adventure through a nearby limestone cave may be possible depending on tidal conditions, in which you can admire the stalactites above you. Some time spent relaxing on the beach and in the water snorkelling as well as enjoying some fresh fruit and juice shall see you approaching the end of your tour, after which you will SUP your way back to the mainland.
Image Credit: weekendnotes.com
The exquisitely beautiful, clear and pristine Mossman River (which runs through the incredible World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest) can be explored via a guided SUP tour, coordinated by WindSwell, a local tour company based in nearby Port Douglas.
Taking part in this tour is one of the most spectacular ways to explore this breathtaking location, as you calmly glide your way down the river via SUP, beneath the rainforest’s canopy. You shall also enjoy some local fruit snacks and have the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing natural Mossman River bank ochre body scrub, too.
Undoubtedly, one of the most sensational locations across this spectacular country to go SUP boarding is on the ocean waters surrounding beautiful, tropical Fitzroy Island, situated just 45-minutes via Fast Cat from the Cairns Marina. For something extra special, elect to hire glass-bottom SUP boards, which enable you to explore the breathtaking magic of the Great Barrier Reef right from the island’s shore!
Depending on how much time you have up your sleeve, you can choose to visit Fitzroy Island for just one day, or look to stay overnight or longer by taking advantage of Fitzroy’s array of accommodation options, with something available to suit all budgets. Exploring the magic beneath the island’s waters is an experience you simply cannot miss, with the chance to spot numerous sea turtles as well as beautiful tropical fish and an abundance of coral that together call the Great Barrier Reef home.