Sharing a love of adventure and a background in sailing and outdoor education, Carolyn Morey and Phil MacDonnell were not destined for desk jobs. After Aussie Carolyn and Canadian Phil met while working in Central America, the couple gravitated to South Durras – the holiday playground of Carolyn’s youth – where they launched Bay & Beyond Sea Kayak Tours, which also offers rentals, in 1999.
“Sea kayaking is one of our favourite outdoor pursuits, so we thought let’s make this a business,” says Carolyn. “Back then there wasn’t anyone in the region offering kayaking tours or rentals, and with one of the most pristine coastal lakes in New South Wales, surrounded by Murramarang National Park, South Durras ticked all the right boxes.”
More than 20 years – and a close call with the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/2020 – later, Carolyn are Phil are just as passionate about helping people connect to nature through kayaking as they were when they started the business, which they now run with the assistance of their two young adult sons – when they’re home!
“It’s really important to us that our clients are confident and relaxed before they head off,” says Carolyn. “We give them a comprehensive safety briefing, provide a laminated map, and spend the necessary time with them to make sure they’re comfortable.”
Bay & Beyond Sea Kayak Tours also caters to clients with various disabilities, and offers tuition for people of all abilities.
“We try to meet people where they’re at, and help them discover the world,” says Phil, who is a Paddle Australia-certified sea kayak instructor. “We’ve had numerous couples who were keen to improve their skills before doing a paddling trip in Antarctica, for example,” he adds.
Based close to Durras Lake and only 10 minutes north of Batemans Bay, Bay & Beyond Sea Kayaks offers single and double sea kayak (with rudder) and stand-up paddleboard rentals for use on the lake, with an incredibly reasonable $20 pick-up and drop-off fee if you’d prefer to explore a nearby waterway such as the Clyde River. Sit-on-top kayaks are also available, with rentals and tours offered year-round.
“The winter months can be a beautiful time to paddle as we tend to get calmer days with less wind,” says Carolyn. “We can use spray skirts on the kayaks to keep you warm.”
If you’re interested in an ocean paddle, sometimes alongside dolphins and with the chance of sighting whales and penguins, you’ll need to sign up for a guided tour, with kayak tours also available on Durras Lake and on the Clyde River.
Book a sunset tour on Durras Lake, and as well as enjoying a superb sunset over the water, you might be lucky enough to experience bioluminescence, when tiny marine organisms make the lake sparkle neon blue as your kayak moves through the dark water. But every tour option has its attractions, says Carolyn.
“When a dolphin breaks the surface of the water right beside you it’s so special, and that’s something we do see quite a bit on our ocean tours,” she says.
“We really enjoy helping people get into nature and having a lovely time on the water.”
Carolyn and Phil’s top five things to do in Eurobodalla
- Ocean swimming at protected Cookies Beach in South Durras, where Carolyn swims across the bay and back four to five times a week!
- Taking their labradoodle Sirius Black for a run on Eurobodalla’s off-leash dog beaches, particularly South Durras Main Beach.
- Mountain biking in the beautiful spotted gum forests of Murramarang National Park.
- Snorkelling, particularly off Wasp Head, where marine life from fiddler rays to wobbegong sharks, groupers to leatherjackets can be spotted.
- Stocking up on fresh local produce and seafood at the SAGE Farmers Market in Moruya on Tuesday afternoons.
Join Carolyn and Phil on an exploration of the coastal lakes, tidal estuaries and coastline of the Batemans Marine Park.