Sunrise is magical at the best of times, but from the water the experience is unparalleled. The deep, bright colours; lightly dancing reflections; and a calming stillness. SUP boarding in Tathra, 6 hours south of Sydney, or 7 hours north of Melbourne, is a sunrise experience you won’t forget.

tathra stand up paddle boarding sup sunrise Alex Parsons


  • Beautiful sunrises over the bay
  • Calm morning waters for paddle boarding
  • A historic wharf cafe with local produce
  • A mountain biker’s heaven
  • Friendly manta rays to swim with

The Lowdown

Non-locals would have considered us crazy if they’d seen us; four adults hobbling through the streets in the pre-dawn darkness with huge paddle boards tucked under our arms.

After a few minutes we made it to the beach. The water was calm, dark and glassy. The sun was yet to rise. We quickly took off our hoodies and left them on the sand. Then we ran knee-deep into the water, pushed our boards out and leapt aboard.

We paddled out towards the old steamer wharf and when we were halfway out in Boulder Bay the sun breached the horizon right ahead of us. It rose over the water and gold light skipped over the tips of the waves while the sky went pink and yellow. We stopped paddling and just watched. The cliffs lit up in shades of peach and tangerine. Soon the light cut down into the water below us, turning it from black to blue.

Sure, getting up at 4:30am for a sunrise is a little odd by city standards, but it’s something the Tathra locals understand. Soon we were joined by a few surfers, along with joggers, dog walkers and yogis on the sand.

tathra stand up paddle boarding sup sunrise Alex Parsons

We paddled under the wharf, built in the 1800s and restored into the gorgeous Tathra Wharf Locavore that sells drinks, meals and snacks made from local produce.

We ducked wooden beams and dodged the fishing lines that started to appear above. Then we explored the rock pools near the cliffs, looked for manta rays and tried our hand at paddle board surfing before pulling up to the shore. It was time for a breakfast of vanilla pancakes, eggs Benedict and coffee at the Tathra Beach Cafe. We had already had so many adventures and it was only 8:00am.

Essential Gear

  • All surf, mountain bike and paddle board gear can be hired in Tathra (Tathra Beach & Bike are my favourite)
  • Bring your own swimming gear, towel, sunblock, water and snacks

How To Get There

Tathra is 6 hours south of Sydney, or 7 hours north of Melbourne on the Princes Highway. Coming from Sydney, you can shave off a whole 5 minutes by taking the M31 but I highly recommend taking the scenic coastal route down the Princes Highway that leads you through sleepy seaside towns, winding forests and farmland.

Google Maps location here


  • Mountain biking
  • Paddle boarding
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Photography.

Skill Level

Beginner to intermediate. Beginner paddle boarders can learn on the calm waters of the Bega River mouth. Otherwise head out on the beach on the wharf side, duck some beams (watching out for fishing lines) and try your hand at paddle board surfing on the breakers that turn up later in the day.


Take your SUPing to a whole new level

SUPBall // The Hybrid Sport For People Who Love Water (And Balls)

3 Days Paddle Boarding the Whanganui River

Travels By Tide // A Modern Day Huck Finn Adventure