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Australia has some of the best kayaking spots in the world. You can experience the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, or paddle through gorges and along spectacular coastlines. And it can be even better when you have someone to share it with.
We’ve made a list of some of our favourite two-person kayaks to explore Aussie waters. To save you time, we also have our top pick for the best tandem kayak in Australia – the Bay Sports Nereus 1. It’s stable, from an Australian company, and can handle coastal waters and rivers.
- Bay Sports Nereus 1 Double Kayak (Best Overall)
- Aquaglide Deschutes 145 Kayak (Best Inflatable)
- Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak (Best Budget)
- Length: 370 cm
- Width: 86 cm
- Depth: 40 cm
- Weight: 31 kg
- Weight capacity: 250 kg
The Nereus 1 is a tandem sit-on-top kayak that can be great for family adventures on lakes, calm bays, and slow moving rivers. This is a recreational kayak (from an Australian brand) that has excellent stability on flatwater, making it ideal for beginners.
It also has added rocker in the hull to allow for increased stability on choppy waters. The grooves under the hull help to improve tracking, so it can be easier to paddle in a straight line.
This Nereus is marketed as “Australia’s favourite tandem kayak” and features UV10 stabilised polyethylene for added durability and protection from UV damage.
This is a spacious kayak that comes with two standard back straps and moulded seats. You may want to upgrade the seats if you plan to paddle for a long time but this can be easily done with the attachment points. You can also add a child seat in the centre.
There are moulded footrests for each paddler and this kayak comes with two paddles to get you started.
The Nereus 1 has ample space for gear (and excellent capacity) for a day on the water or a picnic. There’s a storage area at the stern with bungees to keep your belongings secure. You’ll also find two watertight hatches, each with inner storage bags, so you can keep smaller items and valuables safe and dry.
- Durable polyethylene
- Two storage hatches
- Two paddles included
- Pretty heavy
- Seats are not the best
- Length: 446 cm
- Width: 96.5 cm
- Depth: 26.7 cm
- Weight: 11.5 kg
- Weight capacity: 272 kg
The Aquaglide Deschutes 145 is an incredibly spacious tandem touring kayak. It is extremely lightweight and fits into an included backpack-style storage bag. This means you can pack it into a small car and head off on an adventure further afield.
However, a pump is not included. So you will need to purchase the pump and paddles separately.
Being almost 4.5 metres long when inflated, there’s plenty of room for camping gear for a few nights away. It’s also very stable and great for bays, lakes, and rivers.
It is constructed with Duratex reinforced PVC material for added strength and durability. It also benefits from having an inflatable crossbeam which helps to provide rigidity in the hull, plus a solid EVA floor for improved performance and glide.
It comes with two high-back seats with padding for comfort. And there’s an EVA foot brace for each paddler for added support.
You’ll find bungee rigging at the bow and stern, along with small spray covers to provide a little added protection from splashes and sea spray.
This tandem kayak is also a good choice if you want to take your dog with you on kayaking adventures, thanks to the generous capacity and durable construction.
- Very lightweight
- Easy to pack in your car
- Great for camping and touring
- Stable on a range of waters
- Pump not included
- Length: 370 cm
- Width: 90 cm
- Depth: 45 cm
- Weight: 21.3 kg
- Weight capacity: 181 kg
The Intex Excursion Pro is a budget-friendly inflatable tandem kayak. It’s not designed to offer high performance and it’s not built for long trips. But it can be a good choice for casual recreational paddling in calm, shallow water and at the beach.
It can also be a great kayak for fishing. It has integrated fishing rod holders and a swivel mount that can be used to install a fish finder or GPS (both sold separately). These fishing features are generally found on more expensive kayaks. So it can be a good bonus to have them on such an affordable kayak.
This inflatable kayak also comes with a high-output pump for easy inflation and two aluminium paddles to get you on the water straight away.
You’ll find storage space at the bow and stern where there are D-rings to let you tie gear down to the deck. There are bow and stern covers that provide a little bit of coverage for small gear as well as helping to stop splashes and spray coming onto your deck.
The bucket-style seats are inflatable so they can be comfortable for a short time. But they may not offer a lot of support if you plan to paddle for any length of time.
It also features three air chambers for added buoyancy and strength.
- Affordable tandem kayak
- Great for beach use
- Pump and paddles included
- Fishing rod holders
- Not for extended trips
- Not ideal for rough conditions
- Length: 457.2 cm
- Width: 81.3 cm
- Weight: 23.5 kg
- Weight capacity: 249 kg
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite is a high-quality inflatable kayak. One of the main features of this tandem kayak is the drop-stitch floor. This technology provides a more rigid platform, offering increased stability, comfort, and performance.
This is a durable kayak that is crafted from three layers of material for added puncture resistance. Another benefit of this kayak is the aluminium rib technology in the bow and stern. This helps to add rigidity to cut through water more effectively and efficiently for speed and tracking.
This is a convertible kayak so it comes as a sit-on-top tandem kayak as standard, with two folding seats included.
But you can also convert it to a sit-inside with the deck conversions (sold separately). The optional deck covers come in either single or tandem, depending on whether you want to paddle solo or with your paddling partner. This offers added versatility.
This is an ideal kayak for touring on flatwater lakes and bays. It has a whopping six separate air chambers for improved buoyancy and safety.
Its long length makes it better suited to open water as it may be difficult to turn in small bodies of water, especially if you’re a beginner.
- Ideal for touring
- Drop-stitch technology
- Six air chambers
- Aluminium rib frame
- Conversion kit sold separately
- Not great in small rivers
- Length: 401 cm
- Width: 74 cm
- Depth: 34 cm
- Weight: 39 kg
- Weight capacity: 200 kg
The Clearview 3 is a tandem kayak with a difference. It has a clear bottom to let you see under the water as you’re kayaking, giving you a great view of the sea life below the surface. This can be a fantastic option if you plan to paddle over coral reefs or shipwrecks.
It can also be a good choice for diving, snorkelling, or fishing. There are even four built-in rod holders for your fishing rods and Trac rails for adding other accessories, such as a flag, fish finder, or camera mount (accessories not included).
This is a hard-shell kayak made from durable UV-stabilised plastic. It comes with a five-year warranty and five-year UV resistance rating.
This tandem kayak has plenty of room for gear, with a 20-cm storage hatch, plus a bow storage well with bungees.
It also comes with two two-piece kayak paddles and two Deluxe Kayak Comfort seats. There are no foot braces, however, which may affect your comfort levels when you’re paddling, so you might not want to paddle too far or for too long.
- Clear bottom
- Dry storage
- Fishing rod holders
- Accessory tracks
- Not the most comfortable
- Length: 378 cm
- Width: 87 cm
- Depth: 34.3 cm
- Weight: 22.2 kg
- Weight capacity: 272 kg
The Aquaglide McKenzie 125 can be ideal if you and your paddling partner are looking to take on some whitewater rapids. But this versatile inflatable tandem kayak can also perform well on flatwater, so it can be great for any type of adventure.
This compact kayak has a very generous capacity so it can be great for larger paddlers or if you want to bring along a dog or heavy gear. It’s also easy to manoeuvre and stable on all waters.
However, because of its shorter length, space is limited. So it might not be the best choice for a tandem kayak camping trip. But it can also be paddled solo if you prefer to use the rest of the space for camping equipment.
This is a durable kayak that’s made from tough Duratex material for abrasion resistance. For added strength and rigidity, the floor features EvoBeam technology with a V-shaped hull for better tracking performance.
There are four permanently open drains in the cockpit, to let water out when you’re riding rapids. However, this could mean water comes into the deck when you don’t want it to.
It comes with two padded seats with high backrests for comfort. There are also seat back-straps to help keep the seats in place during whitewater runs.
- Durable construction
- Easy to manoeuvre
- Self bailing
- Not much room for additional gear
- Length: 442 cm
- Width: 101.6 cm
- Depth: 31.7 cm
- Weight: 16.3 kg
- Weight capacity: 272 kg
The Driftsun Almanor 146 is an inflatable tandem kayak that comes ready to hit the water. It is lightweight, has a huge capacity, and comes with two adjustable EVA seats plus two paddles to get you started.
It also comes with an inflatable child seat that can be positioned in the centre for family trips. But it’s not the cheapest option.
Each paddler has access to an adjustable footrest and there are paddle holders on both sides, if you want to secure your paddle while you jump off to swim.
This is a pretty long inflatable kayak, which means there’s plenty of room if you want to bring along a picnic or some camping gear, or even your four-legged friend. As well as having some storage space behind the seats, there is bungee rigging on top of the spray covers at both the bow and stern.
The I-beam floor is designed to offer decent tracking and glide over flatwater. This is a very wide, stable kayak that can be great for beginners and families. It features three air chambers and is made from tough 600-denier polyester with UV protection for added durability.
- Paddles and seats included
- Ideal for families and beginners
- Child seat
- Not cheap
Size And Capacity
Like a lot of products, many kayaks are aimed at an American market. This means the sizes and capacities are usually in imperial measurements rather than metric, which can sometimes be a bit confusing.
Tandem kayaks will generally be longer than solo kayaks. However, this is not always the case, as some tandem kayaks can be pretty short compared to average kayaks.
You can also get some very long solo touring and sea kayaks that will often be much longer than most tandem recreational kayaks.
The shorter your tandem kayak, the easier it should be to manoeuvre on the water. This can be better for control and turning in rivers and small areas. However, with a shorter kayak, under 4 metres, you may be limited for space on the deck, both for legs and gear.
Saying that, good tandem kayaks can be great for family trips or kayaking with your dog.
Where do you plan to kayak? If you plan to head to the beach for coastal paddling adventures, you may want to think about a kayak that has a hull designed for choppy waters.
Most inflatable kayaks are designed to handle rougher waters than standard recreational hard-shell kayaks. This is because inflatable kayaks tend to have more buoyancy since they’re filled with air.
Tandem kayaks with flat bottoms tend to have a high degree of stability on flatwater, such as calm lakes, bays, and slow-moving rivers. Most recreational tandems are ideal for flatwater paddling, with some having added rocker in the hull to improve levels of secondary stability (for moving water).
If you want to be able to take on whitewater rapids, a shorter tandem kayak with more rocker is generally what you should look for. You should also make sure the kayak you choose is designed to handle rapids.
If you opt for an inflatable kayak, you should make sure it has more than one air chamber.
Multiple air chambers can be better for safety and can improve buoyancy. From a safety point of view, if you get a puncture in one air chamber, the rest of the chambers will be unaffected, so you should stay afloat. This can be important if you plan to kayak in the sea.
You will probably want to think about how you will get your tandem kayak from A to B. Standard hard-shell tandem kayaks will often be more difficult to transport than similar inflatable kayaks. For hard-shell kayaks you will generally need a roof rack or a trailer to travel with your kayak.
An inflatable kayak, on the other hand, can be packed into a suitcase-size bag and carried in the back of a small car. This can be more convenient, especially if you don’t have much space at home to store a full-size kayak. An inflatable kayak can also be ideal for taking on holiday to explore new waterways.
Inflatable kayaks can also be ideal if you plan to paddle with a child who may not be able to help you carry a kayak down to the water or lift it onto your roof.
Lightweight versions of both hard-shell and inflatable kayaks can usually be found. Not all inflatable kayaks are lightweight and some plastic kayaks can even weigh less than some inflatables.
Some kayaks may seem lightweight until you have to carry them a long distance. Think about how far you plan to carry your kayak and whether or not you’ll have someone to help you.
You may want to think about the extra features that could be handy on a tandem kayak. Storage areas, for example, can be pretty useful if you plan to stop for a picnic or want to embark on a multi-day excursion or island-hopping tour.
Dry storage, in particular, can be handy for keeping small items safe and dry while you’re on the water.
Most tandem kayaks will usually have some storage space at the bow and stern. But the amount of storage will vary between kayaks, depending on their size and intended use. Tandem kayaks can often be paddled solo, which can give you more space for gear if you’re on your own.
Some tandem kayaks will also have tie-down points and bungees for securing gear to the deck. Other tandems might feature additional features, such as fishing rod holders or paddle keepers.
Some extra features may be unnecessary, depending on the type of kayaking you want to do. Accessories, such as paddles, can be great if you’re new to kayaking and want to get on the water as soon as possible.
If you’re looking for the best tandem kayak in Australia, our top pick is the Bay Sports Nereus 1. It is easy to paddle, can handle coastal waters and lakes, as well as slow-moving rivers. It can be an ideal choice for beginners and families, thanks to its compact length that’s easy to control.
A fantastic runner-up (and our best inflatable pick) is the Aquaglide Deschutes 145. This American import features lots of space for two people plus camping gear. It’s also incredibly stable on a range of waters. Plus, since it’s inflatable, it can fit in the back of a small car and in your wardrobe at home.
However, if you’re after a cheaper option, the Intex Excursion Pro can be a good kayak for recreational paddling and fishing. This is another inflatable option that can be an ideal choice for taking on holiday and trips to the beach.
Remember to think about where you want to paddle and how much gear you want to bring. Think about the capacity and size of the kayak and whether you want to be able to pack it in a cupboard or under your bed.
A hard-shell kayak will mean you have to think about extra storage space and a roof rack to transport it on your car.