Georgian Bay Sea Kayak Route

Tobermory Harbour to Dunks Bay

By Land

Leaving from the Cairn in Tobermory Harbour (the end or starting point of the Bruce Trail) you will walk up the road to the mail office located behind The Princess Inn Hotel, turn left onto Head Street and continue straight into the bush after the first bend in the road. After a few minutes of walking you will come across a large open area, which is a construction site for the future Bruce Peninsula National Park Visitor Center. Be sure to follow the Bruce Trail markings here because it can be quite confusing. From the construction site you will hike on a gravel road that turns into a snowmobile trail. Stay on the snowmobile trail for awhile until it straightens out. At this point you will be on a survey cut that leads to Dunk’s Bay Road. Turn left, walking down past the cemetery towards a parking lot where you may choose to park your vehicle. Remember that the beach is just a stone’s throw away if you need to cool down or bask in the sun for the afternoon. This hike is fairly short - only 2.7 kilometers, but it would be a great start to prepare you for longer hikes over the next couple of days.   

By Water

Leaving from the boat launch in Tobermory’s Little Tub Harbour, you will leave the small port on the right hand side in order to flow with the other boat traffic. When leaving this area, remain cautious of the Chi-cheemaun ferry – you may obtain copies of their arrival and departure schedule at the Tobermory Information Centre.

You can follow the Georgian Bay shoreline to Dunk’s Bay, viewing the cottages and limestone cliffs up close and the islands from afar. The five-kilometer trip should take approximately two hours, or you can spend some time exploring Fathom Five National Marine Park and the islands within it. Keep in mind that several islands prohibit trespassing, although you can observe them easily from the water.

Some of the closer islands (Doctor and Russell) can be traveled around to discover, on the west side of Russell Island, the Wetmore shipwreck, which is in only 20 feet of water. Cove Island is one of the larger islands in Fathom Five National Marine Park and, if the conditions are right, you can tour over to see the spectacular lighthouse that separates Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. For a chance to get out of your kayak and stretch your legs, visit Flowerpot Island, the only island in the park that you can depart onto. There is a fee to visit the island so be prepared to pay when you arrive. Flowerpot Island is a great spot to stop and have lunch or go for a hike to get your land legs back.

Another option is to go into the larger Big Tub Harbour where boat traffic is generally slower paced. Big Tub Harbour is one of the deepest natural freshwater harbours and is host to two shipwrecks, the Sweepstakes and the City of Grand Rapids. These wrecks can be viewed from your kayak since they are located in only 20 feet of water. Leaving Big Tub on the right hand side, take a minute to view the lighthouse at the entrance of the harbour.

How long your trip takes may depend on your route, how much you explore the area, how much you want to relax on the beach, the amount of paddling experience you have, and the weather conditions. At the end of your trip when you arrive at Dunk’s Bay, carry the kayaks to the parking lot area and bring your paddles, life jackets, and throw bags back to the shop in Tobermory.

> Dunk's Bay to Dyer’s Bay

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