Guilderton, known to many as Moore River, is a small beach-holiday town by the sea at the mouth of the Moore River, located only an hour’s drive north from the centre of Perth.
This picturesque spot is a great place to visit for anyone who enjoys the water and the outdoors. It is an especially good destination for families with kids, in particular. The river provides a safe swimming spot with calm, clean water and its own little beaches in front of the caravan town, along the sand bar separating the river from the ocean, and at Silver Creek. The riverfront in front of town is a hive of activity on a warm sunny day!
Swimming, sun baking, fishing, paddling, kayaking, building sand castles and having barbeques on the grass by the river are the main things to do.
Boating or canoeing up river to some tall sand dunes known as “The Desert” is another fun Guilderton activity – you can run or sand board down the dunes into the river!
Image: Lloyd Johnson on Flickr
Visiting Guilderton – Day Trips and Weekend Trips
Guilderton/Moore River is a very popular day trip from Perth, being just close enough to the city to visit for a relaxing day or an afternoon, but far enough away to be surrounded by natural bushland and a long deserted beach.
It also makes for a great no-fuss summer holiday or weekend getaway from Perth. There are plenty of holiday homes and beach shacks available to rent for a night or two, as well some B&B’s and farm stays, and a caravan park right by the river.
Guilderton/Moore River is a lovely place to visit even for just an hour or two, so I’d highly recommend stopping there if you’re going on a road trip up north to Lancelin, The Pinnacles, or beyond. If you just stop over there for a half an hour to look at the views and have a quick swim, you’ll be glad you did.
If you’re living in or based for a while in Perth, then definitely put a day trip to Guilderton on your list of things to do if you haven’t been there already! You might even like it so much that you’ll want to book a weekend or longer.
The Gilt Dragon and the History of Guilderton/Moore River
In 1931, 40 17th-century silver guilder coins were found in the sand dunes near the Moore River Mouth. These mysterious coins were thought to be relics from the 1656 Vergulde Draeck ship wreck, and were the inspiration for author Henrietta Drake-Brockman suggesting the Moore River mouth area be named “Guilderton”.
The Vergulde Draeck, which translates to Gilt Dragon in English, was a Dutch V.O.C. vessel that set off from Texel on its final voyage bound for Batavia, carrying trade goods and eight chests of silver worth 786,000 guilders. On the 28th April 1656 it was wrecked on reefs just south of Ledge Point and broke up in the waves.
The mouth of the Moore River had been used as a holiday and camping area since early settlement in the Gingin area, and of course had been visited by Aborigines for many years before that. In the early settlement days it was known as “Gabbadah”, meaning “mouthful of water” in the local Aboriginal language. The townsite was gazetted and given the name “Guilderton” in 1951, but it has always also been known by the alternative name, Moore River.
Things to do in Guilderton, WA
A visit to Guilderton/Moore River is all about relaxing and enjoying the beach, the Moore River, and the peaceful natural surrounds.
- Swim in the calm river
- Swim in the wavy ocean
- Picnic or BBQ on the grass by the river bank
- Hire a kayak. for very cheap. Paddle over to the sandbar, or explore up river. If you have your own kayak you can also launch it at Silver Creek.
- Boating on the river – hire one there or bring your own up on a trailer
- Walk along the beautiful long ocean beach
- Head upriver to “The Desert” and run, slide or sand board down the giant sand hill into the water
- Walk up to the Guilderton lookout for views of the rivermouth, the ocean and the town
- Go fishing – try for bream in the river or whiting, herring, tailor and skippy in the ocean
- Go four wheel driving along coastal tracks and onto the beach
- Drive or walk up to the Guilderton lighthouse
- Go for a walk – wander the trails through the dunes around the lighthouse, go for a walk into the bush along the river’s edge from Silver Creek, or explore the south side of the river
- The sandbar is a great spot to fly a kite on a windy day
The Town of Guilderton
Guilderton is a fairly modest town, in both size and style, consisting mainly of holiday homes and beach shacks along quiet streets surrounded by nature, on the hillside north of the Moore River. There is a general store selling the essentials and a basic diner/cafe, plus a roadhouse and petrol station, but you won’t find many restaurants, shops or bars here.
It has a permanent population of only around 100 people and is nearly empty during quiet times of the year. Although it gets very busy on sunny weekends and school holidays, at most other times it’s a peaceful and relaxed place to visit.
Explore the Moore River
The calm tannin-stained dark water of the Moore River provides a contrast with the rough and wavy water of the clear blue ocean. The river snakes around past town from the sandbar, inland into the bush far beyond town. You get a good view of the river from Whitfield Street or from the lookout on the hill on the river mouth behind the caravan park.
Kayaks, paddleboats and motor boats are available for hire on the river at very reasonable prices, or you can launch your own boat or kayak at the ramp off the main carpark. Kayaks can also be launched at Silver Creek, a small tributary of the Moore River accessible via Stephens Crescent.
You don’t have to explore far upstream before you leave the town behind and find yourself in the peace and quiet of the bush.
Or go down river a short distance to the sand bar that separates the river from the ocean. The sand bar is closed over for much of the time, but occasionally it is opened and the river flows through to the ocean.
Getting to Guilderton/Moore River
Despite its local popularity, Guilderton/Moore River is not exactly on the tourist trail. If you want to visit you will need to drive there as it’s not linked to any public transport network. The only tour I know of that stops in Guilderton is the Tours With A Twist Pinnacles day trip.
To drive to Guilderton from Perth, head up through the northern suburbs (via Mitchell Freeway is fastest for most central, western and southern suburbs) and get onto Wanneroo Road which will take you north beyond the city. Turn left off Wanneroo Road onto Guilderton Road.
Last Updated: 24th April, 2015.
First posted on 11th April, 2015 by Bonny.
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