Leighton Beach is one of Perth’s more peaceful, uncrowded beaches – perfect for swimming, long walks, wind surfing and playing with your dog. For this reason it is a favourite beach among people who live in Perth.
Being close to Fremantle, it has that “port” feel to it which I happen to really like, but other people might find this less appealing than I do.
Either way, there’s always something interesting to look at, and the land behind the beach is not too built-up and gentrified (although that’s changing).
To the south, you can see the cranes of Fremantle Harbour, and out to sea, container ships wait to enter the harbour, anchored in the South Passage between Rottnest Island and the mainland.
On windy afternoons, colourful windsurfer sails dart across the choppy waves, and kite surfers fly through the air.
Dogs can run free on the 2km-long northern section of Leighton/Mosman Beach (beyond the railway footbridge). The southern in front of the Fremantle Surf Club is for people only.
Where is Mosman-Leighton Beach, and how do you get there?
Mosman-Leighton is one of Perth city’s southern metro beaches, down near Fremantle. The boundaries between Port, Leighton and Mosman beaches are fairly arbitrary, as it’s really just one long continuous beach from the rock wall of Fremantle Port north all the way to the low cliffs at South Cottesloe.
Mosman Beach is the northern section of this beach, beginning at the rock groyne in line with Beach Street (the other side of which is South Cottesloe Beach). At the border between the suburbs of Mosman Park and North Fremantle – roughly south of the limestone bluff where the beach narrows), Mosman Beach ends and Leighton Beach begins.
Dogs are allowed to run free on Mosman Beach, and on Leighton Beach but only to the north of the railway overpass. Jump down the page to the dog beach section for a map showing in detail where dogs can and cannot go.
The main swimming area at Leighton Beach is at the southern end in front of the surf club, along Leighton Beach Boulevard. It turns into Port Beach just to the south of here, at the point where Port Beach Road swings around a corner in to Walter Place and Curtin Avenue.
Parking Your Car
Parking near Leighton and Mosman Beaches is free and plentiful, making it a great option on a hot day when you know beaches like Cottesloe, Swanbourne and City Beach will be packed and parking hard to find.
There’s a roomy carpark at the southern end of Leighton Beach near the surf club, which is the nicest swimming area and also the busiest part of the beach on hot weekends and holidays. If you can’t find a spot there, there’s yet more parking along Leighton Boulevard.
Further north along the dog beach, you’ll find a couple more carparks off Curtin Avenue which don’t usually fill up (except for the northern one opposite Beehive Montessori school which gets very busy around 3:30pm on school days). These carparks have great views of the ocean, and are a popular place to park and watch the kite surfers in the late afternoon.
Marine Parade above Mosman Beach is lined with ample streetside parking on both sides of the road.
Getting There on Public Transport
Leighton also happens to be one of the easier Perth beaches to get to on public transport.
The nearest train station to the main swimming area in front of the surf club is North Fremantle Station, just a few hundred metres back from the beach.
For Mosman Beach, Victoria Street Station is the best stop. From the station, cross Curtin Avenue then walk about half a kilometre west down Macarthur Street or Sydney Street.
Alternatively, catch either the 103 or 98 bus from Fremantle. From the other direction catch the 103 from Perth city centre, or either the 103 or 99 from any point along Stirling Highway.
Beach Walks and Swimming
All the beaches south of Cottesloe (Sandtrax, Port, Leighton, Mosman) have a lower wave height than those further north like Scarborough or Trigg. Also, the water gets deep gradually, so the waves break further out and roll gently in to shore.
Smallish, gentle waves make this one of the best swimming beaches for kids, or anyone who’s a bit scared of getting dumped by a monstrous crashing wave. The waves are often just big enough to have some fun body surfing or boogie boarding.
All in all it’s one of the safer swimming beaches, though you’ll need to watch out for rocky sections. When the waves are on the larger side there’ll be a few rips, but they’re pretty easy to spot.
Leighton is one of my favourite swimming beaches in Perth for these reasons, and because it feels more free and spacious than the more popular spots like Port Beach or Cottesloe. I especially like swimming there on the windy summer afternoons when the water is choppy and the windsurfers are zipping past out to sea.
The south end of Leighton Beach near the Fremantle Surf Club is the nicer area for swimming and sunning, because the sand is cleaner and more white, and the water crystal-clear. Further north, especially at Mosman Beach, there are rocky areas and sometimes big mats of seagrass and seaweed on the beach, and even more floating in the water.
The beach narrows towards Mosman Beach, and when there’s lots of seaweed or the tide is high, you can’t quite walk the full length of the beach.
Kite Surfing and Wind Surfing at Leighton-Mosman Beach
The ocean off the beaches south of Cottesloe is probably Perth’s most popular kite surfing area, and is also fantastic for windsurfers. Conditions are best late in the day during spring, summer and early autumn.
At this time of year, almost every day the seabreeze (also known as the Fremantle Doctor) starts around midday, strengthening throughout the afternoon into a strong wind.
The main launching area for Leighton Beach is north of the surf club and main swimming area, and south of the railway footbridge. It’s best not to set up and launch from the dog beach, for obvious reasons.
Lots of people come down to Leighton and park above the beach to sit in the comfort of their cars and watch the show of colourful kites and sails. Others prefer to brave the howling wind and go for a walk or run along the beach.
Bring Your Dog Down to Leighton Beach
If you haven’t been to Mosman-Leighton Beach with your dog yet, you should really give it a try!
The beach is perfect for dogs to run around – long, flat and spacious, with fine white sand. You may be a bit grossed out by walking on beds of stinky seaweed washed in by stormy seas, but your dog won’t mind a bit!
The water also couldn’t be more ideal. It’s safe and non-threatening for dogs to swim.
Unlike at other Perth beaches, the water stays nice and shallow for a quite a long way out at Leighton. The wave height is generally low, less than a metre.
I lived a short walk away over the hill one summer/autumn a few years ago and would come down for a walk along the beach in the mornings – often with Molly, my flatmate’s dog. Even early in the morning there were lots of people out and about with their dogs, but it never felt crowded.
It does however get a little bit crowded with dogs and their owners on the weekends, especially when the weather is nice.
Be aware that dogs and kite surfing equipment are not always a good mix, so avoid the southern end of the dog beach on windy afternoons (the kite surfers generally set up and launch on the section of beach in front of the railway foot bridge – the dog beach’s southern boundary).
Location of the Mosman/Leighton Dog Beach, Perth
The southern boundary of the dog beach (S on map) is the footbridge over the railway line from Stirling Highway to Curtin Avenue. In the north, (N on map), it ends at the Beach Street rock groyne.
Last Updated: 7th December, 2014.
First posted on 14th November, 2013 by Bonny.
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