This guide to the beaches of Perth, Australia follows the coastline north from Fremantle to Hillarys, stopping at every beach along the way.
Perth Beach Guide from Fremantle to Trigg Island (Perth City Central Beaches)
Starting just to the north of Fremantle, Sandtrax gets its name from the empty white-sand dune area that was once behind the beach (now where the road is), and its sandy carpark. Being small and slightly out of the way, it’s something of a secret – usually with far fewer people than at nearby Port Beach. The beach is sheltered from south-westerly winds and waves by the northernmost breakwater of Fremantle Port, so the waves here are usually very small and the seabreeze is felt less strongly than at other Perth beaches.
Port Beach is the beach my Mum used to take me to when I was young and scared of big waves, and to this day it remains a favourite beach for families with little kids. It used to have a real “port” feel to it. Most of the storage tanks and the wheat silos behind the beach have been demolished, but views of the Fremantle Port cranes and night-time lights still remain.
Leighton Beach and Mosman Beaches
Leighton and Mosman make up the northern section of the long beach that continues unbroken from Sandtrax right up to south Cottesloe. This is in my opinion one of the nicest, most peaceful sections of the Perth coastline. The rocky northern end is a dog beach. Leighton/Mosman is great for swimming, generally with smallish waves, but can be a little seaweedy and rocky, especially up where the dog beach is. Offshore is an artificial reef that was built to create a surf break, which occasionally has good waves.
Directly south of the Cottesloe rock groyne, there is no beach at all, rather a reef platform backed by low limestone cliffs. The surfing can be good at South Cottesloe in the right conditions, and when the ocean’s flat and the winds are light, this is one of Perth city’s better snorkeling spots. South of the reefy area is a short beach that ends in a rock groyne marking the boundary between South Cott and Leighton/Mosman. The beaches between Port beach and Cottesloe are a popular wind surfing and kite surfing spot. Sometimes on a windy afternoon I like to walk along the beach and watch the colourful dance of kites and sails.
Cottesloe is the most well-known and popular of all Perth beaches, and for good reason. It is such a wonderful beach for both swimming and walking along, and has a fun lively atmosphere in summer. Above the beach are grassy terraces and picnic areas, and there’s a good pub and cafes over the road, and another pub and even more cafes as you head north towards North Cottesloe. The reef platforms between Cottesloe Beach and North Cottesloe makes for a surprisingly decent snorkel when there are no waves or wind.
North Cottesloe Beach
North Cott has a nice long beach, from the reefs at the end of busy Cottesloe Beach, to the low limestone cliff that separates North Cottesloe from the Grant Street dog beach. Peter’s Pool, a gap between the reefs at the very end of the reefy section, is one of the nicest places to swim along North Cottesloe Beach. It’s right in front of the surf club and Blue Duck and Barchetta cafes. Further north can also be nice, it’s more open and a little less crowded there.
Grant Street Dog Beach
The Cottesloe dog beach begins at the rocky bluff at the end of North Cottesloe Beach, just north of Grant Street. It’s good for swimming, but only in calm conditions because the waves break over reefs and rocks. Come down to the dog beach at sunset for some decent beach fishing.
Swanbourne Beach, and the Swanbourne Nude Beach
Swanbourne Beach continues on from the Grant Street Dog Beach. It is a quieter alternative to nearby Cottesloe, but has been getting more popular since the opening of the Naked Fig cafe behind the beach. The northern end is the Swanbourne Nude Beach, one of the few Perth beaches where clothing is optional, officially.
I don’t know if this long stretch of beach between the nude beach and City Beach has a name, so I’ll call it the Army beach. Backed by bushland and the SAS base, it’s Perth’s quietest and least accessible beach, so it’s the place to go if you’re after some peace and seclusion. Be aware that the army sometimes closes a large section of the beach.
This is a very popular beach, particularly for people living in the inner city suburbs as it’s a quick and easy drive from the city straight down Cambridge Street. It has a kiosk, a pub/fish restaurant and a big grassy area with a playground and BBQ facilities above the beach.
Floreat Beach is usually quieter than City Beach next door. It has a kiosk and a grassy park with a playground behind the beach, and the beach itself is good for swimming and beach combing. It is the first of a series of continuous beaches that form one long beach all the way up to Trigg Island. For extra beach fishing luck at Floreat Beach, walk north to the storm water drain pipe following rainy weather (the start of the dog beach).
North Floreat Beach/Peasholm Street Dog Beach
The beach opposite the end of More Peasholm Street (North Floreat Beach) is one of the places along the Perth coastline where dogs can run and around and swim in the surf. Peasholm Dog Beach is as beautiful a beach as any other Perth beach, but unless have a dog to play with or want to try fishing at the drainpipe there’s probably not much point visiting this one. The path from the carpark across the dunes is a long walk, and Brighton Beach immediately to the north is much nicer anyway.
A short walk south of the popular, and often very crowded, Scarborough, is Brighton Beach. This is one of the nicest beaches in Perth because it has a wide spacious beach with clean white sand and it gets the big waves. It has no huge buildings built up behind the dunes and is usually less crowded than Scarborough Beach immediately to the north.
Scarborough Beach is the most built-up section of Perth’s coast, with the Rendezvous Hotel and several big apartment buildings overlooking the beach. It rivals Cottesloe as the most popular of Perth Beaches, with its broad, spacious dazzlingly white beach and waves that are larger than at most other Perth beaches. The surf can be pretty good there some days. Behind the beach you’ll find grassy parks, a walking/cycling path and plenty of places to get food and drinks.
Trigg Beach South
Continuing north from Scarborough is Trigg Beach, which has some of Perth’s best and most consistent waves. As great as it is for surfing and boogie boarding (by Perth standards), it’s not the best for swimming because you keep having to dodge the boogie boarders and body surfers. It ends at Trigg Island, a limestone headland that very occasionally becomes an island. Don’t swim in the reefy area to the south of Trigg Island (Blue Hole) because in rough conditions you could get caught in a rip and be sucked under.
Perth Beaches from Trigg Island to Hillarys (Marmion Beaches)
Trigg Beach North (Trigg Island)
Trigg Island marks the beginning of the Marmion Marine Park. This part of Perth’s coast is reefy and in some sections, rocky and cliffy. Trigg Beach to the north of Trigg Island is a great swimming and snorkelling spot, very different from the broad sandy surf beach of Trigg Beach south. The beach is adjoined by a shallow reef that has deeper pools of clear calm water to swim and snorkel in. A rocky outcrop divides the beach into two, and on Trigg Island and the small offshore rock you’ll often see flocks of birds.
Bennion Beach South
Bennion Beach (Trigg/Bennion Dog Beach)
The beach directly beneath the end of Bennion Street is designated as a dog beach. It has some reefs and rocks along the shoreline but is less protected than other beaches nearby and so is best in calm conditions. Some low limestone rocks separates it from another similar beach to the north which is also a dog beach.
Bennion Beach North (Bennion Dog Beach)
This beach is a continuation of Bennion Beach. It too is quite rocky with reefs along the shore, and not the safest for swimming in rough conditions. But beyond the reefs near the shoreline the water is deep and clear. Dogs permitted.
Bailey Beach is a beautiful smallish beach with fantastic snorkeling (in calm conditions) around the reefs off shore. It’s a bit less busy than nearby Mettams Pool, but it’s not quite as good for swimming. There are a couple of tiny secluded beaches in among the cliffs at the southern end of this beach.
Little Bailey Beach
Little Bailey Beach, located beneath the dead-end pathway just north of the main Bailey Street Beach, is a tiny pocket of sand enclosed by low cliffs, adjacent to a deepish pool in the reef that’s like a little plunge pool.
Bailey Street Beach North
Bailey Beach North is immediately south of Mettams Pool. The beach sand is on top of a limestone ledge, and a little bit below the ledge along the water’s edge at low tide. A shallow reef with a few little sandy sections begins right at the shoreline and extends out to sea.
A short walk around the rocks from Mettams Pool you’ll find a small sheltered hollow with soft white sand and a tiny gap in the rocks at the water’s edge. This is a good spot to paddle in the shallows or to begin snorkeling from to snorkel around the outer edge of the Mettams Pool reefs.
Mettams Pool Beach
Mettams Pool Beach is a half-kilometre long beach with sections of reef along the shoreline and a protected reef pool at its southern end.
Mettams Pool is a wonderful spot for swimming in the calm protected water and for snorkeling on the seaweedy limestone reef, where you can see fish such as red lipped morwong, herring schools, stripeys, old wives and yellow box fish. A wheelchair access ramp leads down to the water (although it’s in need of a renovation), and above the reef pool section of the beach there are change rooms, a lookout, an undercover gazebo and a picnic bench. Further north along the beach the water is less sheltered and big waves sometimes break on the reefs and along the shoreline.
Centaur Beach (Hammersley Pool)
Centaur Beach is a couple tiny beaches no longer than 20 to 50 metres, hidden away in the limestone cliffs that separate Mettams Pool Beach from Hammersley Beach. Hammersley Pool is a reef pool that runs alongside Centaur Beach for about 100m up to the southern end of Hammersley Beach. The reef pool is a delightful place to swim with calm, clear shallowish water protected by the shallow reefs along its northern edge. Centaur Beach and the Hammersley tidal Pool are located between Hammersley and Beachton Streets, just to the north of the Centaur wreck monument.
Hammersley Beach North
Hammersley Beach is one of the longer beaches along the Marmion Marine Park coastline. In winter it’s a good beach for walking along and looking for shells, but it has reefs most of the way along the water’s edge so is not the best beach for summer swimming. However, Hammersley Pool beginning at the southernmost rocks is a divine swimming spot.
The next beach along, North Beach, is yet another beautiful beach in the Marmion Marine Park. It is protected somewhat by offshore reefs but is best for swimming when the water’s calm, and there’s a bit of a surf break over the reef on some days when the swell is up. At the northern end of the beach a viewing/fishing platform extends out high over the water.
Castle/Lawley Street Beach
The next beach along from North Beach does not have an official name as far as I’m aware, but it’s in line with Castle and Lawley Streets. It’s a longish beach with patchy reefs and clear areas for swimming. This is the start of the Watermans Bay dog beach, which continues north along Hale Street and Margaret Street beaches.
Hale Street Beach
Watermans Bay Beach
Watermans Bay is a beach about half a kilometre long that is wonderful for swimming on a calm summer’s day. It’s the perfect beach for families with mostly calm water, white sand, and a playground and grassy area with barbecues at the southern end of the beach. There are great views of Watermans Bay from the walking path above the beach, with a lookout about half way along.
Sorrento Beach immediately to the south of Hillary’s Boat Harbour is divided up into a couple of smaller beaches by rock groynes. These beaches are good for swimming, and the shops and entertainment at the boat harbour are a short walk away.
Hillarys Boat Harbour Beach
This beach is right in the middle of Sorrento Quay (Hillarys Boat Harbour), surrounded by fun things to do. After a swim, you can go for a wander through the markets, walk along the jetties and look at the boats, view marine life at Aqwa or go on the waterslides at the Great Escape.
The beach itself is as calm as a swimming pool. It is a perfect beach to take little kids to, and older kids enjoy jumping off the jetty.
Last Updated: 17th November, 2015.
First posted on 16th November, 2013 by Bonny.
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