Perth has a very busy river life, and features riverside cafes, some wonderful picnic spots and waterside walks, as well as the homes of the rich and famous. Whilst not totally pollution free, the Swan River's beaches are generally quite safe with clean sand, and many have shaded play areas for children and picnic and barbecue facilities.
The Swan River has some of the most scenic windsurfing spots available anywhere, which are excellent for beginners (waste-deep water in large areas, warm, dependable winds which are light in the morning and get stronger in the afternoon). When the sea-breeze gets up over thirty knots, Perth's hardened wave sailors head for the river. The River also provides some scenic and rewarding fishing, from battling black bream to giant estuarine mulloway.
Swan River beaches - between Perth and Guildford (north)
Walter's Brook, Banks Reserve, Mt. Lawley
The closest river beaches to the Perth central business district along the Swan River foreshore are at East Perth. They can be found on a pleasant foreshore loop walk that crosses the Swan River at The Causeway and the Windan Bridge (Graham Farmer Freeway). Picturesque Banks Reserve in Mt. Lawley is a short walk north of the bridge. Walter's Brook, named by Capt. Stirling after his elder brother, still flows into the Swan River at this reserve.
Bardon Park, which overlooks the Swan River in Maylands, is home to the Maylands Yacht Club. A playground offers various methods of play including climbing, swinging and sand play. Bardon Park offers something for everyone with wide pathways, perfect for bike riding, picnic and barbeque facilities, bench seating and amazing views. Entry is from Bardon Place, Maylands.
Maylands Foreshore Reserve
A pleasant grassed are affording pleasant walks alongside the Swan River. Beyond the reserve is the site of Maylands Aerodrome, which for many years served as Perth's main airport. It serviced all kinds of aircraft and even flying boats until the early 1960s, when the airport moved to Redcliffe. The facilities were then converted to a training area for the Western Australian Police Service. Maylands Aerodrome was where Charles Kingsford-Smith made his landing to complete the first non-stop flight across Australia in August 1928.
The runway areas of the aerodrome have been developed as a public golf course, with the main runway now used as a fairway on the golf course. Many of the streets developed in and around the airport site after its closure carry names relating to aircraft and the aviation industry.
A nearby brickworks was once a source of clay for brick and tile making, and the pits from these activities are now part of a golf course and residential area. Parts of the old brickworks still stand. The claypit used by the brickworkd has been converted into an ornamental lake.
Located on the Maylands Peninsula within Maylands Foreshore Reserve, overlooking the Swan River, Maylands Waterland is acknowledged as a premier outdoor water playground in Perth. Beautiful wildflower gardens and lawns surround the four sparkling pools. The play equipment and barbecues make this a perfect setting for a family day out. 32 Clarkson Road, Maylands. Open 10am - 5pm daily. Entry fees apply.
Tranby Reserve, which follows the Swan River foreshore of Maylands on its eastern side, takes its name from Tranby Farm, also known as Peninsula Farm, established here by Joseph Hardey in 1830. A Wesleyan preacher from Lincolnshire, England, Hardey arrived in the Swan River settlement aboard the ship Tranby in February 1830 with his wife Ann, his brother John and a large group which included a surgeon, preacher, bricklayer, blacksmith, shoemaker, surveyor, hatter, midshipman and several farmers. Peninsula Farm and now forms much of the current suburb of Maylands. Tranby House, the third cottage Hardey built on his farm, still stands in the reserve on Johnson Road in Maylands overlooking the Swan River opposite Kuljak Island. It is one of the oldest surviving buildings from the early settlement of the Swan River Colony.
The house is furnished in the style of the first half of the 19th Century; all furniture is authentic, but has come from various sources. The only furniture known to have belonged to the Hardeys is a regency style brass four poster bed, which is on permanent loan from the Royal Western Australian Historical Society; a polished wooden medicine chest; and the timber lid of a packing case. Open Friday to Sunday 12.30pm - 4pm. Entry by Donation.
Pathways through the reserve follow the river bank in both directions.
AP Hinds Reserve
Bayswater and Ashfield has a number of river beaches. The shoreline to the east of Garratt Road Bridge has a number of popular places to visit. To the east of the bridge at AP Hinds Reserve is where countless local children learnt to swim from the 1930s. It became popular for competitive swimming in the 1960s with the construction of two jetties forming an Olympic-sized pool close to where the bridge crosses the Swan. Garratt Road Bridge is Western Australia's longest timber traffic bridge and possibly the longest ever built in the State.
Behind AP Hinds Reserve is a small pocket of natural wetlands through which a raised boardwalk (above) has been built. This path leads to Ellis House, which was the first dairy fam in the Bayswater district and is a good example of early colinial architecture. Ellis House is today a community arts centre.
Bayswater Riverside Gardens
To its east of AP Hinds Reserve is Bayswater Riverside Gardens, which has a clean sandy beach as well as picnic facilities, and the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary.
Claughton Reserve, Bayswater
Claughton Reserve, at the end of Katanning Street, has a clean sandy beach, backed by extensive grassed areas with shade, playing fields and picnic facilities.
Sandy Beach Reserve
Sandy Beach Reserve includes both open grassed areas and tree shaded areas. It is a popular spot in summer, and is the location of several local events such as the Valentines Day Rock Concert. Erosion by passing boats has led to the sandy beach after which the reserve is named being but a shadow of its former self.
Bassendean is where entertainer Rolf Harris trained as a boy with hopes of becoming an Olympic swimming champion. He would swim across the Swan River and back from his family home at the southern end of Bassendean Parade. The simple cottage has been replaced by a larger home by the property's more recent owners, but the jaccarandah trees planted by Rolf's father remain.
Pickering Park, further upstream, features picnic facilities and a jetty. It is on the riverside Heritage Trail and Cycle path.
Point Reserve, where the Helena River joins the Swan River
Point Reserve is one of the most picturesque spots in the area. It is a shady place in summer and is suitable for fishing, picnics, and play. It overlooks the confluence of the Swan and Helena Rivers.
Success Hill Reserve provides both open grassed areas and tree shaded areas. It is a popular spot in summer where the Heritage Trail and Cycle Path begins. Success Hill is the location of local events such as carols by candlelight. All the above parks have picnic, barbecue and playground facilities.
Swan River beaches - between Guildford and Perth (south)
Fish Market Reserve
Locarted on the opposite bank to Success Hill Reserve, Fish Market Reserve is one of the lesser known havens on the banks of the Swan River. The reserve takes its name from early colonial days when assistant surveyor Henry Charles Sutherland surveyed land on the bend in the river here for a market town that became Guildford. The town included a public common, market place and cattle yards and a fish market. The latter is long gone but the name was retained and reminds visitors of time past.
The reserve is comprised of a picnic area with a childrens playground, all currounded by natural bush which over time has reclaimed the area when the fish markets once stood. Facilities include a boat launching ramp. Entry off Swan Street, Guildford.
Kings Meadow Reserve
An attractive riverside spot with great facilities for family picnics. Kings Meadow boasts riverside barbeques in a picnic area where Helena River runs into the Swan River. One word of warning - beware of snakes during summer as this reedy area where the two rivers meet is a huge frog habitat. Hill Street, Guildford.
The reserve is part of a belt of riverside land alongside the Swan and Helena Rivers which almost encircle Guildford. In colonial times, this area was set aside as public commons and named Kings Meadow. Today, the four King's Meadows remain lagely intact and are used to graze animals and for public recreation, including polo. In summer, the Polo Club stages matches here near where West Swan Road crosses the river on the northern side of Guildford.
Redcliffe's Garvey Park is a major riverside reserve that contains significant areas of remnant foreshore vegetation and extensive re-vegetation areas. A walk trail allows walkers to travel the 500 metres from Coolgardie Avenue to the Swan River foreshore along the stream and through the natural vegetation. The park has extensive picnic and playground facilities. A kiosk operates Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 4pm, Monday and Tuesday from 7am to 2pm, and public holidays.
There is also a boardwalk across the wetlands heading towards the city. You can spot local wildlife, have a picnic or bbq, let the kids play in the playground or have a game of basketball on the half court. The park is home to Ascot Kayak Club and Ascot Riverside Kiosk and the location for the Autumn River Festival and the City of Belmont Avon Descent Community Day.
Garvey Park is located at the river end of Fauntleroy Avenue, Ascot.
Grove Farm Reserve takes its name from Grove Farm, created by John Wall Hardey as an extension of his riverfront holdings in 1835. Previously, Hardey has established Tranby Farm on the opposite side of the river at what is now the suburb of Maylands. In 1848, horse racing began on a track on Grove Farm. Two yearss later, Hardey, whose brother Joseph believed horseracing to be the 'gun shot of the devil', stopped allowing racing on his land. T. R. C. Walters donated land from his adjoining property for a permanent race track, this being the site of the current Ascot Racecourse. In 1852, the West Australian Turf Club was established, with their headquarters at Ascot Racecourse. Grove Farm Reserve is only a small section of the original Grove Farm.
A short distance away on the reserve's northern perimeter is Bristile Park. The park takes its name from the brick and tile manufacturing plant of Brisbane & Wunderlich which stood on nearby Grandstand Road. The farctory became a regional landmark, and operated from 1929 to 1982 The kilns and chimney of the factory have been preserved and can be seen in Grandstand Road. The land occupied by the park was within the grounds of the factory.
The reserve's play equipment includes climbing tower with some frames like bridge, ladder, slide, swings, stepping stones and more. The play equipment includes pretty little doll house. This historic tiny building was once used to demonstrate the quality of Bristile brickmaking. The park has toilets, seats, picnic table, bbq, car parking and an open grassed area. A bike path following the river passes through the park.
Adachi Park is reached by crossing a small bridge just beyond the Bristile Park playground. It is a Japanese-styled native garden with stepping stones and interesting paths to explore, and a tea-house shelter in the middle. It is a good location for picnics and a picturesque walk. Adachi Park is named after Belmont s Sister City, Adachi in Japan. Signs explain the sister city relationship between Belmont and Adachi.
Hardey Park is located on the foreshore of Great Eastern Highway near the intersection of Abernethy Road. Hardey Park currently has a boat ramp, an informal carpark and shared path suitable for cycling. Hardey Park is also popular for weddings and wedding photography, which are held in the park and adjacent to the Swan River.
Swan River beaches - between Perth and Fremantle (south)
Perth and Perth Water from South Perth
South Perth Foreshore stretches alongside the southern side of Perth Water between the Narrows Bridge and The Causeway. A ribbon of beach extends either side of the Coode Street jetty where the ferries from Barrack Street jetty berth. The foreshore is the best place to see and photograph the city skyline, and the surrounding parklands are great for a picnic, with plenty of parking.
Como Beach stretches alongside the Kwinana Freeway to the north of where the Canning River enters the Swan. There is a dedicated swimming area alongside the Como Jetty. Good for windsurfing.
Deep Water Point
Deep Water Point is on the Canning River in Mount Pleasant. It is a popular spot for water skiing and jet skiing and the car park is often full of trailers and cars using the boat ramp. There is a fenced playground with good simple children's play equipment.
Point Heathcote recalls Midshipman G.C. Heathcote of HMS Success, who is said to have been the first European to land there. It was one of the landing and camp sites of Captain James Stirling during his exploration of the Swan River in 1827. Point Heathcote was considered as a site for the capital city by James Stirling, before electing on its current position.
Point Heathcote was the site of the Point Heathcote reception home, later known as Heathcote Hospital, for the treatment of patients with mental illness. The late Hollywood Actor, Heath Ledger, grew up in this neighbourhood, and there is currently a plaque and memorial in his memory on Point Heathcote, placed by his family.
Alfred Cove and Point Waylen (left foreground), Lucky Bay and Melville Water from Wireless Hill
Waylen Bay is a small embayment from Point Dundas to Point Heathcote, located in the suburb of Applecross. The bay is fringed by a wide ribbon of clean sand. Good for windsurfing.
Melville Beach at Applecross is a popular spot for windsurfers. Windsurfer hire is available with lessons for those who require them.
Attadale Nature Reserve
Attadale's riverfront offers river beaches and excellent cycle paths stretching from Troy Park through Attadale Nature Reserve. Since the 1950, Attadale has evolved into one of Perth's most desirable residential areas offering increasingly up market homes and gardens in wide leafy streets, many of which have dramatic views of the City.
Pt. Walter sandbar
Point Walter comprises a golf course and a popular family riverside beach with many recreational facilities, cycle paths etc. Point Walter Reserve has plenty of trees providing shade from the sun as well as safe swimming and excellent fishing. Public barbecue facilities are available as well as a cafe and kiosk. A sandbar that snakes out into the river provides a great walk. It offers some of the best views to the City of the Perth Skyline. Next door to Point Walter is the Blackwall Reach Reserve, a picturesque area of natural bush ideal for cyclists and walkers.
Quarantine Park Beach, Bicton
The historic Bicton Baths, on Blackwall Reach, were built in 1926 by the Melville Swimming Club. The baths are built on one of a number of small beaches on the foreshore alongside Blackwall Reach Parade near the reach's high cliffs.
John Tonkin Reserve
John Tonkin Reserve at East Fremantle is a large riverside park on the lower reaches of the Swan River. There is a modern style boat themed playground, shady trees, picnic tables and BBQs. You can take a swim here, or sit and watch the boats go up and down the river. There is a boat ramp here and lots of water traffic as there are a number of yacht clubs very nearby. Zephyr Cafe and Kiosk provides the coffee, snacks and takeaways.
Swan River beaches - between Perth and Fremantle (north)
Matilda Bay Reserve
Matilda Bay Reserve, on Pt. Currie at at Crawley, offers both shelter and views across the Swan River, making it a very popular site for picnics. Its many grassed areas, BBQ facilities, boat ramps, children's play areas and safe river beach make it an ideal place to relax in the outdoors.
Nedlands Pier was once home to The Nedlands Baths. Officially opened in 1909 by WA's first premier, Sir John Forrest, The Nedlands Baths became the focal point for thousands of visitors to the Nedlands Foreshore, and made it one of Perth's most popular river beaches.
The Dalkeith foreshore is accessed from the foot of Isis Street
Millionaire's Row from the river
Dalkeith and its sister suburb of Peppermint Grove share the beautiful Freshwater Bay shoreline of the Swan River, are widely regarded as two of Perth's dress-circle suburbs. Dalkeith has a special peninsula position on the Swan River with access to boat ramps, boating clubs and other water recreational activities. The homes of Perth's rich and famous line the foreshore on Jutland Parade; the ribbon of beach below what is known as Millionaire's Row can be accessed from Iris Avenue.
Point Resolution, at the end of Jutland Parade, has grassed picnic areas and offers extensive views of the Swan River towards Point Walter. There is a sandy beach on the western shore of Dalkeith on Freshwater Bay that can be accessed from Point Resolution Reserve.
Bishop Road Reserve gives easy access to a pretty ribbon of sand which is perfect for a riverside beach walk. The view from the reserve takes in the expanse of Freshwater Bay across to Point Walter on the river's southern shore and Chidley Point to the south.
Bishop Road Reserve
The Claremont foreshore can be accessed from Anne Herbert Park, Alex Prior Park and a reserve at the end of Chester Road.
Peppermint Grove Foreshore Reserve
Peppermint Grove Foreshore Reserve is a very picturesque grassed area. It is frequented by dolphins, black swans and pelicans, with a backdrop of yachts and boats. An ideal picnic location, it offers good swimming and boat hire facilities. There is an excellent walking track through a remnant of natural bushland which follows the shoreline of Frshwater Bay. Known as Lovers Walk, it stretches from Osborne Parade in the north to Keanes Point.
Mosman Bay, to the south of Freshwater Bay, has a ribbon of beach near Butler Hump (also known as Keanes Point). Facilities include the Cabe Dodd ampitheatre, toilets, picnic and barbecues. On the north-eastern corner of the Mosman peninsula is Chidleys Point. Accessed from Chidley Way which encircles the point, this isolated spot has a clean sandy beach, shade, grassed areas and toilets.
Below the site of a former sugar refinery at Point Roe is another isolated strip of beach. This beach is part of the reserve on Colonial Gardens. A foreshore walk through the parklands on Blackwall Reach is recommended.
Minim Cove, remediation success story, which has seen the successful conversion of the former State Engineerring Works site at Mosman Park into a high class residential area during the first few years of the 21st century. with a choice of riverside recreational facilities and extensive landscaping to the estate and the local foreshore.
A large part of Minim Cove has been dedicated to open space. In addition to walkways and art works throughout the estate, Minim Cove incorporates extensive landscaped parkland and a lookout tower with spectacular 360 degree views across the Swan River to Perth in the east, and to Fremantle and the Indian Ocean in the west.
Minim Cove, after which the surrounding area is named
Tools made from small chips of quartz and chert found at Minim Cove have been dated to 9930 years old. The cove is believed to have been a camping ground and a fishing site for Nyoongars who stayed in the area while waiting for low tide to cross the river. During early European settlement, travellers disembarked by ship in Fremantle. They then rode to Preston Point and crossed the river by horse ferry to Minim Cove before following a sandy bush track to Perth.
North Fremantle River Beach
North Fremantle's only river beach is at the end of Johnanna Street beside the Gilbert Fraser Reserve. A walkway from the beach passes south over a small sand island and under Stirling Bridge to the south extremity of the beach, located at the end of Burns Street, from which access can also be made.