The port of Fremantle is a popular stop-off for cruises circumnavigating the globe and ships based ‘Down Under.’ Although Fremantle and its neighbour Perth are worth exploring, it’s region’s beaches that are the real star attraction.
Western Australia’s coastline is bursting with soft, white, sandy beaches and alluring, turquoise water. You don’t have to travel far along the coast, before you hear the familiar sound of waves lapping the shore. If you are visiting the port of Fremantle during your cruise, don’t miss a stop at one of WA’s stunning beaches. Most are accessible via public transport from Fremantle. Alternatively you could hire a car or taxi for the day, giving you more flexibility.
During my visit to Western Australia, I was impressed with the beach facilities. From surf clubs and lifeguard stations to free parking, the services provided are outstanding. Lifeguards patrol the beaches vigilantly and are very visible in their red and yellow uniform. Should a shark be spotted nearby (which is rare), the lifeguard stations sound an alarm to instruct people to get out of the water.
We took a drive from Mullaloo Beach, just north of Perth, along the coast to Fremantle. A truly scenic coastal route, we stopped at wonderful beaches with facilities to suit everyone. Here’s the lowdown on five of the best beaches in the area:
Located in the Perth district of Joondalup, this picturesque beach is a haven for locals. Its soft, white sand stretches more than 3km. Mullaloo’s northern end is popular with surfers due to the high waves, but the sea does get strong currents or rips at times.
You will see lifeguards patrolling the central/northern part of the beach regularly. Nearby facilities include a play area, barbecue stations, a coffee shop, bar, restaurant and hotel. Onsite there is a car park which is free. Mullaloo is often busier on weekends, but its large size means there is plenty of room to spread out.
Glorious City Beach is close to Perth and features several life saving clubs. Modern, trendy restaurants and cafés overlook the water and there is a pleasant coastal path running parallel to the beach. Facilities include modern, shower blocks. Shaded seating areas off the beach provide protection from the sun. The West Coast Highway runs parallel to City Beach, meaning it is easily accessible by car. Although the beach is long and wide it does get busy on weekends.
Cottesloe is one of Western Australia’s most famous and popular beaches. Stretching 1.5 km, it was one of the first beaches to be developed along Perth’s coast and is said to be the birthplace of surfing. Close to the city, its southern corner is more protected than the rest of the beach, making it a great spot for families to swim. Shops, bars and cafés line Marine Parade, the street behind the beach. Parking is limited and it’s not always easy to get a space. Cottesloe is often busy, due to its popularity with locals and tourists. Unsurprisingly it is a great surfing spot, although it does experience strong currents occasionally. In the summer a bus runs from the train station to the beach at weekends.
Close to Fremantle, this pretty beach stretches 1.5km and boasts views of Fremantle port. Many people refer to the northern section as Mosman Beach and there is a life saving club in the vicinity. Leighton is popular with kite surfers and snorkelers. Parking is easy and the car park is located next to a trendy new housing development. Several cut-throughs provide access to the beach and a cycle path/walkway runs parallel to it.
This quaint, shallow beach sits between two Fremantle harbours. Although it only spans 300 metres and is not patrolled, it’s a great spot for anyone wanting a dip close to the city centre. There are eateries and bars in abundance, because the beach is located next to the popular Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and Little Creatures Brewery. The beach is also a short walk from the city centre and the Maritime Museum. Bathers Beach and Port Beach are closest to Fremantle’s cruise terminal.
Keep up to date with the latest shark sightings with Western Australia’s shark spotting app SharkSmart. Instant alerts are sent every time an acoustically tagged shark comes within 500m of the beach. An automatic Tweet is then generated and sent from the SharkSmart Twitter feed.
Always check the wind direction before visiting the beach as there are often strong coastal winds. Western Australia’s beaches do not tend to have sunbeds and there is limited shade. A rash vest is advisable. Beachsafe.org.au is a great website for up to date information.
If you are considering using public transport, the Transperth app/website is a great way to plan your journey. Transperth is the public transport service for Perth, Fremantle and the surrounding areas.
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