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Perth Beach Bliss: Where To Go To Escape Cottesloe’s Crowds

Brilliant white-sand beaches, clear crashing surf, and a blistering scarlet sunset, no filter required… Cottesloe is the Perth beach that sounds like a perfect swimming spot, no? Yep, for you… and a thousand other tourists. But don’t worry. Here are the Perth beaches to head to within an hour of the city without catching Cott’s crowds.

Serpentine Falls

 

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Clear, gushing falls meet a huge swimming hole formed in a natural cleft at the base of the hilly Darling Scarp at Serpentine Falls. Sure, it’s technically not a Perth beach per se, but it’s still an incredibly swimming spot. Located within the protected Serpentine National Park, the area’s home to abundant wildflowers and animal life (keep an eye out for the friendly kangaroos!) and offers well-marked walking trails, if you’re keen to build a pre-swim sweat.

With picnic tables, shaded grass and barbecues, it’s well-equipped for a day trip out of Perth, but still feels serene and quiet, lazing beneath the ancient jarrah and marri trees. Let’s all sigh and say together, “We love Perth beaches”.

Distance from Perth: 55km

Need to bring: Cash for parking and a picnic lunch

Important information: The park’s daily cap on visitors guarantees a serene swim, but make sure you arrive before 10am to avoid missing out.


Sandtrax

 

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Taking its name from its white-sand dunes, Sandtrax is smaller and lesser-known among Perth beaches (actualy in Freo, down the road from Port Beach). Thanks to the shoulder of the Fremantle Port, it’s more sheltered than its windswept neighbours Port and Leighton – which means fewer people, calmer seas, and relative safety from the sand-stinging sea breeze.

Distance from Perth: 17km

Need to bring: Sunscreen and a hat (ofc)

Important information: Sandtrax is a popular surf spot, so keep an eye out for longboarders.


Mettams Pool

 

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A secluded swimming bay atop natural limestone reefs, Mettams Pool is a great, safe spot for a morning surf or snorkel. With the aquamarine water and pristine white sand you’d expect of any Perth beach, it’s worth the trip even without a snorkel – but make sure you get there before the wind picks up.

The Trigg cliffs are pocketed with beautiful swimming bays along their length, so walk down to Bailey Street beach or up to the picnic area at Waterman’s Bay if you want to go further afield.

Distance from Perth: 15km

Need to bring: Snorkel and fins, sunscreen and hat

Important information: There’s great coffee just up the hill at the Trigg café strip – try Yelo or Tropico.


Lake Leschenaultia

 

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A heritage-listed, man-made former dam in the tranquil bushland of WA’s Chidlow hills, Lake Leschenaultia is an ideal place for a lazy day trip from Perth. Swim in the clear, deep water, picnic under the shade of the wandoo and marri gums, hike the peaceful hills or paddle a canoe out to the floating pontoon – a replacement for the decades-old wooden bridge of the lake’s swimming-lesson past – and even camp by its sandy shores. You’ll finally know how Perth beaches are meant to be enjoyed.

Distance from Perth: 49km

Need to bring: A picnic lunch or something to cook on the communal barbecues

Important information: Check opening hours before you go – the lake closes early on Sundays, and may be shut on some public holidays.


Grant Street beach

 

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Just a couple of kilometres north of Cottesloe, the Swanbourne beach at the end of Grant Street has all the brilliant white sand, crystal-clear water and crashing surf of its popular neighbour, but just a fraction of the crowds, giving a much better Perth beach experience. It’s ideal for a more secluded swim or a relaxing sunset beach walk.

Distance from Perth: 13km

Need to bring: Sunscreen and a hat, and your walking shoes

Important information: Grant Street is close to a near-deserted strip of pristine white beach right behind the Swanbourne army barracks. While large parts of the beach are often closed for army exercises, it’s secret, secluded and you just might get the beach to yourself.


CY O’Connor beach

 

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Another lesser-known Fremantle favourite, CY O’Connor beach is a dog beach just south of the better-known South Beach. This Perth beach is family-friendly – think shaded picnic tables, quiet lawns, and acres of car park – but it’s mostly locals and their pups, which gives it a laidback, private feel. It’s the sad site of the death of WA engineer, CY O’Connor, who you can see memorialised, with his horse, in an ocean sculpture out to sea.

Distance from Perth: 27km

Need to bring: Your enthusiasm for patting pups!

Important information: The South Beach strip has great coffee – bring a takeaway from dog-friendly Third Wheel café (fun fact, the third wheel in its name is the owner couple’s pooch).

(Lead image: James Collins)