The leafy western suburbs is not short of idyllic walking trails but when when it comes to picture perfect it's hard to beat Freshwater Bay. Situated around the quiet bay off the main river channel, this 20 minute Peppermint Grove walk is a relaxing, safe stroll passing riverside mansions, cliffs, historic places and the calm waters of the bay.
The walk trail map
Starting up the top of the hill you can actually head left, following the worn dirt tracks leading into the trees. These tracks take you down to some of the secret spots enterprising kids have gone to explore along the cliffs. Turning right will take you onto the trail proper, where you first pass a picnic table ideal for watching the sunset over Freshwater Bay.
The second point of interest is one for the adventurous. There's a tree hanging out over the river that some people have decided to tie ropes around to make rope swings into the river. If your looking for a cheap (well, free) thrill rope swinging is right up there with cliff jumping.... just make sure you don't let go too early!
A few minutes past the rope swing you get to the sandy shore. Here, the Scotch College rowing shed and jetty provide great photo opportunities looking out over the bay. There are public toilets just behind this section too, and they're clean!
The sandy bay is a safe place to swim and a great place to learn water based activities like paddle boarding and kayaking. With perfectly manicured grass and the mansions behind you this beach gives you a true sense of what it's like to be amongst the wealthy. Around seven resident black swans regularly float under the shade of a giant fig tree which leans out over the water... again, very good for photographers!
From here you can take a quick detour off the beach to see the only blemish on Peppermint Groves image, and it is a huge blemish at that. I am talking of course about the abandoned "Taj on the Swan" mansion. Abandoned after the fetiliser tycoon owner went bankrupt, the controversial mansion is now an imposing shell of a building frequented by curious minds and delinquent youths.
After finishing the trail there's still more to see. You can go to the jetty beside the boatsheds and drop a line, the fishing here is pretty good. There's a nice cafe in the park behind the yacht club or Mosmans restaurant around the corner. If you want to continue your walk you can keep following the river west where you'll come across the impressive Swan river mansions walk.