I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published October 7th 2012
Summertime means beach time
With summer on our doorstep and temperatures steadily rising, now is the time to unpack our bathers and beach towels, and head off to the beach. Here in Perth we're extremely fortunate to have plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from, ranging from large open surf beaches to sheltered family spots. Many of these also provide other recreational facilities such as picnic tables, adventure playgrounds and public toilets so you can easily spend an entire day close by. All you need to remember is to pack a picnic lunch, your bathers and some sunscreen. The following list offers a description of just a few of the many cool family beaches which are situated close to Perth.
Image is from Wikimedia Commons (taken by Bram Souffreau)
Possibly Perth's most well-known seaside destination, Cottesloe Beach is extremely popular with families for some very good reasons. Its central location between Perth and Fremantle makes it easily accessible to people from all around the Perth metro area, and it's easy to get to by public transport, with buses stopping close by, and the railway station just a short ten minute walk away.
Cottesloe Beach is very sheltered, which contributes greatly to its popularity with young families. Several shaded gazebos which are situated on the sand offer welcome shade from the summer sun, although you need to arrive early to claim one. For a big day out there is also a beautiful park just up the hill adjoining the beach, with picnic tables, park benches, playgrounds and plenty of shade from the large Norfolk Pines which are so synonymous with the area.
Cottesloe really does have it all, which can be seen from the diverse range of people it attracts: local families, young backpackers seeking an authentic Perth experience, surfie types, and the elderly swimmers who come here each morning without fail to swim their daily laps. This mixture of humanity creates a vibrant and inclusive vibe, and for this reason Cottesloe is the ultimate beach of choice for many, here in Perth.
Bathers Beach, Fremantle
Image from Wikimedia Commons (taken by Graeme Churchard)
This small but pretty beach is situated in one of the most historical areas of Western Australia, and is close to heritage landmarks such as the Round House and the Maritime Museum. Although it's surrounded by suburban Fremantle, it's a nice little spot to come to for a picnic and swim, and could be part of a Big Day Out in the area, taking in a variety of local attractions. Access to the beach is via an old whalers' tunnel, a feature that children will absolutely love.
Bathers Beach is extremely accessible and just a few minutes' walk from Fremantle Railway Station.
Although Rockingham is a 45 minutes south of Perth, many people argue that the area has some of its best beaches. Situated on the sheltered waters of Cockburn Sound, and with the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park located just 500 metres offshore, it's truly a beach-lover's paradise. Rockingham Beach has long been popular with young families due to its calm and protected waters, and also boasts some terrific playgrounds which will keep the kids happy when they tire of the water. Recreational facilities such as barbecues, picnic tables and public toilets also make for a perfect day out at the beach.
Other popular family beaches around Rockingham include Palm Beach, Mangles Bay, Waikiki Beach, Secret Harbour Beach and Golden Bay Beach. Many visitors to nearby Penguin Island also enjoy the beautiful beaches which are over there, although it should be noted that these aren't patrolled.
Situated to the north of Perth, Hillary's Boat Harbour is one of Perth's most popular spots during the summer and boasts a host of wonderful attractions including cafes, playgrounds, waterslides and a marine discovery centre. Its sheltered family beach is especially popular and will easily keep everyone in the family happy for an entire day. There are also sun shelters out on the sand, although you'll need to be quick to get one on a hot day, as it can get very crowded.
Hillary's Boat Harbour is easily accessible by public transport, with regular bus services running throughout the day.
The Basin, Rottnest Island
Image is from Wikimedia Commons (taken by Nachoman)
The Basin is just one of the many beautiful family beaches which are situated on Rottnest Island. However, it's especially popular due to its extremely accessible location between the main settlement at Thompson Bay and Longreach Bay. On hot summer days, many families cycle here early in the morning or in the late afternoon, when the sun is less intense. Even on cool days when swimming isn't ideal, it's a beautiful spot to ramble around and do some beach-combing. I've often come here during the winter, and even once spotted a sea lion playing in the deserted waters.
Characterised by the weathered sandstone rocks which surround it and its crystal clear, turquoise waters, the Basin is a protected spot which is perfect for families. Its name is derived from unique underwater 'pools' and shelves within its sheltered cove.
Situated at the north end of popular Trigg Beach, Mettam's Pool is another great spot for a family day out. Sheltered by a natural reef, its calm waters are perfect for littlies to splash around in and for older kids to snorkel in.
In a nutshell, Perth has so many wonderful beaches, and those which I've listed above are just a few which I've enjoyed over the years. Although those mentioned are especially suitable for families with very little children, I'm certain that with further exploration, you'll unearth many other magical spots which will become firm favourites with your family.