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 March 14th 2013
Experience the best beaches in the Perth metro area
It was many years ago when I first heard of Rockingham's reputation for having some of the best beaches in Perth's metro area. As someone who considers herself a bit of a beach connoisseur, I duly promised myself to head down there and check them out for myself when time allowed, but with so many other responsibilities vying for my attention, I never did get around to it. When I eventually paid a visit to Rockingham recently, I was therefore pleasantly surprised to discover that its greatly lauded beaches did, in fact, live up to their reputation, and if anything, even surpassed my expectations.
Rockingham is situated approximately 47 kilometres south of Perth: an easy drive via the Kwinana Freeway or an even easier train ride from Perth's Esplanade Station on the Mandurah line. Originally surveyed in the mid-nineteenth century, over recent years the area has expanded dramatically and is now home for a population of over 108 000. Despite this mind-boggling population growth, its seaside precincts are refreshingly unspoilt and still maintain the ambiance of a laid-back beach-side village from days gone by, while the area around the main beach is attractively presented, with modern shops, cafes and facilities. The area is one of great natural beauty and the spectacular Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is situated just off the coast: a haven for dolphins, sea lions, the Little Penguin (the smallest of all the penguin species) and many varieties of native birds and aquatic life. This rich natural heritage makes the area a magnet for divers, snorkelers and boating enthusiasts, as well as those who, like me, simply love to relax on the beach.
The following is a short introduction to a few of the wonderful beaches which the Rockingham area offers. It is by no means complete, but it will give you some idea of what to expect and hopefully encourage you to make the trip 'down south' yourself. This beautiful region is so close to Perth and offers something for everyone: from young families to nature lovers to enthusiastic cyclists and walkers, there is so much to see and do on Rockingham's beautiful beaches.
Port Kennedy Beach Situated near to Port Kennedy Scientific Park (one of several key areas which constitute Rockingham Lakes Regional Park), the beach at Port Kennedy is a lovely spot with a tranquil, secluded vibe. The beach here is situated at the southern end of Warnbro Sound, and can be accessed by driving along Port Kennedy Drive and turning right on Bridport Place. Close to the beach, an attractive park has a picnic area, children's playground and public toilets. For boating enthusiasts, there is also a place to launch your craft.
Warnbro Beach With its attractive native gardens and Norfolk Island pines, Warnbro Beach was one of my personal favourites out of Rockingham's many gorgeous beaches. My family stopped at a nice park near the junction of Safety Bay and Malibu Roads, where the facilities were especially good, with plenty of parking and sheltered picnic facilities. For the kids, there was a wonderful playground and a basketball hoop, while adults will love the outdoor gym facilities: some of the best which I've seen anywhere.
The colours were magnificent on the day that I visited, with the bright green of the gardens contrasting dramatically with the brilliant blue of the ocean. A dual purpose path for cyclists and walkers follows the contours of the bay, through a foreshore reserve sprinkled with picnic tables and play areas for the children.
Safety Bay Beach Situated at the northern end of Warnbro Sound, the beach at Safety Bay was especially picturesque with beautiful views over the open ocean. Like all of Rockingham, it has a relaxed, friendly vibe and would be a great place to spend some time during a family holiday, with lots of great children's playgrounds.
For sailing enthusiasts, there's a yacht club here, and we also spotted many sail-boarders and para-sailers. It's also a paradise for walkers and cyclists, and the path extending along the foreshore is one of the nicest that I've seen anywhere.
Shoalwater Bay Shoalwater Bay is another lovely locale, and is the closest beach to Penguin Island. The foreshore park here has plenty of good facilities for day visitors including lots of parking, picnic tables, playground and public toilets. The beaches here are gorgeous, with breathtaking views over Penguin Island and the other rocky outcrops which are part of the Shoalwater Island Marine Park.
Local tour company Wild Encounters is also situated here, and is a popular spot for visitors. There's a gift shop and a cafe, and you can choose from a variety of exciting activities including a visit to Penguin Island, the opportunity to swim with dolphins, a sea kayak tour or a kite boarding lesson. To find out more, have a look at the Wild Encounters website.
From Shoalwater, a walking and cycling path continues further along the coast, with great views over secluded beaches and ample benches for relaxing and connecting with nature.
Most of Point Peron, a rugged peninsula jutting out into the Indian Ocean, is part of the Peron Foreshore Park. This is yet another paradise for enthusiastic walkers and cyclists, with plenty of paths criss-crossing the reserve. There are some lovely secluded beaches along here, too, although some of them are a bit rocky.
My final stop for the day was Rockingham Beach in the heart of town. Being the town's main beach, it was much more developed than the other ones I'd visited earlier in the day, but like all of them, it was extremely attractive with plenty of good quality facilities for visitors. Although it was very busy when I visited, the mood was wonderful: dynamic, yet laid-back and friendly.
Rockingham Beach. This image is from Wikimedia Commons (by RAM).
Churchill Park, the large and popular foreshore reserve which extends along the beach is lovely, and large mature trees provide plenty of shade, even on a hot day. Kids would be in heaven here as there are several wonderful adventure playgrounds. There is also plenty of seating for parents to relax and heaps of sheltered picnic tables if you want to enjoy a snack.
A promenade through the park provides wonderful views over the ocean, while several stairways leading from it give easy access to the beach. I can imagine that it would be a great spot to stroll in the early morning or late afternoon, as well as a safe spot for little ones to ride their bikes or scooters.
This article offers only a brief introduction to Rockingham's magnificent beaches. Unfortunately it wasn't possible for me to visit them all on my day-trip, and so this list is incomplete. Others which I've heard friends rave about include Kwinana Beach, Palm Beach, Mangles Bay, Waikiki Beach, Secret Harbour Beach, Golden Bay Beach and Singleton Beach, so be sure to look out for these as well. Located so close to Perth, yet a world away, Rockingham is a perfect weekend escape. For more information, check out the Rockingham Tourism website.
Thank you. That was great to read. We love Rocky and especially Wells Park which is further along the foreshore into Kwinana area. It gets a bit choppy on windy days, but the recent improvements include under 5 yr old play ground near modern toilet block with outdoor showers, bbq plates and tables, lovely cove for walking and swimming and huge parking area. Dog area nearby.xx