There are two types of aquatic creatures that stalk the West Australian coast — one is the shark, the other is the surfer. Here are the top 10 places near Perth to catch a wave.
Western Australia is home to more than 12,000 kilometres of sparkling coastline, which covers more than a third of the entire country’s waterfront, as well as a fair share of Australia’s premier surf breaks. From the white sands of Rottnest Island to the rugged waves of the south-west, check out the top surf spots near Perth, Western Australia.
Cottesloe can’t claim Perth’s biggest swell, but its white sand and crystal clear water might make it the city’s most beautiful beach. Bustling with visitors who flock to the area’s cafés and restaurants as much as its surf, Cottesloe’s gentle waves are popular with less experienced riders who are only beginning to jump up on their boards. Rookies can take lessons with local family-owned surf school Surfing Lessons Cottesloe.
Cottesloe might have the looks but its northern neighbour Trigg has the waves, with a rocky outcrop at the northern end of the beach forming a consistent break for surfers and bodyboarders during summer. About 15 minutes’ drive up the coast from Cottesloe, Trigg is also a hotspot for fishing and bird watching, and lucky surfers might even spot wild dolphins on the right day.
There are more than 20 bays dotted around ‘Rotto’, so surfers are normally able to sniff out a quiet break they can enjoy all to themselves. Surfing is just one of a long list of reasons to visit this gorgeous island — don’t miss the chance to dive Rottnest’s coral reefs and shipwrecks, cycle around the pristine car-free island, and meet the adorable quokkas that hop all over the place. The best bit? Rotto is only a half-hour ferry from Perth or Fremantle.
This part of the world hosts the World Surfing League each year, so you know that the waves are world-class. When it’s not hosting the planet’s top surfers, Margaret River also attracts plenty of regular riders to swells like Surfers Point, The Box and Main Break, as well as a steady stream of thrill seekers to Cowaramup Bombora (better known as Cow Bombie), a big wave break two kilometres offshore.
By night, the Scarborough foreshore hosts some of Perth’s liveliest nightlife. And by day, this long stretch of golden sand is a haven for windsurfing, kite surfing and regular surfing. While crowds congregate on the grassy banks around the Surf Life Saving Club and the outdoor heated Scarborough Beach Pool, surfers should stick to the swell around the Brighton Road carpark for the best waves.
This tiny fishing town delivers big waves — Lancelin’s Back Beach is suitable for surfers of all abilities, while more experienced riders can find bigger breaks in secluded patches of coastline outside town. Located 90 minutes’ drive north of Perth, Lancelin’s protected bay also provides gentle waters for swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and scuba-diving the dozen or so shipwrecks peppered along the coast.
The historic port city of Fremantle has no trouble attracting visitors to its golden colonial architecture, its famous ‘Cappuccino Strip’ and its relatively gentle surf breaks. Leighton Beach — home of the Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club — as well as Port Beach and Coogee Beach, are a few of Freo’s top surf spots and lessons are available for first-timers.
The hometown of champion professional surfer Taj Burrow also welcomes plenty of budding riders to its world-renowned waves. Sitting just north of Margaret River about three hours’ drive south of Perth, Yallingup is blessed with an array of powerful breaks — Three Bears, Injidup, Smiths Beach, Yallingup itself and the beautiful granite outcrop at Canal Rocks in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, to name a few.
Perth’s only clothing-optional beach is more popular with people who want to catch an all-over tan rather than a wave, but Swanbourne does deliver a decent break for surfers keen to swap their wetsuit for their birthday suit. While winter might not be the ideal time of year for nude sunbathing, the cold weather supplies the best waves — swells are most consistent in the midyear months.
Less than an hour’s drive south of Perth, Mandurah is one of WA’s favourite escapes from the city. Surfing is one of the Peel Coast’s strongest drawcards — check out The Pyramids, Avalon Point, Tims Thicket and Falcon Bay in Mandurah, as well as Secret Harbour, Safety Bay, Avalon Point and Palm Beach in nearby Rockingham.