Surf gnarly waves, admire epic Western Australian sunsets and take selfies with a quokka – discover some of WA’s best beaches within arm’s reach of Perth.
With 19 stunning beaches within easy reach of the Perth CBD (Boorloo), it’s never been easier to fit in an ocean swim or sandy snooze during your city explorations. While you’re here, sip a cool drink or savour delicious local seafood by the ocean, watch the sun sink dreamily into the Indian Ocean and try your hand at surfing. If you need more direction, here are our nine favourite beaches within two hours of Australia’s sunniest capital.
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1. Scarborough Beach
Where: 20 minutes from Perth
Why: Suitable for swimmers of all stripes, this cityside beach is a favoured destination for Perthites looking to cool off in safe, floaty-proof waters. You can find a hive of activity on the vibrant pedestrian promenades including coffee by-day, cocktails by-night pizza joint Pizzaca, free lessons at Sunset Beach Dancing and WA’s only beachside pool — perfect for leisurely swims in between iced lattes and window shopping.
Insider tip: Stroll down to the Sunset Markets every Thursday in summer and every Saturday in winter for yummy international fare, artisan goods and DJ’s bringing year-long summer vibes.
2. Mettams Pool
Where: 25 minutes from Perth
Why: In the 1930’s, war veteran Frank Mettam took it upon himself to clear the sharp, rocky terrain that once surrounded the naturally formed lagoon of Mettams Pool, creating the kid-safe pool-like conditions we see today. The shallow 1.5-metre reef is popular with snorkelers, kids and the elderly for its year-round calm waters that give way to a variety of fish, starfish and molluscs. The scenic area stretches from Trigg beach to Sorrento and is ideal for long walks or bike rides, with plenty of dining spots to fuel your journey. Embrace beachy ambiance at Little Bay restaurant and indulge in sustainable, locally sourced food with fresh coastal touches.
3. City Beach
Where: 15 minutes from Perth
Why: This long stretch of northern Perth beach is all about location – found in the heart of the city, these pristine shores are perfect for quick dips and for long walks with your four-legged friend. Low waves make for ideal conditions for beginner surfers, and the sea breeze draws a large kite-surfing crowd. With a mix of entertainment, playgrounds, yoga and volleyball hangouts, this social strip of beach is a great choice for families looking for a relaxing day on the sand.
The town of City Beach is awash with swanky, high-end eateries, but the Sea Deck at Odyssea takes the cake for best Indian Ocean views. Alongside a lengthy wine list and modern-Australian cuisine, you’ll be tempted to while away a whole day enjoying this destination.
4. Cottesloe Beach
Where: 15 minutes from Perth
Why: The impossibly white sand, turquoise water and grand white facade of the Indiana Tea House, home to Latin eatery Indigo Oscar, have made this picturesque spot one of the most photographed beaches in Perth. Affectionately known by the locals as ‘Cott’, this stunning piece of coast boasts swathes of green grassy plains perfect for picnicking with friends and watching the glowing sunset, and its crystal-clear waters make for ample snorkelling conditions between the reef and rocky spots. Plan a visit for march when the area is transformed for Sculpture by the Sea— a free outdoor art exhibit set along the expanse of this kilometre-long shoreline.
5. Trigg Beach
Where: 20 minutes from Perth
Why: Home to some of Perth’s gnarliest waves, you are sure to see swarms of beach lovers hopping aboard the surf or gearing up for a competition at Surfing WA’s Trigg beach HQ. Bump boogie boards with the locals by day and indulge in WA’s seaside dining by night with a reservation at Island Market Trigg, a Mediterranean seafood venue with a mouthwatering menu and an elegant atmosphere.
Visit Trigg’s award-winning Summer x Salt markets every second Saturday from October to March, where you can enjoy free yoga, pilates, and meditation sessions as well as plenty of beachy homemade goods up for grabs.
6. Rottnest Island
Where: 25 minutes by ferry from Fremantle
Why: This unique holiday destination has risen to fame for its furry friends who have become Perth's smiling mascots. When you aren't taking selfies with the quokkas, admire the sun-kissed sights of Pinky Beach from Pinky’s Bar & Restaurant’s Sunset Deck with a craft cocktail in hand.
Rottnest Island’s bays are known for their transparent waters which are perfect for snorkeling: visit Parakeet and Salmon Bay and you might find stingrays and tropical fish fluttering along the ocean floor.
7. Coogee Beach & Omeo Wreck
Where: 40 minutes from Perth
Why: The mesmerising Coogee Beach in Perth and its award-winning maritime trail have earned the deserving title of one of Australia’s top 15 best beaches. Centered around the century-old Omeo shipwreck, the Coogee Maritime Trail has taken full advantage of the high-visibility waters with an addition of 55 underwater structures including reef pyramids, replica canons, underwater educational panels, sculpture art and more. As well as a host of underwater sights, you can delve into the maritime world above ground during a land-based trail with restored anchors from the Omeo and a shipwreck viewing platform.
8. Lancelin Beach
Where: 1 hour and 40 minutes from Perth
Why: Best suited to thrill seekers and 4WD enthusiasts, this sand-dune flanked stretch of beach is the perfect landscape for sandboarding, watersports and off-road adventuring. Usually a quiet town of a few hundred residents, Lancelin draws a holidaying community of thousands during Christmas and New Year, all lining up on the beach in 4WD’s armed with fishing rods and boogie boards. A world-leading sailboarding destination and crayfish hotspot, this seaside town is host to a wealth of activities to keep the family entertained.
9. Yanchep Lagoon
Where: 1 hour from Perth
Why: This scenic snorkelling spot is an ideal escape from the bustling beaches located closer to the Perth CBD, with its picturesque shores largely crowd-free during the week, leaving you with serene empty waters for fish spotting and long swims. After a dip or snorkel, be sure to take advantage of the area’s renowned wildlife and nature reserves, with one of Australia’s largest koala colonies perched along the Yanchep National Park treetops. Yanchep is also a great first stop along the way to the striking Pinnacles of Nambung National Park and Two Rocks lagoons.
For more Australia travel inspiration, read Australia’s Best Luxury Lodges & Boutique Retreats.
Hero image courtesy of Tourism Western Australia.