Cycling along the coast – Fremantle to Sorrento
We’ve found many ways to combine the activities of cycling and coffee drinking in Perth, Western Australia. So, in this post I share one of our favourite city cycling routes. Beginning in Fremantle and tracing the coast, this cycle is suitable for all types of bicycles. Plus being accessible to public transport provides options to shorten or extend the ride. We personally enjoy the ride first thing in the morning or at sunset, avoiding windy conditions, particularly in summer. Of course you can always check the wind forecast, however either way the cycle will be lot’s of fun! Wind or no wind.
A couple of things to note with this cycle is the path is a shared used one, so not exclusive to cycling. Keep an eye out for cars when the path crosses car parks. Ring the bell if you wish for pedestrians to be aware of your over taking movements. Hydrate and protect your skin from the sun. Wear a helmet. Enjoy the ride!
Start: North Mole
North Mole lighthouse located at Rous Head Harbour provides an interesting outlook into the port area at the end of a large rock sea wall. This is a popular spot for fishing. Between North Mole and Port beach is a BP station for drinks and snacks. We cycle a bit of the road before rolling onto a cycle path.
We wrote about a previous cycle to North Mole in more detail here.
A grassed foreshore fringed by a small development area of residential apartments and eateries, Leighton is the closest beach in the city area to a train station (North Fremantle on the Fremantle line). Bib and Tucker restaurant offer locavore focused meals in a perfect sunset setting position. The Shipping Lane and kiosk are great for casual refreshments and better on the budget. There is plenty of bicycle parking in this area as well as toilets.
Over the summer weekends the area is a flurry of Aussie surf lifesaving activity and with any luck a sausage sizzle on Sunday morning could greet your arrival.
Delicious pancakes from Bib & Tucker.
Continue past Leighton Beach and this stretch of path is reasonably flat, passing the popular Mosman dog beach.
Towards the turn off onto Marine Parade marks the beginning of some fantastic views across the ocean and white sandy beaches.
Out in the beautiful blue ocean, Cottesloe Reef begins and just before that, is the artificial Cables Station Reef, one of Australia’s first surfing reefs. In this vicinity, although invisible to our eyes, cables were installed in 1926 and once linked the state to South Africa via the Cocos Islands.
Cottesloe Reef provides a good spot for surfing and if conditions are supreme, stand up paddle boarding.
The elevated path gives wonderful views over the ocean and if it becomes busy, we often switch to the road, cycling all the way to Swanbourne. There are some beautiful heritage homes along this stretch to look out for, Le Fanu mansion being one!
Break at one of the bench seats and enjoy the view!
In the saddle, Cottesloe Beach becomes identifiable by those large Norfolk Pines and the pylon sticking out of the ocean, a landmark for the beach located north of Mudurup rocks and the boundary groyne.
Stock up on supplies at the Cottesloe General Store. Walk the strip and have a beer and pizza at the Cottesloe Hotel. Il Lido serve modern Italian fare and a good espresso. Cottesloe beach is the spot to grab takeaway fish and chips from a nearby eatery and head to the lawn area.
There is bicycle parking near Il Lido Canteen restaurant and the car park.
Sculptures by the Sea, a free outdoor event in March is a must experience and a perfect reason to leave the car behind and hop on the bike.
For a quiet location protected from the wind with plenty of shade, head to the Cottesloe Civic grounds on Napier Street.
The crowds begin to disperse as the ride emerges with even more sensational views and I guarantee zero boredom during this ride. The beaches along this section offer plenty of space. North Cottesloe is home to one of Australia’s oldest surf life clubs, having been open since 1912. The beach in front of the club is generally a calm spot to take a dip in the salty waters.
Bicycle parking can be found in between Blue Duck Restaurant and Barchetta, where there is a good opportunity to stop in for a coffee and a bite to eat. Ask for seats on the decking area with views over the ocean. Check Ocean Beach Hotel for breakfast specials, they often do a $10.00 breakfast!
Grant Street Beach
After passing the life saving club the path continues in an elevated position and is easily one of our favourite stretches. Occasionally we’ll bring a flask of black coffee and break at one of the bench seats. The small reef in front of the wooden set of stairs is a nice spot for a swim.
The bicycle path ends at Swanbourne however picks up again at West Coast Highway. The pace is subdue at this end with just the one spot for refreshments, The Shorehouse.
Swanbourne Beach is known amongst locals for it’s small nude beach strip – Perth’s only official nude beach, however the nude swimming concept hasn’t really taken off here. Neitherless, walk along the beach front 300 metres north for a liberating and rather cold swim.
At this point in the journey there are toilets, picnic BBQ, grassed area and a large sandy beach front.
We think Shorehouse is great for breakfast and coffee and our tip is to seek a spot on the open decking area.
You may be tempted to shortcut a trail near the Bridge club, however be aware its not suitable for bikes, unless you feel like carrying them in certain sections. The road is by far the easier option.
Making our way to West Coast Highway, we trace Swanbourne Reserve and Allen Park cycling down Odern Crescent and Clement Street, turning left onto Kirkwood Street which then turns into Wood Street through the small neighbourhood. Hop onto the cycle path along the Langoulant Road.
A bitumen path follows alongside a tall sand dune system on Challenge Parade. When joining the path again, watch out for the local reptiles crossing or basking in the warm sun.
Receiving a bit of a makeover in recent times, City Beach now boasts a spiffy new life saving club, kiosk and a couple of large bustling modern eateries. That said, nothing beats the grassed area dotted with native West Australian trees like the Sheoak, providing a cool respite.
Head towards the water and you’ll see another path which traces in front of the grassed area past Clancy’s Fish pub.
Odyssea Beach Cafe serve supreme coffee and some yummy little cakes.
Following City Beach, there are several options to pursue, the board walk which leads to the adjourning Floreat Beach where there is a kiosk or the cycle path on Challenger Parade, effectively bypassing Floreat Beach.
The path then follows alongside West Coast Highway and it’s straight and flat all the way to Scarborough Beach, a good opportunity to pick up the pace and with any luck the wind will be behind you.
One of the liveliest beach hubs in Perth, it’s a world of surfing, sundowners and the odd Instagram yoga gathering on the lawn. Construction is currently underway on an ocean amphitheatre so cyclists will need to take the road navigating through the entertainment and car parking area to reach the connecting cycle path. Keep an eye out for reversing motorists in the car park!
Passing through there is a plenty of refreshment opportunities included a supermarket. Our pick for more of a substantial snack is Grill’d burgers.
The views of the natural sand dunes are stunning, most have been lost along the Perth city coastal areas so it is special to see here.
The path leaves Scarborough and traces alongside more of West Coast Highway before descending towards Trigg beach and travelling over a small bridge.
Trigg beach offers a cool grassed area and Kailis Cafe.
Now from Trigg Beach the cycle path becomes a tad hectic and without engaging in a cyclist versus the world debate, I’ll say the cruisey cycling pace may be interrupted. A ding of the bell is met by many reactions, it’s like the classic elevator situation at the train station or merging on the car freeway, in Perth the obvious protocol is rarely followed, so enjoy.
Yelo is a popular spot for a coffee and it’s not uncommon for a line out the door.
Marmion Marine Park
Marmion Marine Park extends between Trigg Island and Burns Beach. The good news is the path traces the coast along this magnificent part with some spectacular views from the saddle of the bike, even all the way to Sorrento. The bad news, there is none! The beach landscape changes to small bays and rocky outcrops.
Ride the bike down very close to the beach, and jump in for a quick cool off.
Mettams Pool is a popular spot for swimming because of the generally calm ocean conditions. The reef is close to shore and the beach facilities include a wheelchair ramp and shaded shelter area. This is a spot for beginner snorkelling in calm conditions. The bicycle can be bought down to the shelter and chained up to one of the poles.
Easy to access lookouts can be found along this stretch of cycle path.
Farmers Jacks supermarket is an opportunity to stop up on refreshments.
An additional path diverts off and down to some lovely small swimming bays. Look out for the BBQ and grassed area because there is a nice little spot for a swim. The bicycles can be locked up close by. Just beware of submerged rocks in this area if swimming.
Just before Hillarys Boat Harbour is Sorrento’s foreshore area and the return point for our cycle. Close to 28 kilometres of ocean views and way too much coffee, we think it’s time to return back to North Mole!
The great thing about this ride is cycle as much or as little as you wish, the cycle path heads even further north all the way to Burns Beach. It can be a decent challenge to work on all year round. As you would have gathered by now, most of the ride is accompanied with ocean views and refreshments along the way is plenty.