Bathers Beach, Fremantle
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This small, protected beach is walking distance from Fremantle’s town centre and is close to the historic Round House building and the WA Shipwrecks Museum. Take in its Mediterranean ambience, with boats heading out to sea, deckchairs in the sand and the smell of fresh fish drifting over from the harbour’s many alfresco restaurants.
City Beach, Perth
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On a calm day, a dip at iconic City Beach is like diving into a giant, salty swimming pool. And there’s plenty to keep non-swimmers happy, too: barbecue your dinner while watching the sun sink into the Indian Ocean from the shaded lawns or take your pick from restaurants including Odyssea Beach Cafe, Clancy’s Fish Pub, Hamptons City Beach and Rise Pizza.
Coogee Beach, Coogee
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Just south of Fremantle, it’s a prime spot for keen divers and has a brand-new maritime trail, which is both land-based and underwater. Divers can explore the purpose-built reef, with underwater sculptures and a “reef temple” designed to attract larger fish, plus the 1905 Omeo shipwreck.
Lancelin Beach, Lancelin
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A 90-minute drive north of Perth, Lancelin’s photogenic sand dunes are as much of an attraction as its near-deserted beaches. Boards are available for hire from the general store for a session of sandboarding before you dive into the sea. And you can buy just-caught lobster directly from fishermen on the jetty. It’s also worth travelling a little further north to the Pinnacles, a landscape of ancient limestone pillars that are eerie and magical at dusk.
North Cottesloe, Cottesloe
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Protected by a reef, “North Cott” has gentle swell and small waves, making it an ideal spot for inexperienced swimmers and kids. Those who want to stay dry will prefer the beachfront balcony of The Blue Duck. Popular with Cottesloe locals, it’s just a short walk from the main beach but feels much quieter.
Scarborough Beach, Scarborough
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On weekends, it heaves with surfers, lifesavers, sports clubs and regular beachgoers, all claiming their patch of sand on the long beach – but that’s part of its appeal. Its hotel and simple beachside apartments, along with regular summer markets and concerts, make it a great spot for a relaxed beach break close to the city.
Smiths Beach, Yallingup
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About three hours’ drive from Perth, this beautiful curved bay enclosed by low dunes is a favourite for beach combing, swimming and building sandcastles. A timber walkway leads to Smiths Beach Resort, an unobtrusive luxury hotel with a pool, tennis courts and the acclaimed Lamont’s Restaurant.
Stillwater Beach, Hillarys Boat Harbour
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The brash, hectic marina offers the classic seaside experience: hamburgers and ice-cream, souvenir shops and a protected swimming beach with powdery white sand. While here, discover what lies beneath the state’s pristine waters at the Aquarium of Western Australia, which has sharks, giant turtles, stingrays and clownfish.
Swanbourne Beach, Swanbourne
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This pristine stretch of coast is just north of Cottesloe, with clothing optional at its northern end. If you’re after a long Sunday lunch, the Hampton’s-inspired The Shorehouse offers sea-view booth seating, a huge alfresco deck and a seasonal menu with WA’s finest produce.
The Basin, Rottnest Island
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Ideal for novice snorkellers, The Basin is an idyllic spot a short bike ride from Rottnest’s town centre, with clear, protected waters and shallow reefs that form a deep natural swimming pool – perfect on a hot summer day.