Cycle and Coffee, Swanbourne Beach to Swan River
Working from home has been sending us a little crazy lately and we are being very unproductive. So, seeking some fresh air and a little bit of bike related adventure, we decided to hop on the bicycles this weekend for a pedal around Perth. Winter may appear to be an unlikely time to be outside, however thanks to Perth’s mild weather it’s probably the best time given the chances of windless days. Plus, I’ll give you some additional worthy reasons – no flies, no scorching sun, less sweating, less people and a cup of coffee never tasted so good!
We left the car at Swanbourne beach with the ultimate plan to cycle along the coast to Propeller Cafe in North Fremantle for coffee before making our way back along a cycle path close to the Swan River. I started this short post, however in my enthusiasm it grew into one with maps and plenty of detail. I got a little excited. Then I thought, the route we took is also perfect for short walks. You certainly don’t need a bicycle to reach these views too!
Start and end – Swanbourne Beach
Cafe Stop – Propeller
Kilometres travelled; 19.5km roughly
Section 1 – Swanbourne Beach to North Fremantle
Off we go!
The cycle journey from Swanbourne Beach to North Fremantle is basically flat the whole way. A dual path traces alongside the beach and the smell of the salt ocean is the first thing I notice. We pass the iconic Cottesloe Beach, a place on most travelers itinerary when they visit Western Australia and for this, it’s busy, especially where the boulevard of restaurants are located. There is a quicker option of riding on the road with cars, however it feels a little narrow at times and as I am easily distracted by the beautiful scenery to my right, I stick to the dual path.
Away from Cottesloe Beach, we pass surfers and long boarders out on the water taking advantage of the recent storm swell. We continue alongside the dog beach north of Leighton Beach until we reach Leighton Beach boulevard. Here, there are two great cafes The Shipping Lane and Bib and Tucker, a small park, life saving club and cluster of residential apartments. All in all, a seamless start to the ride. We were lucky there was no wind, it would have been a different experience on the exposed path. We take a short cut through a small promenade (Freeman Loop) to traffic lights where we cross Curtin Avenue and then the train tracks at North Fremantle train station. Google maps doesn’t recognise this shortcut but it is there!
On the other side of the train tracks we find a life size Super Mario mushroom and stop to take some happy snaps. The graffiti mural on the Hives Art Gallery building is epic and visually engaging. On a bike with no sense of urgency, the smallest of details seems to have a magnetic effect. If I were in the car I probably would not have noticed such things. The path ends at Pearse Street and we’re on the back streets of the tiny suburb of all sorts, North Fremantle. A left at the end of the surprisingly quiet residential street, which might I add is metres from the train line, brings us onto Tydeman Road. One more minute and we’re on Queen Victoria Street where the original Flipside burgers, Mojos and a bunch of antique stores can be found. Our food and drink stop is at Propeller, a restaurant in an old bus garage with a sea container attached. The break is good and the long black coffees energise our spirits.
Marine Parade, Swanbourne
Swanbourne Beach view from the bicycle path
Marine Parade, Cottesloe
Surfers along Cottesloe Beach
Share path along Curtin Ave
North Fremantle bicycle path and the Super Mario mushroom
Graffiti mural at Hives Art Gallery
Cafe Stop at Propeller
Long Black Coffee from Propeller
Section 2 North Fremantle to Garungup Park
We leave Propeller refueled for the next part of the journey. I’ve never cycled this section of the Swan River before and very excited to explore new areas, although, Derek tells me there are a couple of steep hills in Mosman Park to contend with and I’m already disliking the idea of cycling up hills!
We quickly cross Stirling Highway, keen to leave the hustle and bustle of the traffic behind, heading upwards along Harvest Street. On a bicycle, the neighbourhood is quiet, even though it’s divided by a train line and one hectic street and a highway! We join a dual path at the end of Rule Street where there are some beautiful homes overlooking the river. Before the dual path is a small parkland, lookout and set of mysterious stairs leading down to the river shore, next time we’ll stop. The path leads us along the top of the cliffs and the expansive views of the Swan River below is really beautiful to take in. The path is surrounded by landscaped native gardens and we spot some small birds with a yellow marking dart between the trees. After a hard work week of commitments, seeing and being around nature is really entertaining.
If you are a walker or runner, Rule Street to Garungup Park makes for a peaceful walk with the option of continuing further. Towards Garungup Park in Minim Cove, the houses in this area, are stunningly large and no two are the same. I admire the houses that sit very close to the path but at the same time feel a little like a stalker because some of them are very open! One man we pass is sipping coffee on his balcony in a white robe, okay its time to move faster! Tree screens, fence, window tint perhaps?
The entire shared path of this section was flat to cycle, thank goodness.
Cycle path towards Garungup Park
Other stops and sights – Carpark at Rule Street, view point at the end of Rule Street (disable friendly)
Section 3 – Garungup Park to Bay View Park
This was my favourite section of the journey. The beautiful views do not cease and they get even better at Bay View Park. The green space opens up at Minim Cove into a nice little picnic area with adventure playground, toilets and some BBQs. The path soon changes to a board walk with a little bit of a hill climb in some sections. The board walk is shaded by trees with glimpses of the river. We cut through a street that could be straight out of the 1990’s TV show Beverley Hills 90210. I’m talking about the terracotta roof tiles! We skip the Chidley point section and cycle along Wellington Street where there are mansions on one side of the street and the prestigious Mosman Park golf course the other.
The most extensive views we find is at Bay View Park, wow! Perth’s CBD and Bicton’s sand bar can be seen from the look out. Impressively even the Darling Ranges! It’s stunning. In front of us there are 3 predatory birds circling for food. We take 10 minutes out at the picnic tables and seats. I’m regretting not packing some snacks.
Board walk section Point Roe Park (access Downey Drive)
View from boardwalk
Caporn Street, one steep hill
Bayview Park, Mosman Park
View of Bicton sandbar in background at Bay View Park
Perth CBD in the background
Other stop and sights; Russell Brown adventure park at Minim cove and toilets in front, Bay View Park has a small carpark
Section 4 – Bayview Park to Swanbourne Beach
I only realised there were no photos taken for this section of the journey. Following 4 kilometres of scenic views and the rest stop at Bay View Park, everything else seemed a little insignificant afterwards, plus we were focused on the end point.
This section was a mix of leafy green neighbourhood and dense traffic streets. There was a nice little path through the council gardens back in Mosman Park. We cycled on the footpath along Stirling Highway to Cottesloe passing the exclusive Boatshed Market where we crossed the train tracks bound for the coast.
Other stops and sights; Napolean Street in Cottesloe has a bunch of cafes and an ice creamery, Boatshed Market in Cottesloe
After the cycle we crashed at home, flopping onto the couch for a few xfile episodes. The cycle felt good and we definitely earned a big feast for dinner! Two after thoughts about the ride was – I was pretty impressed with the dual path along the ocean and river, and, the views distracted from my sore body muscles. Where do you cycle?
*dual path refers to a shared pedestrian and cyclist path