If there’s one thing Australia absolutely nails, it’s having an incredible beach culture. I’ve been to numerous “beach destinations” including places such as Bali in Indonesia to Costa Brava along the Catalonian coast, but there are few places in the world with more well-kept beaches than Australia— and more specifically, Western Australia.
Western Australia is vast, with its capital city of Perth being one of the most isolated cities in the world.
As such, you can’t really do Western Australia without having a car, so this guide will be with that in mind, starting from some beaches in Perth City itself, before covering some up and down the coast of the Indian Ocean.
1. City Beach
Let’s be honest, this is an incredibly inconspicuous name for a beach, and my mind was cast to terrible beaches in many other cities; overcrowded, dirty waters, you know the drill.
But this wasn’t the case at all.
Walking the coastal walk (one of my favourite things to do on beaches in Australia), you get a beautiful view of the beach directly in front of you and the beautiful pines covering the coast in dense foliage. There are a handful of nice beach bars and upscale posh restaurants here, including The Kiosk, Odyssea Beach Cafe, and Clancy’s Fish Bar. I got to try the latter two and the food at Odyssea was stunning — not cheap though — and Clancy was perfect for an afternoon-pick-me-up.
2. Cottesloe Beach
Cottesloe Beach has long been an integral part of Perth’s beach culture, and the surrounding area has blossomed into a cosy waterfront suburb with many nice houses sitting along the coast.
The beach of sand itself is a little shallow compared to the rest, but walk further out north and crowds empty and they begin to look more like the picture perfect Western Australian beach.
Dining options in the area include John Street Cafe, where we stopped for a nice brunch, popular with locals on a sunny day. Vans is also open for all-day dining and has become quite the institution.
3. Scarborough Beach
Scarborough has also been a popular beach to head to in Perth for the longest time, and not to mention the fact the whole area is quite the atmospheric place to be come nightfall.
Hotels, beach bars, gastropubs and restaurants abound, including The Wild Fig, Indi Bar and Scarborough Beach Bar.
4. Port Beach, Fremantle
In the district of Freo, you’ll head to North Fremantle for a slice of beach culture at Port Beach.
This area has also developed into a tiny suburb of waterfront living and offers a few nice places for dining, with Bib & Tucker serving up modern Australian fare.
5. Thirsty Point, Cervantes
A drive up north from Perth in just over 2 hours takes you to Cervantes, a small town named after a shipwrecked fleet of sailors.
In a town of hundreds in population, the town centre here is nothing more than a small row of shops, there was barely a soul on the streets, and just a few diners at the Cervantes Bar & Bistro which served up casual seafood fare.
Here, you can drive to the end of the road and reach Thirsty Point lookout where it’s unlikely you’ll have many jostling for a spot on the sand and you get to watch the waves of the Indian Ocean roll in.
6. Jurien Bay
Even further up north takes you to Jurien Bay, one of the stops along the Western Australia drive along the coast all the way up to Geraldton, where beaches abound.
There’s a jetty you can walk out to to get a view of the bay behind, and you can head to Jurien Jetty Cafe for a spot of grub.
7. Lancelin Beach, Lancelin
Lancelin, a town about an hours’ drive north of Perth is more famous for its majestic sand dunes with sweeping views of the surroundings (seriously it was quite amazing), also has a strip of sand for you to get your tan on.
Head down to Back Beach for a likely deserted beach experience, and get your stomach filled at Offshore Cafe.
8. Backbeach, Bunbury
South of Perth, the next major towns are Rockingham and Mandurah, but skip over these to go further south like Bunbury, with a long running strip of sand and many F&B options.
There’s also a small lighthouse, and a number of lookout points, including Marlston Hill lookout.
Backbeach Cafe & Restaurant serves up delicious modern Australian fare and the usual brunch options.
9. Rottnest Island
Of course, no list of Western Australian beaches would be complete without mentioning Rottnest Island, popular among locals young and old especially during the summer and Schoolies Week in November.
You’ll most likely enter Rottnest via ferry, and in Rottnest itself, get around by bus or bicycle — no cars are allowed.
Part of the fun, really, is discovering your own slice of paradise at the various bays and beaches, which dot the coast of the island.
There exists a small museum and of course, the quokkas that call the island home.
Of course, this list isn’t completely exhaustive— there are way too many beaches named and unnamed along the coast of Western Australia that it would be impossible to cover them all, not to mention exhausting to read.
So really, get your set of wheels and hit the road.
Discover the various beaches and bays for yourself with crystal clear blue waters and powdery white sand.
From my trip to Perth and Western Australia, I turned some select photographs into my everyday products and you can check them out on the shop now!
On a trip to Perth, Australia, we rented a car and drove up and down Western Australia. My personal favourite road was the Indian Ocean Drive, where sweeping views of rolling hills met the big blue of the ocean.