Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia © Tourism Western Australia
Top things to do at Cottesloe Beach
Discover the charms of Cottesloe Beach, a favourite among Perth’s locals for over 100 years.
By Amy Fraser
Cottesloe Beach, or 'Cott', as the locals call it, has long been one of Perth’s gems. Its pure white sand, which stretches more than a kilometre (0.6mi) along the coast, meets impossibly blue water that’s cherished for its swimming, surfing and snorkelling. Relax under the shady Norfolk Pines, snorkel amid a colourful reef, and dine overlooking the Indian Ocean. Here are the top things to do at Cottesloe Beach.
Visit Sculpture by the Sea
March sees the return of the annual Sculpture by the Sea, a free beachside art exhibition that peppers Cottesloe Beach with intriguing artworks and giant sculptures. Wander along the beach towards North Cottesloe and the surrounding grass to view fascinating works by new and established artists.
Dine with Indian Ocean views
Cottesloe’s stylish beachside establishments offer unrivalled dining views with menus to match. Cast your eyes over the iridescent Indian Ocean while enjoying fresh Mediterranean plates at Barchetta, or pull up a chair at Longview for glorious views and contemporary Australian dishes from dawn to dusk.
Swim and snorkel
Cottesloe’s crystal-clear ocean and colourful reefs invite ocean lovers all year round. Head to the protected Peters Pool at North Cottesloe Beach with your snorkel or on a calm day, go looking for the endangered leafy sea dragon at South Cottesloe. If swimming is your thing, float in between the red and yellow beach flags.
Ride the waves
Cottesloe is the birthplace of surfing and surf lifesaving in Western Australia, so it’s no surprise that surfers flock to Cottesloe every day for a taste of its waves. If you consider yourself a strong surfer, paddle out to the groyne and enjoy lines of left and right-hand waves. If you’re new to surfing, opt for the gentle waves in the middle of the beach or take a lesson at the nearby Leighton Beach.
Relax on the Esplanade
The wide grassy Cottesloe Esplanade, shaded by giant Norfolk Pine trees, offers plenty of picturesque spots for picnics or simply watching the ocean. Watch an epic Cottesloe sunset, relax to the sounds of rainbow lorikeet birds, and if you’re lucky, catch a live outdoor music concert on the grass.
Take part in Rottnest Channel Swim – or just watch
The Rottnest Channel Swim isn’t for the faint-hearted. Every February, swimmers from around the world line up on Cottesloe Beach to swim 20km (12mi) through the open ocean to Rottnest Island. Athletes can choose to swim solo, in a duo, or as part of a team. Spectators can make a day out of it, with family-friendly activities and entertainment held throughout the day.
Cycle scenic trails
One of the best ways to get to know Perth is on two wheels. Rent an e-bike at Cottesloe and choose your trail. Explore Perth’s stunning coastline along the 25km (16mi) Cottesloe to Hillary’s cycling trail, or discover the city’s culture-rich parklands on the Bush to Beach Trail, a 16ki (10mi) route that’ll take you into the heart of Perth.
Sleep next to the ocean
Join in a Sunday session
Rumour has it that the Australian ‘Sunday session’ began in Perth. Either way, there’s no denying that Cottesloe’s haunts are well-suited to sun-drenched Sunday drinks by the beach. Let your hair down with the locals at the trendy Cottesloe Beach Hotel or Ocean Beach Hotel.