Cottesloe Beach has been the favourite seaside destination for Perth locals for more than 100 years.
By Kris Madden
With more than a kilometre (0.6 miles) of pure white sand, Cottesloe Beach is one of Perth's most popular spots for swimming, snorkelling and surfing. Generations of West Australians have spent summer days diving into the ocean from the distinctive floating bell just offshore. Watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean while enjoying a glass of wine, a refreshing beer or a relaxed dinner. In March the annual Sculpture by the Sea outdoor exhibition turns the beach into an outdoor art gallery.
- See the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in March
- Dine while watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean
- Look for leafy sea dragons while snorkelling North Cottesloe
How to get there
Cottesloe Beach is halfway between Perth and Fremantle, about 14 kilometres (8.7 miles), or less than a 30-minute drive, from Perth city centre. Public buses leave frequently from Perth's Elizabeth Quay Bus Station. Trains run from Perth Station to Cottesloe Station every 15 minutes and get you there in less than 20 minutes on the Fremantle Line. A half day tour with AAT Kings visits Cottesloe as well as Perth's Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, and Fremantle.
Things to do and top attractions on Cottesloe Beach
Make sandcastles and visit Sculpture by the Sea
Be inspired to build castles from the pure white sand with a visit to Sculpture by the Sea. This free seaside exhibition, held each March, turns Cottesloe Beach into an outdoor art gallery of giant sculptures. Wander your way along the beach as you view incredible works by new and established artists.
Enjoy ocean views as you dine
Choose from many stylish eateries around Marine Parade, many of which, such as The Blue Duck or the famous Art Deco Indiana restaurant, offer sweeping views of the Indian Ocean. A table at Barchetta for dinner will almost guarantee one of the finest sunsets in the world.
Swim and snorkel
Cottlesloe is divided into three areas. The main Cottesloe Beach is great for swimming and walking. Peters Pool at North Cottesloe Beach is a great snorkelling spot and right in front of the surf club and Blue Duck and Barchetta cafés. There's no beach at all at South Cottesloe; just rocky reefs and cliffs. This is where the surfers head and is great for watching wind and kitesurfers. When the ocean's calm, it's also one of Perth's better snorkelling spots. You may even be lucky enough to spot an endangered leafy sea dragon.
Learn to surf
Cottesloe is the birthplace of surfing and surf lifesaving in Western Australia. Grab a board and learn to hang ten with Surfing Lessons Cottesloe. Western Australia's only family owned and operated surfing school offers a Safe Surfing Program for people of all ages and abilities.
Picnic on the beach
The wide grassy Cottesloe Esplanade, shaded by giant Norfolk Pine trees, offers lovely spots for picnics or just watching the ocean. Outdoor music concerts are often held here. Enjoy the noisy chatter of the colourful rainbow lorikeet birds that live in the trees.
Challenge yourself on the Rottnest Channel Swim
The Rottnest Channel Swim is an annual open water swimming event from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island, held each February. It is one of the largest open water swimming events in the world, covering about 20 kilometres (12 miles). You can choose to compete as a solo swimmer, in a duo or as part of a team.
Cycle the trails
The cycling and walking route from Cottesloe to Hillarys covers 25 kilometres (16 miles) of stunning Perth coastline, but you don't have to do the whole thing. Pick any section of the route to tackle by foot or hire a bike. If you're up for a challenge, the Bush to Beach Trail is a well signposted 16-kilometre (10-mile) walking and cycling trail that starts in Perth and finishes near Cottesloe Beach.
Make your trip happen