Updated: Jan 23, 2020
It had been years since we had visited Rockingham Beach and Foreshore so with news that the area has been recently redeveloped and the extra enticement of the Castaways Sculpture Exhibition being on display we headed down the freeway.
The Castaways Sculptures, made from recycled materials, were scattered along the beach with a few on the boardwalk and the school entries on the grassed areas. See separate blog on these unique and inspiring sculptures. It is good to see these amazing artworks showcasing recycling in action.
After wandering around the Sculptures we decided to explore further. The Rockingham Foreshore and Beach Plaza has a completely different vibe to any other beach we've been to in the metro area. Sitting on the edge of Mangles Bay within protected Cockburn Sound the beach is a wide expanse of white sand with gentle waves lapping the shore. The beach extends a considerable distance both north and south with a couple of jettys jutting out along the way. Cockburn Sound is a popular place for water sports so there were sail boats, jet skis and paddle boards out on the water.
We decided to follow the Rockingham Foreshore Public Art Trail and began by taking the Waterfront Pioneer Rotary Walk alongside Churchill Park. This flat paved path above the beach is perfect for kids on bikes or scooters or to push a pram or wheelchair. Along this walk there are plaques commemorating historic figures and places. We stopped to admire the beach views and the Floating Rock Sphere.
There is a different playground every few hundred metres so the kids are spoilt for choice here. Alongside the paved path are shady grassed areas ideal for picnics barbecues and get-togethers. The toilet block is tastefully decorated with a wrap around historic photo of the Timber Jetty in 1890.
We turned off the Pioneer Rotary Walk at the pirate playground in Bell Park and headed up Wanliss Street but you could easily keep walking along the beachfront.
At the corner of Wanliss Street and Kent Street is Derbal Nara Community Garden which is worth a wander through to see Yondock Rock and the Derbal Nara Totem Poles. Continue along Kent Street to the Rockingham Museum. Outside you can see the Timber to Port 1249 mural commemorating the Jarrahdale timber railway line which was operational between 1872 and 1908.
Continue along Kent Street to the Rockingham Museum. Outside you can see the Timber to Port 1249 mural which commemorates the Jarrahdale timber railway line which was operational between 1872 and 1908. We admired the Rockingham RSL Memorial commemorating the three branches of the armed forces and noticed yet another playground tucked away behind the memorial.
The Visitor Centre on Kent Street has plenty of information on nearby Penguin Island and water activities in the area but had no information on walking trails. We had seen reference to a Rockingham Heritage Trail but could find no local information or maps.
We took the laneway opposite the Visitor Centre through the car park back to the Foreshore not realising until later that we missed several other public artworks further down Kent St. We should have followed the map not our noses! We grabbed a coffee and enjoyed sitting in the foreshore park. Toilets and change facilities are located here.
Walking along the beach past the Park and Beach Plaza with it's colourful umbrellas and wide boardwalk we noticed the lounge chairs, the inground rope net trampoline, wide slide and rock climbing slope which have been incorporated into the design to cater for kids and adults alike.
We wandered along the Val Street Jetty admiring the beach views north and south. Beach wheelchairs are available for hire from the Cruising Yacht Club.
The beach between the two jettys had an overturned yacht - not sure if this is permanent of temporary.
Beyond the Palm Beach Jetty we spotted yet another playground with parking and toilets nearby.
We turned the other way though heading back towards Rockingham along the Esplanade taking in the Jinker Seats and Z force Memorial before following the footpath to the Catalpa Memorial - a memorial to 6 Irish Fenians who made a daring and successful escape from Fremantle Prison in 1876.
We spent an enjoyable couple of hours wandering around the Rockingham Foreshore - an hour exploring the sculpture exhibition and another hour exploring the beach front, the parks and the public art.
There are plenty of water activities to do here or you can just laze on the beach and enjoy a swim in the calm, clear waters. Take a picnic and enjoy the grassy parks and many playgrounds or enjoy a meal or a drink at the many eating venues, most of which offer stunning views over Mangles Bay.
Street parking is available along Rockingham Beach Road and there is a car park at the end of Bell Park however parking was at a premium. A large public car park one street back on Kent Street was almost empty. From here the laneway shortcut we took made the beach readily accessible.
If you want to extend your visit you can head out to Cape Peron for stunning ocean and coastal views, visit Lake Richmond and the Naragebup Regional Environmental Centre, visit Shoalwater Islands Marine Park or head further south to Penguin Island.
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