Cottesloe to Swanbourne Coastal Walk
This paved, flat walk is perfect for young and old of any fitness level and offers stunning coastal scenery with well placed benches along the way if you need to rest. It can be walked in either direction and if the full 2km between Cottesloe and Swanbourne is too far you can walk a shorter section.
Parking in Cottesloe can be a challenge so we parked on Napier Street and set off to explore the Cottesloe Civic Centre with it's lovely gardens and great ocean views. Conveniently there are public toilets located on the Napier Street side. Wandering through these beautiful gardens you will find a small playground, a slide, water features, an imposing statue of John Curtin and large grassy areas. Follow the network of paths to the access way onto Overton Gardens which then leads directly to Cottesloe Beach.
Apart from being visually stunning Cottesloe Beach is always a hive of activity. Heading north from Cottesloe Beach there is a small shaded playground with picnic tables. Further along there is gym equipment so you can exercise with a view! Following the path you will notice the pavement handprints by local families. This section of the pathway is shared use and can be quite busy but the further north you head the quieter it becomes.
As you pass North Cottesloe Beach, a popular snorkelling location, you can grab a coffee from one of the cafes. Check out the quirky displays outside Barchetta and the mural leading down to the beach. The path becomes progressively quieter as you pass Grant Marine Park with it's playground.
Grant Marine Park is where the Bush to Beach Trail and the Wardun Beelier Bidi Trail start/finish (depending on the direction you are walking). Both of these trails form part of the Whadjuk Trail Network. The Beach to Bush Trail heads north, winding through the suburbs all the way to Shenton Park. The Wardun Beeler Bidi Trail follows the coast south to North Fremantle before heading across to the river and looping through Mosman Park back to Cottesloe.
Continue along the coastal path past Grant Street Beach. I will offer some advice here if you plan to walk on the beach itself in one direction - dogs are allowed access to Grant Street Beach, although they should be on lead this doesn't always happen. Further north parts of Swanbourne Beach are clothing optional so I do NOT recommend walking along Swanbourne Beach with the kids. Use the Marine Parade path north of Grant Street and head down to the beach south of Grant St if you wish.
As you pass Grant Street keep an eye out for an unusual house. If you cross the road at this point you will come to what looks like some uncared for land surrounding some trees but as you continue you will discover a path leading down to the Secret Gnome Garden which will truly delight the kids.
Continuing north from the Secret Gnome Garden you will enter Swanbourne at North Street. There is a playground located at the Swanbourne Surf Lifesaving Club and you can grab a meal or a drink form The Shorehouse. Toilets are also available here when open. Parking is available beachfront and also in a larger carpark behind the restaurant if you choose to make this your starting point.
After following the coast to Swanbourne we chose to continue our walk by following Odern Crescent past Swanbourne Reserve heading towards Allen Park and Melon Hill. We explored Melon Hill and the Allen Park Heritage Precinct with it's historic houses before returning along the coast to Cottesloe.
The coastal path is mostly flat and is suitable for kids on bikes or scooters. It can however be very busy with walkers and cyclists, particularly closer to Cottesloe. The walk from Cottesloe Beach to Swanbourne Beach is just under 2km each way and will take about 30 minutes in each direction making it a great walk for kids, especially with a number of playgrounds to explore along the way and a play or a swim at the beach as a final reward (plus any icecreams or fish and chips you may want to supply!)
You can also walk from Cottesloe south towards Mosman Park.