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East Fremantle Riverside Walk with the Niergarup Track

Updated: Jan 1

Some time ago we walked the Jenna Biddi Yorga along Blackwall Reach from Point Walter to Bicton Baths continuing on along the river to Wauhop Road at Jerrat Drive. We finally managed to complete this section of the river by walking from The Left Bank Cafe on Riverside Road in East Fremantle back to Wauhop Road.

We parked at The Left Bank on Riverside Road and completed two loops from there. The Left Bank is the old Boat Builder's House and features on the East Fremantle Heritage Trail. There are two main pathways up river - one right on the water's edge and another following Riverside Road. The path on the water's edge following the river between East Street Jetty and the Marine Education Boatshed at Pier Street is called the Steve Swan Walk. We followed the foreshore path on the way to Point Roe, returning on the path alongside Riverside Road. Although at times there is only a matter of metres separating the two paths each path offers quite a different perspective.

We walked towards Dome Cafe which perches over the water allowing patrons to look down into the crystal clear water - if you are lucky a pelican might swim up to check you out! From the Dome Cafe the path follows the water's edge to Niergarup Reserve.

Pass through the Leeuwin Boat Ramp car park (paid parking), around the Zephyr Cafe and into John Tonkin Reserve with it's playgrounds and picnic/barbecue facilities. We wandered onto a small boardwalk with interpretive signs describing Niergarup (meeting place of the pelicans) Point (Point Preston). There are some small sandy beaches and a few limestone groins here so the kids can paddle in the river. The views across to Rocky Bay and the Old Soap Factory, which we had recently explored, are quite stunning.

Continue to follow the path on the river's edge and you have public access along the foreshore in front of the Swan Yacht Club and Fremantle Rowing Club. There are two separate slipways to traverse - be aware so the kids don't run ahead. We explored the various stalls at the Lions Club Market being held that day at Norm McKenzie Park, which also has a small playground. Past the park are boat sheds with boats stacked 4 high. These boat stacks were visible when we explored the northern bank a few weeks later at Russell Brown Adventure Playground at Minim Cove. Follow the boardwalk around the 'Eat Greek' restaurant and into shady W. Wayman Reserve which is an ideal spot for a rest break and perhaps a swim or a splash in the calm, clear waters. Beyond the Reserve the path meets up again with Riverside Road at Point Roe.

Here the road curves and climbs uphill away from the river foreshore. It is up to you where you turn around for your return. We walked uphill to the intersection of Wauhop Road and Jerrat Drive just to complete our walk to the point where we had turned around on the Jenna Biddi Yorga.

On our return along Riverside Road we followed the path next to the road, passing Leeuwin Barracks. At Niergarup Park follow the foreshore footpath crossing over just before the Dome Cafe to climb the stairs.

The stairs lead to a dirt track with some pelican markers. Coming onto this track from the stairs is a bit rough but the dirt track soon emerges onto paved paths and the stunning views up and down the river are well worth it. The pelican trail markers mark the Niergarup Track a 1.2km return loop through Merv Cowan Park. The trail has interpretive signage giving a historical perspective relating to traditional Noongar use of the land and of the river's use after colonisation. Merv Cowan Park features gazebos, large grassy areas and a stream which becomes the Bicentennial Falls. We followed the pathways descending the stairs next to the Left Bank before backtracking a little way along Riverside Road to view Bicentennial Falls.

This loop took about an hour and was about 4km return.

We decided to continue walking towards Fremantle and continued along the Steve Swan Walk under the Stirling Highway bridge with it's picture of Bon Scott, through J Dolan Park, stopping for a look at Plympton Pumphouse, a remnant from a brewery which was located here in the early 1900's. before heading to the historic East Street Jetty.

After having a giggle at the no swimming signs on the end of East Street Jetty (it's not a place I would happily swim!) we walked along the foreshore and under the amazing timber structure of the Queen Victoria Street Traffic Bridge, which reminds me of the Canning Highway Bridge. Across the road you can climb the stairs leading up to the Rainbow Sea Containers park.

We crossed over at the traffic lights at the bridge, admiring the giant octopus like artwork on the old Naval Store. We climbed the stairs next to this building into Tuckfield Oval Parkland and stayed for a play at this lovely nature playground with fantastic views out across the rainbow sea containers and up and down the river. If you wish to access this playground by car there is parking on Tuckfield Street. The playground has picnic and barbecue facilities but no toilets.

From the playground we followed windy Tuckfield Street, admiring some beautiful heritage houses, to busy Canning Highway. We crossed over and wandered up to have a closer look at the Rainbow Sea Containers before taking the path downhill behind The Kiosk. The grassy slope here lends itself to cardboard box slides down the hill which looked like lots of fun! There are public toilets here next to The Kiosk.

On the return we followed the path on the built side and did a quick detour up the hill at W.H. Kitson Park where we saw some Urban Art and the Tradewinds Hotel before heading back to the car. For more urban Art in East Fremantle view the East Fremantle Heritage and Art blog.

This second loop took us about 40 minutes, excluding playtime at Tuckfield Oval, and was about 2km.

There is free parking outside the Left Bank but be careful if you end up in the bays on Andrews Street as traffic flow only allows you to turn east on Canning Highway. You can also park at Public Car Park no 4 or the East St Jetty which are paid parking areas.

The eastern loop from The Left Bank to Point Roe and return.

The western loop from The Left Bank to the Fremantle Traffic Bridge via Tuckfield Oval Parkland.

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In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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