Perth Boating Guide
As far as major cities go living in Perth is a boaties dream. From the pristine bays and abundant marine life of the offshore islands. To the everyday boating of the Swan River, Perth boaties really are spoiled for choice. With summer just around the corner Blue HQ takes a look at some of our favorite places to go boating this summer in the Perth region.
Rottnest Island is Perth’s premiere boating destination. Boasting pristine reefs, white sandy bays and excellent fishing, Rottnest is a great destination for an extended stay or a day trip. You’ll need a reasonable size boat to make the 11 nautical mile journey from Fremantle, at least 6 metres is ideal for all but the absolute best days. Strong sea breezes are common over Perth’s summer so be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip. If it’s your first time heading over to Rottnest it is a good idea to tee up with the Rottnest Island Safety Convoy so you can make the trip over with the team of other boats led by experienced skippers.
Once over their the leisure activities you can take part in are endless. Countless little bays provide moorings and shelter. For extended trips moorings can be rented through rottnestisland.com. Some favourite Rottnest Island Activities include:
• Snorkeling at popular bays including Parker Point, The Basin and more
• Surfing at Chicken Reef or Strickland Bay
• Hiring bikes and taking a leisurely cycling tour of the island
• Visiting the bakery
• Taking a Quokka selfie
Other Islands off Perth– Carnac, Penguin and Garden Island
Rottnest isn’t the only island worth visiting off the coast of Perth. On windier days or if you have a smaller boat some of the smaller islands closer to mainland are well worth a visit.
Carnac lies approximately halfway to Rottnest and provides some excellent shelter from the sea breeze on windy summer afternoons. Carnac is a lot smaller than Rotto but is still well worth a visit. Especially if you have a smaller boat or are just looking for a nice spot to moor up for a picnic offshore. Carnac has a population of ever present sea lions to check out, but remember to just admire them from a distance. Carnac Island’s sheltered bays are equal to Rottnest in beauty except on a smaller scale. On summer days they can get extremely busy with snorkelers, paddle boarders and other swimmers and you can see why, it really is a great little spot.
Penguin Island, 45 minutes south of Perth, is a tiny little island quite close to the shore. The star attraction of the island is the wildlife. As the name suggest there is a large population of little penguins that nest on the island over winter. The island is closed from early June to mid-September to protect the penguin population. Once there, stick to the boardwalks to protect the natural environment and discover the islands animals, plants and beaches.
Garden Island is home to the HMAS Stirling Naval Base, as such, much of island is off limits to visitors. There are bays and moorings for visitors though towards the northern end of the bay. Popular spots include Herring and Pig Trough Bay. Both these idyllic locations have picnic spots and toilet facilities. Once on the island stick to the public access areas and enjoy the beaches, fishing and snorkeling on the island. More information on boating and fishing at Garden Island can be found at the Garden Island Fishing & Aquatic Association’s website.
Any trip to Penguin Island should include a look or overnighter at Rockingham. This is a boaties paradise with a large bay sheltered from the sea breeze and swell. Being the same distance from Fremantle as Rottnest, many boaters have discovered that Rockingham is an easy place to visit via the calm waters of Cockburn Sound. Once there you can go ashore for breakfast, lunch or dinner at a variety of excellent eateries on the waterfront. With north facing views the bay has a large amount of public moorings. The calm water makes Rockingham a water sport favorite for crabbing, water skiing, wakeboarding and biscuiting in the approved areas.
When the sea breeze is strong over summer the Swan River provides the perfect oasis for Perth boaties. The Swan River caters to all facets of boating activities from sailing, stand up paddle boarding to fishing. Down river there are many sheltered nooks and bays that provide the perfect spot for a picnic on your boat or by the river bank.
Down river there are a number of public moorings that are managed by the Swan River trust that can be utilised for day trips. Some favorites include The Left Bank down towards Fremantle, Black Wall Reach in Bicton and Mosman Bay in Peppermint Grove. If taking a cruise and hitting up some of the excellent riverside bars and restaurants is more your thing try The Raffles Hotel,or The Lucky Shag near Elizabeth Quay in the city.
Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbor is also an excellent location if visiting bars and restaurants from your boat is your thing. You can moor up inside the harbor and visit some of Perth’s most popular eateries such as Little Creatures Fremantle and Cicerellos. Blue HQ even has it’s own luxury viewing bar for members. Offering some of the best views in Fremantle, private functions and regular Sunday sessions, The View offers an excellent space for members to experience and enjoy.
Upper reaches of the river extend into the Swan Valley. Swan Valley is WA’s northern most wine growing region and wineries and restaurants line the banks of the river. Heading up river provides an opportunity to visit these wineries for a tasting, breakfast or lunch.
Really living and boating in Perth is a boat owners dream. Hopefully this article provided some information on some spots you haven’t visited yet or options to expand your boating horizons. If you would like some more information on boating you can check out some of Blue HQ’s other boating articles.