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East Fremantle Swan River Walk

East Fremantle Swan River Walk

East Fremantle

Directions - The start point for the walk is under the Stirling Hwy Bridge on the corner of Riverside Rd and Andrews Rd. There is normally plenty of parking both there and along Andrews Rd unless there is an event on at the Left Bank.

The Walk - I love Fremantle and it's been my home for the majority of my adult life so it's about time I started showing it some love for the website. There is so much going on here and a great variety of places to visit and history to explore that I've started designing walks in various parts to showcase what I love about the area. The East Fremantle Swan River Walk was one of the first Fremantle pages I produced back in the early days of the website and if I'm honest it was really terrible with some bad photos and a questionable layout (you can still see it if you visit and search for this url). Starting in the summer of 2020 I've decided to re-do those posts, sometimes with just updated photos like Booyeembara Park and the Fremantle City Tourist Walk but this particular walk I decided needed a complete overhaul.

With that in mind I headed down to the Left Bank on a cloudy Saturday afternoon with my camera and set about experiencing a walk that I enjoy quite a bit. I've re-mapped it a little bit from the original layout to make it a proper loop and include some vantage points that I think are quite special. Standing under the concrete behemoth of the Stirling Hwy traffic bridge you can look up and down the river as it reaches the harbour and eventually the Indian Ocean. A feature of Fremantle Port are the giraffes (or dinosaurs) and from here you can see them off in the distance. Taking a photo of the Bon Scott mural on the wall of the bridge, I pressed start on my watch and began the walk. The first half of the route takes you along the paths and beaches that runs right next to the river and is a popular recreation spot for a lot of locals. Back in my younger days when I lived in North Fremantle I would cross the bridge on my runs and pound the pavement here. With a much cruiser method of moving this afternoon I was simply going to enjoy myself and take many photos. Passing the Left Bank, it was very busy with people pouring in for dinner and to enjoy their Saturday nights so feeling very conspicuous, I took a couple of quick photos and moved on.

Moving on you see the sign for the Niergarup Track, something I would take in on the return section but this is a cool spot with the always in flow Bicentennial Falls located near the stairs. It's part of a bigger park up on top of the cliffs and is a spot I don't think many people know about, especially if they don't live in the area. Further on you pass what used to be the Red Herring restaurant, a building that extends out over the water and was a lovely spot to have dinner (or have your wedding reception like my sister did). Nowadays it is a franchised Dome, which I think takes away from the character of the area but some people might disagree. Past the Dome is a palm tree lined stretch of pavement and grass that has been converted into an exercise area by the Town of East Fremantle with lots of the pseudo exercise equipment that can be used for sit-ups, pull-ups etc. It's always in use when I walk by so it's great that people find it purposeful and it adds to the sense of community in these areas. Next up is the Marine Education Boatshed that is used by the Dept of Transport as a safety and education centre. Along the rocks and around the building is where you often find a large variety of bird life ranging from shags to the iconic Black Swans to what I was lucky enough to see up close on this visit, a White-faced Heron. 

After taking the sweeping bend that forms a little bay, you can either keep going on the path next to the road or take the beach as a shortcut. A small pocket of remnant vegetation provides a barrier to the road and you never know what you'll find washed up on the beach (like the large mullet I found on this walk). Watching out for traffic as you cross the boat loading area of the car park, head towards Zephers Café and the extended beach section of the walk. A popular place right in front of John Tonkin Park, the beach is a great place to let your dog off lead so it can stretch its legs. They are in the process of rehabilitating this area and have installed limestone groins at the end of each little headland to try and stop erosion. They provide a nice spot to sit and relax or bring a chair and cast a fishing line into the river. At the end of the beach you re-join the path and head east along the marina section of the river. Home to the Swan Yacht Club and a number of other smaller outdoor groups, it's an interesting walk as you go between working boat yard to recreation area to passing restaurants. Stay between the yellow lines for safety when you are passing through the boat ramps and make sure you are respectful of the people carting gear around in the trolleys. Past the rowing and dragon boat clubs you reach a small park next to another beach with a playground and gazebo. Around the corner is a boardwalk section and the home of Eat Greek Restaurant (buffet style meals that is highly recommended).


Another series of jetties full of expensive boats calls this place home and makes the area feel lived in. Continuing on you find another park with more exercise equipment and then it's back to being next to Riverside Road as you head up the hill and away from the river. Runners and cyclists will know this sweeping turn, especially if your legs are feeling tired or it's at the end of the really long run/cycle. It's not a large hill that takes you up past EJ Chapman Reserve (another good dog friendly oval) and the Tricolore Soccer Club (where I played a few games as a youngster). This is the least entertaining section of the loop as you take a right and follow the path along Preston Point Rd. It's not all bad with a look from above at the old Leeuwin Barracks, a place with a sketchy history and now marked for residential redevelopment. Entering the hilly parts of East Fremantle, the pursuit of views and square footage has created a bit of a soulless gathering of McMansions along here, all competing in the areas of size and gaudiness. There is a small nature strip to the left as you walk down, showing off some bare limestone that is all gnarly and weathered. Turn right when you reach the roundabout and follow this back down towards the river. A left turn following the path and soon you'll reach the beginning of the Niergarup Track to the right of another mansion that at the time of writing is still yet to be finished.