North Fremantle River & Beach Walk
Start - Northbank, North Fremantle
Distance - 4.5km (Loop)
Best Time - Early Mornings & Sunset
Places of Interest
Gilbert Fraser Reserve
Rocky Bay Cliffs
Mosman Dog Beach
Bib & Tucker
The Shipping Lane
Queen Victoria Street
Short Black Sheep Cafe
Downloadable Map (PDF)
Online Map (Google Maps Overlay)
Across the Swan River from the previous walk we did in East Fremantle is the busy suburb of North Fremantle. North Fremantle is very special to me as when I first moved out of home this was the place I landed. Part of this walk was my old running track and I'm happy to share what is a stunning location with everyone. While North Fremantle is quite a high traffic area it isn't long before everything calms down and you can take in the peace and quiet of your surrounds.
I chose to start this walk in between the traffic bridges at Northbank but you can start this 4.5km loop anywhere you like. Northbank is a planned development wedged in between the two traffic bridges, featuring Mediterranean style townhouses and plenty of little parks and beaches. Parking can be a problem on the weekends so if you can't find one there is always parking across the road at the Swan Hotel.
When you have reached the shores of the Swan River head east along the path and under Stirling Bridge. There are play sets dotted along the path and a basketball court with a 9ft ring reminiscent of the river court from One Tree Hill. Admire the native vegetation as you make your way over the tiny bridges and along the path towards Gilbert Fraser Reserve.
This area is a rehabilitation project designed to restore the banks of the river to their fauna friendly past so make sure you stick to the designated paths. Arriving at Gilbert Fraser Reserve you will notice the expansive greens and the beautiful old style grandstand on the other side of the ground. This reserve is also a fire fighting training area and along the bitumen road on the south side you will see the equipment, water tank and training tower. Make your way along the south side of the reserve and head towards the river when you reach the end.
The path will soon start again and take you in front of Pier 21 Resort and Marina. I always loved the feel of Pier 21, right on the river in a quiet location and if I was holidaying in Fremantle this would be my choice of accommodation. Keep walking past the jetties and colourful gardens until you reach the Fremantle Water Police complex. Here you have to head inland a bit on Harvest Rd until you reach the first crossroads. Turn right and head up the hill on Corkhill St and then turn right again onto Ainslie Rd. At the end of Ainslie Rd there will be a couple of limestone blocks that indicate the start of a sand track that is the next part of the walk. Head north on the trail and watch your step as you are right on the cliffs above the river and it can be quite rocky in places, along with the threat of a big drop to the river if you fall.
The views from this section are amazing as you stand high above the Swan River and Rocky Bay. Across the river is the Swan Yacht Club from the East Fremantle River Walk and if you are up early enough you can catch the sunrise. Keeping to the trail head north along Rule St until you reach the end and continue along the path until you reach a park full of play equipment. Cross this park and walk north on Thompson Rd until it ends, then make a left on Coventry Parade towards the ocean. You will soon reach Stirling Hwy so take care when crossing the road as it can be quite busy in peak times. On the ocean side of the road is a bridge over the railway that will take you to the beach.
From the bridge you can see from Fremantle in the south to Cottesloe to the north and is worth taking a minute to stop and take it all in. Make your way down the other side and cross Curtin Ave, watching out for the many cyclists. At this point you can choose the optional walk north along Mosman Dog Beach (see below), take the path south along the beach towards Fremantle or kick your shoes off and walk in the surf along Leighton Beach. If you head south you will soon come to the Leighton Beach Development, which is a mix of green parks, residential housing and the new Fremantle Surf Life Saving building that also houses Bib & Tucker. When you reach the circle shaped park head east again towards the residential section and towards the railway line.
If you are feeling a bit hungry at this point both Bib & Tucker and The Shipping Lane (left) do a fantastic breakfast & lunch and I highly recommend you make this part of your walk. Once you have refuelled then head towards the railway crossing, which is next to the bend on Curtin Ave, and cross the Fremantle railway line.
Head south on the railway side of Stirling Hwy and make your way to the antique district of North Fremantle on Queen Victoria St. On this small section between Stirling Hwy and Tydeman Rd there is a variety of businesses including Short Black Sheep, Flipside Burgers, Mrs Browns Wine Bar, Mojos Bar, Harvest Restaurant and a number of antique stores.
When you are finished exploring this area cross Tydeman Rd and walk down to the historic Swan Hotel. If the mood catches you this blue collar drinking hole makes for a nice place to grab a drink on a hot Fremantle day. Cross Queen Victoria St, wonder through the idyllic Northbank back to your car and you have completed the North Fremantle River & Beach Walk.
You can't expect much more on a 4.5km loop than what you will get on this walk. Gentle paths along the Swan River, cliff top walks offering up views of the river and spectacular ocean views followed by a relaxing beach walk. With many eating options along the walk be sure to make a morning of it and enjoy a summer weekend in Fremantle.
Mosman Dog Beach (Optional) - This is one of the more popular dog beaches in Perth and in summer you can walk on pristine white sandy beach all the way to the mole just south of Cottesloe with your four legged friend. Look for the signs just north of the railway bridge for entry to the beach and head north until you feel like turning around (the dog beach ends at the mole). Hard sands close to the surf makes for an easy walk and it is shallow enough to be able to walk in the surf without getting too wet. This will add another 2-3km on to the walk but your dog will thank you for the off leash freedom and cool down.
Make sure to tag your North Fremantle River & Beach Walk photos on Instagram with #thelifeofpy and if you enjoyed the walk then please feel free to share this page with your friends.
Get out there and experience it!