With gyms and fitness centres still subject to some Covid-19 restrictions – and regional travel slowly opening back up – there’s no better time to jump on a bike and explore Perth. From picturesque coastline paths to bushland tracks, there’s a range of cycle routes for a leisurely peddle or a serious climb. The best part? Thanks to an easing of hospitality restrictions this week, you can expect more opportunities for coffee stops along the way.
Indian Ocean Explorer
Western Australia’s endless coastline provides smooth cycling paths and uninterrupted ocean views for hours. The Indian Ocean Explorer trail is a mix of cycle paths and on-road cycle lanes, stretching from historic Fremantle along the coast to Cottesloe Beach.
You’ll be making lots of stops on this 10-kilometre trail; it takes approximately an hour and a half to complete (sans stops) and passes plenty of cafes and restaurants. Start in the west end of Fremantle – home to the historic waterfront destination Victoria Quay, where you’ll find the E Shed Markets and WA Maritime Museum (currently closed due to restrictions). As you cruise towards the Swan River you can’t miss the colourful Containbow (a rainbow-shaped monument of painted shipping containers) that leads you into North Fremantle. Stop here for a coffee from bike-friendly espresso bar Ooh Coffee on Queen Victoria Street before heading on to the coastal route.
You have your pick of beaches and restaurants once you start cycling along the coast, passing Port, Leighton and Cottesloe beaches. Whether you want to go for a swim at Port Beach, enjoy some fresh fish tostadas on the balcony at Bib & Tucker (when it reopens), or picnic on the grassy area opposite The Cottesloe Beach Hotel, there are plenty of pit stops to make.
Ride the Sunset Coast
This long ride starts in Munster (south of Fremantle) and goes north to Burns Beach. The best way to tackle this trail is to break it into smaller parts. The most popular and scenic section is the 14-kilometre trail from Marmion to Burns Beach along West Coast Drive. It’s a leisurely ride that takes between one and three hours and can get busy on weekends.
The starting point is on West Coast Drive before Ozone Road, but you’ll need to fuel your body, so grab a quick breakfast from Little Bay on West Coast Drive, Watermans Bay. There’s coffee, muffins, pancakes and some stunning beach views.
Once you’re on your way along the dual-use cycle and walk path, which has uninterrupted ocean views, you’ll reach Hillarys Marina. This is a family-friendly spot where you can have a bite to eat or – once it reopens – visit The Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA).
The trail then weaves through native coastal shrub as you head towards Burns Beach. There’s signage and information on the flora and fauna along the way, as well as trail markers showing the distances to each section.
Swan Valley Heritage Cycle Trail
Only 25 minutes (by car) from Perth, near the upper reaches of the Swan River, is the Swan Valley. This historic area is known more for its wineries (think Sandalford Wines and Oakover Grounds), antique stores and local produce than its cycling trails, but is worth setting aside a day to explore.
The trail follows West Swan Road and is made up of three routes (four kilometres, 30 kilometres and 32 kilometres), so it’s perfect for families and cyclists of various skill levels. The 30-kilometre trail starts in historic Guildford, opposite the visitor centre, crossing the Swan River and heading up West Swan Road. It then runs through Lilac Hill Park, past picnic spots, vineyards and cafes, including the Margaret River Chocolate Company cafe, and finishes just after Elmar’s in the Valley restaurant. Just remember to allow enough time for the return journey.
Munda Biddi Cycle Trail
Take your wheels off-road on a trail for serious riders that starts in Mundaring and ends in Manjimup. The 1000-kilometre trail follows bush tracks and disused railways through forest, bushland and Beelu National Park, so pack something to eat because there’s nowhere to grab lunch along the way.
It might be easier to tackle this trail in parts if you’re looking for a cruisier, family-friendly ride. Try the eight-kilometre track from Mundaring Sculpture Park to Mundaring Weir; the five-kilometre track from Marrinup to Dwellingup; or the 16.5-kilometre track from the Gleneagle picnic crea to Balmoral.
Swan River Three Bridges Loop
The bridges loop is a 45-kilometre bike ride along Perth’s Swan River. Start on Stirling Highway, not far from Christ Church Grammar School, and follow the river down Victoria Avenue, around Matilda Bay Reserve, Mounts Bay Road and over Mitchell Freeway (bridge one). From there, follow the Kwinana Freeway to Canning Bridge (bridge two). Then you’ll round the Applecross waterfront to Point Walter before crossing Stirling Bridge (bridge three) on Riverside Road. Finally, head back through North Fremantle to your starting point at Stirling Highway.
This riverside route is a smooth run, with a mix of cycle paths and on-road lanes. And you can’t get lost as the Swan River will always be in sight. Even better, there are many places to stop for a breather and a coffee along the way, including Typika on Stirling Highway, Good Things Cafe in Mosman Park and Freshwaters in Freshwater Bay .
Perth’s Discoverer Cycle Trail
This scenic 27-kilometre loop was created in 2019 and is a great way to discover the city, taking in the sights at Kings Park, Elizabeth Quay, Yagan Square, South Perth Foreshore and Matilda Bay.
The map begins at Elizabeth Quay, but you could start anywhere in the loop. From Elizabeth Quay head through Yagan Square and Kings Park, around Mounts Bay Road and over the Narrows Bridge, through the South Perth Foreshore and over the stunning Matagarup Bridge near Optus Stadium, returning down Riverside Drive.
This loop takes roughly two hours to complete without stops, but you’ll want to pause at spots such as the frequently photographed Blue Boathouse or Matagarup Bridge, a gravity-defying structure that opened in 2018. There are endless grassy picnic areas and cafes along the way, too. Keep an eye out while peddling through the CBD – you’re bound to stumble across a number of takeaway coffee spots including Max + Sons, Lowdown and Telegram Coffee.