Perth Walking Trails
Swan River Trails
The glistening Swan River (Derbarl Yerrigan) extends 72km through the metropolitan area of Perth and offers an abundance of excellent walking loops. Its foreshores and islands provide a range of scenic walking loops and trails that highlight the rivers beauty, its stunning flora and fauna, including the eponymous black swan and its significance to the local Aboriginal people. Discover the best trails and loops to walk along the sparkling Swan River below. If you would like a loop map of these trails, you can find them here.
Syd’s Rapids & Aboriginal Heritage Trail, Walyunga National Park
Distance: 6.4km | Time: Half day | Difficulty: Easy
The Syd’s Rapids and Aboriginal Heritage walk trails are located where the Walyunga National Park joins the Swan River, 40 kilometres north east of Perth. These family friendly walks provide interpretation on the Indigenous history, plants and animals. The park is also known for sensational wildflowers in winter and spring, abundant native animals and rugged valley scenery which can also be enjoyed on a number of other, longer loop walks.
Bells Rapids River Walk, Swan Valley
Distance: 2.5km | Time: Less than an hour | Difficulty: Easy
This is a breezy 2.5-kilometre loop walk at Bells Rapids, the area is known for being one of the best vantage points on the Swan River for the Avon Descent event, with its majestic boulders and rushing waters in the winter. This scenic walk trail enjoys views of both countryside and coastal plains and beautiful Grey Kangaroo can be seen in abundance at certain times of the year.
John George Trail, Swan Valley
Distance: 5.5km | Time: 1-3 hours | Difficulty: Easy
This 5.5-kilometre dual-use path links the Woodbridge Riverside Park and Play Space and the Reg Bond Reserve. Weaving its way along the banks of the Swan River the walk trail explores a variety of flora, wildlife, history points and views of the region, on the opposite shore. The pathway also passes a variety of rest stops both natural and man-made, some with chess tables and games to play for young and old.
Baigup Wetland, Bayswater/Maylands
Distance: 1km | Time: 1-3 hours (if looped) | Difficulty: Easy
This is an easy 1-kilometre walk through Baigup Wetland, a twenty-hectare reserve seven kilometres east of Perth’s CBD. Baigup is sacred to the Wadjuk Noongar people of Perth and is one of very few relatively intact riverside wetlands remaining in the middle and lower reaches of the Swan. Two constructed lakes attract waterbirds, with eighty-six species of bush and water birds identified.
Kuljak Island Walk, Ascot
Duration: Less than 1 hour | Distance: 2.6km
Kuljak Island, meaning “Black Swan” is centrally located on the Swan River, north-east of the CBD. What was once a waste tip is now a thriving sanctuary and home to many species including the Australian Pelican, Black Swans, Cormorants, Herons and turtles. A 2.6-kilometres loop walk around the outside of the island, takes you past wetlands and swamps full of birdlife and stunning river views, partnered with seated rest areas to enjoy. In the centre of the island is a large, grassed area perfect for those family picnics, sports, kite flying or playing with your canine friends.
Windan Bridge Loop, East Perth
Duration: 1-3 hours | Distance: 6.2km
This 6.2-kilometre Swan River loop walk will take you past Heirisson Island under the Causeway. It is home to a colony of Western Grey Kangaroos which can be found in the southern enclosure of the island and are best sighted in the early morning or evening. For a shorter option, cross over from East Perth to Optus Stadium using the Matagarup Bridge.
Swan River Loop, Perth City
Duration: 1-3 hours | Distance: 10km
A delightful 10-kilometre walking loop around the Swan River that takes you past key attractions including Elizabeth Quay, Barrack Street Jetty, Riverside Drive and the South Perth Foreshore. On foot or on wheels this is a great route with plenty of places for refreshments. Parking is more accessible on the South Perth side of the walk but taking the train and getting off at Elizabeth Quay is also a great option.
Karda Bidi, Dalkeith/Nedlands
Duration: 1-3 hours | Distance: 10.6km
A 10.6-kilometres one way nature walking trail, the Karda Bidi generously hugs the banks of the beautiful Swan River in Perth. The trail starts with a stroll through Kings Park, before following the river foreshore. There are cafes along the route, and places where you can read about the history of the settlers, as well as the local Aboriginal people, the Noongars.
Wardun Beelier Bidi, Peppermint Grove/Mosman Park/Cottesloe
Duration: Half day | Distance: 17.4km
The Wardun Beelier Bidi (Coast to River Trail) is a 17.4-kilometre loop trail, connecting the Indian Ocean with the Swan River, and starts at Grant Marine Park, Cottesloe. This trail connects through the Shire of Peppermint Grove, named after the trademark peppermint trees, the Town of Mosman Park including the historic Buckland Hill, and the beautiful Town of Cottesloe. The walk encapsulates iconic trails on route including Mosman Park's "Around-the-River Heritage Trail", the Swan Canning Riverpark, Mudurup Noongar Coastal Trail and the Minim Cove Interpretive Trail.
Jenna Biddi Yorga, Bicton
Duration: Less than 1 hour | Distance: 2km
The Jenna Biddi Yorga loop is a Whadjuk cultural heritage journey along Kwoppa Kepa (Bicton foreshore) and through Jennalup (Blackwall Reach Reserve). Running along Jennalup is one of many dreaming trails which traverse along the Swan and Canning Rivers. The dreaming trail on the southern side of the river is the yorga biddi (women’s trail) and the men’s trail is found on the northern side. The sand spit (Djoondalup) connects these two trails. To the Whadjuk people, Jennalup was traditionally a place for women and children and carries the story of Djunda the Charnock woman.
Melville Water Riverpark Trail, Applecross/Attadale/East Fremantle
Duration: 1-3 hours | Distance: 16km
The Swan Canning Riverpark holds significant cultural and natural values for Perth, serving as an important feature of the city’s landscape. The Melville Water Riverpark Trail is a sixteen-kilometre urban walking trail along the Swan River, from Fremantle Traffic Bridge to Canning Bridge through some of Perth’s most unique southern foreshore reserves and parks.
Perth City Heritage Trails
Knowledgeable volunteer Tour Guides offer free 90-minute orientation, history and art tours from the Perth City Visitor Kiosk. You can join a guided tour or pick up a map and follow the walk trail yourself. Click here for more information about these tours and to download maps.
Icons of Influence Walking Tour
When John Septimus Roe, naval officer, surveyor and explorer, first laid out the City of Perth in 1829, he envisaged a powerful city at the centre of a strong economy. St Georges Terrace was the focus of this design, a broad avenue running parallel to the shores of the majestic Swan River. Today, St Georges Terrace continues its role as the city’s powerhouse. Follow this trail to discover the history of the city through its iconic places of influence. As you walk along, keep your eyes out for plaques placed in the pavement that recognise the many people who have influenced the growth of Perth and Western Australia.
The Big Boom Tour
This historical walk through Perth city will highlight the ‘boom’ created by gold and the surge of growth, wealth and prosperity in Western Australia that followed. The City’s population swelled from 8,500 to over 27,000 in a decade and it seemed Perth would ‘bust’ as this remote town turned into a buzzing cosmopolitan city.
Convicts and Colonials Walking Tour
Although the Swan River Colony was established as a free settlement in 1829, convict transportation was introduced in 1850 to answer the demand for a cheap and plentiful supply of labour for the small population. The introduction of these reluctant immigrants caused much debate and controversy amongst the residents, who feared that their free colony would be forever tainted by the convict class. Whilst convict transport lasted only 18 years, the legacy of this period is embedded in the streets of the city and the folklore of the State. You can find out more about early settlement of the Swan River Colony on the Convicts and Colonials walk around Fremantle.
Perth Town Hall Tour
Built between 1867 and 1870, the Perth Town Hall is a landmark and an important building in Perth’s history, unique in several ways. It is the only major Australian town hall designed in a Medieval style. It is also the only Australian town hall built by convicts, providing evidence of their workmanship and technical skills which, during this time, were superior to those of free citizens. From the beginning, it was conceived not as Council offices, but as a venue for civic events, private and community gatherings and celebrations. Major works completed in 2005 restored the Town Hall to its place as a popular Perth venue for the new century.
The #heartofgold Discovery Trail
The #heartofgold Discovery Trail is an interactive gold adventure through Perth city, with augmented reality, fun widgets, timeless photos, and remarkable audio and video stories via the free Heart of Gold Australia app. The trail can start from two points: the famous Golden Eagle Nugget replica in Elizabeth Quay or the historic Perth Mint, then discover Perth's golden secrets - from today's world-class gold mines to the early gold rushes of the 1890's - visiting 11 locations of golden significance throughout the Perth CBD. The 2.5km self-guided trail will excite and entertain people of all ages who visit the city, as they learn its golden story and how gold changed the cityscape and secured the economic future of Western Australia and the nation. Find out more.
Parks & Gardens Walking Trail
Follow this self-guided walking trail to some of the city's most beautiful parks and gardens. Boasting 26 parkland areas and reserves, the City of Perth is described by many as a parkland oasis. The beautifully crafted green open spaces that cover one tenth of the city area combine heritage, public art and water features to offer a break from the bustle of city life. Take some time out to experience the tranquility of Perth's open spaces.
Art & Heritage Trail Northbridge
This Perth City walk trail explores the diverse history and public art in Northbridge. The trail offers a snapshot of the rich culture of Northbridge through historical images, public art and street art. Many of the buildings featured in this trail are State Registered as heritage buildings.
Perth City Public and Street Art Trails
Public art can stimulate thinking, deepen sense of place and transform how we engage with spaces. Within Perth city there are more than 200 public artworks reflecting the city's identity, both past and present. Immerse yourself in our city!
Art City Walking Trail
The Art City Walking Trail includes a selection of public artworks that showcase our evolving CBD and Northbridge. The trail includes the following works and you can download the trail map for more details.
- First Contact (2015): Located at Elizabeth Quay the stunning First Contact sculpture welcomes visitors to Elizabeth Quay from the city and the river. The cast aluminium artwork by renowned Nyoongar artist, Laurel Nannup, represents the arrival of European settler ships to Perth, whom the local Nyoongar people believed to be their past ancestors returning from the sea.
- Koorden (2015): Six dramatic male Indigenous figures rendered in cast bronze stride towards the east across the grass of Wellington Gardens at Kings Square. The bands that form their bodies represent painted ceremonial markings found in historical photographs, reinterpreted by artist Rod Garlett in extensive consultation with local Aboriginal elders.
- Grown Your Own (2011): Grow Your Own, located in Forrest Place, references the emergence of the organic farming movement in the early 20th century and the coincident rise of Modernist sculpture, with the eye-catching contemporary green contrasting directly with the natural stone of the surrounding heritage buildings. This distinctive sculpture encourages Perth’s people to connect to their city and community in a tangible way, fostering a commitment to making their own art and ideas.
- Ascalon (2011): Named after St George's lance of the legend, this commanding white sculpture that stands before St George's Cathedral represents the triumph of good over evil, depicting St George’s cloak billowing around his lance after he has slain the dragon.
- 'The Mob' – Kangaroo's on the Terrace (1997): This public artwork celebrates one of the world's most unique animals: the kangaroo. Captured in full flight, they bound through this highly structured modern urban space, like shadows from an ancient past, flashing across the inner eye; creating a startling visual counterpoint to their surroundings and an instant reminder that these magnificent creatures were migrating for millions of years through this area.
Elizabeth Quay Public Art Walk
You can find a wide range of amazing public art on display at the quay, from statues and mosaics to installations and lighting displays. The art walk includes the following works and you download the map for more details.
- Spanda: Spanda links the river, the land and the sky to welcome visitors to the quay. Suitably, its form creates a feeling of openness and inclusion. Spanda has been designed to be appreciated from all angles, interpreted in many different ways and to interact with the art piece by walking through it.
- Horizontal Geometries: The mosaic colours represent the riverbed, submerged and winding. On the upper levels of the building the river is reflected through the changes of light throughout the year.
- Edge: This giant artwork runs the entire length of the inlet, illuminating the water. EDGE can be programmed to reflect changing weather conditions, creating a
spectacular night time light show.
- Blade Walls: The MRA is working with 12 talented Whadjuk emerging artists to develop their skills and confidence in delivering public art projects for Western Australia. These ephemeral artworks will be updated every 18 months, providing new opportunities for artists to display their work.
- The Black Swan: This mural tells the story of how Western Australia’s native Black Swans came to be. The swans, originally white, were attacked by eagles tearing out all their feathers after the swans visited the eagles lagoon. Crows flew to the rescue covering the swans with their own black feathers, transforming the swans coat to black and their bloodstained bills red forever.
Perth City Murals and Street Art Map
Walking around Perth City, you're bound to stumble across a colourful mural or be captivated by some street art. We have gained international attention in recent years, with works from some of the world's best street artists gracing its buildings and lining laneways. See some of our favourites locations below and check out the City of Perth's Mural and Street Art Map to keep up-to-date with the evolving art scene.
- The Adnate, Perth: One of Perth's newest and more exciting pieces, this mega-mural on Hay Street was completed in August by Melbournian street artist Matt Adnate on the side of Perth's first Art Series hotel, which bears his name and is inspired by street art in its design; furthermore, each of the 250 rooms of the hotel boast prints of the artist's most-recognised works.
- Preston Street, Como: An eye catching portrait of beloved and influential English film director Alfred Hitchcock is painted on the exterior of the Cygnet Cinema in Como. The mural was commissioned by the Cygnet, and painted in 2013 by American street artist Nils Westergard, whose street artworks can be found gorgeously decorating several Australian cities as well as in London, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the US and many more places worldwide.
- Hertz Building, Murray Street: You'll find an eclectic mural next to the Hertz Building on Murray Street, just a few minutes' stroll from Perth train station. This huge mural was painted by the talented Mexican artist Curiot back in 2015 for FORM's #PUBLIC2015 festival; look closely and you'll notice Curiot's very cool reimagining of a koala.
The Claisebrook Cove Village Art Trail
This public art trail was created by local artist, Andrew Hawes, and includes around 150 hand painted Gecko sculptures that mark the trail challenging participants to 'see how many Geckos you can find?'. Many of the pieces on the trail express East Perth's history, landscape and buildings and some are made from the materials found found on the redevelopment site or salvaged from old buildings. The best way to take in the artworks and history of East Perth is to walk or cycle. The starting point, and a central place to meet, is the gecko marked sign post to Optus Stadium in Victoria Gardens. Follow the 'Gecko Trail' and key direction arrows on the pavement. See some information about some of the pieces below and view the The Claisebrook Cove Village Art Trail Map for more.
- Charnock Woman Mosaic Artists: Jenny Dawson, Sandra Hill & Miv Egan: The East Perth foreshore was a meeting and camping place for the Noongar people. This colourful ceramic mosaic tells the Noongar Dreaming Story of a giant evilspirit woman, known as the Charnock Woman, who stole children. The story can be read on the accompanying wall plaque.
- Channel Markers Artist: Malcolm Macgregor: A pair of seats located on either side of the Cove, use the imagery of a river channel marker. They also commemorate Solomon Cook's water driven flourmill and the Caretaker's Cottage at the entry to Victoria Gardens by Architect Richard Roach Jewell.
- Sculptured Seats Artist: Mark Cox: The industrial heritage of East Perth is an important part of local history. A series of four seats, constructed of jarrah timber recycled from the old PWD workshops, are based on the theme of pulleys, beams and rollers.
- Buzz Artist: Kambarni Bin Salleh 2019: Royal Street East Perth Members of the East Perth Community Group identified that Royal St had lost some of its shine in recent times. A plan “Renew Royal Street” was developed with the main aim of increasing the street’s liveliness and engagement with the retail, residential and visitor communities and included the commissioning of a several murals.
- Heritage Map Artist: Malcolm Macgregor: Located on Royal Street, in the heart of East Perth, is a granite map set into the pavement. It shows the old East Perth, its streets and blocks, together with other elements that describe its rich history.
South Perth Public Art Map
The City of South Perth is home to a wide range of works of public art, including sculptures, integrated artworks, murals, community art projects and - at certain times of the year - temporary and ephemeral (short-lived) public art. The artworks include pieces that have been commissioned by the City and others that have been commissioned by State Government agencies, private developers and those that have been initiated by community members. The interactive map shows the location of artworks, and provides images and basic information about them.
Art City and East Perth Public Art Walk
Art City is a guide commissioned by the City of Perth and other organisations to introduce visitors to Perth's public art. This art conveys Perth's cultural heritage and is created to enrich visitors understanding of life in Perth as they walk around and explore the beautiful surroundings.
- State Images Mosaics - Artists used over 60,000 tiles to create mosaic artworks that represent each region’s culture, community and lifestyle at the turn of the millennium. Located at the Swan Bell Tower, Barrack Square by Community Groups with artists Simon Gevers and Tania Ferrier.
- Bronze Swans - The bronze swans represent a natural feature of the Swan River. Text engraved on the surface of each swan are not intended to be easily read, but unravelled. Located at Swan Bell Tower, Barrack Square by artists Sue Flavell and Gina Moore.
- Kangaroos at Stirling Gardens - This art is a realistic interpretation of a group of life size kangaroos bounding along St Georges Terrace, led by the large dominant male. Located at Stirling Gardens, St George's Terrace by artists Joan Walsh-Smith and Charles Smith.
- The Greenway - A series of artwork that represent the chain of wetlands, which ran from the river westwards to the sea. The artwork exhibits representation of some of the locally extinct flora and fauna and the power of water to sculpt the landscape. Located on the corner of Claisebrook Road and Royal Street, East Perth by artist Nola Farman in collaboration with Tract WA Pty Ltd.
- Regeneration - A 14 metre relief mural, providing a visual history of Claisebrook. The mural tells a story of the rising and falling fortunes of East Perth and traces its origins from the Bibbullmun nation to the arrival of Europeans, industrial and horticultural growth, the phase of dormancy, and finally urban renewal in the 1990s. Located at the Victoria Gardens, East Perth by artist Joanna Lefroy Capelle.
- The Charnock Woman - this 25 metre mosaic tells the Bibbullmun Dreamtime story of the evil Charnock Woman. Four magpie totems in flight symbolise the spirit people who turned into magpies to attack the evil Charnock woman who used her long hair to trap children. During the battle it is believed the Charnock woman was flung into the sky and formed the Milky Way. Located at Victoria Gardens, East Perth by artists Miv Egan, Sandra Hill and Jenny Dawson.
- Sea Queen - This piece of art was created to reflect the artist’s childhood, when learning to sail, swim and fish in the Swan River. A figure holding a model yacht stands in the water. Nearby is an old repainted fishing boat “moored” against a dock at the water’s edge representing another aspect of river life. Located at Claisebrook Cove, East Perth by artist Tony Jones, assisted by Matt Dickmann.
East Perth Public Art Walk
East Perth Public Art Walk is located just 5 minutes from the Perth CBD in stunning Claisebrook Cove. The talents of urban designers, landscape architects and artists are reflected in imaginative buildings, street furniture, landscape features and stand-alone works of art. Download the Claisebrook Cove Art Walk brochure or view descriptions of some of the art work pieces below.
- Small Figurative Bronzes - A series of small lifelike bronze castings have been installed to delight and surprise as part of the pocket park in Macey Place. By artist Greg James.
- The Niche Wall Mural - A stunning 14-metre-long wall mural is an allegory for the history and development of East Perth. It interprets the evolution of East Perth from its origins in the Bibbulmun nation, to settlement with the arrival of the Europeans, its industrial and horticultural growth, a phase of dormancy, and its renewal as a place of community and harmony of the human spirit. By artist Joanna Lefroy Capelle.
- Steel Magnolias - These sculptures are made from industrial ‘junk’ salvaged from the old Perth Gasworks. They are like magnificent organic plants symbolising the park’s metamorphosis from industrial land back to nature. By artist Jon Denaro.
- Diver and Guard Dogs - In the elevated residential subdivision of Belvidere, a figure stands on its hands atop a timber column. This humorous spoof on Nelson’s Column is surrounded by timber guardian dogs that are popular with children. By artist Russell Sheridan.
- Sea Queen and Standing Figure - The old river boat is permanently ‘moored’ at the jetty on the northern side of the Cove, now a place to sit and take in the view. The abandoned fishing boat was found on East Perth’s foreshore and restored by sculptor Tony Jones. The memories of a life on the river are represented in Standing Figure holding a sailboat, her head turned to the direction of the wind. By artist Tony Jones.
- Art in Landscape - The artist has tried to create a tension between our own memories of a real wetland and the artificial landscape of the Greenway. Specially planted paperbarks appear to be forcing their way through the paving; irregularities in the limestone channel make the water bubble and dance. By artist Nola Farman.
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