The liquid heart of Perth, the Swan River touches many of the city’s neighborhoods on its way to the Indian Ocean. The river passes through the Swan Valley wine region, Perth’s Central Business District and affluent suburbs, and the port city of Fremantle, and there are lots of recreational opportunities on the banks and in the water.
Enjoy the Swan River by doing some fishing, water skiing, or swimming, or simply taking a picnic to the water’s edge. You can take a cruise to go wine tasting, see the river on a tour of the city, or go running or biking along the waterfront. Popular sightseeing cruises provide views of yacht clubs, quiet bays, and impressive riverside homes, and some include lunch or dinner. Alternatively, you can also see the river from above on a helicopter tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Many cruises depart from the Barrack Street Jetty near the Bell Tower, which also has an observation deck with panoramic views.
- You can reach the Perth Zoo via the Swan River by taking the ferry to South Perth.
- Elizabeth Quay, next to the Bell Tower, offers eateries, a playground, and public art.
How to Get There
From Northbridge or the CBD, walk south and you’ll run into the river. The free Blue CAT bus also stops near the waterfront. To cross the river on foot, by bike, or in a vehicle, head to the Narrows Bridge, which connects the CBD and South Perth.
When to Get There
The sun is strong in Perth in the summertime, and the open riverbanks can be hot and bright. Sunset is a great time for photos, especially at Kings Park, where you can admire the city skyline as it starts to twinkle. Firework displays light up the skies over the river on New Year’s Eve and Australia Day.
Part of Perth’s metropolitan area, Fremantle is a port city known that sits on the south side of the Swan River, where it meets the ocean. Locals love Freo, as the area is called, for its café scene, bars, and casual vibe. The city is also known for its historical attractions, particularly the Fremantle Prison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.