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I am happy to stick my neck out and say that the Swan River (Derbarl Yerrigan in local Noongar language) is Perth’s greatest asset and the perfect playground for Summer.

Not only does it divide our city into north and south of the river (a key part to the Perth culture!), it provides the habitat for our state emblem, the Black Swan and our river dolphins. As the days are getting warmer, let’s explore the best ways to discover the river.

Three rivers (Avon, Canning and Helena) drain into the Swan River and it flows into the Indian Ocean at Fremantle so there are lots of places to start your exploration. If you are needing a little inspiration, here are our highlights of Swan River activities.


On the Water

There are a few ferries and tour boats that run on the Swan River. The most famous would be the MV Shelley Taylor Smith, MV Phillip Pendal and the new MV Tricia that goes from Elizabeth Quay to South Perth. The Little Ferry Company chugs up the river from Elizabeth Quay to the Point, Optus Stadium and Claisebrook Cove.



For a longer Ferry experience, Captain Cook Cruises run trips down to Freo and upstream to the Swan Valley for wine cruises. Even if you are a true blue West Aussie, it’s worth being a tourist to soak up fascinating facts. When was the last time you were a tourist in your town?

Partygoers need not feel they are missing out when it comes to Swan River entertainment. The Raft is a new concept and is set to be a highlight for Summer 2020.

If you want to get behind the tiller, but don’t have a Skippers ticket, why not try a Nauti Picnic self-driving tour to explore the river on an electric picnic boat. Take your own food and drinks and explore at your own pace. As long as you are over 20 years old, eight people can picnic on the river for three or six hours.

If boats aren’t your thing, there are other ways to explore the Swan.

For something new and unique, try out Perth Waterbike Co.  As the name suggests, they are a cross between bike and boat and are great fun and easy to use, and who doesn’t love exercise that is fun too! Just don’t forget your sunscreen. You can check out our review here.

For a more traditional cycling and paddling experience you can contact About Bike Hire, based at the Point off Riverside Drive in East Perth. They have plenty of quality bikes to choose from as well kayaks.

Funcats hires out catamarans on the foreshore of South Perth on weekends. You don’t need a lot of sailing experience to get your on-water adrenaline rush. They also have stand up boards and kayaks, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.



Fun on the Riverbank

Perth’s best Swan River activities don’t need to be on the water. For the most part, the Swan River has a walk/ cycle trail all the way around it.

Some of the iconic walk/rides are Round the Bridges 10kms (Narrows Bridge to Causeway), Windan Bridge Circuit and the big round the river 50kms (Narrows Bridge down to Freo and back). If you don’t have a bike, About Bike Hire is perfectly located for this trail.




Jut out into the river, perfect for dropping a crab net or catching a fish. Some of the popular ones are Claremont Jetty, Coode St Jetty, Applecross Jetty, Bicton Baths, Como Jetty, Deepwater Point Jetty, Freshwater Bay Jetty, Keane Street Jetty, Mosman Bay Jetty, Redcliffe Jetty and Success Hill Reserve Jetty.



Instagram: Two of the most instagrammable spots in Perth are on the Swan River. They are the Blue Boatshed at Crawley and the Container Rainbow on Canning Highway near Fremantle. Get your camera ready for these spots as they are popular tourist attractions.


So lets get out there and explore the Swan, arguably Perth’s greatest natural asset along with its beaches.

We would love to see your Swan River activities so don’t forget to tag us #perthhappenings so we can check it out!


We’ve sorted out your day adventures in the city, why not check out these staycation spots to really create a tourist experience.