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One of my favourite things to do during my time living in East Perth, mainly when I was awoken at 4am by my neighbours sounding like they were killing each other, was to head down to the Swan River with my camera and watch the Perth sunrise.
Life was surprisingly active by the riverside at dawn, from the early-morning joggers to the dolphins and pelicans fishing for breakfast. Not to mention the cars hurtling across the Windan Bridge on their way to work and the awakening of the many construction sites across the water in Belmont. While it wasn’t quite as peaceful as the serenity implied by these photographs, it was certainly beautiful and full of life.
While Perth’s location on the west coast of Australia makes it the ideal place for an ocean sunset, the winding Swan River provides some ideal photography opportunities for a great Perth sunrise too. To see the whole city light up in the morning, as well as the water, I’d recommend Kings Park.
But if you’re looking for something different along with a short walk, East Perth lies directly to the west of the river, making it an ideal area to watch the sun come up over the water. This 2.5km walk will take you from Victoria Gardens near the Royal Street cafes up to Bardon Park in Maylands.
Check what time the sun rises in Perth here, and remember to arrive about 20 minutes before dawn, when it starts to get light. It’s the perfect walk to take in winter, when the sun rises a bit later! Here’s the route and some of my favourite pictures of the East Perth sunrise.
1. Victoria Gardens
The journey starts in Victoria Gardens in East Perth, one of my favourite places to hang out on a sunny day, where you’ll see some big, waterfront houses with views across the Swan River.
2. Royal Street
Cross the bridge over the inlet by the Royal Street cafes and enjoy views of the Perth city skyline from a different angle.
3. Mardalup Park
North of the bridge is Mardalup Park that runs along the water’s edge.
Look east and you might see pelicans gliding across the still morning water.
4. Windan Bridge
Next you’ll hear the roar of the Graham Farmer Freeway running along the Windan Bridge.
Keep your eyes peeled for water birds while you pass underneath.
And don’t miss the dolphins; it’s breakfast time!
The power station you’ll pass by isn’t so pretty, but the reflections in the water are!
And the Swan River turns silver beneath early-morning clouds.
5. Banks Reserve
Keep looking waterside along Banks Reserve and you might spot some black swans.
6. Tony Di Scerni Pathway
Follow the Tony Di Scerni Pathway through the wetlands and listen to the frogs croaking. Just keep an eye out for passing cyclists!
Stop for a rest on the colourful benches at the end of the jetty while kayakers slice through the water.
You’ll pass mini beaches like this one before the pathway curves inland.
And maybe a cormorant or two drying off after a morning swim.
7. Bardon Park
The journey ends in Bardon Park, which lies at the top of the river bend and gives you another glimpse of the city.
Plus views of the Maylands Peninsula.
The walk ended here for me, but the Tony Di Scerni Pathway continues past the Maylands Yacht Club and into Berringa Park for those who want to walk further.
For more activities in Perth, check out this blog post covering 15 things to do in Perth. If you prefer to watch the Perth sunrise with sweeping city views, have a read of my post on Kings Park. Happy exploring!
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Lisa Bull, founder of Dreaming of Down Under, has been living in Australia as a British expat since 2015. After travelling to every state and territory in Australia and living in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, Lisa knows from first-hand experience the best destinations to visit in Australia and the best budget travel tips. Her guides on this blog have been read by over 700k readers and helped thousands of people achieve their dream of living in or travelling Australia.