Spring time has finally arrived again in the sleepy city on the western coast! Spring in Perth is like no other – it literally transforms into Melbourne. Four seasons in one day – uno, dos, tres, quatro!
The usual foliage starts springing back to life. I wonder if the verb “springing” is to do with springtime or with the act of jumping.
Are you not trypophobed?
Spring brings many unique artists out of hibernation, culminating in displays of opulence such as this.
Spring in Perth is also a time for running and walking and doing outdoor things! Oh wait, that’s spring in most other countries as well.
Well, not quite yet. But she looks to be in a good mood this time round. That’s Summer, your friendly neighbourhood Samoyed, by the way.
Nestled in the southern edge of Western Australia, south of Perth, are some tranquil and verdant attractions that are worth the visit if you can spare the miles (I know we use kilometres, but you have to admit it’s not as poetic).
You get some amazingly picturesque views, as well as all sorts of quirky art and craft dotting the landscape. In some cases, it kind of takes over…
Welcome to Gnomesville – a cute little project started by some local residents that took off and turned into a not-so-little attraction.
Anyone and everyone is welcome to bring their contributions and leave them in this somewhat eldritch forest deep in the alcoves of the shire of Dardanup.
Spend some time chilling with your gnomies!
Aah Frogman is going to get me!
If you’re a casual cyclist and you’re searching for a spot to take your bike for a spin, there’s this idyllic lake just north of Perth city that you’ll absolutely adore! Chances are you’ve already been. It’s called Lake Monger. Mm hm, thank you come again!
Even if you’ve already graced the place with your presence, you should try going at different times on different days of the week. It’s a truly picturesque spot that’s popular with runners, walkers, young families and cyclists. This means it can get very busy during peak exercise hours.
The lake is circled by lush vegetation and stalwart trees, and beyond the lake looking south you can behold the cityscape of Perth standing watch above the treetop. There’s lots of local wildlife (mostly birds, and they’re not really that wild), as well as cute local domesticated life. Yes, I’m talking about pets here.
The place is centrally located and very accessible by bike. If you’re travelling up from the south, there is a region when you reach the central business district where you’ll have to do a hopscotch through the city then shimmy along the Mitchell Freeway until you spot the lake.
Here’s a brief cycle-through on how to get to the lake from Perth city. If you are game to cycle next to CBD traffic then go north along any of the main roads until you find your way to Wellington. Then go to 42. If not, go to 15.
Once you pass John Oldham Park (that one on your left as you approach the city) take a right into the spooky tunnel under the road, bear right, then head up the happy slope towards Mount Street where you’ll see the pedestrian overhead bridge that spans the Mitchell Freeway. Ignoring the trolls, cross the bridge and explore the quieter inner city streets that will lead you to the east section of Wellington Street.
There’s a little map below in case my directions are entirely unhelpful (which they probably are). I should mention this is a decent way of passing through Perth city without having to go onto the bustling deadly roads of Perth (they’re actually not that hazardous, aside from the cars), should you ever need to pass from north to south. Now go to 42.
Go along Wellington for a little bit then take a right to find your way onto Market Street before linking up with Railway Street. From here you have two choices: you can either go east or go west. If east is your inclination, then get onto the red bicycle path that runs parallel to the Mitchell Freeway and just cruise along it until you see an imposing white bridge that extravagantly opens the way to Lake Monger as well as the nearby train station.
Otherwise, you can take a jaunt into suburbia and cut north through Subiaco. Yep, that’s all folks; you can find your own way there. Don’t worry, the suburb is a grid, so just keep going right and you’ll be alright! No wait, I just made that up. Essentially, all you need to do is find your way to Lake Monger Drive, and the lake will be staring you in the face.
And a few hundred words later, you’ll find yourself at lovely Lake Monger!
Perth is a pretty pleasant place to pedal. I guess that sums up cycling in Perth: loads of peas.
And koalas and kangaroos.
I kid, you probably won’t see any of those (unless you specifically order them; some places serve a mean kangaroo steak) while you’re on your bike in Perth. Methinks this would be a good place to clarify that we’re talking about Perth, Western Australia. Hope I didn’t disappoint too much.
What you will see will blow your mind though. Well-kept lawns, pristine beaches, wide expanses of greenery, broad swathes of ocean and the most stunning sunsets you’ll ever see.
But enough chit-chat, let’s take a cruise around the metropolitan area of Perth.
Perth has some mighty decent cycling infrastructure: well-maintained cycle paths that flank the main freeway and surround the great Swan River; online guides to popular cycling routes; a few bicycle repair stations that may be in need of repair themselves; endless sunshine, except at night; quaint little cafes and coffee shops serving that precious molten elixir that everybody craves; and most importantly, freely available toilet facilities (yes yes coffee is waaay more important than whatever comes after you imbibe; let’s just say I saved the best few till last, m’kay?). What more could you want?
Chances are if you’ve been in Perth long enough, you’ll know it’s unofficially divided into the right side and the wrong side of the river. I’ll let you decide which is which, but it’s basically between the north and south side.
Now, both the north and the south have their fair share of bike paths and scenic routes. I imagine most of the routes you take will be influenced, if not dictated, by where you live.
While I’ve got the map here I might as well point a few things out. The north side has lots of nice beaches with cycle paths that run parallel so you can cruise along them to the thrum of the ocean. If you go inland to that little dot called Mundaring, there’s a forest trail that’s popular with the off-road MTBers. It’s also fairly mountainous, so if you’re into acute angles on wheels then be my guest!
One thing that isn’t found in Figure 1.1 is this vibrant coastal town just south of Rockingham called Mandurah. Alright, before you cut my tyres I’m pretty sure it’s a city by now, but for some reason I’ve heard it’s still classed as rural. Go figure.
A red riding path runs right next to the north-south Kwinana freeway and goes all the way from central Perth city down to Mandurah. It’s a reasonable distance (around 70kms for those playing at home) but definitely worth the leisurely ride. A few small hills and the occasional detour, but largely a straightforward route.
If you do decide to speed down to Mandurah, don’t miss the turnoff at Cockburn Central Train Station. There’s this quaint little coffee shop shaped out of shipping containers called Mooba.
They do a decent cup of joe, and I’ve noticed some people doing bicycle workshops in the area from time to time. They even have a bike repair station!
You can take detours to the two towns listed on the map before Mandurah, but you’ll find they’re both a fair distance from the freeway and are somewhat less vibrant. That said, don’t let it deter you from exploring those mysterious roads and forgotten forests…
In conclusion, if you are an avid cyclist and are for whatever strange reason being deported to Perth, fear not! For although the paths may not always be straight and may sometimes even end abruptly, there are many cycling adventures to be had here on the sunny western coast. And what can I say, the locals, they just looove cycling.