Martin Chambers

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Elizabeth Quay paddle trail

published: March 21st, 2017

2km round trip. Suitable for all types of paddlecraft.

When they first proposed Elizabeth Quay the State Government provided artistic pictures of the finished project, complete with lovers strolling and families on bikes. And kayakers. I was skeptical, as kayaks and commercial boat traffic does not mix well, so I was very happy to see the small beach included in the finished development. It is the perfect place to land in your kayak.


It is now up to us to use it properly and keep out of the way of other craft so that access does not become restricted. In other words, know the rules, because kayaks DO NOT have right of way over the ferry’s. See page 3 of The canoe and kayak Guide to WA.

Having said the above, this is a great way to paddle and see the city. You can land and wander, shop, eat, have coffee or a beer perhaps. If you park on the South Perth side there are many places where parking, although time restricted, is free. Easy launching access is near the Narrows Bridge, either in the Jet Ski Area car park, or under the bridge. Coode St near the Wesley rowing shed is also a good starting point.

Paddle under the Narrows Bridge to the north side of the river, taking care of boat traffic that is restricted to the centre arch of this bridge. Follow the shoreline towards the city. A series of moorings for larger vessels are along here and if you are lucky enough to own such a larger boat, park it here then join the kayak trail on a real vessel.

Elizabeth Quay is easy to see by the large arch of the pedestrian bridge. Although the bridge has two spans only the first, the west span, is for boat traffic. Keep close to the left hand edge to avoid ferries as they come and go, but it is not that busy. If in doubt wait a few minutes for them to pass. Once inside, the beach is around to the right, almost hidden until you get to the Eastern span of the bridge. There is room for a couple of kayaks side by side, so pull you boat up out of the way if you want to spend some time here. There are statues, tourist shops, the Swan Bells, and for the summer, the sailing vessel Duyfkin to look at.

The return is simply the reverse route. You can stop for a while on the beach marked, or follow the South Perth shoreline around where there is also a nice beach to stop on.

In a strong sea breeze waves deflect off the rock walls and make for confused conditions. Paddle at a distance away from the rock walls when the wind is strong.

If you start at the Wesley boatshed, you can cross directly to and from the Elizabeth Quay footbridge. Most of Perth Water is shallow and larger vessels are restricted to the channels that are marked by port or starboard posts.

For a longer trip, cross to the south side to paddle out of the ferry channel. At Heirisson Island you can go only as far as the Causeway on the Southern side as a water ski area on the North East is a restricted area. If wishing to paddle to Claisebrook or beyond, or to stop on the island and visit the kangaroos, do so on the north side. The lagoon is a good place to stop.

This area upstream of Heirisson is presented as ‘Burswood Island’ (P63) of The canoe and kayak Guide to WA.