Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
The rocks at the southern end of Swanbourne Beach mark the beginning of a 12 km stretch of straight west-facing beach that terminates at Trigg Island. The continuous sandy beach is only interrupted in the centre by the two rock groynes at City Beach, dividing it into three beaches (WA 440-442). These three beaches contain five Surf Life Saving Clubs at Swanbourne, City, Floreat, Scarborough and Trigg beaches and represent the most heavily utilised section of the Perth coast.
This section of the coast was originally backed by continuous sand dunes, extending in places a few kilometres inland, hence the endearing name ‘sand gropers’. The presence of the dunes both restricted access to, and delayed the development of, the beaches. The gradual establishment of the Surf Life Saving Clubs indicates the growing popularity and development of this stretch of coast. City of Perth SLSC was the third city based club established in 1924, followed by Scarboro SLSC, which patrols Scarborough Beach, in 1928. Next was the southern Swanbourne-Nedlands in 1932, Floreat, originally called North City, in 1948, and finally Trigg Island in 1954.
Today much of the dune area behind the beaches is covered with commercial and residential development, with only the 2 km of dune area between Swanbourne and City beach, still in a relatively natural state, and occupied by the army’s Campbell Barracks. Elsewhere the West Coast Highway backs the northern beaches between City Beach and Trigg Island, and there is good road access to Swanbourne.
The 12 km of beach runs relatively due north, with the only interruptions being the City Beach groyne. Waves average less than 1 m along the southern half, but increase in height to about 1 m along Scarborough and Trigg Island. These northern two beaches are the most hazardous on the Perth coast, accounting for 75% of all rescues in the Perth region.
Swanbourne Beach (WA 840A) begins at the rocks that separate it from North Cottesloe and runs due north to midway into ‘No Mans Land’ (WA 840B) the undeveloped dune area north of the clubhouse in front of Campbell Barracks. The Swanbourne-Nedlands Surf Life Saving Club is located 500 m north of the rocks. The development of the beach followed the construction of a limestone road to the beach in 1930 with the Surf Club formed in 1932. Today the beach has a large surf club, car park and patrol tower The beach usually has low waves, averaging 0.5 to 1 m and a wide beach fronted by a steep swash zone and attached bar. During summer the bar is usually continuous with few rip holes, however during winter and following higher wave rip channels will cut across the bar every 100-200 m. The North Swanbourne ‘No Man Lands’ area of beach is backed by a 10-20 m high foredune containing several blowouts, then the Campbell Barracks.
City of Perth SLSC patrols a 2.5 km section of the beach from the northern end of ‘No Mans Land’ (WA 840B) up to the two groynes that lie either side of the club house and which demark the main 500 m long City Beach
- Formal parking area
- Formal parking area