Runners in Perth are spoilt for choice and climate. With 300 days of sunshine each year and endless paths along the Swan River and coast, there’s little stopping you from grabbing your sneakers and getting sweaty. I run 10K once a week and pick from one of three routes, depending on my mood and energy levels. Having variety in my running ensures I strengthen different muscles so my body can handle hills, grass and pavement but it also reduces the risk of injury through repetition.
My favourite Perth running spots are all easily accessible from the CBD (and not surprisingly, my apartment). Each of these routes has its perks along with a potential drawback or two. If you’re not a runner, you can walk all of these options or check out my post on Learning to Run.
Here are my top Perth running spots:
1. Kings Park
Where’s better to work up a sweat than Perth’s premier park? Located 10 minutes walk (up a very steep hill) from the CBD, Kings Park is a West Australian treasure. Watch the city wake up as you run along Fraser Avenue, or power past picnics at sunset. I’m certain my sweaty face has featured in a few hundred tourists’ photos! The trick with Kings Park is knowing where to run because you want to crush goals, not wildflowers. I love that I can divert to the Kokoda Trail or Jacob’s Ladder for an extra challenge or variety. Download a map if you’re not familiar with the park.
- Distance: You can run for as little or as long as you like here. I have routes ranging from 4K-9K, depending on how much time and energy I have. All of them start and end at the city entrance, going along Fraser Avenue and past the State War Memorial. Different landmarks signal where to turn around.
- 4K: City entrance to Rotunda 2 and back. An easy run for the time-poor.
- 7K: As above, but continue on the Law Walk and turn around at the Dryandra Lookout. Stunning views.
- 9K: As above, but continue beyond the Law Walk until you reach May Drive. Endurance required!
- Terrain: Don’t be fooled. There are hills in this park, most notably what I’ve dubbed “the butt blaster” after Rotunda 2. My 7K and 9K loops include three hills but whatever goes up, must come down right? Therefore you’ll get some occasional relief.
- Interest: The Swan River views as you run on the Law Walk (parallel to Mounts Bay Road) are simply gorgeous. The path itself is surrounded by trees, shrubs and flowers and once I even saw a bobtail on the trail.
- Amenities: There are restrooms and parking at the city entrance near Frasers Restaurant and the Kings Park Café area. There’s a water fountain at Rotunda 2 and all three of my routes are partly shaded, depending on the time of day. I’d still bring a hat!
- After your run? Refuel at Mount Street Breakfast Bar or Health Freak Café.
2. Lake Monger reserve
This spot is an absolute jewel just 10 minutes walk from the heart of Leederville, or a 10 minute drive from Perth’s CBD. The main feature of Lake Monger is, not surprisingly, the huge lake. Back in the day, it used to be an important camping and hunting ground for Aboriginal people. Thanks to land reclamation in the early 1900s, the lake now has water year round and is popular with people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
- Distance: The paved loop is exactly 3.5 kilometres with every 500 metres marked in blue paint. If you’re new to running, try running one lap and walking the next. It’s perfect for building distance.
- Terrain: The route is completely flat, which is ideal for focusing on technique but can become repetitive for your mind or body.
- Interest: The lake is stunning and seeing swans and other birdlife is a highlight. There’s a one kilometre stretch along the Mitchell Freeway where you can’t see the water which can get tedious, especially if you’re fatiguing.
- Amenities: There’s a toilet block on the Lake Monger Drive side, and at least three water fountains. Parking is available at two entrances (Powis Street & Lake Monger Drive) and there’s plenty of shade on the one kilometre freeway stretch. Slather on the sunscreen though – you can cook on the rest of the loop.
- Refuel: at any of Leederville’s sensational eateries! My favourite is NOOD for the ultimate in health foods or Sayers for breakfast classics done beautifully.
3. Freeway South (perth to canning bridge)
The name for this route isn’t glamourous, but it’s accurate. The stretch between Perth’s CBD and Canning Bridge is a one I do mostly out of convenience – I want to squeeze in a workout and I need to be at the other location. It’s also my preferred route for night running as unlike Kings Park, it’s well lit. The hoards of bikers and commuters also make it a busy and bustling route – definitely a place to feel the city buzz. This point-to-point run works from either direction and if needed, you can catch the train or bus back to your starting point.
- Distance: I start at State Parliament and it’s a nice 7K to Canning Bridge.
- Terrain: The route is mostly flat but there are some inclines at the city end. Starting at Parliament offers some gentle downhill for your first five minutes, but if you’re starting at Canning Bridge you’ll endure some slight hills at the end.
- Interest: A loud, fast freeway on one side and stunning river views on the other. It can be idyllic if you block out the traffic. If you start at Parliament, the 3-4K section (after Mill Point Road and before South Terrace) can be pretty dull as you can’t see the water (that’s 4-5K in the reverse direction).
- Amenities: Mill Point Road jet ski area has plenty of facilities include restrooms, parking, shade and water. There are also newer facilities around the Como Jetty – no parking but restrooms, water and even a playground (in case you run with kids).
- Refuel: If you finish at Canning Bridge, head over the bridge to the 24-hour IGA for fresh fruits or deli items. If you finish in the city, Mount Street Breakfast Bar or Gordon Street Garage both beckon!
QUESTION: Where’s your favourite Perth running spot?