Scarborough Beach -31.89804° N, 115.76119° E
I found the end of the rainbow and these are the GPS coordinates for you to find it too. There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but what lies at the end of the rainbow is far better than I ever imagined. At the end of the rainbow lies Scarborough Beach in Perth Western Australia.
Scarborough shimmers and glistens under a radiant, bright, sun-shining sky, the same as a pot of gold would do. Nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Scarborough is an up and coming hotspot for tourists, backpackers, surfers, yogis and more. Scarborough has recently been revamped and given a fresh coat of atmosphere, culture and life. Scarborough Beach is on Whadjuk Noongar Country and I would like to acknowledge all past, present and future Whadjuk Noongar People, as the traditional custodians of the Boodja (land).
Scarborough Beach is one of Perth’s most loved beaches by locals and visitors. No matter what time of the year, people are always out and about enjoying their morning ritual, which consists of coast walks, ocean dips, surfing and of course … coffee! Even in the middle of Winter on a stormy, cold day, you will still spot ‘The Polar Bears’, enjoying their icey cold ocean baths.
Intermediate to advanced surfer – the best time of the year to surf in Scarborough is Winter and Spring (between June to October). Scarborough Beach is lined with beach breaks and relies on big storms to create sand banks and give shape to the waves.
However, if you are a beginner, you may prefer the Summer time (December – April). As a beginner surfer, there’s nothing better in Summer than grabbing your foamy and riding some whitewash with friends, while watching the sun rise behind you. Just make sure you get to the beach before the ‘Fremantle Doctor’, which is the strong south-easterly, onshore wind, that greets us nearly every afternoon in Summer.
Surf lessons and board hire – the best in the bizz is a local company called ‘Go Surf’. Owned and operated by local surfer, Tom Johnson, Go Surf will take care of all your surfing needs and at a reasonable price. The Go Surf van sets up for the Summer at Brighton Beach (5-minute walk north of Scarborough Beach). Here you’ll find foamboards, wetsuits, group lessons, private lessons and great banter with the Surf Coaches. If you’re a more advanced surfer chasing a rental board, ‘Soul Board Store’, can loan fibreglass boards, poxy boards, short boards, long boards, twinnies, single-fins, mals, logs, planks … you name it.
As for surf spots in Scarborough, the best thing to do is ‘have a sniff’, as the locals say. Grab a coffee from Livid Skate Café and wander up to ‘Sunset Hill’, to check the surf as far North and as far South as the eye can see. From the Hill, you can spot the best working banks and the least crowded spots. Favourable surf conditions for Scarborough are offshore, Easterly/North-Easterly Winds. Avoid Westerly Winds. Scarborough works best between 1.5m – 2.5m. Anything bigger and the waves lose their shape and pack a mighty big punch!
Ommmmm. Scarborough has many wonderful options for Yoga. My favourite studio is ‘The Yoga Room Scarborough’, located in the Luna Shopping Centre. The Yoga Room Scarborough is a modern studio, with a delicious menu of classes to choose from and highly knowledgeable teachers to guide you to bliss. Classes include Yin, Vinyasa, Slow Flow, Restorative, Flow Rhythm or Back to Basics for beginners.
In the warmer months, you can practice Yoga outdoors and for a cause, with a Brazilian operated Yoga group. The group meet on Sundays by the beach and all profits go towards teaching English to children in Brazil
On your way to Scarborough Beach, you can’t possible miss the huge ‘Rendezvous Hotel’. The Rendezvous is at the higher end of accommodation in Scarborough, but included is an awesome pool on Level 10, overlooking Scarborough Beach and the breath-taking West Coast sunsets. You can’t get a better location than the Rendezvous.
Traveling on a budget, I recommend staying at ‘The Western Beach Lodge’, only 1km away from the heart of Scarborough Beach. Here, you can find affordable private rooms or shared dorms and meet like-minded travellers and backpackers.
There are so many options for food lovers in Scarborough. My favourite Café in Scarborough is Livid Skate Café, located right next door to The Yoga Room Scarborough. The Café is run by local legend, Oskar Tallis and his super friendly team. Grab a coffee and a bagel to go. Or stay for a yarn about the surf and enjoy your brew, while browsing Oskar’s hand-shaped Skateboards and merchandise. Oh… and the recently installed projector always has cool surf and skate films playing in the background, which may put your other plans for the day on hold.
If you’re up early enough to see the Polar Bears swimming at Brighton Beach, stay for a morning coffee, acai Bowl or toasted sandwich at the ‘C-Breeze Kiosk’. Run and operated by Gail and her team, you’ll soon feel a part of the family there in no time. Just remember to BYO coffee keep-cups.
Scarborough has a huge, vibrant Brazilian culture. If you’re looking for good food and a taste of Brazilian culture, head to ‘Buteko’. Owned and operated by Brazilians, Buteko is a home away from home for many Brazilians. Check their website for nights of drum circles, DJ beats and dancers.
Anddd my final foodie recommendation is ‘The Sandbar’. Located right on the Scarborough foreshore, The Sandbar is perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert, beer, wine, cider… you name it. Catch local and live music on the weekends and grab front-row seats to watch the sun sink into the Indian Ocean.
If you’re not surfing, swimming, eating, drinking coffee, or practicing yoga, there are other options. You can hang out around the skate bowl, go for a walk or bike ride along the coast. Take the kids to the whale playground, swim laps in the outdoor 50m pool (which has ocean and sunset views). Wander around the Scarborough pop-up markets or just simply set up on the beach for the day with friends.
We can’t talk about Scarborough without mentioning ‘The Indi Bar’. The Indian Ocean Hotel is a grungy, old school, but oh so soulful pub, hidden in the backstreets of Scarborough. Wednesday nights are acoustic nights, but Thursday nights are by far the best nights to drop in. Thursday night is open mic night and a hub for locals and travellers of all ages and backgrounds to come together. Have a beer and have a dam good time, while listening to an eclectic range of live music.
Things to do
If there’s no surf, or the sun is hiding, there are so many other fun activities to do in Perth.
Take a day trip to Lesmurdie Falls in the Hills and get lost in the beautiful, scenic walk trails and waterfalls. Too much salt for one day? An hour south of Perth is Serpentine Falls – a fresh water swimming hole. With a BBQ area, you can enjoy a day away from salty life. If you want an incredible birds eye view of Perth, take a walk through Bold Park and soak up the views of the world’s most remote city.
If you’ve got a board and you’re staying in Scarborough, the best way to travel is to strap your board to your bike and ride with the wind. It’s sustainable, practical, affordable and efficient.
Perth has a good network of buses and trains that will take you to your destination. However, on weekends, public transport is infrequent, starts late and finishes early. Also, no boards allowed on buses… boo! So, another option is to hire a car or a van and navigate your way around the city and coastline.
Money & Visa
It’s always handy to have cash on you, but it’s not necessary. Most places in Perth accept VISA or international cards. Cash is just handy for public transport and tattoo parlours.
Citizens of most European countries can visit Australia on a free eVisitor visa – up to 3 months stay. For other options go to the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.
If you’re staying locally around Scarborough, you can be a sustainable traveller by cycling or walking to your destination. Walking and cycling is a wonderful way to see and feel a new city.
Scarborough is now a coffee lovers’ destination. Therefore, take-away coffee cups are everywhere you go. So it’s a good idea to always bring your own coffee keep-cup if you know you’re going to have a nice warm cuppa-joe after your surf. From little things, big things grow and by making small daily changes like this, we can all live on a cleaner and healthier planet.
If you decide to do a day trip from Perth, jump on line to the Perth rideshare and backpacker Facebook pages. Visitors are always looking for people to team up for an adventure.
Bulk food stores! Perth has so many great bulk food and plastic free stores. Check out Dunn & Walton in Doubleview, The Bulk Food Source in Floreat and the copious number of sustainable and plastic free stores in Fremantle.