Feature by Ella LiascosMatilda Bay Reserve: a Nature Hub Minutes from the City

Abundant with wildlife, Matilda Bay reserve is a peaceful spot to park and recharge in nature for the day.

Published September 2018

When you think of picturesque picnic spots and places to watch the sun set near the CBD, it’s usually Kings Park that comes to mind. As the world’s largest inner city park, it’s the first go-to-spot that most people think of— but for those looking for a more tranquil nature hub surrounded by the river, there’s Matilda Bay. Just a few minutes-drive away from Kings Park and Perth City; you can sail, cycle, walk, picnic, or wine and dine on its foreshore, but make sure you stick around ‘til sunset because that’s where the magic happens.

Spot migratory seabirds at Pelican Point and one of 20 bottlenose dolphins that live there. See black swans maneuvering between sailboats and dipping their heads under water in search of aquatic plants, while pelicans roam the skies searching for the catch of the day. Whether you pay a visit for the fine wine and good food, or to get in the water and learn how to windsurf, this guide will help you make the most of it in your own way:


Bayside Kitchen

The newly renovated Bayside Kitchen is the laid-back little sister to the long standing and well-loved Matilda Bay restaurant, with the same calm views of the Swan, but an unfussy menu. You’ll find great burgers come lunchtime and a diverse breakfast menu that caters to carnivores and vegetarians alike.

Riverside Brew House 

For purveyors of good beer, particularly local and handcrafted brews — The Riverside Brew House is tucked away in the Old Swan Brewery and offers the finest brioche burgers and beers on tap. Try them all on a tasting paddle for $18, or work your way through one at a time while enjoying the sweeping views of the Swan River.

Matilda Bay Restaurant

Opening its doors in 1968, Matilda Bay Restaurant is a long time Perth fixture for fine dining with incredible views, and today, they offer wine tastings or private dinners in the Wine Room, where you’ll find an archive of some of the finest local and international wines on display.

Matilda Bay Restaurant, Perth


Walk (or cycle) along the Matilda Bay Reserve trail

Starting from what’s now become an iconic blue and white boatshed in Perth, take the scenic 4km riverside walk or cycle past yacht clubs and Matilda Bay restaurant towards Pelican Point, maybe stopping off to take in the view or have a picnic along the way.

Picnic or have a BBQ on the river banks

What better way to soak in some vitamin D and to watch the sunset than a picnic packed with all your favourite foods? There’s plenty of swans, pelicans and dolphins to add to the tranquil scene too.

Learn to windsurf or take a twilight sail

The Royal Perth Yacht Club offer windsurfing and sailing lessons, where you’ll learn to wield a Keelboat or a Dinghy with confidence. With a reliable south- westerly breeze, Perth is a sought after windsurfing spot and with its shallow waters, Matilda Bay is the perfect setting to try your hand at it.

Matilda Bay Restaurant, Perth

Eat breakfast at Elizabeth Quay before a boat cruise to Pelican Point

Offering 25 or 50-minute boat tours from Elizabeth Quay, Wild West Charters takes you past Kings Park, before reaching Pelican Point, an ‘A’ class nature reserve and as the name suggests; it’s a prime spot to see pelicans in abundance, preening their feathers or feeding on the shore. There’s also plenty of places to grab breakfast before or after at Elizabeth Quay.

Have a few days to spare?

Why not follow The South West Nature and Wine Drive from Perth to Pemberton.