Hillarys is a northern coastal suburb of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. Its Local Government Area is the City of Joondalup. It is part of the Whitfords precinct, and is located 21 km north-northwest of Perth's central business district via Mitchell Freeway and Hepburn Avenue.
The Metropolitan Region Scheme, designed in 1955, had proposed that Whitford Beach, just beyond modern Hillarys's north, would be the limit of coastal settlement, and in 1962, a highway from Fremantle to Sorrento was suggested by the Government. In 1967, a road to Whitford Beach was built after a major Catholic school, Sacred Heart College, relocated from inner-suburban Highgate into the region.
Wanneroo Shire Council and the R&I Bank began developing the Whitford precinct and planned a town centre, which ultimately became Westfield Whitford City, in the suburb's northeast, and Marmion Avenue was built. They asked for the Government to gazette a suburb here and this was done in 1971. Many streets in the new development (including the facing portion of what was to become Padbury were named for early explorers and pioneers of Australia. On 21 November 1978, Whitford City Shopping Centre was officially opened.
In preparation for Australia's defence of the 1987 America's Cup at Fremantle, the State Government commissioned the building of Hillarys Boat Harbour, the first major marina in the north metropolitan area. The retail complex on the site, called Sorrento Quay, commenced trading in December 1987 and was officially opened in January 1988. Also, in May 1987, the Government declared Marmion Marine Park over a region from Burns Beach to Trigg, to which the new marina complex provided a gateway.
The shopping centre and marina development fuelled growth in the suburb and by the mid-1990s, both the northwest and southwest of the suburb had been fully developed.
At the ABS 2001 census, Hillarys had a mostly above-average-income population of 10,159. Hillarys's oceanside location, proximity to three private schools and to Hillarys Boat Harbour has seen the suburb become affluent since the 1980s, and the ABS identified many managers and professionals living within the suburb. However, many tradespeople and service employees also live in the area.
Hillarys Boat Harbour, a large marina development which contains the Sorrento Quay retail development , was built in 1987 and includes AQWA (formerly Underwater World) and numerous shops and eating spots, as well as a ferry terminal offering whalewatching cruises during key breeding months and ferry services to Rottnest Island operated by Hillarys Fast Ferries (MV SeaFlyte).