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A small coastal suburb of the city of Albany, on the south coast of Western Australia, Middleton Beach is also known as Binalup (“the place of first light”) to the Noongar people, its Traditional Custodians. As Albany’s main swimming beach, Middleton Beach is a buzzy stretch of sand, its calm waters protected by King George Sound. During the winter months, whales can often be seen frolicking close to shore. At the southern end of the beach, known as Ellen Cove, there’s a jetty that’s popular among anglers, and a floating pontoon you can paddle out to. From the head of the jetty a boardwalk climbs the hill to the south, offering superb views across the sound.
With several restaurants, pubs, accommodations, and even a golf course just steps from the sand, Middleton Beach has a relaxed holiday town feel, with the conveniences of central Albany fewer than 10 minutes’ drive way.
Middleton Beach is 415 kilometres or just under five hours’ drive southeast of Perth, which has an international airport (PER). Albany also has a domestic airport (ALH), a 15-minute drive northwest of Middleton Beach. Taxi services and car rental are available at Albany (Harry Riggs) Regional Airport.
While Middleton Beach is easily navigable on foot, you may want a car to explore Albany and attractions further afield. However, there is a local bus network, as well as a daily coach service to Perth. For cyclists, there’s a network of 10 Great Rides around Albany; grab a map at the Albany Visitor Centre or download one from the Amazing South Coast website. If you didn’t bring your own bike, rental is available near Middleton Beach.
If you’re planning on some beach time, the warmer months from November to March are ideal. Late January is a fun time to be here, when Eyre Park hosts the five-day Middleton Beach Festival.
There are plenty of other draws throughout the year, particularly whale watching from late May until early October. Albany also hosts several other annual festivals, including the Taste Great Southern festival in March, and the two-week Maritime Festival in July, featuring events in and around Albany in celebration of the city’s maritime history. As the final departure point for the first ANZAC troops on their way to the battlefields of the First World War, Albany is also a poignant place to observe ANZAC Day on 25 April, with a dawn service held on Mount Clarence, just south of Middleton Beach.
A 30-minute drive east of Middleton Beach lies the spectacular Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. Inside it, the gorgeous turquoise bay known as Little Beach is one of Western Australia’s most idyllic swimming spots. Park at the information centre and take the five-kilometre-return trail to the beach, enjoying the coastal scenery along the way, or drive all the way to the Little Beach car park.
Australia’s southwest is renowned for its whale watching, and Albany is one of the best places to do it, with King George Sound serving as a resting area for humpback whales, and as a calving ground for southern right whales, during the season.
Whether you love birds or just fancy a peaceful stroll, the Lake Seppings Bird Walk encircling the small lake behind Middleton Beach is one of Albany’s most underrated trails. Allow around an hour, or longer if you plan to hang out in the bird hide on the western side of the lake for a while. Just a few species you might spot include white-faced herons, blue-billed ducks, black swans, and pelicans.