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Albany, Western Australia
Middleton Beach is Albany, Western Australia's main beach, being the closest beach to the town centre. It's one of the best and most convenient places in Albany to escape to for swimming, long walks, picnics and possibly even some whale watching.
Behind Middleton Beach is the suburb of the same name, which has some good accommodation options, plus a golf course, parks and cafes.
Swimming at Ellen Cove
Ellen Cove, the southernmost corner of Middleton Beach, is sheltered from most winds by the rocks of Point King and Mount Melville. This patch of calm, clear water is a wonderful spot for a swim.
There is a pontoon that you can swim out to and jump off, and a jetty to walk on and fish from.
Behind the beach is an extensive grassy area shaded by Norfolk Island Pines. Here you will find picnic benches, BBQ's, toilets & changerooms and a playground.
Middleton Beach Walks and Bike Rides
At 5km long, Middleton Beach is perfect for a refreshing beach walk. Beyond the Ellen Cove park area, there are no buildings or roads behind the beach, which makes the beautiful natural scenery and dramatic ocean views all the more enjoyable.
From Ellen Cove, a boardwalk climbs above the rocks of Point King and follows the coast around into Princess Royal Harbour to Albany Port. This walk takes about an hour one way, and has great views of Middleton Beach, King George Sound, the Vancouver Peninsula and Princess Royal Harbour. At the right time of year, you might even spot a whale or two breaching in King George Sound.
An alternative to walking the boardwalk is to take the scenic Marine Drive from Albany's town centre, instead of Middleton Beach Road. Marine Drive skirts the slopes of Mount Clarence a little bit higher up than the boardwalk, and it too has good views of the ocean.
Middleton Beach Whale Watching
It's quite common during the annual whale migration past Albany for the whales seek rest and shelter in the calm waters of King George Sound. Sometimes the whales can be seen from places along the coast of the Sound, including Middleton Beach and Point King, where it's not unknown for them to come in right in close to shore.
This made the news in 2010 when a local teenager climbed up onto one of these Albany whales, which caused quite a stir (don't try this yourself - you could get fined $10000!).
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An aerial photo of the suburb and beach of Middleton Beach, Albany, Western Australia: