Travel & Touring | WA Things To Do

By: Tatum Stafford

Whether you prefer to snorkel, fish, or swim, there’s bound to be a beach in Albany that takes your fancy.

Renowned for their long stretches of white sand, turquoise-blue waters and rocky granite headlands that boast amazing views, Albany’s coastline is one of southern WA’s most spectacular. Here’s a round-up of some of Albany’s best beaches to bookmark for your next visit.

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Best Albany beaches for snorkelling and diving

HMAS Perth wreck, King George Sound

This 133-metre-long wreck is a fascinating site for experienced divers to explore, and snorkellers to view from above. The ship was laid to rest in 2001 in King George Sound, off the Albany coast. Today, the wreck is home to schools of leather jackets, humpback boxfish and yellow tails, and there’s also plenty of colourful coral and sponges to view.

If you’d like to dive the site, you’ll need to purchase a permit. Otherwise, snorkellers can view the fish and marine life surrounding the wreck from the water’s surface.

Little Beach

This beach’s trademark crystal-clear waters make it a fantastic spot to snorkel. It’s located just over 35mins’ drive from the Albany townsite, and is perfect for kids or beginner snorkellers with plentiful fish and incredible visibility.

People at a beach

Whalers Cove

Also known as Fisheries Beach, Whalers Cove is a secluded beach that sits on the eastern side of the Vancouver Peninsula, a 20min drive from Albany. The beach features rocky granite outcrops and a seaweed bank a fair way out in the water – both of which provide prime conditions for marine life to thrive. The cove is sheltered from the swell and strong winds thanks to its position, tucked behind the tip of the peninsula, so it’s a calm spot to snorkel in shallow waters.

Other popular Albany beaches for snorkelling and diving

  • Mistaken Island, off Goode Beach, 19min drive from Albany townsite. At low tide, you may be able to walk to the island from the beach. Otherwise, it’s an easy canoe, kayak or SUP ride over.
  • Muttonbird Beach, off Goode Beach, 19min drive from Albany town centre. The beach is accessible via four-wheel drive and has clear turquoise waters that offer great snorkelling conditions.
  • Boiler Bay and Ledge Beach, within the Gull Rock National Park, 26min drive from Albany townsite. In these waters you’ll find the Shipwreck Awhina, which is easy to swim out to.

Best Albany beaches for fishing

Salmon Holes

Named after the schools of salmon found in the bay, Salmon Holes is a popular fishing spot within the Torndirrup National Park, a 20min drive from the Albany town centre.

The beach is usually protected from wind, but tidal surges can occur, so be extremely cautious when fishing close to the waterline and avoid rock fishing altogether.

Rocky headland with water
Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

Ellen Cove Jetty

Located between Middleton Beach and the Ellen Cove Boardwalk in the Albany town centre, this jetty was originally built in 1900, and after a few key refurbishments, has become a prime spot for fishing. At any time of year, you can expect to catch squid, herring, flathead, trevally and whiting.

Muttonbird Beach

Once a commercial fishing location, Muttonbird Beach has evolved into a popular spot for four-wheel driving, surfing and beach fishing. Just a 19min drive from the Albany townsite, the waters here are home to plenty of herring, snapper, sampson fish, silverbream, pike, flathead and whiting at all times of year.

There’s also a lesser-known beach nearby that sits in front of Shelter Island. Find it by heading left as you reach the fork in Muttonbird Road. It’s a small, triangular beach with great conditions for fishing, swimming and snorkelling.

Other popular Albany beaches for fishing

Fish for herring, whiting and skippy at Nanarup Beach, Cheynes Beach and Shelley Beach, and catch king george whiting at Frenchman Bay.

Best Albany beaches for four-wheel driving

Cheynes Beach

There are a range of four-wheel drive tracks to choose from along the expansive Cheynes Beach. Located a 50min drive from the Albany town centre, the beach is a very popular fishing spot, so you’ll likely be sharing the sand with other four-wheel drives that are set up for a day of beach fishing. These beach tracks are good for beginners, just make sure you have the right tyre pressures before attempting them.

Beach nestled in a cove

East Bay

This beautiful, secluded beach is smaller than Cheynes but still provides some prime four-wheel drive tracks. It’s a 42min drive from the Albany town centre. Check what tidal movements will be before venturing onto the beach, and if there’s an excess of seaweed, it’s best to steer clear.

Another popular Albany beach for four-wheel driving

  • Bornholm Beach in West Cape Howe National Park, 38min drive from Albany town centre. Often dubbed WA’s toughest four-wheel drive track (because of its steep exit route), so only very experienced four-wheel drivers should attempt it.

Best Albany beaches for beachfront camping

There are six nature-based campgrounds within the City of Albany’s coastal reserves, including:

  • Bettys Beach Camping Area, located 50km (a 40min drive) east of the Albany townsite. The area is accessible via two-wheel drive and provides direct access to the beach. Camping is not permitted from mid-February until the end of April, when the site is utilised by professional fishermen.
  • East Bay Camping Area, just over 40mins’ drive east of the Albany townsite. The camp sites sit within eucalypt shrubland and offer direct beach access. The area isn’t suitable for caravans or large campervans due to limited turning space and steep access road.
  • Cape Riche Campground, 100km (a 90min drive) east of Albany, technically within the small town of Wellstead. This is a great place for first-time campers as there are plenty of facilities including toilets, showers, barbeques and non-potable running water. The beach at Cape Riche is a short walk away, and offers great fishing, swimming and snorkelling. Fees apply - $20 per site per night, for up to two adults and two children.

Best dog-friendly Albany beaches

Dogs are allowed off-leash at most beaches outside of the city of Albany, except for Nanarup Beach and Frenchman Bay Beach.

There are also some dog-friendly beach zones close to Albany town centre. Dogs are welcome off-leash at the small beach to the right of the marina, between Hunter Street and Swarbrick Street, and along the long stretch of beach between the end of Flinders Parade and Firth Street.

Dogs are prohibited within national parks, so you’ll need to steer clear of beaches within the Torndirrup National Park and the nearby Gull Rock National Park and West Cape Howe National Park.

Best Albany beaches for families and kids

Middleton Beach

Middleton Beach is home to the Albany Surf Life Saving Club, so it’s a safe spot to bring kids for a swim during patrol season; on weekends and public holidays from December to March. Just beyond the sand is a grassy area which is lined with massive pine trees that provide shade for picnics.

The beach is a few minutes’ walk from Eyre Park, which has plenty of play equipment, and a café with toilet facilities. The beach is just a 6min drive from the town centre.

Playground on foreshore of beach

Emu Point Beach

With calm water, a play park and a cute fish-and-chip shop just a short stroll away, Emu Point Beach is a great spot for young kids to have a paddle. It’s only a short 12min drive from the town centre, and there’s also a café with toilets nearby.

Other popular Albany beaches

Misery Beach

Located within the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, a 20min drive from the Albany town centre, this beach features an impressive granite headland (part of Isthmus Hill), and incredible views of King George Sound. As its name suggests, the beach has quite a bleak history being close to the now-closed Albany Whaling Station. Today, however, it’s a great spot to swim or relax on the sand.

Beach with a cliff

Waterfall Beach

Also located within the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, the secluded Waterfall Beach has a small waterfall that weaves through rocks to meet the ocean. It is quite a steep walk down to the water, so this beach isn’t great for young kids or families. The water here is calm due to the rocks that protect it from the waves, so it’s an ideal spot for swimming – just pay close attention to tides as the beach is unpatrolled.

People at a beach

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Last updated: December 2021