The Best Beaches Around Albany And Denmark
Words by Kate Jones.
Western Australia’s Great Southern region is home to some of the best beaches in the state – if not the entire country – so to make it easy, we’ve narrowed down the best beaches to get to in Denmark and Albany (Menang Noongar Boodja).
These coastal towns are a 4.5 to 5 hour drive south of Perth, and thanks to the distance, many of these beaches are more under the radar than those in the Margaret River region. Indeed, there are so many fabulous white sand beaches dotted all along the southern coastline – here are some of our top picks (some you’ll have to search for yourself).
DANIMA Pool with greenery
Let’s start with the most famous and popular beach in Denmark, the glorious and peaceful Greens Pool. Within William Bay National Park and about 15 minutes’ drive west of the city, this turquoise bay ranks high on everyone’s Denmark itinerary. Flanked by a large granite boulder on one side and a long stretch of white sand on the other, this sheltered bay is perfect for a day of diving, paddling and picnicking.
Next to Greens Pool is the equally famous Elephant Rocks – a secluded cove that gets its name from the towering granite boulders that resemble a herd of elephants bathing in the shallow waters. This beach is accessible by a 5-10 minute walk from Greens Pool (head east over the rocks of Greens Pool and you’ll find a sandy path and then a wooden staircase that takes you down to the beach) or from its car park cars. It’s a very photogenic bay (it’s hard to resist popping a photo on the ‘gram), and lovely to swim and paddle in.
Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks tend to be murky in the summer, so be sure to also visit the lesser-known Madfish Bay, also within William Bay National Park. This picturesque beach is a haven for families, with its shallow blue waters acting as a wading pool for little ones. If you continue to wander around the beach (just go right from the beach entrance), you will find the perfect diving cove, surrounded by rocks to protect you from the wind.
Just a 10 minute drive from town will bring you to Ocean Beach and its beautiful backdrop of the Nullaki Peninsula. Guarded by the Denmark Surf Life Saving Club, this beach is also a popular spot for surfers, especially beginners to the sport. There is now a kiosk attached to the surf club so you can warm up with a hot drink or lunch after a morning of frolicking in the waves.
Prawn Rock Channel
If you come across this summer swimming oasis at low tide, you’ll think you’ve been transported to a tropical island. Prawn Rock Channel (just called the Channel by the locals) connects Wilson Bay to Ocean Beach and every year (usually in the spring) the sandbar between the inlet and the ocean is manually dredged, allowing the beautiful Southern Ocean to flow into the inlet. This takes out the cloudy inlet water and turns it into a channel of crystal clear water. Families flock to the shores to settle in for the day, and you’ll want to find the rope swing to catapult yourself into the current of turquoise water. If you cross one of the bridges, you can also find the dog training area.
The beach of lights
If you’re sightseeing in Denmark on a winter’s day, Lights Beach offers views over the choppy Southern Ocean, where you can spot surfers playing and when it’s warm, it’s an ideal beach to bring your dogs and swim in the pools rocky. It is also the end of the Wilderness Ocean Walk (WOW), a 6.2 km (one way) bitumen path that takes you from Ocean Beach to Lights Beach. There are three sections to the Beach of Lights, accessed by three paths leading from the car park. The left side of the car park takes you to the main beach where dogs can run and play to their heart’s content. We wouldn’t recommend swimming in the waves here though, as it’s pretty rough, but there is a nice rock pool that the waves crash into, similar to Injidup Natural Bath in Yallingup. The other two coves are better for swimming.
Bay of Peace
True to its name, Peaceful Bay is a quiet settlement and beach about 50km west of Denmark on the way to Walpole (you can stop for lunch at the Denmark Good Food Factory). The flat, pristine bay is perfect for swimming, fishing, snorkelling, boating, SUP and kayaking, and there are also a few cottages and a caravan park by the beach if you want to stay for a few days to really relax. Your dinner plans are lined with local fish, caught on the line from the caravan park’s fish and chip shop.
ALBANY Chicken Rock Beach
Nestled within Gull Rock National Park, 35 km east of Albany is the protected Gull Rock Bay. Once you turn off the main road, it’s a short drive along unsealed gravel, but it’s worth the trip. As you descend the steps onto the sand, you may be reminded of Pool Greens in Denmark, as both beaches treat you to panoramic views over a bay of calm, azure water. You’ll also spot the remains of shipwrecks not far from the water’s edge.
Whaling Cove/Fishing Beach
A 20-minute drive from the Albany city area, looping around Princess Royal Harbor, takes you to Whaling Cove (known to many as ‘Whalers’ or ‘Whaler’s Cove) and the adjacent Fishing Beach, separated by a big rock. Whichever side you choose to lay your towel on, expect the scratchy white sand, aquifer and granite boulders to laze like lizards.
You may have heard of Misery Beach thanks to its title as Australia’s best beach by Tourism Australia in 2022. Hide in the corner between the sugar-white sand and massive granite outcrop, or take a stroll along the coastline of 200 meters. The beach’s name derives from Albany’s infamous whaling history (the whaling station is nearby) but thankfully the beach is now seen in a new light, a place where we can admire the majestic humpback whales as they migrate ahead.
Bay of Two Peoples (Little Beach & Waterfall Beach)
Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve is a postcard-worthy park about a 40-minute drive east of downtown Albany, but rest assured, the mileage is more than worth it. Escape the wilderness and find refuge at Little Beach and adjacent Waterfall Beach, just a short walk from each other. If you’re up for a walk, you might also want to check out the 5km return Baie des Deux Peuples Heritage Trail, starting at the Visitor Center and taking you past native flora before cooling off at the two bays.
Sheep Bird Beach
Muttonbird Beach is a great location in Albany for diving and snorkeling, as just 130 meters from Muttonbird Beach is Shelter Island, known as the home of Little Penguins and Meat-footed Shearwaters. To get to this beach, get on Lower Denmark Road and head west of Albany for about 20 minutes.
Frenchman Bay is another diving and snorkeling hotspot in Albany, but also a great family beach to swim and sail around. Stay all day and make the most of the shaded picnic tables and BBQs, and if you’re lucky, you might spot humpback and southern right whales making their annual migration from June.
Image credit: Perth is OK!/DG Imagery