The Great Southern region of Western Australia is home to some of the best beaches in the state – if not the entire country – so to make it easier we’ve narrowed down the top beaches to hit up in Denmark and Albany (Menang Noongar Boodja).
These coastal towns are both a 4.5 to 5-hour drive south of Perth, and thanks to the distance a lot of these beaches are more under the radar than those in the Margaret River region. Indeed, there are so many fabulous white sandy beaches dotted along the entire southern coastline – here’s a few of our top picks (some you’re just going to have to seek out yourself).
Let’s start with the most popular and well-known beach in Denmark, the glorious and tranquil Greens Pool. Within the William Bay National Park and around a 15-minute drive west of town, 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 snorkelling, paddle boarding and picnicking.
Next door to Greens Pool is the equally famed Elephant Rocks – a secluded cove given its namesake 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 stroll from Greens Pool (head east over Greens Pool’s boulders and you will find a sand path and then a timber staircase leading you down to the beach) or from its own car park. It’s a very photogenic bay (it’s hard to resist popping up a photo on the ‘gram), and lovely to swim and paddle around in.
Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks tend to be chock-a-block in summer, so make sure you visit the lesser-known Madfish Bay too, also within the William Bay National Park. This picturesque beach is a haven for families, with its shallow blue waters acting like a swimming pool for the little ones. If you keep wandering around the beach (just take a right from the beach’s entrance) you will find the perfect snorkelling cove, encompassed by rocks to shelter you from the wind.
Only a 10-minute drive from town will bring you to Ocean Beach and its pretty backdrop of the Nullaki Peninsula. Guarded by the Denmark Surf Life Saving Club, this beach is also a popular spot for surfers, especially newbies to the sport. There’s now a kiosk attached to the surf club, so you can warm up with a hot drink or lunch after a morning frolicking in the waves.
Prawn Rock Channel
If you come across this swimming oasis in summer at high tide, you’ll think you’ve been transported to a tropical island. Prawn Rock Channel (just called the Channel by locals) connects the Wilson Inlet to Ocean Beach, and each year (usually in spring) the sandbar between the inlet and ocean is manually dug out, allowing the beautiful Southern Ocean to gush into the inlet. This flushes out the murky inlet water and transforms it into a crystal-clear channel of water. Families flock to the banks to set up for the day, and you’ll want to find the rope swing to catapult yourself into the stream of turquoise water. If you cross one of the bridges you can find the dog exercise area too.
If you’re sightseeing in Denmark on a wintery day, Lights Beach offers vistas over the tumultuous Southern Ocean where you can spot the game surfers, and when it’s warm it’s an ideal beach to bring your dogs and float around in the rock pools. It’s also one end of the Wilderness Ocean Walk (WOW) Trail, a 6.2km (one-way) bitumen trail taking you from Ocean Beach to Lights Beach. There are three sections to Lights Beach, accessible from three paths stemming from the car park. The left-hand 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’s a pretty rock pool that waves crash over, similar to Injidup natural spa in Yallingup. The other two coves are better for swimming.
True to its name, Peaceful Bay is a quiet settlement and beach about 50km west of Denmark, en route to Walpole (you can pitstop for lunch at Denmark Good Food Factory). The flat, pristine bay is perfect for swimming, fishing, snorkelling, boating, SUP boarding and kayaking, and there are also a few chalets and a caravan park by the beach if you’d like to stay a few days to truly unwind. Your dinner plans are sorted with local, line-caught fish from the caravan park’s fish and chip shop.
Gull Rock Beach
Tucked within the Gull Rock National Park, 35km east of Albany is the sheltered bay Gull Rock. Once you turn off the main road there’s a short drive along unsealed gravel, but it’s well worth the journey. As you descend down the stairs to the sand you may be reminded of Greens Pool in Denmark, as both beaches treat you to panoramic views over a bay of calm, azure water. You’ll also spot shipwreck remains not far from the water’s edge.
Whaling Cove/Fisheries Beach
A 20-minute drive out of Albany’s townsite curving around Princess Royal Harbour brings you to Whaling Cove (known by many as ‘Whalers’ or ‘Whaler’s Cove) and the adjacent Fisheries Beach, divided by a large rock. Whatever side you choose to lay your towel down on, expect squeaky white sand, aqua water and granite boulders to laze around on like lizards.
You may have heard of Misery Beach thanks to it being titled Australia’s best beach by Tourism Australia in 2022. Find shelter in the nook between the sugar-white sand and the massive granite outcrop, or take a stroll along its 200 metre coastline. The beach’s name stems from Albany’s notorious whaling history (the whaling station is just around the corner) but thankfully the beach is now seen in a new light, a spot we can admire the majestic humpback whales as they migrate past.
Two Peoples Bay (Little Beach & Waterfall Beach)
Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve is a postcard-worthy park around a 40-minute drive east of Albany’s city centre, but rest assured, the mileage is more than worth it. Escape into the wilderness and find refuge at Little Beach and the adjacent Waterfall Beach, just a short walk from each other. If you’re up for a hike, you might also want to check out the 5km return Baie des Deux Peuples Heritage Trail, starting at the Visitor Centre and leading you past native flora before you cool off at both coves.
Muttonbird Beach is a superb spot in Albany for SCUBA diving and snorkelling, as just 130 metres from Muttonbird Beach is Shelter Island, known to home Little Penguins and Flesh-footed Shearwaters. To get to this beach, hop on Lower Denmark Road and head west of Albany for about 20 minutes.
Frenchman Bay is another diving and snorkelling hot spot in Albany, but also a great family-friendly beach to swim and float around in. Stay for the day and make the most of the shady 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