When planning this trip around Australia, one of the major highlights for me was South Western Australia. Growing up in NSW, most of my friends and family rarely travelled outside its borders, so I learned nothing about WA. I assumed that besides the desert, it was all pretty much the same as home.
Now that I am an adult, I have met some more adventurous travelers. Maybe these days people are prepared to go a bit further than they use to. Everyone I know who has been to this part of Australia has loved it, and encouraged me to make it a future destination. So after the Nullarbor, an inland visit to Kalgoorlie and some bush camping in National Parks, we arrived in Albany and headed for Middleton Beach Holiday Park.
My first impression was how neat and tidy it was, and the gardens were spectacular. It’s not a particularly large park, but it is nestled behind the dunes directly adjacent to the lovely Middleton Beach.
Mike and I both agree that Albany is our favourite place so far. There are two natural harbours (Oyster and Princess Royal), separated by Middleton Beach. Most of the coastline is sparsely developed, which is refreshing for a large coastal town. There are loads of Nature Reserves and National Parks close by. We were there out of season, but Albany is a great place for Whale Watching round June-December.
A point of interest, Australia’s last commercial Whaling Station ceased operation here in 1978, and you can still visit the Station, now called ‘Whale World’. It explains the history of Whaling in the region, which I mostly found a bit confronting, given the state of the whale population these days. But there was a great film about shark conservation, and a 3D film about the Life of Whales. Coby and Rhys kept stretching out their arms trying to touch the 3D whales. One of the Whale Chaser ships used by the station is now part of the display, where you walk all over the ship from the engine room to the upper deck. This impressed the kids to no end. BIG4 members get a discount at Whale World.
We also had a great time wandering around the town of Albany. We visited the beautiful Emu Point at the entrance to Oyster Bay, and the Brig Amity replica, the boat that brought the first settlers to Albany in 1826.
The time we were in Albany was some of the best weather we had seen on our trip. We made the most of it and visited the spectacular pool every day. The setting was relaxing and we all had heaps of fun, also enjoying the Hydro-spa.
I have to also mention the Family bathroom. This was bigger than our caravan. For the first time this trip, I had a bath with the kids. Such luxury.
Our sometimes travelling companions, the O’Callaghan family, were also in Albany, and were staying at the BIG4 Albany Gardens Holiday Resort. We met up with them one night at their park for a BBQ. Although it is not a beachfront park, it is definitely a great alternative, especially if you wish to be located closer to the centre of town.
Middleton Beach Holiday Park was a great place to relax and recharge before continuing on with our journey.