Location: Ellen Cove Middleton Beach, Albany
Distance: 6km one way
Trail Marker: Unmarked but straight forward. Download Kml file below.
Duration: 1 - 2 hours
Cost: $0, free entry
Toilet Facilities: Yes, at start/finish
Dog Friendly: Yes
Date Hiked: 5th October 2018
This dual-use pathway from Ellen Cove to Albany Port is one of the best ways to see the beautiful coastline of the historic town of Albany. The trail hugs the rugged Mt Adelaide hillside giving fantastic views of Middleton Beach, King George Sound and the outer islands and provides a great opportunity to explore memorials and historic buildings. As you gaze out to sea imagine the Australian troops departing to fight in Gallipoli. We made our way around to the boardwalk to begin the trail, passing by a tiered picnic level that was under construction at the time. We took some time to read the interpretive signs just before the boardwalk which provided information on the settlement arrival in 1836. The small jetty is quite popular with the local kids as they jump into Ellen Cove which is currently protected with The Aquarius Barrier. It supposed to be in a trial period which is due to expire March 2019, as it stands it is still there.
First stop along the boardwalk was at the whale-watching lookout. You can catch the migrating humpback and southern right whales during whale-watching season (May to November). Next stop is the Captain Nicolas Baudin monument, a landmark celebrating one of the first European explorers in the Pacific. Scenic lookouts take in the views of King George Sound and Ataturk Entrance. A midway connection to Rotary Lookout allows the path to be enjoyed in sections if desired. The next highlight of the trail is the Point King Lighthouse. The end of the Crimean War in 1856 brought new life to international shipping, so two lighthouses were proposed for Albany, one on Breaksea Island and this one which was completed in 1858 by Joseph Nelson who was the first lightkeeper but also build the structure. The lighthouse is the source of long running ghost stories that tell the tales of a dark-coated, bearded 'gentleman', believed to be the ghost of Jon Reddin (the last lightkeeper) guiding disorientated yachtsman into the harbour through stormy weather.
Next stop was to check out the historic ruins of abandoned gun emplacements of the lower Forts. Please note that this is not directly on the trail itself but requires ascending up the stairs opposite the entry to the Point King Lighthouse. I should mention that this section was done on a different day as you couldn't take bikes up to explore through this part. There's quite a few trails around here and we really enjoyed exploring and seeing what was around. We came across some old WWII army bunkers which was a little eerie to be honest. The last bunker is hidden by a huge granite rock (can be seen from the main trail). It was here that we took a short side trail back to the main one. Next up was the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk life sized statue. He was Commander in Chief of the Turkish forces at Gallipoli, and subsequently President of Turkey from 1923 – 1938. His famous words are 'Peace at home, Peace in the World'.
More WWII army bunkers. These ones can be found hidden away just below the trail but you need to keep lookout for them as they are easily missed. The trail ends not far from here. Walkers have the choice to continue on to the Port itself or double back to the start.