Albany is steeped in stories of its Aboriginal custodians, convicts, sailors and whalers.
By Kris Madden
The breathtaking beauty of Albany’s rugged coastline creates a fitting backdrop to dramatic whaling, convict and settler history and a sensational south coast adventure. This charming city marks the spot where the first European settlers set foot in Western Australia, and much of their legacy remains today with colonial buildings standing proudly as museums, galleries and restaurants. The whaling station museum tells fascinating tales of Albany's whaling industry and you can take a cruise to meet whales up close. World-class wine, food, fishing, surfing, swimming, diving, hiking, four-wheel-driving, camping and other activities are all within minutes of town.
- Take a dip at Western Australia's best beaches
- Visit the National Anzac Centre to learn about Australia's war history
- Go whale watching and visit a former whaling station
How to get there
Located on Western Australia’s southern coast, Albany is approximately a five hour drive from Perth or six hours by bus. Regional Express Airlines (Rex) flies daily between Albany and Perth.
Top things to do in Albany
Dip into Western Australia's best beaches
Laze your day away and stake out a patch of sand at one of Albany’s pristine beaches. Middleton Beach is popular with families, with soft white sand and gentle waves; while Emu Point Beach is perfect for kayaking. Little Beach at Two People’s Bay Nature Reserve is regularly voted one of Western Australia’s best beaches.
Hike the Bibbulmun Track
The Bibbulmun Track stretches almost 1000 kilometres between Albany and Kalamunda near Perth, and is one of the world's great long distance walking trails. It passes through towering forests, tranquil farmland and wild beaches, and is signposted with yellow markers symbolising Waugal, a snake-like Aboriginal Dreamtime creature.
Wander through a Field of Light
An immersive art installation by Bruce Munro, Field of Light: Avenue of Honour will pay homage to the Anzacs with 16,000 shining spheres at Mt Clarence marking the last sight of home for 41,000 troops who departed from Albany for the Great War. It will coincide with peak wildflower season and the conclusion of the Anzac Centenary commemorations, exhibiting from October 2018 through to Anzac Day in April 2019. The exhibition is a free public attraction, but visitors can also book one of three unique packages to enhance the experience.
Visit the National Anzac Centre
Experience the World War I legend that shaped a nation at the National Anzac Centre, a state-of-the-art museum that uses multimedia, interactive exhibits and historical artefacts to create a deeply personal connection with the past, and pay tribute to the Australian and New Zealand forces who served in World War I.
Explore Albany Whale Museum
Discover the richness of Albany’s whaling history at the Albany Whale Museum, the only museum of its kind in the world built from the remains of a former whaling station. Spot whales from the shore between May and October, or see them up close on a whale watching cruise in King George Sound.
Sail into history
Walk the gangplank and step back in time aboard the Brig Amity a replica of the vessel that carried settlers and convicts to establish the first European settlement on the west coast of Australia in 1826. See what life was like aboard a convict ship and learn how the expedition forged peaceful relations with the local Aboriginal Minang Noongar people.
Nip into a whisky distillery
Albany’s Great Southern Distilling Company will guide you through the history of whisky making and the process itself, followed by a tasting of its award-winning drops. Great Southern is also the place to sample handmade gins, vodkas and other liqueurs using Australian botanical ingredients. Tours of the distillery take place on weekends.
Sip your way around the Great Southern Wine Region
The Great Southern Wine region has a reputation for quality wine production to rival its more famous Margaret River neighbour. Award-winning Singlefile Wines, Forest Hill Vineyard, and Plantagenet Wines are just some of many on offer in this acclaimed region. Learn about organic winemaking at Oranje Tractor where you can book in for a personalised wine tasting and roam through its extensive organic fruit and vegetable gardens.
Explore Torndirrup National Park
Albany is just a short drive to Torndirrup National Park, a wild and rugged coastal park known for its spectacular wave-carved rock formations including Natural Bridge, the Gap, and the Blowholes. Lookouts and walkways connect these natural attractions formed over millennia by the surging power of the Southern Ocean.
Albany Heritage Park
The Albany Heritage Park surrounds the summits of Mount Clarence and Mount Adelaide, and stretches from the port to the shores of Middleton Beach. The park encompasses many historical, cultural and natural attractions, beautiful wildflowers and Aboriginal and European cultural sites. Walk along the Point King lighthouse for spectacular views.
Embark on the PUBLIC Silo Trail
The PUBLIC Silo Trail is a series of world-class murals that celebrate culture, creativity and the beauty of regional Western Australia. Embark on the self-drive journey of over 1000 kilometres (620 miles) to view the epic artworks blanketing the region’s grain silos. Drive through quaint country towns like Northam, Ravensthorpe and Merredin, stopping to experience the laid-back way of life. Enjoy the art at your own pace, embracing both the absence of crowds and the serene surrounds. From depictions of dogs on tractors to detailed sea dragons, you’ll cruise through an open-air art gallery unlike anything you’ll find in a museum.
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