Albany is filled with stunning beaches, rich marine life, incredible national parks and a wonderfully historical township to explore, indeed there’s plenty to love in and around this southern gem.
Here’s our definitive guide to enjoying all that Albany has to offer:
SEE & DO
Albany was home to this country’s last operating Whaling Station, and it’s not hard to see why. The area is fantastic for whale watching, playing host to Humpback and Southern Right whale migrations from May to October every year, with fantastic viewing spots all along the coast line of the area. King George Sound is a busy area for calving Southern Right Whales and resting Humpbacks, while there are also plenty of tour operators who’ll take you out on a boat to get closer to the action.
National ANZAC Centre
The National ANZAC Centre is a state-of-the-art museum blending multimedia, interactive exhibits and historical artefacts examining the Australian and New Zealand forces that served in World War I. As a visitor you’ll assume the identity of one of 32 actual service men or women, and follow their experience of the Great War right up until a fate you’ll only discover at the end – a haunting, magical experience.
Museum Of The Great Southern
Overlooking the Princess Royal Harbour, the Museum Of The Great Southern is another great stop-in for history buffs, featuring exhibitions, public programs, educational programs and information on the unique natural and social history of the region. It also shares stories of the Menang Noongar people and the early settlers and convicts, along with a look at the region’s unique natural landscape, flora and fauna.
Historic Whaling Station
A one-of-a-kind experience, give yourself a few hours to tackle the immense, in tact whale processing facility and whale chasing ship! It’s the remnants of the last whaling company to cease operations in Australia, Cheynes Beach Whaling Company, which ceased operations in 1978.
And More Historic Sites
Given Albany is the site of the first European settlement in Australia, you can kinda tell it’s a destination filled with historical activities. Aside from the major ones we’ve spoken about already, there’s a heap to explore in and around the town, including St Johns Anglican Church, the Old Post Office, Patrick Taylor Cottage, the Old Farm At Strawberry Hill, the Old Gaol, Princess Royal Fortress, Albany Heritage Park and the Brig Amity replica.
Albany Farmers Market
Every Saturday from 8am til midday Collie Street in town is taken over by the lush, fresh-produce rich Albany Farmer’s Markets. It’s not only a fantastic place to pick up vegetables, fruits, farmed meats, seafood and more every week, you get to mingle with and meet the locals, who’ll be happy to let you know what’s what.
The Gap & Natural Bridge (Torndirrup National Park)
Along with the Stirling Range (Bluff Knoll) and Porogongorup Range (Castle Rock), Albany is also a short drive from rugged Torndirrup National Park. The coastal park is best known for its incredible coastal rock formations like the Natural Bridge, The Gap and The Blowholes, which together make for a fantastic ocean walk. You can also score some incredible views at the Padre White Lookout.
As the highest point in the South West, Bluff Knoll is a very popular spot for those looking for an adventure and some magnificent views. As a rite of passage for many West Australians, it’s a fun experience given the lack of big mountain ranges in the state. Read our full guide here.
Bald Head Walk Trail
A challenging 12.5km, 6-8 hour hike, the Bald Head Walk Trail is set within the stunning Torndirrup National Park, featuring breathtaking views of the Southern Ocean on one side and King George Sound on the other. Terminating in a round, domed granite headland called Bald Head, the views are spectacular, and it’s a must-do (as long as you’re fit enough to tackle it).
Castle Rock Granite Skywalk
One of the most unique experiences in the South West, the Granite Skywalk located on top of Castle Rock in the Porongurups is a great finish to rewarding hike. Drawing a lot of visitors each year, the views you’ll get from up here are breathtaking and certainly worth working up a sweat for.
Middleton Beach & Ellen Cove
The closest beach to Albany city, it’s understandably one of the most popular in the region. It’s a great little swimming and snorkelling spot thanks to being sheltered from swells. Down in the southern corner you’ll find Ellen Cove, which offers a little more shelter from the elements and a little pontoon in the summer months to lay about on.
Located within King George Sound, Goode Beach is a lovely spot to soak up some sun and sand, with opportunities for walking trails and fantastic views back at Albany and Princess Royal Harbour. For the early birds, Goode Beach also offers a very rare chance to watch the sun rise over the ocean.
Two Peoples Bay
One of the most stunning beaches around Albany, it’s a 35km trip east of the city and you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to explore and enjoy the cove. There’s a scenic heritage trail that’s only about a two-hour round trip with plenty of stunning lookout spots. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the critically endangered Gilbert’s potoroo and endangered noisy scrub-bird, and learn more at the Visitor Centre, open 10am-4pm during summer.
Muttonbird Beach & Shelter Island
About 17km west of Albany you’ll find yourself at Muttonbird Beach, with Shelter Island a short 130m swim from the mainland. It’s a popular open-water diving site, while the island itself supports local bird life such as Flesh-footed Shearwaters and Little Penguins.
Uredale Point (formerly Point Possession)
Just a stone’s throw away from the centre of Albany but the feeling of being completely isolated on a deserted beach, Uredale Point offers up a unique experience for visitors along with some stunning scenery that Albany is famous for. There’s delightful 5km walking trail that won’t challenge you too hard, and is pet friendly (with a lead).
Albany Wind Farm
A quick 12km out of Albany and you’ll find the Albany Wind Farm, set spectacularly along cliffs with the turbulent great southern ocean down below. It has an easy-to-follow walk trail complete with information on the traditional Indigenous land owners, native wildlife and how the farm works to power Albany and its surrounds.
The Kalgan River is actually the oldest river in the world! Dating back more than 4 billions years, it was once connected to Gondwana before Australia broke free. Understandably it is of great significance to the local Noongar community, and if you don’t want to jump on a boat tour the Luke Pen walking trail is a great option.
The Sandalwood Shop
The Mount Romance sandalwood factory is a great place to stop for a little tour with a difference. Australia’s large sandalwood retailer operates tours that offer a hands-on experience filled with the alluring aromas of sandalwood. They also offer special 1-hour relaxation sessions, if you’re really keen to get into the holiday spirit.
No trip to Albany would be complete with a quick visit to pay your respects to the infamous Dog Rock, a natural granite outcrop between Middleton Beach and Albany. Sure you have to view it from a particular angle to get the true dog’s head view, but it’s a WA icon and should be treated as such!
EAT & DRINK
Emu Point Cafe
Looking for breakfast with a stunning beach view, Emu Point Cafe will let you take in the beautiful surrounds of emu beach while you devour their delicious breakfast options. They also make a mean fish’n’chips if you’re there for lunch.
Wilson Brewing Company
If it’s a crafty brew your chasing, make sure you visit Matty and Jessica Wilson at Wilson Brewing Company, who have been doing the amber ale proud since 2016. They’ll happily chat you through the process while offering a tasting of whatever latest beer they’ve been experimenting with, while the Wilson Food Van will keep you well fed.
White Star Hotel
The only joint in town you need to go if you’re looking for some live music, The White Star hosts touring bands from all over the country most weekends. It’s also just a great pub for bending the elbow, and serve up some excellent pub feasts alongside some fancier fare, but weekend fun times are where it’s at.
Great Southern Distilling Co.
If you prefer your booze in a liquor format, Great Southern’s Albany Cellar Door has some stunning views overlooking Princess Royal Harbour. Their well-heeled and friendly staff will take you through tastings of their signature Limeburners Whisky, Tiger Snake Whiskey, Giniversity Gin and more – drive there at your peril!
Gourmandise & Co
Anyone who knows a thing or two about Albany knows you have to stop into Gourmandise for some French patisserie delights and delicious organic coffee blends. You’ll feel like you’ve perched up at a fine French bakery thanks to the awesome decor – just keep an eye out for the bright yellow vintage car out front!
Set in the corner bar of the heritage-listed London hotel, Liberté is a très cool member of Albany’s eating scene, offering an excellent wine and craft beer selection, paired with an enticing mix of French and Vietnamese bar food. You’ll need it once you’ve dabbled in a few choice selections from their delectable cocktail offerings.
One of the best dinner spots in town has to be Garrison, with an incredibly varied (and tasty) menu that features such treats as pulled chicken tacos, reuben steak sandwiches and seafood linguine. There’s a taste for any mood, and generous portions to indulge after all the exploring you’ll have been doing.
Ocean & Paddock
There are plenty of excellent fish and chip options around town, but it’s hard to go past the multi-award winning Ocean & Paddock, voted WA’s best by the WA Fisheries Industry Council Awards the past three years running! Their menu features plenty of traditional fish and chip shop fare, but it’s hard to go past the Snapper Burger.
A great spot for brekky or lunch, Three Anchors nail all the staples along with their secret weapon – WAFFLES. Get their chocolate ganache, almond, vanilla ice-cream and fresh-made honeycomb shards or even better, make your own. Their huge lunch selection ain’t nothing to sneeze at either, and really well priced.
If it’s big, honest meals you’re after then head Due South, where you’ll find huge portion sizes and spectacular views of the Princess Royal Harbour. They do a mean steak, but it’s their massive pizzas that are the real winner – head there on a Monday for the $15 special.
Vancouver St Cafe
Vancouver St Cafe is another excellent breakfast option in town, made all the more easy thanks to super-friendly staff and get-you-moving coffee. Their big breakfast will help you conquer whatever mountain hikes you’ve got your sights set on for the day ahead, otherwise it makes for a nice brunch hang if you’ve got a bit more time.
Earl Of Spencer
If you like your pub feed and pints steeped in history, the Earl of Spencer is a must-visit. The owners have worked hard in the past couple of years to really scrub the place up – no mean feat given it’s one of the oldest pubs in Australia. If you’ve got little ones in tow they have a nice enclosed outdoor play area too.
On a mission to save the world from crap bread – or Albany, at the very least – Bred Co. are well on their way. Stone-milling flour on site, their sourdough bread is fittingly, world-class – to the extent that they’re even milling single-origin wheat. As well as these stellar sourdoughs, you can get your hands on some pretty amazing pastries, sweets and even a conti roll or two.
World Class Wineries
The areas surrounding Albany are dense with wonderful wineries, so many it’d take a whole ‘nother article for us to run through them. The Great Southern Wine WEBSITE is an excellent starting point to get you on your way.