Albany is a fantastic place in South Western Australia that few travellers have on their itinerary. Situated on the southwestern coast, it’s a 420 km drive from Perth or 300 km from Margaret River. So it’s an ideal destination for a self-drive and discovery trip to South West Australia.
If you plan a road trip from Perth to Albany, check out our picks for the best places and things to do in Albany, WA.
How to get there and around Albany Wa
While there are flights from Perth, they don’t come cheap. You will have to rent a car to explore the town and its surroundings when you get there. Therefore self-driving is the best way to visit Albany from Perth on a road trip. It’s an easy 400 km drive inland and 600 km via the coast.
This is what I did. I hired a car in Perth and took a solo Albany Trip.
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Besides hiring a car or flying, if you are an active traveller and love adventure, there are a few more exciting options to get to Albany:
- Ride the Mundi Bidda trail from the Perth Hills to Albany
- Walk the Bibbulmun track for 963 km down to Albany.
In town, many information boards are pointing to the Bibbelmuntrack and Mundi Bidda Trail, and you can hire a bike or walk some parts of the trails.
Where to stay in Albany
Albany has many hotels and motels, but I find them quite pricey for solo travellers.
Here are all: Accommodation Options in Albany
A Stop at the Albany Visitor Centre
First, I visited the Albany Visitor Centre, where I got the Albany free maps. After looking at the map, I realised that my 3-day trip would not do justice to the place. Albany spreads over a vast area encompassing five national parks, three natural reserves, many natural attractions and historical heritage sites. Travelling from the west end side – the Torrndirrup National Park – to the east end – the Two People’s Bay – takes nearly 50 minutes by car.
Favourite things to do in Albany WA
Here are all my favourite things to do and see on the Albany trip itinerary.
The mighty King George Sound
King George Sound is one of the top striking landmarks of Albany. Its inlets, small islands, and two harbours create a scenic and photogenic landscape. While the best way to explore it is on a scenic cruise, you can also drive to the west-end side of the peninsula along the Frenchman Road to Whaling Cove and walk to Possession Point. You can enjoy a majestic view of the Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound.
I was lucky enough to book myself into a Cruise of the Princess Royal Harbour, a free event of the Anzac Day celebrations.
Albany National Anzac Centre on Mt. Adelaide
Albany is Western Australia’s first European settlement, but it also has the best Anzac Centre in Australia. This was opened in 2014 by the prime minister for the centenary of the first Australian and New Zealand convoy with over 40 thousand soldiers who left for the IWW.
The Albany Anzac Centre is an exciting place to visit, with state-of-the-art interactive multi-media displays. I visited on Anzac Day and loved listening to the audio commentary about individual stories and browsing through the collections.
The Anzac centre is set in the Albany Heritage Park – overlooking the King George Sound – which offers beautiful views of the harbour and the town. I strolled around the park to see the Royal Princess Fortress and drove up to Mt Clarence Desert Corps Memorial and Padre White Lookout. This is a top place in Albany and the most scenic lookout in town, where you enjoy a beautiful view of the King George Sound and Royal Princess Harbour.
The Gap and the Natural Bridge
The Gap and the Natural Bridge are two iconic natural attractions in Albany. South Western Australia is known for its ancient rock formation and forests. And Albany has some of the best spots to witness the world’s most ancient and impressive granite and rock formations.
This platform was completed and opened in April 2016 to the public. So when I visited, it was only three weeks old. This ultra-modern grated see-through platform is placed nearly 40m above the ocean and extended 10 meters from the cliff, with four exposed directly over the sea. You can stand on these parts too and see-through into the ocean. While I found this platform spectacular, on the other hand, it was a bit scary to stand on it and watch down.
The Natural Bridge
The whole area between the gap and the bridge is covered with boulders that form a stunning rocky landscape. You walk across a vast expanse of rock formations to the Natural Bridge, a span of granite which you can see heavy swells running through. There is now a fee of 12 dollars to visit both attractions, and tickets are available at the car park or the visitor centre.
Albany Natural Attractions
At the end of the peninsula in the Torndirrup National Park, you can visit Discovery Bay and learn about the Albany historic whaling station. You can either join a guided tour or walk around by yourself. Moreover, there is a beautiful botanic garden and Australian wildlife enclosures.
There is a boardwalk that offers excellent whale-watching spots in the winter months of June-October within the park. Albany is one of Australia’s few places where you can see the blue whales, next to Humpbacks and Southern Right whales.
Walking Trails, Beaches and Lookouts
I was impressed with the diversity of hiking trails you can do in Albany, and you can easily spend weeks there hiking the region. The possession Point walking trail is 6 km from the Quarantine Station to Point Possession. This is the most popular and beautiful hike, with white-sand beaches on both sides and a granite hill at the end. You can enjoy King George Sound’s panoramic views with the channels and Princess Royal Harbour from the summit.
Salmon Holes Beach
There are many more walking trails, including the 16 km Bald Head trail on Flinders Peninsula and shorter walks to Salmon Holes, one of Australia’s most famous beaches for rock fishing. Next to being a gorgeous beach, it’s trendy for fishing the southwestern salmon.
However, this coastline, especially this spot, has a notorious record for deaths and accidents occurring when people stand on the black rocks and are washed into the ocean by large swells. Be careful.
While there are huge hazards and warning signage everywhere, it is advisable to wear a life west, bring floating devices, tie yourself up with a rope and wear proper footwear with a good grip. There were dozens of fishers standing on the black rocks.
This beach is a safe place for fishing, with many families with kids having fun fishing a salmon or two from the shore.
The best Albany sunsets
The marina is a great place to witness the sun go down over the magnificent Princess Royal Harbour. There are many vantage points in Albany hills. Another top place for sunsets is the spark plug lookout, a tower with two viewing levels on Mt. Melville. It is only 5 minutes by car from town, and it is a must for an incredible 360° view of Albany. I managed to get there just before sunset and loved the place.
Get a taste of Food & Wine in Albany
Albany is not only a popular destination for its natural attractions. Its excellent wines, handcrafted beers, and locally grown food make Albany a food destination. I had superb fish in the local pubs and eateries.
Adventurous things to do around Albany
Some great spots around Albany are worth visiting if you are travelling by car and have one week or more. Here are the best places for active travellers.
- Visit Two People’s Bay is home to Little Beach, one of WA’s best beaches.
- Go on a 4WD tour to West Cape Howe National Park to see the southernmost point of Western Australia and stand on the cliffs with breathtaking views.
- Do the 3km return Castle-Rock Granite Skywalk in the Porongurup region.
- The Bluff Knoll climb at the Stirling Ranges is necessary if you are more adventurous and fit. This is the highest peak in South Western Australia.
- Go on a Wildflower Tour to spot some kangaroo paws, pea plants and an impressive range of orchids. The Stirling Ranges National Park and Porongurup Range National Park offer spectacular granite rock formations and a giant Karri forest.
If you plan a road trip From Perth down South West and have time, adding an Albany Trip is a good idea. One week is ideal for making the most of this great region, South Western Australia.
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First published in 2019, last updated in Jan 2023
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