With an interesting mix of history, heritage and beautiful nature, Albany Australia is worth a couple of days’ exploration. Albany was founded in 1826, even before Fremantle and Perth. A port city, located 420km south of Perth, Albany often welcomes visitors at the end of their exploration of South West Australia.
Albany does have something for everyone: historic buildings, pristine beaches, national parks, the National ANZAC Centre, whaling history and even a street art trail! Don’t just stick to one place though, there are many things to do in and around Albany Australia!
Things to do in and around Albany Australia
You can get from Perth to Albany on the quickest road, and the drive takes 5 hours. The road is uneventful and there’s not much to see.
The drive from Cape Leeuwin takes a good 5 hours also, however it will take you through beautiful forests. If you want to include Albany as part of your Western Australia road trip, you need to figure out whether to add it to a tour of South West WA or to do it separately. I did a loop around the South West and a trip up north to Kalbarri. This is important as there are some significant distances involved. For example, the drive from Margaret River to Albany takes about 4 hours…
If you are limited in time, or don’t have wheels, I would suggest taking a local tour. Check out additional information and current tour prices.
In any case, be prepared for variety and some stunning sights!
Where to Stay in Albany
Accommodation in Albany is pretty similar to what you find everywhere in Australia, with lots of motels and motor lodges. You have the option to stay in “downtown Albany” or in more residential areas.
I have selected a few options for Albany accommodation based on location and type.
King George Sound
Albany is nestled in a natural harbour. King George Sound is a majestic body of water, peppered with little islands and wilderness areas. The best views over the sound are from Mount Clarence, where the National ANZAC Centre is.
When you travel Western Australia, views over the coast are amongst the most beautiful sights and King George Sound won’t disappoint.
National ANZAC Centre
The National ANZAC Centre commemorates the First World War and the sacrifice made by Australian and New Zealand troops (known as Anzacs). The museum is comprehensive and rich in artefacts, memories and stories. The experience is meant to be interactive.
You are given a mobile-like device with the name and picture of an ANZAC and along the way, you can scan the device, which will give you information about the ANZAC through audio, such as their enlistment record, if and where they died, or what they did after coming back from the war.
I have visited many war museums and I usually find them depressing, with a very one-sided view. I especially liked the Albany ANZAC Centre for the mix of historical facts and the personal experiences of those involved. The displays also include soldiers other than Anzacs, including Germans and Turks.
The fact that you follow your ANZAC throughout the visit makes it engaging and almost personal. However, I found listening to the audio and reading the displays at the same time a little confusing, so it’s best to take your time.
The chronology of the museum goes from enlistment, convoy, Gallipolli, to the Western Front and the Middle East.
The design of the building is quite striking and you have stunning views over King George Sound.
As most of the ANZAC troops left from Albany, Kind George Sound was the last anchorage point for the young men going to war. No less than 40,000 troops left in two main convoys, which also included 16,000 horses. A third of the troops didn’t come back.
Once you are done with the museum, there are several lookouts to visit, including the memorial to Padre White.
It’s not the happiest of places to visit in Western Australia but it’s a moving and worthwhile experience.
Don’t miss the top of Mount Clarence to see the views over King George Sound.
We also saw the incredible Field of Lights however this is no longer in Albany.
Lunch in an Old Pub
With its old buildings, Albany has a lot of character, and we found an old pub for lunch. The food scene is a little limited in Albany but the Earl of Spencer was a good place for lunch. I recommend that over the Albany Hotel.
Western Australia beaches are famous around the world for being deserted and pristine. We only made it to one Albany beach and the weather wasn’t the best, but it looked like a perfect place for a day out…
I’m sure the locals would argue that the area has some of the best Australian beaches and it would be hard to disagree
Torndirrup National Park
One of the most visited national parks in Western Australia, Torndirrup National Park is 10km south of Albany, on the southern side of Kind George Sound. It’s an easy drive on Frenchman Bay Road and should be part of your Albany sightseeing.
Torndirrup National Park has some interesting rock formations and views over the rugged coast.
The Gap Natural Bridge
This is a rock formation, literally a bridge of rock over the water. There is a walkway so it’s an easy walk. You can see the natural bridge from the side and you can also approach on the overarching platform.
This is quite impressive and a little dizzying, especially if you are scared of heights. But the water rushing underneath is fascinating, and the colours are very beautiful.
With such a rugged coastline, no wonder things to do in the South West include natural curiosities!
I am a little puzzled by Australia’s passion of blowholes… You seem to find them everywhere, including in Tasmania. And they always tend to be a bit disappointing, you expect an explosion of water and end up seeing a weak upward trickle…
Anyway, these blowholes don’t even blow water, but air! And that’s what makes them weird.
In order for the blowholes to “operate”, you need big waves crashing at the bottom of the cliff. It’s very windy up there and all you can see is some polished cracks in the rock. We saw some people sitting down by the cracks, as if they were waiting for something, so we did the same.
When the blowholes “blow” comes a very big rush of air and noise. You don’t want to stand too close, it’s a bit freaky… There you go, one of the stranger Albany attractions!
Albany’s Historic Whaling Station
At the end of Frenchman Bay Road is the world’s only completely preserved whaling station.
Whaling activity was first recorded in King George Sound in the 1840s but the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company was established in 1952, to hunt for humpback whales according to strict quotas. After the ban on humpback whaling in 1963, the company hunted sperm whales…
The company ended up having three whale chasers (boats) but couldn’t afford the upkeep and closed in 1978. The Cheynes IV is the world’s only preserved whale chaser ship and can be visited on site.
The museum was opened in 1980 and absolutely worth visiting, as all the buildings and equipment are remarkably preserved.
The museum is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 9am to 5pm. Guided tours run every hour on the hour, and last 40 minutes. I highly recommend taking a tour to learn about the history of whaling and the past uses of whaling products. You can then wander around on your own. To do the place justice, I would recommend around 3 to 4 hours.
You might be put off by the fact that this is where many whales were slaughtered but this is one of the most interesting places to visit in Albany. Apart from the fact that everything is so well preserved, it’s actually a non-judgmental view of the whaling industry, respecting the fact that local men worked really hard.
Today, there is simply too little requirement for whale products for the industry to exist and the Albany Whaling Centre is much more focused on advocating for conservation.
For a very comprehensive experience, Albany tours can take you to the Albany Whaling Station. Check out additional information and current tour prices.
Things we haven’t seen in Albany yet
There are more Albany tourist attractions to see, we didn’t have time for all of them…
Old Convict Gaol & Albany Museum
As many places in Australia, Albany was built on convict labour… The Albany Old Gaol was built in 1852 to house convicts transported to work as labourers. The building served as a gaol and a convict hiring depot. After an extension in 1873, it was commissioned as an official gaol and used as a police lock-up during the Depression.
After a renovation, the Albany Old Gaol and Museum now chronicles stories of early settlement, convict history and contains photos of Albany history.
There is some pretty good street art in Perth and Fremantle. Street art is also popular in rural areas in Western Australia, especially around silos. I’ll get there next time!
This is a replica of the convict ship. In 1826, the Brig Amity sailed from Sydney to King George Sound with crew members, 23 convicts, 21 soldiers, domestic animals, food crops and building materials. The first European colony is what is now Western Australia was thus established.
The real ship was shipwrecked in 1844.
Things to do in the area or on the way
There are more things to include on a West Coast trip if you have time. I especially liked the treetop walk
Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
If you are driving to Albany from Cape Leeuwin and Augusta, I recommend stopping at the Valley of the Giants, near Walpole WA. This area of South West WA has some incredible wilderness and some of the tallest trees in the world.
The Tree Top Walk is a nature-based designed to give visitors an appreciation for the ancient trees of this area. A 600m walkway is suspended 40m above ground and you can wander around the canopy.
The red tingle tree is a type of eucalyptus tree, can grow above 60m high and can live over 400 years old. Their roots are especially fragile and subject to erosion, hence the reason for the suspended walkway.
The walkway moves a fair bit with the weight of people shifting around but it’s a lovely walk through the top of the trees…
The Tree Top Walk is open from 9am to 5pm everyday except Christmas Day
Extended hours 9am to 7pm apply from 26 Dec to 26 Jan.
As this is some distance from Albany, you may want to consider staying nearby. Walpole is only 20km from the Valley of the Giants.
There isn’t a lot of accommodation in this area but this luxury apartment in Walpole is perfect.
Greens Pool WA
Between Walpole and Denmark Australia (not to be confused), in William Bay National Park lies a small white sandy beach ringed with large granite boulders. The water is crystal clear and the beach slopes gently, which is great if you are swimming with young children. The place is great for snorkelling and safe swimming.
Greens Pool is known for its stunning colours and Instagrammable profile. We got there towards the end of the day. There was still plenty of light but for the turquoise colours to be at their best, I think you need to be there in the morning.
Elephant Rocks Australia is another interesting and very photogenic beach with dome-like rock formations but we missed it altogether…
We didn’t find many things to do in nearby Denmark WA, but you can stay there as it’s only 20km from Greens Pool. Denmark accommodation is actually quite nice.
Denmark WA accommodation
There is more choice for accommodation in Denmark. The Slow Drift has a perfect vibe for a beach holiday!
East of Albany
We didn’t have enough time to see more places on our West Coast Australia road trip, we had to head back from Albany to Perth to take part in Christmas celebrations. I would love to see more Western Australia national parks and continue adding to my collection of the best beaches in Western Australia…
Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve
For more unspoilt coastal scenery and the only place in the world where a little marsupial called Gilbert’s Potoroo lives in the wild, head to Two Peoples Bay. There is only about 40 specimen in the wild and they’re unlikely to show up for photos but the place is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Western Australia..
West Cape Howe National Park
For karri forest and coastal scrub, visit West Cape National Park. Most of the park is only accessible to 4WD vehicles but you can easily get to the Shelley Beach lookout with a 2WD.
Porongurup National Park Castle Rock Granite Skywalk
Barely an hour north of Albany, Porongurup National Park has some great hikes. I can’t wait to discover the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk.
Castle Rock is a granite outcrop standing at 670m. The suspended granite walk is a steep hike but you get to admire the view!
Albany Whaling Station
West Coast Australia
What to do in Fremantle WA
My next Perth to Albany road trip will include these places for sure. Do you have special tips you can share? Please tell me in the comments below!
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20 thoughts on “Things to do in and around Albany Australia”
While all the natural beauty of Albany (I had to take a double take to be sure this was not Albany NY) 😉 looks incredible, I would visit just to see the National ANZAC Center. One of my favorite movies of all time is Gallipoli … the history and loss during WWI for Kiwis and Aussies was just horrific.
Hi Michael, I’m sure the name Albany would trick a few people! The National ANZAC is an absolute highlight of a few days visiting this place. It’s quite a moving and comprehensive museum. The history of WW1 is indeed horrific, for all countries involved so it’s good to reflect on the lessons learned.
The light installation looks really cool. It’s a shame it’s no longer there. The tree top walk seems like a worthy substitute and a great activity to do while you’re in Albany.
The light installation is now in Uluru I believe, I’m sure it’s equally as striking!
So much natural beauty in Australia and Albany does not disappoint! As always the beaches look amazing but also Greens Pool WA! I would be heading here right away.
Yes, the area around Albany is really amazing. Greens Pool has a big reputation in WA, I wish I’d had better light that day!
Your beautiful photos just reinforce how absolutely beautiful this part of the world seems to be! (And, I must admit, this landlocked American is awfully fascinated with blowholes!)
Hi Sage, I can’t help but looking at blowholes, hoping they will do something interesting. Most of the time, it’s a bit disappointing or a bit weird… I’m sure some people travel just to see blowholes!
A timely post as we are planning a road trip that would take in this area! The plan is to rent an RV though rather than check into a hotel. We have not yet researched RV parks. You have certainly whetted my appetite as there is so much to do here and I would especially love to visit the ANZAC centre and the Old Gaol and Museum.
Hi Jane, travelling in an RV is very popular in Australia. There are lots of caravan parks and there is a strong community of people who travel that way. I remember camping near Esperance in WA years ago and it was very nice. I would love to take a small campervan around someday. One thing to know is that the caravan parks book up pretty quickly during school holidays!
Wow, there is so much you shared and still a lot more to see. But why is the National ANZAC Center there in Western Australia when New Zealand is in the east?
Hi Carol, as I wrote in the post, Albany is the place where most of the ANZAC troops departed from. This means that the New Zealanders really travelled far to go to war!
We have been to Albany a few different times and always loved it. It is a great, quaint little place. The first time we visited there were whales in the bay. We could see them really well from the shore – it was fabulous.
Hi Lyn, you are very lucky to have seen whales in King George Sound, that would be a fantastic experience!
Reading about the national ANZAC centre and then learning about the Anzacs was really interesting. Making one ANZAC as your spirit guide makes very good sense. Sad to hear that the field of lights is no more. Loved the look and feel of the old pubs too, lunch there would be lovely!
Hi Mohana, the field of light was fantastic and has moved to Uluru. I assume it will keep moving and visit several cities, it’s a very beautiful art installation!
Can you believe we saw the Field of Light art installation just yesterday at Uluru!
I visited Albany when I was about 12. I’ll never forget it as the whaling station was still operating and it was horrific. It is a beautiful part of the world though and these photos might just entice me back.
Hi Sandra, you’re very lucky to have seen the Field of Light at Uluru, it would be amazing. I didn’t know the Albany Whaling Station was open to visits when it was still in operation, the smell would have been horrible… There is none of that anymore but it’s very interesting…
What beautiful vistas! There are so many things in Albany I’d love to see and I could definitely see staying in Albany for a few days to see all the sights at a leisurely pace. Top on my list would be going to the National Park and whaling museum.
Hi Lara, the views over King George are really beautiful. The whaling museum is really interesting, even though some photos of cut up whales are pretty gross. I would love to go back to Albany and explore it further.