We love Albany.
It’s a big town that has still retained a simple country feel to it and is filled with great, friendly people beaming with community spirit. It’s a popular holiday spot that attracts a lot of visitors to enjoy the great beaches and vibrant atmosphere. As we drove through town, we noticed lots of granite rocks sticking up all over the place, dividing properties and providing shade in parks. The landscape is quite hilly, with two mountains in town – Mount Clarence with the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial to the east, and Mount Melville with walking trails and an observation tower to the west.
The main strip of York Street is capped with the marina and Princess Royal Harbour, and Dog Rock Shopping Centre at the top end, complete with major supermarkets and clothing brands. The town hall stands beautifully next to the modern library and also features Western Australia’s oldest canonised church, St John’s Anglican Church. To the east of town is Middleton, with a great swimming beach and several cafes and restaurants. Three Anchors is a great place to sit down for lunch and they make a ripper coffee. Albany also has its own coffee roaster – The Naked Bean. Check out our post on The Naked Bean.
Albany sits along the coast of the Great Southern region of Western Australia. It was first sighted in 1627 by Dutchman Peter Nuyts but the area was claimed as British ground by George Vancouver in 1791 and the bay was named King George III Sound. After that, there were plenty of expeditions through the area so the British Government ordered a settlement to be founded to prevent the French from getting their piece of WA.
In 1826, the Brig Amity set sail from Sydney under the command of Major Edmund Lockyer and carried a party of convicts and soldiers, a doctor and storekeeper to King George Sound. Almost 2 months later, the Brig Amity arrived to set up camp and Lockyer named the settlement Frederickstown, but 5 years later, it was renamed Albany. It grew into a fishing and whaling town with plenty of agriculture and a busy port that serviced the fortune seekers heading to the Goldfields.
Albany’s whaling station was the last whaling station to stop operations in Australia, closing down in 1978. The whaling station was converted to into a tourist attraction called Whale World that features interactive displays, a 3D whale movie and full skeleton of the last whale taken. It’s a $30 entry fee so it’s great for people who love learning about the whaling industry.
Points of Interest
WA Museum and the Brig Amity replica
The WA Museum is a great spot to learn about the history of Albany and the surrounding area. When we visited, they also had a great lighthouse exhibition with an artistic light gallery at the end. Entry is by gold coin donation
Patrick Taylor Cottage is nearby and is the oldest surviving house in Western Australia. It was built in 1832 by Patrick Taylor, a Scottish immigrant who arrived in Albany to not only become a farmer but to also improve his health. The cottage has eleven rooms and is surrounded by an English country garden.
Towards the water is the Brig Amity replica, which is also visible from the road. There is the option to go inside and check out the guts of the vessel for $12.
The Old Farm, Strawberry Hill
Western Australia’s oldest farm, it has been called the Old Farm for over 100 years now. Established as a government farm in 1827, before the Swan River colony, it played a major role in sustaining the first European settlement at King George Sound.
Over the years, the farm has had several owners and even fell into a state of disrepair. The property was purchased by the government in 1956 as a historic monument and it was transferred to the National Trust in 1964.
There is also a lovely grassed area onsite complete with a stage and small orchard. It would be the perfect place for a wedding or even live music on weekends with some friends and a bottle of wine.
A great place to experience Albany’s community spirit, the Boatshed Markets are held every Sunday from 10am to 1pm. There’s plenty of parking and with local produce, live music, cooking demonstrations, fresh fish and wine tasting, it’s a great way to spend your morning.
We sampled a huge variety of Luscious Liquids honey as we had a chat to the lady behind the counter. We walked away with a jar of Wildflower honey and a piece of raw honeycomb. Delicious! After lunch, we shared the honeycomb with a lovely family we had met a few days earlier in Esperance. We all ate so much honey that we were buzzing for the rest of the day!
White Star Hotel & Tangle Head Brewery
We were keen to visit the local brewery, which was situated at the White Star Hotel. Tangle Head Brewery started 6 years ago and offers a great range of beers.
- Brewhouse Special (German Wheat Beer) – 5.2% golden beer with yeast, fruit and honey. It was very clean and delicious.
- Southern White Ale – 5.1% lightly coloured with banana on the nose. The base is German wheat beer (hefeweizen). There was also refreshing citrus.
- Tanglehead Pale Ale – 4.8% a rich caramel colour with honey and caramel. There was a slight hoppy finish.
- Limeburners Stout – 4.3% dark black colour with a creamy froth, it smelt of honey, coffee and chocolate but the oatmeal stout was like charcoal – thick and smoky.
- Ginger Beer – 3.5% very pale and fizzy, it was sweet with a slight ginger burn.
Torndirrup National Park
A short drive from Albany is Torndirrup National Park, a 4000 hectare coastal sanctuary with heaps of rock formations and granite outcrops.
Stony Hill Heritage Trail is a quick 450m circuit around one of the highest points in the park and it provides great views of the southern ocean and the surrounding coastline. The Gap and the Natural Bridge are within walking distance of each other and demonstrate how the constant battery of waves can wear down the rock. The Natural Bridge is expected to collapse at some stage so make sure you go down and check it out before it does.
There is no entry fee to enter the park, camping is not allowed, and just around the corner is the Albany Wind Farm with 18 wind turbines that produces about 80% of Albany’s energy requirements.
Information & Accommodation
Albany Visitor Centre – Old Railway Station/55 Proudlove Parade, 08 9841 9290
Albany YHA – 49 Duke Street, 08 9842 3388
BIG4 Middleton Beach Holiday Park – 28 Flinders Parade, 08 9841 3593