The “city” of Albany is located a 4 hour drive south of Perth, and is the largest town in the Great Southern Region. Located on the Southern Ocean this is Western Australia’s most southerly town, and because of this, it is usually cold!! But get a beautiful weather window and Albany has so much to offer, with a mix of great history and beautiful natural scenery!
After our day of hiking on the Saturday we decided to explore Albany and its surroundings in the comfort of our car! After a hearty breakfast in town (visit La Botanica for awesome coffee!) and exploring the quiet Sunday morning main street we headed out to the National Anzac Centre, which is Australia’s only museum dedicated solely to the conflict of World War 1. Even though I have grown up in Australia, and learnt all about the Aussies that fought in world war 1 in school, there was still alot I learnt in this museum. For example Albany, a small town back then (even now there is only 38,000 people) had 41,000 Australian and New Zealander men leave from this port in 1914. From all around Australia and NZ men came from far and wide to Albany to leave on a convoy of ships to go Europe. For so many of these poor men Albany was the last time they would see Australian soil. It is a sobering thought and definitely a solemn place of quiet reflection. Nearby there is the Padre White Lookout and the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial where a dawn service is held every year on ANZAC day to remember those that gave so much for our country.
After spending time exploring the centre and the nearby historical bunkers and war memorabilia it was time for a change of pace and head towards Albany’s famous coastal features. The Torndirrup National Park cops the brunt of the brutal Southern Ocean and the fierce Antarctic winds that whip up in the winter time. Due to this there are some amazing coastal cliffs and natural features like land bridges and beaches. Even on a calm day with minimal swell it was cold and the ocean looked foreboding! Sadly with calm weather this meant the blowholes weren’t blowing water up, but they still blew air and it gave me a fright the first time I stood next to the hole! I would love to perhaps go down one day in winter and see the ocean at its furious best (but I hate the cold so there is no chance of that haha). Come at the right time of year (sadly most of winter lol!) and you will see the large whale migration, where whales come close to shore with their babies and frolic in the waters.
From exploring the numerous little beaches and coves we headed back towards Albany for an afternoon coffee and to grab dinner before heading back to our accomodation up at the Porongorups (about half an hour north of Albany). We stopped at the Albany Wind Farm though, which was a great experience! I didn’t realise we would get so close to the turbines, and just how large they were! With all the wind that Albany experiences it makes sense to harness the energy. We walked a small walk circuit, which intersected with the famous Bibbulmun Track! For those that follow my site I love hiking, and often do day hikes on the Bibbulmun’s northern section. The track starts (or ends depending where you walk) in Albany, and goes past the wind farm and all the way up 1000km to Perth. It was exciting for me to see where this section of the trail, as the part I usually walk is in the Perth hills, and not the ocean.
Overall I highly recommend Albany, and can’t believe it took me 40 years to get here in the first place! I will definitely be bringing the family down – I think husband will love the coastline and beaches, and Miss A is always a fan of exploring rock formations. It’s definitely a great spot in this big wide country of ours!