Top 10 Things to Do in Albany, WA inner banner

Top 10 Things to Do in Albany, WA

The National Anzac Centre in Albany is one of Australia's must-see cultural institutions and offers a compelling reason to make the journey to Western Australia's remote south coast. And there's plenty more in store for visitors. Here's a checklist of ten amazing things to do.
Ten of the best things to do in Albany
Ten of the best things to do in Albany. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Albany is one of Australia’s best kept holiday secrets.

This unassuming city of just over 30,000 people sits on Western Australia’s southern coastline and makes a great base for exploring the wider region. Accessible by road (just over four hours) or air (one hour) from Perth, Albany has an intriguing history to uncover and a cosmopolitan cafe and dining scene. The city also offers plenty of options for revelling in the spectacular great outdoors.

Here are ten of the best things to do in Albany.


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Western Australia Tours, Activities & Attractions


1. Explore the local arts scene

Albany may be reasonably remote, but it harbours a thriving arts scene. Visit in September and October to follow the annual Southern Art and Craft Trail, which incorporates close to a hundred arts venues, artist studios, artisan workshops, and more. Meet the artists and take part in a variety of activities and events.

Throughout the year, the Vancouver Arts Centre and gallery is well worth a visit. The heritage building is home to a number of local arts and crafts groups, and hosts touring exhibitions. It’s open to the public from Monday to Friday.

2. Pay your respects at the National Anzac Centre

The state-of-the-art National Anzac Centre overlooks the waters of King George Sound — the departure point for the 41,000 service personnel who left Australia by ship for the battlefields of World War I. Many would never return. The centre honours their memory, and a visit here is an emotive and thought-provoking experience. You’ll need most of the day to do it justice.

Ten of the best things to do in Albany
National Anzac Centre, Albany. Image: Tourism Western Australia

3. Step back in time to the colonial era

Albany is recognised as the first permanent European settlement in Australia’s west. 1826 saw settlers set foot in the region for the first time, and as you stroll down Albany’s main street today, you’ll find many wonderful heritage-listed buildings dating back to the mid 1800s. Climb aboard the full size replica of the Brig Amity — the ship the first European settlers sailed on from Sydney and across the Great Australian Bight. Right next door, the Museum of the Great Southern is a fabulous introduction to Albany’s backstory. Next door to that is the Albany Convict Gaol — the first built in WA.

Ten of the best things to do in Albany
Ten of the best things to do in Albany: Convict Gaol. Image: Alamy

4. Visit the Whaling Station and watch whales

It’s hard for anyone today to appreciate the scale of the global whaling industry at its peak in the mid to late 1800s. Learn about the history of whaling in Australia by visiting Albany Whaling Station, which is set around the remains of the original whale processing factory and a restored whale chasing ship. It’s the only museum of its kind in the world and the site of the country’s last whaling station — which operated from 1952 until its closure in 1978.

Ten of the best things to do in Albany
Albany Whaling Station. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Given you now know about the region’s whaling heritage, it completes the circle to see these beautiful, now-protected creatures up close. Book a seasonal (late May to early October) whale watching cruise with Albany Whale Tours and head out onto the open ocean to try and spot humpbacks, southern rights, and even rare blue whales. And if you don’t see any whales at all, Albany Whale Tours will provide a free return cruise until you do!

5. Eat out… a lot!

From traditional pub fare to cool cafe dining, Albany offers a fun and funky food scene. Start the day with a fabulous breakfast at Gourmandise and Co — a rustic French-style café. When lunchtime rolls around, head to Ocean and Paddock for locally caught, freshly cooked fish and chips. The portions are huge and will certainly keep you going until dinner. Speaking of which, if you’re in the mood for pub grub, try the White Star Hotel — situated on Stirling Terrace (just off York Street). Think generous portions at very reasonable prices.

Another culinary gem to check out is Six Degrees restaurant and bar, which serves a diverse menu of Australian and international dishes. For something different, try the Escobar Pork Sammich (no, that’s not misspelt!) — a burger with crispy pulled pork, sweet potato, onion, and chili salsa, served with a side of special ‘gringo chips with aioli’. Delicious!

Ten of the best things to do in Albany
Ten of the best things to do in Albany: Liberte. Image: Alamy

I can also highly recommend Parisian-inspired Liberte in the heart of the CBD. The Vietnamese, French, and Australian fusion menu is amazing, and the cocktail list will leave you bamboozled for choice.

6. Shop at the weekend markets

Most travellers love to browse in a market, and Albany boasts two. The Albany Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning in Collie Street, while the Albany Boatshed Markets take place on Sunday mornings along the waterfront. Both sell loads of fresh local produce, including the most deliciously sweet strawberries I’ve ever had! Meet local growers and gourmet producers, and shop for a picnic or picking platter to enjoy later in the day.

Ten of the best things to do in Albany
Albany Boatshed Markets. Image: Alamy

7. Breathe in the scent of sandalwood

Situated just ten minutes’ drive from the centre of Albany, The Sandalwood Shop is the largest sandalwood oil distillery in the world. Visitors can learn about the distilling process, bliss out in the wellness centre, or enjoy a bite to eat in the onsite cafe. With a wide variety of perfumed products available from the factory store, you’re sure to leave with a purchase or two.

8. Hit the beach

Leave time to relax and enjoy the pristine white sand and sparkling turquoise water of Albany’s many glorious beaches. Middleton is the city’s most popular swimming and surf beach, and offers great views out to King George Sound. If you’re feeling energetic, there’s a shared use cycling and walking pathway that links Middleton Beach and Emu Point. It’s an eight-kilometre return trip and you can recharge en route at the Emu Point Cafe.

Further afield, another great walking trail begins at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve (which has a very informative Visitor Information Centre) and leads to gorgeous Little Beach. You can also drive to Little Beach if you’re not up for the walk. At the beach’s southern end, take the bush track over the headland to Waterfall Beach. It’s an absolute gem, complete with a waterfall that gushes down rock crevasses towards the ocean.

Ten of the best things to do in Albany
Enjoy the beaches around Albany. Image: Tourism Western Australia

9. Soak up the blowy coastal vistas

Hold on to your hat as you visit the spectacular, but very breezy Gap and Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park. The viewing platform — 40 metres above the roaring Southern Ocean — provides spectacular views of these majestic granite rock formations.

Ten of the best things to do in Albany
Torndirrup National Park. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Albany is generally a fairly windy place, and you’ll almost always find the Albany Wind Farm (12 kilometres from the city centre) in full spin. A well-planned walking trail takes you quite close to the enormous turbines. There are spectacular coastal views on offer, so bring your camera.

10. Try some top local drops

Heading back towards town on Frenchman Bay Road, stop and warm the cockles on a cold day at the Great Southern Distilling Company’s cellar door. Great Southern produces the premium small batch Limeburners single malt whisky, alongside vodka, gin, and brandy. A behind-the-scenes tour is offered, which includes three tastings in the price.

Ten of the best things to do in Albany
Ten of the best things to do in Albany: Do a tour at the Great Southern Distilling Company.

And finally, there’s no putting on of airs and graces at the Wilson Brewing Company brewpub on the western approach to town, but you will get to try some top notch locally brewed beers. Enjoy a tasting paddle in the rustic taproom, but beware, each glass is 200 millilitres. You may decide to pair a coldie with some aromatic tucker from the onsite food van.

For more travel inspiration, visit www.amazingalbany.com.au.

Browse our range of Albany tours and experiences here.

Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of the best things to do in Albany? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Cover image: National Anzac Centre. Image: Tourism Western Australia. Additional images: Bigstock

Dixie Lamers

About the writer

Dixie Lamers is a freelance writer and travel blogger. When she is not writing about travel, you will find Dixie and her partner enjoying an Aussie caravanning lifestyle.

 

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