What to Do in Albany WA: The Must See Tourist Attractions

Unbeknown to me, until I recently visited the town of Albany Western Australia that this is where Western Australia was first settled in 1826, three years before Fremantle and the capital city Perth (1829).

It is a town rich in history located on a stunning backdrop of natural beauty; thereby offering so many things to do in Albany WA.  Albany is situated in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia and only a four and half hour drive south of Perth.  Meaning Albany is a great place to visit for a short getaway or as part of a longer trip around South Western Australia.

Read on to Learn: What to Do in Albany and the 15 Albany Attractions Locations

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The outside of the Anzac Museum overlooking Frenchman's Bay , just one of the things to do when wondering what to do in Albany WA
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15 Things to Do in Albany Western Australia

Old Town Albany – Historic Albany

Being the oldest town in Western Australia, Albany offers plenty of historic sites to discover.

Albany’s Heritage Walk Trail

The best way to explore most of Albany’s history is by following the free Albany Heritage Walking Trail, you should be able to pick up a brochure at your accommodation’s “things to do in Albany wall/stand” or at the Albany Visitor Centre.

Along the trail the brochure will provide a brief description of the historic homes, parks, hotels, churches, the Convict Goal, Albany Museum and the Brig Amity replica ship that you pass en route.

Brig Amity replica in Albany
The Brig Amity replica ship

Top Trip Tip
Don’t set off too late as most places close by 4pm


Discover more about these places in 

Anzac Museum

One of the new Albany tourist attractions is the Anzac Museum situated on top of Mount Clarence with some stunning views over Frenchman Bay.  But really the highlight is visiting the Anzac Museum.

Iron sculpture of a horse inside the Anzac Museum Albany, WA
Inside the Anzac Museum

There is a large free car park located between the historical war buildings and the new museum which opened in 2014.  Prior to entering the museum, you purchase tickets from the Forts Store Boutique $25/adult and $11/child.  The museum is open 9am-5pm every day except Christmas Day.

Book Your Ticket HERE

What I really love about this museum, besides the stunning views is that your experience is made more personal by being given a card about one of the people who sailed from Albany to fight in WW1.  You are able to follow their story along the way as you visit various displays and listen to audio presentations.

Your ticket also entitles you to access all the historic military buildings in the area and for the kids (and big kids) to play on the old war machinery.

Old war machinery outside the Anzac Museum Western Australia
Old war machinery outside the museum


Top Trip Tip
Allow a full half day to explore the museum and Mt Clarence



Torndirrup National Park

Having explored all the history of Albany it is time to discover the beauty of the region.  Torndirrup National Park is a 30 minute scenic drive from the centre of Albany.  There is a lot to see in this region so prepare for a full day trip.  Please take note, no dogs are allowed in Torndirrup National Park.

Whaling Station and Wildlife Park

We start our day at the Whaling Station.  Tours run every hour from 10am-3pm daily (except Christmas Day).

We arrive a bit before the 10am tour and spend our time exploring the old Cheynes IV whaling boat that has been restored so that you can experience what life was like for the whalers.

Cheynes IV whaling ship in Albany, Western Australia
The Cheynes IV ship

When the tour begins our guide who was one of the many activists against whaling back in the 1970’s takes us around the whaling station explaining how the whales were caught, slaughtered and how each and every part of the whale was used.  The stories are really not for the faint-hearted but so interesting and quite amazing that very few men were injured during its 20+ years of operation.

At the end of the tour, we marvel at the sheer size of some of the Blue Whales.  Then we venture inside the oil tanks to watch a series of presentations on whales, the life of the whaler and the history of whaling.

Blue whale skeleton
A blue whale skeleton

We spend a good few hours at the whaling station which is well worth the cost ($32/adult and $12/children).  Included in the price of your ticket is also entry to the Australian Wildlife Park and the Regional Wildflower garden that has free BBQ’s and picnic grounds.

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Book Your Ticket HERE

Salmon Holes

We don’t stop at the Salmon Holes but apparently it is an easy 10min walk to the lookout over a beautiful beach.

Blow Holes

But instead, we drive to the Blowholes.  The bitumen car park is not that big, we have to wait a short time for a free car bay.

Before you head down the 1.6km return walk (for free) there is a sign warning that dependant on the swell you may or may not see or hear the Blowholes in action.  The walk down to the Blowholes is NOT wheelchair friendly.  The first 400m is loose bitumen, then old wooden stairs followed by making your way across large granite boulders.

For a time it is relatively peaceful and then – an almighty roar!  Quiet for a few minutes.  Then another roar!  Today the swell is not strong enough for water to sprout out.  But the sound is impressive.

crack in teh granite rock - the blow hole looking out to sea
The Blow Holes – the crack in the granite rock

The Gap and Natural Bridge

On arriving at Albany’s The Gap and Natural Bridge you can see it is in quite stark contrast to the Blow Holes – it is seriously set up for tourists and with that comes paying for parking.  Officially, it is the Torndirrup National Park entrance fee of $15/day (as at 2019), be aware that the ticket machine only accepts credit card.

The fee is really worth it though.  Large steel walkways have been erected over the boulders so that everyone (wheelchairs and prams) can be mesmerised by the stunning views.  There are also a couple of picnic tables available in the full sun.

Albany Wind Farm

Near the entrance or exit to the national park is the windmill farm.  There’s a large bitumen carpark and sealed footpaths to take you to the base of the windmills.  If you wish you can then venture on to the 10 km of hiking trails that meander through the Albany windmill farm.

Giant windmills
The windmill farm

Top Trip Tip
Include a packed lunch as the only place to buy food is at the Whalers Gallery Café.  Also include sunscreen, a hat, something warm (whatever the weather) and wear sturdy walking shoes.


Learn all the details about

The Porongurup’s

Heading inland from Albany is the Porongurup National Park famous for Castle Rock and the Granite Skywalk.  But these attractions are not for the faint-hearted.

Castle Rock and Granite Skywalk

We naively set off from Albany one cool summer morning arriving 45 mins later at 11am.  It is already quite hot even though temperatures have been at the mid 20C/70F.  After parking our car in the dedicated small carpark, paying the $15 national park entrance fee and putting together a day pack of water bottles and apples to snack.

We stop to read the signs about the trail up to Castle Rock and the Skywalk.  It says 4.4km round trip – that shouldn’t be too bad.  But as we head off we meet a young couple just coming down there is sweat pouring off them.  We ask, “What is it like?”  “Beautiful,” they reply, “But I wouldn’t do it again.  The climb is hard.”

With a sick whinging child in tow, we decide that today we are too ill-prepared for this hike.

But all is not lost.  The Porongurup’s offer other picnic grounds and wineries to check out.


Top Trip Tip
Arrive early and use a day backpack to take a camera, water and snacks like apples for the climb to Castle Rock to keep your hands free for climbing


Mount Barker

The closest town to the Porongurup’s is Mount Barker, home to several well-established wineries and some delicious food.  Take time to drive up to the Mount Barker Lookout at the Mount Barker Broadcast Tower which in its day (1966) was the tallest unsupported structure in the southern hemisphere.  Enjoy the vistas to the Porongurup and Stirling Ranges.

Looking out to the hilly ranges - The Porongorups
The Porongorups

Sandalwood Factory

Heading out of Mount Barker and back to Albany is the Mt Romance Sandalwood Factory.  Pop in to check out something a little bit different in the area.  Using local sandalwood trees the factory produces jewellery, oils, lotions, and repellents that are natural and medicinal.

Shelves lined with Sandalwood products
Inside the Sandalwood store

Stirling Range National Park

Further inland from Albany (an hour’s drive) is the Stirling Range National Park.  The Stirling Range is the only mountain range in the southern part of Western Australia with peaks up to 1000m above sea level.  They are home to many beautiful wildflowers and magnificent views.

When I was young my family tried hiking to the top of Bluff Knoll the highest point, I didn’t quite make it but one of my sisters did.  If you’re not up to hiking you can still enjoy the ranges with a 42km unsealed drive through scenic locations.

Denmark WA

Back on the coast, 40-minute drive west of Albany is the small laid back town of Denmark.  But don’t let its relaxed vibe fool you.  This town offers a lot to see and do; we easily fill in a full day.  But you could also make this an entirely separate location to visit for a few days.

Wine and Food Trail

Just outside of town the area is home to many local producers of the most delicious homemade goods.  Discover assortments of jams, chocolates, cheeses, and we haven’t even started on the locally made wine and beer.

Pop into the Denmark tourist bureau to get a map of where all these great producers can be found.

A selection of homemade gourmet food in Denmark WA
At the Lake House Denmark

William Bay National Park (Greens Pool & Elephant Rocks)

After you’ve had your fill, allow a couple of hours to relax in the stunning (and I don’t say that lightly) coastal William Bay National Park.  The turn off is clearly signposted along the South Coast Highway.  Parking is limited and so on a warm day, you may find yourself parked a fair way up the road from the unsealed sand tracks to the beaches.  There are no change rooms or toilets so get changed discreetly in the car first.

It doesn’t matter which attraction you head to first you will end up seeing both the main attractions – Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks.  Just a note this is a not wheelchair friendly location, but it is a great spot to take the kids swimming with the rocks protecting the beaches keeping the crystal clear waters calm.


Top Trip Tip
Don’t forget to pack your swimmers and beach day gear


Why don’t you join us as we delve into

Valley of the Giants

Keep on driving west an hour and 20 minutes from Albany is the unique Valley of the Giants.  These enormous Tingle Trees are only found in this area in the world with species dating back to Gondwanaland.

There are two ways to experience this rainforest from the tree top or from the ground.

Ancient Forest Floor Walk

It is free to stroll along the Ancient Forrest Floor Walk marvelling at the sheer size of the tree as you stand under and in the base of the trunks.

walking through the hollow of a Tingle tree trunck
The Tingle forest floor walk

Tree Top Walk

However, it is well work paying the $21/adult and $10.50/child (as at 2019) to take the Tree Top Walk and view the rain forest from up high.

the steel walkway that forms the treetop walk across the canopy of the trees
The Tree Top walk

Join us as we explore the two perspectives of the 

Top Trip Tips: Visiting Albany’s Attractions

Location

Albany is located 420km south of Western Australia’s capital city Perth.

Getting to Albany

It will take almost five hours to drive directly to Albany from Perth.

Alternatively, you can fly to Albany from Perth which takes an hour.  However, once you arrive in Albany you will almost certainly wish to hire a car to see all the attractions near Albany – don’t forget to hire car seats for the kids.  You can do this either directly with the car rental company or through a baby equipment hire company.

Alternatively, you can book tours to see most of these attractions.

Albany Accommodation

We stayed at the Big4 Emu Beach Holiday Park

But there are lots of options and places to stay in Albany from backpackers, motels, B&B’s, a range of caravan and holiday parks.

What to Pack for Albany Day Trips

The weather is constantly changing in Albany so include in your day trip packing list

  • Jumper/sweater
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Water

Include a packed lunch for many of these Albany day trips including Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, The Porongurup’s, Stirling Ranges and Torndirrup National Park as there is nowhere to purchase food once you arrive.  We have a great little cooler bag like these just for lunches that helps keep our food fresh and we add a freezer brick that is used in our self-catering packing.

Don’t forget your swimmers the day you are heading to William Bay National Park.  Check out the beach day packing list for more things to pack for your time here.

All national parks charge a day entrée fee of $15/ vehicle so pack money and a credit card.

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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for your travel dream with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.
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