What to See at Torndirrup National Park, Albany WA

Torndirrup National Park is a 30-minute scenic drive from the centre of Albany, Western Australia.  Some of the most well-known and scenic things to see are in this Albany national park.

The national park is situated on the rocky Torndirrup Peninsula jutting out between Frenchman Bay and the Indian Ocean.  There is a lot to see in this region during a full Albany day trip, so continue reading to learn some top trip tips on how to plan for visiting this stunning region.

the giant windmills at the Albany windmill farm near the Southern Ocean

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Torndirrup National Park Sights and Attractions

Albany Whaling Station and Wildlife Park

We start our day in the Torndirrup National Park at Albany’s Historic 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.  Be careful with your footing when making your way around the ship, staircases are very narrow, sometimes you are making your way over metal grates (not good for heals) and at every doorway there is a 10cm high lip to step over – remember this was a real whaling ship, not a tourist attraction designed for the general public.

The Chenes IV ship at the Albany Whaling station in Torndirrup National Park

The Cheynes IV

When the tour begins our guide, who was one of the many activists against whaling back in the 1970s, takes us around the Albany 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 their 20+ years of operation.

At the end of the tour, we marvel at the sheer size of some of the Blue Whale skeletons.  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.

Skeleton of a whale at the Historic Whaling Station, Albany

Sperm Whale Skeleton

We spend a good few hours at the whaling station which is well worth the cost.


Top Trip Tip: Historic Whaling Station, Albany WA
  • Website
  • Price: $32/adult and $12/children 6-15yrs (more price details on the website)
  • Opening times: 9am-5pm
  • Tours 10am-3pm


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 areas – in hindsight this is where we should have gone for our picnic lunch.

The Blowholes

But instead, we drive to the Blowholes.  The bitumen car park is not that big and we have to wait a short time for somebody to leave so that we can park, parking is free.  There are also no picnic tables or anywhere to eat whilst overlooking the coastline.

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.

We make our way down carefully over the first 400m of loose bitumen before having to walk down the old wooden stairs.  There are a couple of spots with a park bench along the stair route and you may need to take advantage of them on the way back up.  BTW this is not a place to visit with prams or wheelchairs.

At the bottom of the stairs, we reach an expanse of granite rock.  There are signposts advising where the blowholes are located in a large crack within the granite rock.  For a time it is relatively peaceful and then an almighty roar!

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a large crack in a granite rock showing the Blow Holes Albany

Blowholes

A few minutes later another roar.  Today the swell is not strong enough for water to sprout out.  But the sound is impressive.


Top Trip Tip: Blowholes

  • Wear flat hiking shoes or sandals
  • It is NOT pram or wheelchair friendly
  • No dogs



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.  Well officially, it is the Torndirrup National Park entrance fee of $13/day (as at 2019) and be aware that the ticket machine only accepts credit card.

On the plus side you do kinda get your money’s worth with easily being able to navigate to see both attractions (wheelchair and pram friendly).  I found it quite mesmerising hanging over the Gap and watching the waves come crashing in causing a washing machine like agitation of the swell.


Top Trip Tip: The Gap Albany and Natural Bridge

  • Price: $13/car
    • Credit card only
  • Wheelchair and pram friendly
  • Picnic tables in full sun available
  • No dogs



Walking Trails and Lookouts

The entire Torndirrup Peninsula is just beautiful and there are plenty more lookouts and scenic spots to explore.

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.

Stoney Hill

The Stoney Hill heritage trail is only a 500m walk to the southernmost tip of the Torndirrup Peninsular.  If you wish you can explore further with a two and half hour return hike to Peak Head.

Bald Head

Bald Head is for the hard core hiker.  A 10km six to eight-hour bushwalk through rugged terrain to Isthmus Hill.

Jimmy Newells

An easy six-minute return walks to the lookout to see the hidden inlet of Jimmy Newells.

Albany Wind Farm

The Albany Wind Farm with its large bitumen carpark will either be the first or last thing you see in Torndirrup National Park as it is located near the entrance to the peninsula.

For us, this is the last place we visit during our Albany day trip to Torndirrup National Park.

We begin with reading all the information boards about the wind farm that supplies 80% of Albany’s electrical power.  The wind farm was built in two stages with the second lot of wind turbines being much more efficient than the first.

The wind turbines across the fields at Albany Wind Farm

Making our way up the ochre-coloured cement footpath that takes you to the foot of the turbines.  And it is not until you stand at the bottom of one of the windmills that you can fully appreciate how large and powerful each turbine is.  The concrete footpath runs for only a short distance before you can make your way down some wooden stairs and to explore further.  If you are more adventurous you can walk amongst the 10km of dirt hiking tracks (some of which includes the Bibbulmum Track) winding throughout the turbines.


Top Trip Tips: Albany Wind Farm


Final Top Trip Tips for Visiting Torndirrup National Park, Western Australia

This post by Tips 4 Trips contains affiliate links*.  This means I may receive a small commission if you click on these links, but at NO extra cost to you.

Location

Torndirrup National Park is approximately 30mins drive from Albany.  Alternatively, there is a scenic gentle cycle path that extends along Frenchman Bay before you enter the more hilly rocky outcrops of the national park.  You can learn where each of these attractions is located on this Torndirrup National Park map.

Website

Price

  • $13/car (as at 2019) refer to the website for current prices
  • Credit card only
  • Pay at The Gap and Natural Bridge
    • If you don’t visit The Gap then you won’t have to pay

Food and Amenities

  • The only food outlet is at the Whaling Station, the Whaling Gallery Café
  • Picnic tables are available at the Whaling Station Wildflower Garden and at The Gap
  • Toilets can be found at the Historic Whaling Station and the Albany Wind Farm
  • Drinking water fountains are not available in the national park
    • You can buy drinking water at the Whaling Gallery Café

Day Trip Bag

Ensure you pack into your day trip bag

  • A picnic lunch
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • A jumper/sweater (even if it’s hot in Albany)

Stay

Torndirrup National Park camping is prohibited.  There are a number of caravan and holiday parks within Albany.  We stayed at the Big4 Emu Beach Holiday Park – read our review.

Albany also offers a full range of motels, hotels and houses to rent.  Check out Trip Advisor and Booking.com for reviews and prices.

Alternatively, there are houses to rent in nearby Frenchman Bay.

More to see in Albany, Western Australia

This is just one of the Albany day trips that we made during our Albany holiday.

Other Albany attractions include:

More articles are coming soon on these locations.  Follow us on Facebook or sign up for the e-newsletter to learn when they are published.

If you would like to learn more about what to see in Western Australia:

 

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DISCLOSURE:

  • We paid our own entry costs.
  • Affiliate links* with 
    • This means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link, however it does not cost you any extra to purchase through these links.
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Pinterest Image of a the Torndirrup National Park map

Pinterest Image of a whale skeleton and the The Gap lookout in Torndirrup National Park

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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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