- Category: Travel in WA
- Last Updated: Saturday, 27 August 2011 11:18
- Published: Wednesday, 03 August 2011 10:57
- Written by Nita Teoh
The town of Albany, located on the south west coast of Western Australia, has grown up a lot these days. It was a relatively quiet seaside town a couple of decades ago. Today its township is bustling, as it continues to expand to meet the needs of its residents.
Getting to Albany is quite a straight forward journey. It takes around 4.5 to 5 hrs to drive there, and it is literally one straight road travelling along Albany Highway.
As a young kid growing up in Perth my family used to visit Albany during the long summer holidays, and we had a lot of fun doing holiday stuff such as enjoying the beautiful beaches, cooking up delicious meals, and exploring Albany's coast. Our family rented a holiday cottage tucked away on the hillside of the township, convenient for everything we needed. Some things from the past stick in your mind, and one thing about Albany that I will always remember fondly is the squeaky sand of the beach at Two People’s Bay.
On a recent getaway to Albany this year, I was surprised to find the modern Albany Entertainment Centre looming prominently on the pier. It’s a huge, modern structure overlooking Princess Royal Harbour, so it’s hard to miss this landmark. As part of your visit, you could take in a concert at the modern Performance and Arts Centre.
You are spoilt for choice in Albany, with many popular attractions to visit. Here are some of my favourites:
The Gap and Natural Bridge
The Gap and Natural Bridge are two amazing rock formations that can viewed in the Torndirrup National Park. You can watch the waves from the Southern Ocean pound ferociously against the rock face, and view the spectacular Natural Bridge that has formed after years of waves crashing against the rock - it's a must see for visitors to Albany. Beware of strong wind conditions at these natural attractions, and stick to the signboard instructions to stay behind the railings and within the designated lookouts. Sadly, a few lives have been lost near the Gap over the years, so keep in mind the instructions are there for a reason.
The Gap and Natural Bridge are located in the Torndirrup National Park, and a short drive from Albany along the scenic Frenchman Bay Road.
The whirling and twirling and whoosh of the wind farms are a sight and sound not to be missed as the wind farm towers above you. The dozen or so wind turbines stretch upwards over 65 metres, and power the majority of Albany township’s electricity requirements. There are some lovely paths around the wind farm that provide a panoramic view of the Albany township so be sure to check these out too. You can also get a spectacular view of the wind farm by walking along the scenic Bibbulmum Track.
The Dog Rock granite formation located near the town always brings a smile to my face. Personally, I think the dog looks like a Labrador. You can find Dog Rock located at Middleton Beach Road.
As the years go by, Dog Rock still stands watch, and the poor old dog has managed to retain his collar. If only someone would take him for a walk, maybe Dog Rock would come to life!
There are plenty of beaches to explore including Little Beach and Waterfall Beach, Two People’s Bay, and Salmon Holes at Torndirrup National Park. Nearer to the township, Middleton Beach is a popular spot for families with young children to enjoy the beach. The life guards are usually out come rain or shine, and as always in Australia it’s a good idea to swim between the flags to avoid rips. Swim, surf or use your boogie board. When all your energies have been spent having fun in the water, grab yourself a drink from the nearby kiosk or enjoy a simple meal of fish and chips at Middleton Beach.
The Bibbulmum Track, a bushwalking trail of nearly 1,000 kms, begins in Kalamunda near the Perth hills and ends in Albany. One access point to the track is at the southern terminus which is located near the Albany Visitor Centre on Proudlove Parade. There are some beautiful scenic coastal sections of the Bibbulmun Track to be experienced, along with the camaraderie of meeting and camping with fellow hikers in the huts.
Albany’s Farmer Markets
Saturdays are buzzing along Collie Street at the Albany’s Farmer Markets. The markets are open every Saturday from 8 am to 12pm, and can be accessed from Collie Street, one block to the west from York Street.
There is a lovely vibe to the markets, and they are not to be missed if you happen to be in Albany on the weekend. As with many local markets, as well as catching up with your shopping for the week, you’ll be likely to bump into a familiar face or two. It’s a great excuse to have a natter over the divine smells of freshly brewed coffee. Oh, and also do your weekly shop. There is an excellent range of local produce to choose from including organic fruits and vegetables, meat, yoghurt and cheese, blueberries and blueberry jam from the Farmgate Blueberry Farm, as well as fresh bread and patisseries from The Royal Patisserie.
Albany Boatshed Markets
Another place to visit on the weekends are the Albany Boatshed Markets. The markets are located on Princess Royal Drive, and open every Sunday from around 10am to 1pm. Enjoy the fun atmosphere of live music whilst browsing the markets. Tucked away in sheds near the wharf, there is home made ice cream, jams, and coffee to tempt you. You’ll also be able to buy your local fruits and vegetables and in season produce.
Accommodation in Albany
You can find all kinds of accommodation to suit your holiday or travel requirements in Albany. The types of accommodation range from backpacker lodgings and youth hostels, standard motels, to self contained, holiday cottages. There is certainly no shortage of accommodation to choose from, and over the years, I’ve seen more new accommodation become available.
Sadly, you eventually have to leave Albany unless you decide to become a resident. On the way home you could visit lovely Denmark, or Pemberton for the high tree top walk. In fact you might never get back to Perth, because there are so many temptations to look at as you make your way back to the city.
Albany is a great holiday destination, and although there are other towns to explore, Albany will always be a favourite holiday destination of mine, which I'll visit time and time again