"The historical port town of Albany is located 411km southeast of Perth and is famous in its own right, being Western Australia’s first European settlement."
The main street, York St, descends on a natural slope down towards Princess Royal Harbour and features many beautifully restored buildings dating back to the 1800’s. The best way to explore the old historical part of town is to walk the Amity Trail which is a 30 minute stroll in a loop via York St, Stirling Tce, Parade St and Duke St. If you’re interested in the town's history collect a map from the Visitors Centre prior to the walk. Points of interest include old hotels, gaol, cottages, churches, museums and the Brig Amity Replica standing on the waterfront which carried the first settlers here.
If history isn’t on your agenda then the scenery most certainly will be. The best place to view Albany and its surrounds is from the top of Mount Clarence where Albany’s War Memorial stands. The panoramic views from the lookout are well worth the short walk.
Marine Drive offers coastal views and there are plenty of areas to pull in and take photos or just enjoy the scenery. The Marine Drive Scenic Walk begins at the Ellen Cove Jetty on Middleton Beach and continues up the hill and along the coast. The 3km walk ends at the Port and provides stunning views of King George Sound and the Michaelmas and Breaksea Islands in the distance. Look out for migrating whales between July and October.
Middleton Beach is highly popular with both tourists and locals for swimming, windsurfing and just hanging about. Five km of squeaky white sand and blue-green water ends in the protected Ellen Cove and Emu Point either side. The relaxing grassy setting under huge pine trees at Middleton is the perfect place to take the family and make use of the playground, barbeque and picnic facilities. A café/restaurant is also located on the foreshore. No dogs are permitted at the main area on Middleton Beach however an unsealed road runs off the end of Flinders Parade and leads to a dog exercise area.
Emu Point is the headland dividing King Gorge Sound and Oyster Harbour. The clear shallow water is calm and safe and a great place for swimming, picnicking and fishing. Many facilities are provided here for your convenience including children’s playground, café and service station. This is another very popular attraction in Albany however dogs are prohibited.
Oyster Harbour is a farming ground for oysters and
mussels and a popular commercial and recreational fishing area. The
Marina, boat ramp and fish cleaning station are located here for the
Dog Rock is an interesting sight in town you just can’t resist photographing. Located on Middleton Rd near the Dog Rock Shopping Centre is a large granite rock shaped surprisingly like a dog’s head. A collar has been painted on to enhance the canine look.
Only 10km south of town along Frenchman Bay Rd is Torndirrup National Park, boasting spectacular coastal scenery and granite rock formations. Popular natural features include The Gap, Natural Bridge, Blowholes, Jimmy Newhills Harbour, Salmon Holes and Stony Hill. Whaleworld (museum and Cheynes IV vessel) and Former HMAS Perth Dive Wreck are also located here.
The city centre has a huge variety of shops, cafes, hotels and restaurants. York St is in the bustling centre and offers free parking year round. Farmers Markets are held on Collie St in the heart of town every Saturday morning with a variety of fresh local produce available.
Fishing is a popular pastime in and around Albany. The fish are biting year around with many options for boat, beach and rock fishing. Excellent boat launching facilities are at Emu Point and Town Jetty and the main boating areas are King George Sound, Princess Royal Harbour and Oyster Harbour and its connecting Kalgan and King Rivers. Common beach and rock fishing areas are Sand Patch (via Frenchman Bay Rd, Princess Ave and Sand Patch Rd), Nanarup (east of Albany), Mutton Bird Beach (at Torbay west of Albany) and numerous spots in both Torndirrup and West Cape Howe National Parks.
Fish species commonly caught in the area by land-based beach fishing and inshore boating include Herring, Silver Trevally, Sand Whiting, King George Whiting, Flathead, Squid, Sharks, Silver Bream and Salmon. Offshore boating finds Snapper, Samson Fish, Yellowtail Kingfish, Sharks, Dhufish, Harlequin and Breaksea Cod. Rock fishing you may haul up Herring, Silver Trevally, Salmon, Sharks, Samson Fish, Yellowtail Kingfish or Blue Groper.
Extreme caution should be taken at all times when
fishing along the south coast, especially if fishing from rocks and
exposed areas. Weather conditions can be very unpredictable and freak
waves can occur. Always watch the ocean and keep well clear of sea
level, cliff edges and wet rocks. If you are experienced and intend to
rock fish then visit a local tackle shop and hire a safety vest at
minimal cost. Another safety precaution is checking the up to date
weather forecast with the Bureau of Meteorology for southern coastal waters. Above all be safe, be aware and good luck.
Albany is the gateway to several national parks and really is a fabulous tourist destination, particularly if you enjoy a mild climate. The weather conditions do change unexpectedly and the old saying “four seasons in a day” is not an exaggeration. We’ve been visiting family in Albany for years and have learnt not to leave home without warm clothing. So if you’re heading to the beautiful south coastal town then take heed and enjoy!
Destinations in Western Australia