Whale of a time in Albany, Western Australia

York St, Albany

First things first.  Here in Western Australia we locals pronounce the name of the town as Al-ban-ee (sort of like Al Bundy), not Awl-ban-ee as is commonly thought by other Australians.

Albany is situated on the south coast of WA, on King George Sound, and has two harbours Oyster Harbour and Princess Royal Harbour, and it is a very attractive town.

The Indigenous Mireng people have occupied this area for over 18,000 years, and the area that became known as Albany was first visited by Dutch sailors in 1627, but it wasn’t settled by Europeans until the British arrived in 1827. Whaling became the main industry and was carried out sporadically until 1978 when whaling finally ceased.  Today, Whaleworld, at Frenchman Bay, on the site of the old whaling station is one of Albany’s premier tourist attractions, and a great place to learn about whales and the industry they spurned. The Albany Historical Society has an excellent website which explores Albany’s colourful history.

Albany is part of the region known as the Great Southern, 416 kilometres south from Perth.  It’s an easy four-hour drive, of there are regular flights by Skywest and daily coach services operated by TransWA.  There are many historical buildings in Albany, particularly close to the waterfront, and the town now boasts some of WA’s best restaurants. This regard for good produce is reflected in the weekly Albany Farmer’s Market, winner to the Vogue Best Farmers Market in Australia, and the Albany Boatshed Markets which are renowned for the quality and variety of foodstuffs on offer.

Also of interest is a full-size replica of the sailing ship Amity, which brought the first settlers to Western Australia, and the ANZAC Peace Park which marks the departure point for the 30,000 men who left Australia in 1914 to fight at the disastrous Gallipoli campaign in World War I.

Within an easy drive of Albany are natural attractions such as Two People’s Bay, Porongurup National Park, The Valley of the Giants and its famous Tree Top Walk, The Stirling Ranges, and along the cliffs that form part of the Torndirrup national Park just out of the Albany township you can visit the Blowholes, The Gap and the Natural Bridge.

Accommodation is plentiful in Albany as it is one of WA’s most popular holiday destinations.    

One of the most popular activities in Albany is whale watching, which occurs during the Southern winter between June and October, when Southern Right Whales and Humpback Whales leave the Antarctic waters to mate and calve off Albany.  Whale watching is quite easy from land, but for that up close and personal experience, the best way to view the whales is from a boat.

Albany is a great destination for those who wish to discover a different aspect of Western Australia, as it does not afford an outback experience that is typically expected in WA.  Be warned, the next piece of land south of Albany is Antarctica, so the weather can be variable, and you can experience a cold snap at any time.  Always be prepared with warm and waterproof clothing and enjoy your visit to this fantastic destination.

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3 comments to Whale of a time in Albany, Western Australia

  • Man this is why i just love the internet…it gives us free valuable information..and when i see posts like this …

  • […] Frankland River Wine Region is an easy drive from Denmark, Albany or Mt. Barker, and can be done as a day’s outing when visiting those places.  It is also an […]

  • I love Albany, always have. As a kid, I went there every summer for holidays. The swimming and fishing were great. Middleton Beach is great for swimming. Princess Royal Harbour has the main Port of Albany, and the town centre slopes down to it. Oyster Harbour contains fishing boats, and is suitable for even small children to play in the water at Emu Point. Around on the South coast is also the wind farm, which supplies much of Albany’s power, and is also worth a look as you take in the other sights along that coast.

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