Stirling Ranges

The Stirling Range National Park is 80km north of Albany. The jagged peaks of the Stirling Range National Park rise abruptly more than 1000 metres above sea level and stretch east west for over 65km. The sea winds and low-lying cloud create humid conditions within Stirling Range National Park, making it one of the most important botanic environments in the world. Western Australia’s isolation from the rest of the world ensures that many of the species in Western Australia are unique

Wildflowers

If you visit between August and November, a must-see is the gorgeous Stirling Range National Park, home to at least 1500 species of plants, 90 per cent of which are found nowhere else. A glorious sight whether you look out over the hills, plains or higher up in the ranges themselves, are the many beautiful flora. The Stirling Ranges also contains Bluff Knoll, WA’s highest peak that rises to 1095 metres above sea level and makes for an excellent vantage point of the surrounding area.

Wines

Just as Albany was the first settlement in Western Australia, the Great Southern Wine region played its part in establishing Western Australia’s reputation in production of fine wines. Albany is widely recognised as one of the cleanest and most eco-diverse growing areas in the Southern Hemisphere.

Whales

Between August and October, the coastline around Albany provides protection to pods of southern right, sperm, and humpback whales and, on occasions, the rare and endangered blue whale. The magnificent creatures were hunted and processed at the whaling station in Frenchman Bay. In this more enlightened times we abhor the practice of whale hunting and it was prohibited throughout Australia by the International Whaling Commission in 1963. The old station is now a whale museum "WhaleWorld", which is a must-see to learn about past practices and new understandings of these ocean-bearing mammals. Whale watchers come to Albany from the four corners of the earth to view Humpback and Southern Right whales during their migrations.

Beach Lovers

Albany’s Middleton Beach is a beautiful, popular and safe beach for all the family. The more turbulent Southern Ocean’s waves do not reach these sheltered waters as it is protected by King George Sound. As the town’s main swimming beach, its beautiful blue waters attract locals and visitors alike who enjoy swimming, snorkeling and walking along the streets lined with Norfolk Island Pines. The beach also has a number of pubs, restaurants and cafes showcasing the best of local wines and produce and is a popular after work and meeting place after a refreshing swim or lazy day on the sand.

Any Time is a Great Time to Visit Albany

Albany's climate is temperate with an average temperature in summer of 22.4 degree's Celsius and an average winter temperature of 17.9 degree's Celsius. Most of the rain is received during the Winter months but light rainfall in Summer is not uncommon.

How to get There

Albany is located 406 km south of Perth. You can take the Albany Highway to Perth or the longer route that is closer to the coastline and takes in Denmark, Margaret River and Dunsborough before turning into Highway 1.

Staying On

Albany has accommodation to suit honeymooners, friends, travellers, tourists as well as families. Be prepared to spend at least 3 days here to allow enough time to explore the beaches, coastline and national park and experience all the wonderful food, wine and entertainment this compact seaside city has to offer.

History

The coastline around Albany had been sighted by Europeans as early as 1627 when Pieter Nuyts sailed across the Great Australian Bight in the ship Gulden Zeepaardt. His report of the land was such that the Dutch showed no interest in settlement. However using Nuyt’s maps, author Jonathan Swift located his fictional land of the Houyhnhnms almost exactly at the present site of Albany when writing Gulliver's Travels.

Albany was the first European settlement in WA, with its pristine harbour founded by Britain's Captain George Vancouver in 1791 and only 10 years later, Matthew Flinders mapped the coastline. The first settlement was established in Christmas 1826 by Major Edmund Lockyer with 52 convicts and a military escort in the infamous brig Amity, two years before the Swan River settlement near Perth.

A replica of the Amity now rests on the foreshore of Princess Royal Harbour only 200 metres from the original landing at Point Frederick. Originally a coaling port, Albany also serviced mail steamers on their United Kingdom route.

The ANZACS sailed away to WW1 from Albany and the first ANZAC ceremony was held to remember the brave Australians who did not return.

Heritage Trails

Albany has a number of interesting Heritage Trails which will allow you to explore the city’s rich history. While on the trails you will enjoy superb views of the harbour and the town and is an ideal way of familiarizing yourself with the geography of Albany and its surrounds. The trails include;

Albany Historic Town Trail: These two fascinating walks are the Albany Historic Town Trails which recognise 39 places of significant historical interest within a 2 km radius of central business district.

The Mount Clarence Trails: The Mount Clarence Trail, the third of the Heritage trails, is a walk from the War Memorial at the end of Apex Drive around the edges of Mount Clarence.

Princess Royal Fortress Trail: The fifth Heritage Trail is known as the Princess Royal Fortress Trail and is an opportunity to inspect the painstakingly restored Princess Royal Fortress. Completed in 1893 and designed to protect Albany (which is the only major port between Perth and Port Lincoln) against the unlikely occurrence of invasion, the fortress was continuously staffed from 1893-1945, finally closing in 1956.

Quaranup-Point Possession Trail: The Quaranup / Point Possession Trail, a 1.6 km walk from Albany's old Quarantine Station to Point Possession where George Vancouver claimed the whole of Western Australia for Great Britain. It is located on the far side of Princess Royal Harbour on the way out to Torndirrup National Park with its dramatic coastal formations.

Torndirrup National Park: Torndirrup, which was named after the local Aboriginal tribe, is renowned for its rugged coastal features such as the Gap and Natural Bridge. Views from the park provide breathtaking coastal scenery ranging from rugged granite cliffs to sandy beaches, as well as excellent views of both the southern ocean and hinterland.

For the more adventurous, a greater appreciation of this coastal region can be gained by walking out towards Bald Head. This medium grade 10 km return walk take you along the crest of Flinders Peninsula to Bald Head, the landmark that guided explorers into King George Sound. The Gap is sheer and dramatic, the Natural Bridge is fascinating, the views along the coast from the Natural Bridge are extraordinarily pretty and the view across Cable Beach to the east is fabulous, as is the Blowholes walk when the sea is running.

The Old Farm

Hidden away in Albany's suburbia is The Old Farm at Strawberry Hill which some claim to be the oldest European building in Western Australia. Listed as part of the National Estate The Old Farm dates from 1827 and is regarded as one of the most important buildings in the state. 

Brig Amity Replica

This beautiful ship is a full-scale reproduction created by local craftsmen was built to commemorate the 150th anniversary of her sailing into Albany. A must-see, the Amity is located off Princess Royal Drive.

Images above: 

- Stunning coastline near Albany (left) 

- The Stirling Ranges (top right)

- Wineries are top-class in Albany (bottom middle)

- Shelley Beach is just one beautiful beach accessible from Albany (bottom right)