Have you been planning to visit Albany? If so you’ve made the right choice! Albany is a beautiful and vibrant city that offers a wide range of activities and attractions. No matter what your interests are, you will find something fun to do in Albany. From outdoor activities to historic sites, Albany has plenty to offer. We have put together a list of the 19 best things to do in Albany, so that you can make the most of your stay and experience the city’s unique history and iconic attractions. Enjoy!
1. See Australia’s Best Beach – Misery Beach
There are many great things to do in Albany, but if you are looking for something truly special, then make sure to head to Misery Beach. Since named Australia’s Best Beach for 2022 by Tourism Australia, Misery Beach has made quite a name for itself.
The name can be quite deceiving however as you’ll be anything but miserable at this stunning spot. Misery Beach is a small and secluded beach that has a great deal of shelter, making for calm water that is perfect for swimming, snorkelling and fishing. A true water lovers paradise. The water itself is crystal clear and is blue and turquoise in colour. The contrast of the water against the white sand and granite boulders makes this beach one of the most picturesque. Even for those who don’t want to get wet, a trip to Misery Beach will make your trip memorable.
So you may be wondering why does such an amazing beach get such a glum name? Well, there’s no official record of how Misery Beach was named, however there are a couple of theories. The first theory is that when whalers would approach the beach by boat in the afternoon, the way the sun would hit the beach’s rock face looked like a frowning face. The other, more commonly known theory is that since Misery Beach was just two beaches across from the Albany Whaling Station the beach used to be stained red with the blood of whales as whalers would regularly dump the offal, blood and teeth from the whales into the water. This would leave the beach stained red, covered in whale parts and with an awful smell. This would also attract sharks. When the whaling station stopped operating in 1978 the beach was given the opportunity to return to the natural beauty it shows today. Once a spot tourists avoided, this spot is now a tourist hot spot.
Make sure you’re visiting during the right weather conditions, we visited Misery Beach a couple of times during our stay in Albany and early in the morning (5am-8am) the water was pretty rough and didn’t look very clear. Fast forward a couple of hours later and it was like an entirely new beach with flat crystal clear water.
Note: park entry fees apply for the Torndirrup National Park. At the time of writing this (January 2023) the price is $15 per standard vehicle (with 12 or less occupants). If you’re visiting multiple national parks during your trip we would recommend getting a holiday pass or an annual all parks pass as these will be better value for money. Holiday passes are available for 5 days, 14 days or 4 weeks and annual all parks passes are available for a full year.
2. Learn About Albany’s Past at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station
A great segway from Misery Beach and how it got its name. Gain a fascinating insight into Albany’s past at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station. Known as an engaging and educational tourism attraction for all ages to enjoy. This heritage-listed site explores the history of whaling in Albany.
On your visit you will find yourself immersed in the stories of the workers, the whales and their place in the economic and social history of Albany. It is not always a pleasant story, but it’s an important story to share. You can spend hours here as you explore the intact whale processing factory and the fully restored whale chasing ship.
Albany’s Historic Whaling Station is open every day (except Christmas Day) between 9am and 5pm. At the time of writing this (January 2023) admission costs $35 for adults, $12 for children between the ages of 6 and 17 (children under the age of 6 are free) and a family pass which includes 2 adults and 3 children costs $80. The admission cost also includes entry to the Australian Wildlife Park and the Regional Wildflower Garden.
3. Gaze in Awe at the Wonder of Nature at The Gap
Appreciate the incredible power of the Southern Ocean at The Gap, a channel within 40 metre high coastal granites where the ocean crashes into the rocks. An impressive sight and an exhilarating experience.
Venturing onto the lookout platform over the water allows you to safely get closer to the edge and is the ultimate spot to watch the show. For those brave enough to stand on the platform you’ll be stood 40 metres directly above the thrashing waves, watching them surge and slam into the granite walls. The size of the cliffs and the force of the ocean is humbling, putting into perspective the true power of mother nature.
The Gap’s equally incredible counterpart, the Natural Bridge, is located right next to it, allowing you to see both wonders in one visit. The Natural Bridge is a rock formation that is shaped similarly to a bridge. Another amazing display of the power of the ocean and mother nature, the Natural Bridge was created by the gradual wearing away of the rock by the powerful waves of the Great Southern Ocean.
Note: park entry fees apply for the Torndirrup National Park. At the time of writing this (January 2023) the price is $15 per standard vehicle (with 12 or less occupants).
4. Take on Bald Head Walk Trail and be Rewarded with Spectacular Views
Arguably one of the best hikes in Western Australia, take on the Bald Head Walk Trail and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views. The hike is a challenging 12.5km return trail which takes between 4 and 7 hours to complete (depending on your pace and desire to stop and take photos). Prepare for a lengthy hike with many steep sections.
There’s stunning scenery throughout however one particularly special section is after the climb over Isthmus Hill. As you walk along the narrow ridge line of the Flinders Peninsula you’ll have breathtaking views either side of you. A truly unique sight to see, on one side of the ridge line is the Southern Ocean with deep blue crashing waves and white wash, the other side of the ridge line is the King George Sound with calm, gentle water that is a bright turquoise colour.
Keep pushing until you reach Bald Head, a round, granite headland which provides incredible panoramic views of the Southern Ocean. Just below Bald Head is small island of low lying granite that the powerful Southern Ocean waves repeatedly crash into. Take a moment to enjoy the views and recover before making the return trip back.
Similarly to The Gap and Misery Beach, park entry fees apply for the Torndirrup National Park. At the time of writing this (January 2023) the price is $15 per standard vehicle (with 12 or less occupants).
5. Marvel at the Massive Wind Turbines at the Albany Wind Farm
Along the coast, just outside the Albany City Centre, are 18 gigantic wind turbines. Magnificent in size, each have a height of 100 metres from the base to the tip of the blades. Sat high on the coast, besides being an environmentally friendly source of energy for Albany, they’ve also become a popular tourist attraction and a common thing to do in Albany. The farm provides sweeping views of the stunning surroundings with the turbines also being a picturesque sight by themselves.
Visit the wind farm for yourself and marvel at their size as you feel tiny next to them. The wind farm is open to the public 24/7 and is free to visit. With an information shelter, toilets and both wooden and gravel pathways that are scattered with interesting informational signs throughout, a trip to the Albany Wind Farm is always a great one.
Fun fact! Most people don’t know but there are actually two wind farms at this spot, not just the one. Albany Wind Farms and Gasmere Farms are located here. With them sitting adjacent to each other and both being owned by the same company they are often considered a single facility. The original Albany Wind Farm was commissioned back in 2001. Back then, it was considered the largest of its kind in Australia, with a total of 12 wind turbines. In 2011 six extra turbines were installed, forming the Grasmere Wind Farm. The 18 wind turbines in total have a maximum generating capacity of 35.4 MW of electricity.
6. Look Back on Rich Maritime History at the Point King Lighthouse Ruins
Sat on the tip of Point King near the shore is Point King Lighthouse Ruins, an abandoned building rich in maritime history. The ruins are a magnificent sight, surrounded by the rugged rocky coastline and deep turquoise blue water of King George Sound. If you’re a fan of history or simply want to enjoy a beautiful view, then make sure visiting the Point King Lighthouse Ruins is on your list of things to do in Albany.
The Point King Lighthouse was the first navigational light for the port of Albany and the second lighthouse on Western Australia’s coastline. Built in 1858, the Point King Lighthouse housed many different light keepers and their families until 1911 when the Port Pilot Crew took over upkeep (trimming the light) of the lighthouse. In 1913 power was installed so it became automatic but it rapidly deteriorated until it stopped working. The lighthouse was then abandoned and the elements have taken their toll.
Nothing survives of the original wooden light tower but the ruins are now an equally impressive sight. The now roofless stone and rendered building features a central hallway and 4 rooms with brick around the doors and windows.
The walk to the ruins takes around 15 minutes from the car park and is fairly steep along a gravel path until you reach the ruins which are perched on top of rocks near the ocean.
Note: don’t navigate to ‘Point King Lighthouse Ruins’ in Google Maps as it won’t take you directly to the ruins or even to a suitable car park so you can walk to the ruins. The best way to get there is by parking at the Marine Drive Lookout (here in Google Maps) and walking down the attached walk path down to the ruins. The lookout itself is stunning so don’t forget to stop and appreciate the view while you’re there.
7. Enjoy your Drink of Choice at a Local Winery, Brewery or Distillery
Albany is home to a number of quality vineyards producing a range of excellent wines. Why not make a day of it and taste your way around a few of the local wineries. Many of the vineyards offer cellar door tastings and sales, as well as beautiful views over the surrounding countryside. Below are just a few of the amazing wineries in/near Albany:
- Alkoomi Wines
- Oranje Tractor Wine
- Wignalls Wines
If wine isn’t your drink of choice, check out the popular Limeburners Distillery and Giniversity Albany. Their friendly cellar door team will guide you through a tasting of their craft spirits and if you’re feeling peckish you can enjoy a delicious meal made with local produce. If you’re interested you can also go on a distillery tour for a sneak peak into the work it takes to make the premium single malt whisky that Limeburners is known for. Or try your own hand at making gin and be a distiller for the day with the Ginversity Gin Blending Class.
If beers are more your thing, head to Wilson Brewing Company where you can enjoy sipping on a quality beer. Enjoy a beer from their core range or try out a beer from their seasonal range. If you’re feeling hungry you can enjoy a meal at Wilson Brewing Brew Pub which serves up mouthwatering meals like a juicy burger, fried chicken wings or loaded fries.
8. Feel on Top of the World at the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk
Located 35 to 40 minutes away from the Albany Town Centre, deep in the heart of Porongurup is the super popular Castle Rock Granite Skywalk. The Granite Skywalk is a stainless steel lookout that spirals around the Castle Rock granite boulder, resulting in a pretty impressive platform that provides spectacular views of the remaining peaks of the Porongurups, the Stirling Range and the surrounding farmland.
The walk to the top is 4.4km return, taking 1-2 hours to complete. The hike is not easy with a steady gradient to the 670 metre summit, the need to climb over large rocks and a 7 metre stainless steel ladder to climb. The effort is worth it though as you’ll be rewarded with epic views. For those that don’t want to take on the final climb to the top there is another lookout at the base of Castle Rock that still provides some great views. Besides the incredible views at the top, another cool feature of the trail is the balancing rock, which is a huge round granite boulder that looks like it’s defying gravity as it balances on another rounded rock. Appreciate nature and enjoy a thrill at the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk. If you’d like to learn more about the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk hike make sure to check out our post: Granite Skywalk Castle Rock: Everything You Need to Know.
If you finish up the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk early and want to take on another trail while you’re in the area don’t hesitate to do the Nancy Peak and Devil’s Slide trail. A lesser known but equally amazing hike, each summit will reward you with spectacular views. With such varied terrain and so much to see, people often describe the trail by saying it felt as though they were walking through a terrarium, which we agree with! If you’d like to learn more about the Nancy Peak and Devils Slide hike make sure to check out our post: Nancy Peak and Devils Slide Hike, Porongurup: Everything You Need to Know.
Note: if visiting during summer make sure to take on any hike early so you can beat the heat. We took on the Castle Rock trail at 5am during summer and found the temperature cool and comfortable. We ended up staying up at the lookout for over 4 hours as we went on a foggy day so were waiting for the fog to fully clear. By the time we were heading down (at 10am) the weather was extremely hot and uncomfortable. We couldn’t have imagined doing the hike up in that heat yet saw majority of people starting it at this time. If you do take on the hike later make sure to dress appropriately, be sunsmart and pack lots of water!
Park entry fees are required for the Porongurup National Park. At the time of writing this (January 2023) the price is $15 per standard vehicle (with 12 or less occupants).
9. Visiting Between June-October? Go Whale Watching
A truly unique and magical experience, see these magnificent creatures in the wild right here in Albany. Whale watching season in Albany begins in late May every year and lasts until early October so if you’re visiting during these months make sure to keep your eyes peeled for them.
King George Sound in Albany is the resting area for the southern migration of the Humpback Whales who arrive in King George Sound on their way to the warmer waters of the Kimberleys. King George Sound is also the calving grounds of the Southern Right Whales who like to calve in the colder Albany waters. So if you spot a Southern Right Whale in season you’ll be witnessing the incredible interactions between mother and calf.
With stunning beaches and an abundance of scenic lookouts dotted along the coast there are a number of great spots you can spend the day while keeping an eye out for whales. If you’d rather, there are a few different companies who offer whale watching cruises so you can get up close and personal with the amazing whales.
10. Buy Local Produce at the Albany Farmers Market
Support the locals and score some premium, fresh produce from the Albany Farmers Market. The market runs weekly every Saturday morning from 8am to 12pm right in the heart of Albany.
Depending on what’s in season the market has fresh vegetables (like lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, onions, pumpkin, fresh herbs and mushrooms) and fresh fruit (like apples, plums, strawberries, watermelon, blueberries and passionfruit). All of which are locally grown in the Great Southern region. You can also see dairy products (like milk, cream and yoghurt), eggs, honey, olive oil, baked goods (like bread and pastries), meat (like lamb, chicken and fish), jams, pickles, chutneys, gelato, nuts, seedlings and native plants.
Besides being the perfect spot to do your weekly shop the market makes for the perfect morning out with coffee, hot food and live music. Support the local growers, get great quality produce, enjoy breakfast or lunch and socialise with the locals and visiting tourists.
11. Explore Military History at the National Anzac Centre
The National Anzac Centre is a must-see for anyone interested in military history. The Centre tells the story of the Anzacs, from their origins in World War I through to their present day legacy. You will assume the identity of an actual service man or woman and will follow their experience of the War. Listen to their full story from recruitment and training to life on the convoys and conflicts. Then discover the fate of your character, if they survived you’ll learn about their return and the difficulties they faced adjusting back into normal society. It is an emotive and thought-provoking experience that will stay with you long after your visit.
The National Anzac Centre is located within the heritage listed Princess Royal Fortress which is free to enter (they do encourage a gold coin donation however). At the Fortress you can wander the grounds, exploring gun defences and barracks where officers once lived and worked.
At the time of writing this (January 2023) entry cost for the National Anzac Centre is $25 for adults, $11 for children (5-15 years) and children under the age of 5 are free. They also offer a family pass which is $60 for 2 adults and 2 children.
12. Wander Along Little Beach and go for a Dip in the Water
Besides the award-winning Misery Beach, Albany is full of incredible beaches, one of which is Little Beach. Little Beach is another popular beach in Albany that is known for being one of the most picturesque. Picture perfect Little Beach has crystal clear turquoise coloured waters, bright white sand and large granite boulders.
A focal point of Little Beach is the two large granite boulders that lay in the crisp white sand, smack bang in the centre of the beach, contrasting the beautiful turquoise water that laps around them. This stunning beach is the perfect place for a relaxing day; spend your time wandering along the beach, lay on the sand, going for a swim, fishing or kayaking.
Park entry fees do apply for Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. At the time of writing this (January 2023) the price is $15 per standard vehicle (with 12 or less occupants).
13. Appreciate the Stunning Scenery at the Cave Point Lighthouse
Despite being decommissioned and no longer in use, Cave Point Lighthouse is one of the most picturesque lighthouses in Western Australia. The landscape surrounding the lighthouse is short dark green vegetation, a perfect contrast to the jaw-dropping rocky coastline that acts as the backdrop to the lighthouse. Beyond the rocky coastline is a never-ending blanket of the famous turquoise-blue water that Albany is known for.
The lighthouse is a short and easy 10 minute walk from the car park. Unfortunately you can’t enter the lighthouse but you can approach the base of it, allowing you to appreciate it in all it’s glory up close. Just down the road from The Gap and Natural Bridge (which we discussed previously), it’s worth making the 2 minute detour to check the Cave Point Lighthouse out when you’re in the area.
14. Challenge Yourself at the Stirling Range
If you enjoyed taking on the Bald Head Walk Trail and the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk and are looking for even more of a challenge make the hour drive out to the Stirling Range. The Stirling Range feature six different mountain trails; the Bluff Knoll summit trail, Talyuberlup Peak walk trail, Mount Hassell trail, Mount Magog walk trail, Toolbrunup Peak trail and Mount trio Trail. Each trail provides their own unique experience, all of which are spectacular and memorable.
Bluff Knoll, the most popular of all the trails, is the highest peak in the Stirling Range and the whole of Southern WA, at 1095 metres above sea level. Tourists travel from near and far to take on the challenge of the adrenaline pumping Bluff Knoll trail. The trail is a challenging 6.8km return trail, taking 3-4 hours to complete. If you make it to the summit you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. Feeling on top of the world, if the clouds are low you literally will be up above the clouds.
There are park entry fees for the Stirling Range National Park. At the time of writing this (January 2023) the price is $15 per standard vehicle (with 12 or less occupants).
15. Indulge Your Senses at The Sandalwood Shop
Just 10-15 minutes away from the Albany City Centre is The Sandalwood Shop. Embark on a unique experience learning about the sandalwood processing journey and the global Sandalwood industry at The Sandalwood Shop in Albany. Consisting of a sandalwood distillery, The Sandalwood Café and a Gong Relaxation Space indulge your senses in more ways than one.
After learning about the sandalwood processing journey, experience their extensive range of sandalwood skincare, fragrance, shower and bath, aromatherapy, beauty, food and lifestyle products. Spoil yourself with your favourite products or grab a gift for someone special in your life.
Take the opportunity to relax, refresh and replenish in one of their one hour gong relaxation sessions. A unique experience that combines the vibrational tones of a gong with the calming aroma of sandalwood oil. The session costs $24 per person and does require booking in advance.
If you’re feeling peckish, enjoy lunch or a coffee and a cake at The Sandalwood Café, with the lunch menu available from 11am until 2pm. The Sandalwood Shop really does have everything, making for a great visit when you’re in Albany.
The showroom is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm and between 9am and 4pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. The cafe trading hours are between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 3:30pm on Saturday, Sunday and on public holidays.
16. Hear about Albany’s Convict Past at the Albany Convict Gaol & Museum
Explore Albany’s convict past at the Albany Convict Gaol & Museum which will take you back into the mid 1800s when imperial convicts were shipped to Albany as skilled labourers. The gaol, which was restored in 1996 into a museum now retells the stories of the inmates who used to be kept there and shares details of the gaol’s facilities. It’s a fascinating experience that is suitable for all ages.
The Albany Convict Gaol was established in 1852 and consisted of a cell block for convicts with quarters for the gaol warden. In 1873 the gaol was extended to become a public prison. The gaol’s key principle was rehabilitation as convicts who were allowed to leave were hired by free settlers for labour. A lot of important work was done by the convicts, who worked on projects such as the town jetty and building the road to Perth. The gaol continued to be used until 1941 when it was condemned as unfit for habitation and was put up for sale.
At the time of writing this (January 2023) entry fees are $6 per adult, $2.50 per child and a family pass is $15. The gaol is open 10am to 4pm, Monday to Sunday except on Good Friday, Christmas day and ANZAC day morning.
17. Get in a Game or Two of Golf at the Albany Golf Club
Situated in between King George Sound and Lake Seppings the Albany Golf Club is a golfer’s dream. With an immaculately kept and well-designed course with stunning views of the ocean. A bit of golf at the Albany Golf Club could be the perfect thing to do while you’re in Albany.
Featuring a bar and restaurant, after finishing up a fun game make sure to pop in and grab a drink, there’s local wines, tap beer, spirits, soft drinks and hot drinks on the menu. If you’re feeling hungry grab a bite to eat with dishes such as lemon pepper squid and a steak sandwich.
The Albany Golf Club does welcome visitors to come and play, just make sure you’re neatly dressed as they do have a dress code. At the time of writing this (January 2023) the green fees are $50 for 18 holes or $30 for 9 holes. If you need you can also hire clubs, pull buggies and electric carts for extra.
18. Revisit Local History at the Patrick Taylor Cottage
Built in 1832, Patrick Taylor Cottage is the oldest surviving dwelling in Western Australia. The cottage has now been transformed into a museum, housing a large collection of historical artefacts, photographs and information on early Albany residents.
A must-see attraction for history lovers, the cottage is the pride and joy of the Albany Historical Society which is staffed entirely by dedicated and passionate volunteers. Spend some time wandering through the eleven bedroom wattle and daub cottage, learning about local history and what life was like.
At the time of writing this (January 2023) entry fees are $6 per adult, $2.50 per child and a family pass is $15. The cottage is open 11am to 3pm, Monday to Sunday except on Good Friday, Christmas day and ANZAC day morning.
19. Step Back in Time at the Museum of the Great Southern
Overlooking the Princess Royal Harbour is the Museum of the Great Southern. Located on the site of the first European settlement in Western Australia it’s a fitting spot for the museum which has exhibitions on the natural and social history of the region. Hear the stories of the Menang Noongar people and the stories of early settlers and convicts. Also learn about the region’s landscape, flora and fauna.
Step back in time to 1826 and find out what life was like aboard a convict ship on the Brig Amity. At the Museum of the Great Southern, the replica ship lays next to the water, ready to explore. Hop aboard and start exploring, as you do listen to the story of the Amity’s 6 week journey from Sydney to King George Sound to establish the first European settlement on the west coast of Australia. Way back then the ship was packed with the ship’s crew, 23 convicts, 21 soldiers, domestic animals, food, crops and building materials, all headed to unknown lands.
Entry to the museum is free. The Brig Amity however does have an entry fee at $5 per adult and $2 per child. A family pass for 2 adults and 2 children is available at $12.
Have a Great Time in Albany!
We hope that this list of the best things to do in Albany has given you some inspiration for your next visit. Albany is a truly special place with a lot to offer.
If you’re interested we’ve also put together some answers for frequently asked questions about Albany, WA below.
What is Albany WA Known For?
Albany is known for it’s historical significance to Western Australia; as the oldest settlement in Western Australia, the location where ANZAC troops departed Australia in the First World War and where the last shore-based whaling station in Australia closed, after 178 years of whaling in Albany waters. Albany has now become a tourist hot spot known for not only its rich history but its; stunning beaches, unique landscapes and abundance of marine life, particularly for whales as Albany is the resting area for Humpback whales and the calving area for Southern Right whales.
Is Albany WA Worth Visiting?
Definitely, there are so many amazing things to do in Albany that will make your trip unlike any other. Such as; swimming at Australia’s best beach, taking on an adrenaline pumping hiking trails like the picturesque Bald Head Walk Trail or the jaw-dropping Bluff Knoll summit, getting up close and personal with whales in the wild or revisiting history at the Whaling Station and National Anzac Centre. If you’re looking for a unique and memorable trip, Albany is the place to go.
How Far is Albany WA from Perth?
Albany WA is approximately 418km from Perth, which is about a 4.5-5 hour drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).
Is Albany WA a City?
Yes, Albany WA is a city.
What Region is Albany WA in?
Albany WA is in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.
What Shire is Albany WA in?
Albany WA is in the City of Albany.
What is the Population of Albany WA?
Albany has a population of 38,763 (according to the 2021 Census).
What is There to do in Albany WA?
There are loads of things to do in Albany, including:
- Swim at Misery Beach (which was awarded Australia’s best beach 2022)
- Visit the Albany Whaling Station
- Visit The Gap and Natural Bridge
- Do the Bald Head walk trail
- Visit the Albany Wind Farm
- Visit the Point King Lighthouse Ruins
- Visit a local winery, brewery or distillery
- Take on the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk hike
- Go whale watching
- Buy local produce at the Albany Farmers Market
- Visit the National Anzac Centre and Princess Royal Fortress
- Swim at Little Beach
- Visit the Cave Point Lighthouse
- Take on a mountain hike at the Stirling Ranges
- Visit The Sandalwood Shop
- Visit the Albany Convict Gaol & Museum
- Play golf at the Albany Golf Club
- Visit the Patrick Taylor Cottage
- Visit the Museum of the Great Southern