Things to do in Albany – our getaway guide to see, do, eat and drink in Albany.
Albany doesn’t have to work hard for your A-grade seal of approval. There was a good reason why the Great Southern region’s main hub was initially earmarked as Western Australia’s capital. Although not being awarded the privilege, the coastal town does not come off second best for Albany is in a class of its own. From its magnificent natural attractions, refreshingly hip food and bar scene, places of wartime significance and close proximity to the largest wine region in the country, there is enough in Albany to woo you over.
Here we give you a cheat sheet on the best things to do in Albany so you can too, give it the top destination marks it rightfully deserves.
Where to find entertainment in Albany
Attention all history buffs, Albany has got you sorted. For big-ticket events, check out what is going on at Albany Entertainment Centre.
To get closer to where history was made, hop on board a scenic safari. King George Sound Safari conducts cruises around its namesake and Princess Royal Harbour. Be both windswept and swept away at the sheer volume of history that this area beholds as the tour navigates past Mount Clarence – home of the National Anzac Centre – Point King Lighthouse and Point Possession.
Out from the sea, appreciate Albany’s on-road artistry by heading out to Chainsaw Sculpture Drive. This insanely imaginative exhibition displays wooden sculptures out in nature creatively carved by chainsaw blades. Admiring its octopus, cuckoo clock and many others may make you regret not furthering your high school woodwork lessons…
From woodwork to drumsticks, catch a glimpse of Albany’s next big thing on the music scene at Six Degrees. This lively bar is located in the old part of town along Stirling Terrace and has entertainment almost nightly. Its front bar almost feels as if being in a funkily decked out party bunker, with its cosy atmosphere and low-roof bar with fairy lights. It makes for a great setting to catch an intimate gig. The beats ramp up on the weekend with resident DJ’s spinning tracks on Friday and Saturday. Sundays swing the other way of the pleasure pendulum, with acoustic sessions held in the bar’s alfresco-sidewalk.
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Where to find culture in Albany
Discover the cultural heart of Albany, both new and old.
Get a sense of what the Great Southern region is all about by educating yourself at the Museum of The Great Southern. The museum overlooks Princess Royal Harbour, the site of the first European settlement in WA.
Albany is home to the ANZAC legend. Make a pilgrimage to the National Anzac Centre and pay tribute to those who have fallen in the Great War. The state-of-the-art centre offers interactive experiences through audio commentary and multimedia displays, sharing personal stories of those involved in the war.
Fast forward in time and capture a new movement along the streets of Albany: urban art. Albany is fast becoming a living and breathing art gallery with numerous street art murals splashing colour within and around the city by local and international artists.
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Where to see nature in central Albany
Albany is blessed with a natural smorgasbord of beautiful places – so where to start?
Start your daily warm-up by hiking the Point Possession Heritage Trail. It’s a moderate scenic trail twice over along the 5 km tombolo loop, walking the lengths of Vancouver Peninsula’s two beaches. It is somewhat a reflective trail too, with views of Albany Port and King George Sound. If feeling extra adventurous, nearby the main car park is Whalers Cove, a so-called ‘free beach’ where clothing is optional. Cheeky.
For a longer trail, consider Bald Head Walk Trail. The 12.5 km trail is located in Norndirrup National Park and traverses Flinders Peninsula, rewarding you with vistas of the Southern Ocean and King George Sound.
For an inner-city splash, head to Albany’s main beach, Middleton Beach. After all that hiking, you rightfully deserve a refreshing dip. Or to see those who make even a bigger splash in the sea, join a whale watching tour to spot Albany’s biggest residents from June until August.
Where to eat in Albany
Albany can be a dangerous place to visit with a hungry stomach. There are so many upmarket cafes and trendy restaurants worth checking out for an epicurean feed.
If you consider eating a social activity, head to Garrison for lunch or dinner. Visiting this local favourite along Mount Clarence will delight your senses with its share plates, taking inspiration from around the world to appease hardcore foodies. Its dessert options aren’t the only sweet thing about this place, its location is too, overlooking the King George Sound and Princess Royal Harbour and beyond. If you aren’t the sharing kind when it comes to food, it is also open for breakfast.
Liberate your tastebuds at Liberte – a Parisian-inspired joint worth your hashtags for its salon splendour. Housed in the former London Hotel, Liberte has attracted a following for its Vietnamese fusion menu, and its extensive cocktail list celebrated as the crème de la crème of town. The restaurant has won many accolades over the years with most recently being awarded Australian Good Food Guide 2020 Chef’s Hat winner. Its recent menu addition is a testament to its winning flavour combinations – shaking kangaroo – a colourful mix up of kangaroo rump tossed with brown butter, caramelised onion and lucky sauce. Lucky for us who get to eat it!
Find yourself in town on a Saturday morning? Head to the Albany Farmers Market to see and taste the freshest produce of the region. Make sure to buy extra to snack on the long journey home!
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Where to drink in Albany
Albany’s drink scene deserves a toast. Besides Liberte being a cocktail powerhouse in the centre of town, there are other places worth the late-night cheers.
New on York Street is Majuba Bistro, a French-inspired wine bar pouring both local and international drops. This voguish two-storey venue oozes Parisian panache with its rouge lounge booths at ground level and with tables and balcony seating upstairs. Its food menu is just as encompassing as its wine list, perfect for if you would like to slowly sip the night away while treating yourself to the finer French-fusion cuisines in life.
If seeking something more casual, head to the coast and go Due South. This modern on-water bar and restaurant offers blissful vistas of Princess Royal Harbour and is a great place to unwind for a sunset bevy. Its converted orange shipping container bar gives the site eccentric vibes. For small bar shenanigans, head towards Middleton Beach and arrive at Rat Bar. This renovated traditional cottage has adapted to Albany’s ever-changing seasons so toasting the night away is always a mainstay.
Where to stay in Albany
Albany has its charms, so why not have a stay that has endearing ones too.
Big4 Emu Beach Holiday Park – From campers, caravanners to cabin dwellers, this holiday park has something for everyone to suit all budgets. Located along the beach, it is a perfect spot to unwind moments from the town centre.
Best Western Albany Motel & Apartments – If you want to be in the heart of town, this wallet-friendly accommodation is a top choice. The beautifully renovated apartments and motel rooms offer modern comforts on the doorstep of Albany’s top attractions.
Dunmoylen B&B – The centrally located 1890-built luxury bed and breakfast blends heritage allure with modern comforts in its three rooms all uniquely furnished. It overlooks the foreshore prescient too, so expect to feel morning fresh.
Find out more things to do in Albany via Australia’s South West.
Feature image: Australia’s South West
See more: Western Australia travel
Article first published on So Perth – Your A+ Getaway Cheat Sheet To Albany