Albany is a small coastal town located in South Western Australia. It’s around 400kms south of Perth, a 4.5 hour drive. It’s been a place that has always intrigued me but the distance from Perth has always seemed too far but with four days off work, I figured it was time. I made the drive by myself- the longest drive I’ve undertaken to date. I’ve never been to Albany but it’s a picturesque drive down there, once you’re on Albany Highway, all you have to do is drive (and drive, and drive). There are numerous parking bays on the side of the ride and you will pass through several shires/towns along the way. Once I get in the car and have my ipod playing with snacks and a travel coffee, I prefer to just drive. I did make a stop at ‘Beaufort’s Cafe’- I bought a sandwich which was delicious (coming from someone who loathes sandwiches says something) and then again at Mount Barker to look at the Old Police Museum which was unfortunately closed.
I stayed at the Country Comfort Amity Motel during my stay. The rooms are very well priced, cosy and located on Albany Highway so you’re in the centre of town close to shops, petrol stations and the cafes on York Street. Once I had checked in and unpacked, I drove up the street and saw a sign for Mount Melville Lookout. I headed up the hill and wandered around, the view of Albany from the lookout was definitely a sight to see. The next morning I took a stroll along Middleton Beach. If you’re a lover of collecting seashells as a souvenir, you’ll adore this beach. The views are just as break taking, the water is clear and the sand is pure white. Along Forts Road, there are number of lookout spots to pull up to and take photos of the beach, the coast or the nature reserves. After my walk along the beach, I headed back up Forts Road and entered Heritage Park. I wandered around the Princess Fortress before heading into the newly built ‘National Anzac Centre’. The centre was opened November 2014 to commemorate the 100th year of Remembrance Day (11th November). Admission into the centre is $24 per adult but this fee covers the cost of a 1.5 hour tour around the other buildings located in the vicinity of the Anzac Centre. I didn’t have a chance to go on the tour but was informed that it runs daily at 10am and again at midday.
If you’re a history enthusiast, the Anzac Centre will be your cup of tea. The centre focuses on the events of World War One and provides a personalized experience for visitors. On arrival you’re presented with a card which allows you to learn about the individuals journey throughout the war. You are also given a pen which, when scanned on certain exhibits enables you to listen to more information. It’s a moving experience which provides an insight into aspects of the war and how life may have been for those on the front line and those back home.
When you enter Heritage Park, there are two points of interest. To the right and up the hill is the National Anzac Centre and to the left there is a memorial and several lookout points including Apex Drive and Parde White Lookout. I had to move my car because when I attempted to get out to take photos, I was surrounded by three (then four) intimidating magpies- I even tried to avoid them by climbing over my gear box to exit via my passenger door which didn’t work. So, once I had escaped the magpies, I wandered up to the Parde White Lookout via the memorial walk. The memorial was beautiful as was the view from the lookout location. It’s a steep walk to get to the memorial and lookout spot so be warned! I headed back down into the main part of town and visited The Old Gaol. Entry to the gaol was $5 and if you enjoy looking at historical places, I’d recommend paying the goal a visit. It is open between 10am-4pm daily. There are stories of ghosts, historical artifacts and you can stand in the cells which leaves you with an eerie feeling. If you walk across the train track, you’ll find yourself outside the Residency Museum and WA Museum. Entry to both museums is by gold coin donation. You can also purchase a ticket to take a tour on the Brig Amity, a historical ship on the foreshore. I didn’t undertake the tour due to the weather but the people aboard looked like they were enjoying the experience.
I dined at Kate’s Place for lunch. It’s a homely cafe located on Stirling Terrace adjacent to the University building. The place was bursting with people (even post-lunch rush!), the staff were friendly and the food was delicious. The highlight of my day and if I’m honest, the trip was visiting the Albany Wind Farm. Located a short way up Frenchmans Bay Road via Princess Drive, the wind farm is a place which will leave you in a state of awe. The turbines rotate quietly through the wind while the waves hit the side of the rocks below. There are four lookout locations on the 20 minute trail around the wind farm, all of which shows how beautiful nature can be. It was an indescribable feeling standing there with the wind through my hair and hearing the sounds, it was THE moment of my trip, I felt happiness.