Albany is situated on Princess Royal Harbour, a natural inlet of the Southern Ocean, 5 km east west and 3 km north south. Exports from the Albany port are grains, and wood-chips. Imports are mainly raw materials for the production of fertilisers.
Albany is the oldest continuous settlement in Western Australia, and was founded in 1826, three years before Perth. Until the construction of Fremantle Port in 1897, Albany was the only deep-water port in Western Australia.
Unlike nearly all of Western Australia, Albany is cool and wet, with a Mediterranean climate. It receives an average of 942 mm of rainfall per annum and its average summer temperature is only 22.4°C. Information is available from the City of Albany web site.
The direct route on the Albany Highway from Perth is around 4 hours drive, on single carriageway road with 110 km/hr speed limit. There are overtaking lanes every 5–10 km or so. There tourist attractions along this road tend to be off the route, and slightly more scenic routes add significant additional kilometres and time to the trip.
TransWA offers daily services to Albany. Coaches arrive and depart from the Albany Visitor Centre, which also makes bookings and sells tickets. These coach services replaced the passenger rail service, which closed many years ago, and no longer runs to Albany.
Albany Airport is 10 km North of Albany on Albany Hwy. There are daily flights from Perth with REX Airlines
Some cruise ships include Albany on their itinerary, however they are very rare.
All areas of Albany are accessible by road. To get to Albany Historic Whaling Station and the surrounding national parks and other features, you will need have a car, or take a bus tour. Local taxi services are also available.
A limited inner-city bus service, operated by Love's Bus Service, runs two routes, collectively servicing residential areas of Albany, as well as Middleton Beach, Emu Point and Little Grove. Timetables can be found at the Public Transport Authority's Regional Town Bus Services website.
Central Albany, including the historical precinct, shopping area, and port are within walking distance of each other. The Middleton beach area is a few kilometres away from this area.
There is a practical cycleway network connecting the areas of Albany, and several bicycle hire places in town. In particular the historical area, shopping precinct, Middleton Beach and Emu Point are all linked by a waterfront off-road cycleway.
Things to See
- Albany Convict Gaol, ☎ +61-8-9841-5403. Corner of Stirling Terrace & Parade Street. Restored complex of men’s cell blocks and some warders' quarters, built in 1852 for Imperial convicts shipped to WA as artisans and skilled labourers. This is also the town's main museum with extensive historic presentations of the local area including maps, photographs, interesting Aboriginal artifacts, and relics from the penal colony days. Open daily from 10:30AM to 4:30PM. Special night tours are also available on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Residency Museum - near Stirling Terrace. Originally built as a store in the 1850s but converted into the Government Residency from 1873-1953. Open from 10AM to 5PM from Monday to Saturday and from 2PM to 5PM on Sundays. See the jaws of a white pointer shark and the huge rotating lens from the old Eclipse Lighthouse.
- Albany Public Library and Information Service, York Street. Also offers internet access.
- Albany Tourist Information Centre, At the Old Railway Station on Proudlove Parade.
- Albany Town Hall Theatre,. York Street. Plays, concerts, musicals of all kinds, located in one of Western Australia's oldest buildings.
- Albany Wind Farm (Grasmere Wind Farm), . 12 km south-west of the city centre. Worth a visit even if you are not into windmills. Twelve 1800 kW wind turbines supply a large percentage of Albany's electrical requirements. The Wind Farm is open every day of the year. There is a large car-parking area, extensive network of boardwalks with views over the southern ocean. There is artwork and information panels containing profound statements as you admire the view. The Bibbulmum Track passes through the area, and there is a staircase down the cliff to the ocean. Entry is free.
- Brig Amity Replica, ☎ +61-8-9841-5403. Located in the Albany Historical Precinct, off Princess Royal Drive. Replica of the Brig Amity (built in 1975) which brought Albany's first settlers from Sydney in 1826. Open daily. There is an honour box to pay entry fee onto the ship.
- Old Post Office Building, Stirling Terrace. Historic former customs and bond store, with the middle level being a sorting area and post office. The spiral staircase in the tower is magnificent, and the building now houses restaurants, a weaver and a museum.
- Patrick Taylor Cottage Museum, 39 Duke Street, Wattle and daub home, built circa 1832, the oldest surviving dwelling in Western Australia. Open daily.
- The Princess Royal Fortress, Forts Road (off Marine Drive). The Princess Royal Battery currently functions as a tourist destination and provides an insight into the site and Australian military history generally. Apart from the many exhibits and displays, the site incorporates a small shop and tearooms for visitors; a function centre; and a covered area with barbecues and tables.
- Vancouver Arts Centre, Vancouver Street. Housed in the former Albany Cottage Hospital, a heritage-listed building built in 1887, the VAC is a focal point for all forms of the arts in the Albany area.
- Albany's Historic Whaling Station, Situated on the site of the old Cheynes Beach Whaling Station, closed in 1978. Includes 'Whalers Galley Café-Restaurant,' whale-orientated museum with 20 different exhibits including ‘Giants of the Sea’ whale skeleton display, 3D whale movies, souvenir shop and visits to the 'Cheynes IV' an actual former whaling ship, tied up next to the museum.
Things to Do
- Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre, ☎ +61-8-9841-2788. Barker Road. Gymnasium for fitness activities, swimming (including swimming lessons), aquarobics, basketball, netball, volleyball, indoor soccer, tennis, indoor hockey, badminton, rollerblading, climbing wall, crèche for minding children, activities for seniors, plus Jamma's Café. Open daily.
- Albany Historic Town Trails - Two walks which visit 39 places of significant historical interest within a 2 km radius of central business district. One starts from the Gaol and the other from Stirling Terrace. Free maps area available from the tourist information centre.
- Albany Whale Tours, Whale watching and harbour cruises.
- Bibbulmun Track. Long distance walking path running from Kalamunda, east of Perth, to Albany, a distance of 963 km. (The name comes from the Bibbulmun, or Noongar people.) There is also a parallel bicycle trail, called the Munda Biddi Trail, for part of the distance. edit
- Desert Mounted Corps War Memorial - originally located at Port Said in Egypt, unveiled by Prime Minister 'Billy' Hughes in 1932. Shipped back to Australia in 1959. Good views from this point.
- Mount Clarence Trails - from the War Memorial at the end of Apex Drive around the edges of Mount Clarence. Views of the harbour and the town.
- Quaranup Point Possession Trail - 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 on the far side of Princess Royal Harbour on the way out to Torndirrup National Park.