Nature and history together in Albany

With an abundance of historic sites and national parks, this old city on Western Australia’s rugged coastline will keep you busy for days.

Albany is the oldest town in Western Australia, settled more than two years before Perth or Fremantle. So history buffs have a lot to explore and appreciate – but there’s really something here for everyone, including art galleries, top-notch cafes and countless natural wonders.

In 1826, Major Edmund Lockyer, 18 soldiers, 23 convicts, a surgeon, and a shopkeeper joined the captain of the Amity on a treacherous sea journey along the coast from Sydney. These brave souls were charged with establishing a settlement near King George Sound, which would grow to become Albany. Although the original Amity lies on the ocean floor somewhere in Bass Strait, you can tour a replica that was painstakingly constructed in 1975 by local craftsmen.

Other popular historic destinations include:

  • Old Strawberry Farm: A museum occupying a grand homestead on the oldest farm in the state.
  • St John’s Church: A charming stone church with a shingle roof, set amid a garden designed to replicate those of the wealthy estates back in England.
  • The Residency Museum: Originally a depot for the convict establishment, this timber-framed building was converted into a stately home for a local magistrate and now serves as a museum.
  • The Old Post Office: Located on the University of Western Australia campus, this iconic building was designed by revered architect George Temple-Poole.
beautiful national parks near albany

Once you’ve had your fill of historic sites, hire a car and head out of town to enjoy the plethora of nearby national parks and reserves. Torndirrup National Park is one of the most popular, skirting the rugged coastline of limestone cliffs and granite headlands. When the tide is right, the waves force water up cracks in the sea cliffs, creating impressive towering spouts. If you’re feeling brave, head out on to the Gap, a viewing platform suspended 40m over the surging seas.

Stirling Range National Park is also a favourite, as it’s the only major mountain range in the state’s south. These spectacular cliff faces, ridges and gullies are home to more than 1500 plant species that grow nowhere else, so you’re bound to be surprised by the views as you wander along one of the many hiking trails.

If you’re in the region between January and April, be sure to journey to nearby Bremer Canyon. Just off the coast of the Fitzgerald National Park, this ocean location teems with giant squid, sperm whales, whaler sharks and the largest known pod of killer whales in the Southern Hemisphere. The experience is best enjoyed on the fly-bridge of the custom-built whale watching ship.

Discover Albany for yourself on a 16-day RACQ Escorted Western Wonderland Tour from $5199pp twin share. Enjoy the peace of mind of travelling with an experienced RACQ Group Leader. Visit RACQ Travel or contact one of our friendly travel consultants on 1300 096 166.