10 reasons to visit Albany, Western Australia

Albany was the first colonial settlement on Australia’s west coast and the heritage-listed buildings lining its streets simmer with stories from history. It was from Albany, in 1914, that 30,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers sailed off to fight in World War One, many never to return, and Mt Clarence was the first place in Australia to hold a Dawn memorial Service on April 25.

These days the city of Albany is the cultural hub of the Great Southern region of WA. The annual Cinefest and the Taste of Great Southern events bring visitors in droves and it’s a super fun place to holiday with kids.

The new Hilton Garden Inn ... a good spot to base the family for your visit
The new Hilton Garden Inn … a good spot to base the family for your visit

1. Whale watching tours

In winter, Humpbacks and Southern Right whales breed in the waters near Albany. Locals will tell you that Mark from King George Sound Safari knows where the whales are – and he can find them – no matter what time of year it is. Kids will be captivated as they try to spot these and other treasured marine animals on a tour of the Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound.

2. Stunning  beaches

Within twenty minutes drive of Albany there are dozens of deserted beaches perfect for a family day out. Misery Beach recently voted Australia’s best beach by Tourism Australia, forms a stunning picture postcard of brilliant blue water and bright white sand; its name is not indicative of the emotions it elicits. Other local favorites with good amenities are Middleton Beach, Emu Point, and Frenchman’s Bay. WA is known for its surging king waves so swim with caution, especially if you’re unfamiliar with Australian ocean swimming.

Misery Beach, Torndirrup National Park, WA
Misery Beach, Torndirrup National Park, WA. Picture: Alexis/Flickr

3. Learn about Indigenous culture at Kurrah Mia

Explore Albany with an Indigenous guide and find the best bush food and medicine in the area. Discover the history of the fish traps along the coast, and how Indigenous people used minimal materials and the natural rhythms of the ocean to their best advantage. The Noongar philosophy was to catch only as much as was needed and then return the rest to the sea. Guides share Noongar language stories about Indigenous artifacts and engravings.

4. Simple pleasures – jetty fishing

BYO fishing rod and throw a line in from a jetty somewhere. Simple pleasures are what holiday memories are made of. Town Jetty, close to the Albany Entertainment Centre and the brand new Hilton Garden Inn which has family-friendly music sessions on a Sunday afternoon, is a great spot for catching herring, King George whiting and squid. Grab a coffee at dawn from Haz Beans on the Marina and watch the sunrise as you wait for a bite.

The Hilton Garden Inn ... a great spot to catch herring, King George whiting and squid
The Hilton Garden Inn … a great spot to catch herring, King George whiting and squid

5. The National ANZAC centre

Built in 2014 to celebrate the centenary of the departure of the troops and their 15,000 horses from the port, Albany is home to the National ANZAC Centre. The interactive museum helps kids follow the journeys of men and women who signed up to serve in the Great War as either nurses, soldiers or support personnel. The museum’s artefacts are impeccably preserved and the giftshop is a goldmine for lovers of military history books and memorabilia. Located at the original fort of Albany, the 360-degree views over the King George Sound and Middleton Beach are mind-blowing and insta-worthy.

6. Segway tours

When your teens and tweens refuse to take another step, hire segways and glide along the paths on the Summit to Sea adventure or do the Albany Explorers tour, going off-road on bush tracks or onto the sandy beach. A private tour guide with local and military knowledge will drop information on them about Albany’s important history as they master a new skill.

7. Whaling historical centre

Visit the last whaling station in the world that’s open to the public and learn how Albany’s people made their livelihoods before whaling was discontinued in 1978. The station at Discover Bay has engaging displays and often hosts special events in the school holidays. Check the website for details about sea shanty singalongs and evening tours. The center also includes a native Wildlife Farm and extensive botanical gardens. The amphitheater and picnic area has magnificent views out to sea.

8. Lace up those hiking boots and hit the tracks

The Great Southern region has plenty of family-friendly hiking trails to get your kids moving. From Albany, you can access six national parks within 40 minutes. Start small in the Torndirrup National Park close to Albany, do a day trip out to the Porongurups, or pack a tent and tackle the 1000 kilometer hike of the Bibbulmun Track all the way to Perth.

Coastal scenery along the Bibbulmun Track. Torndirrup National Park, Albany, Western Australia, Australia
Coastal scenery along the Bibbulmun Track. Torndirrup National Park, Albany, Western Australia

9. Cycling tours

Built as an adjacent path to the Bibbulmun Track, the Munda Biddi Cycling Trail, is a quicker way for the adventurous family to make an off-road journey from one part of the state to the other. Do a shorter section or tackle the whole thing, depending on the ages of your kids – and your stamina!

10. Eat the best fish and chips in WA 

Ocean and Paddock on Middleton Beach was voted Western Australia’s best fish and chip shop for three years running – from 2017 to 2019. Order takeaway and soak up the glorious vista while the kids swim in the azure water,  tumble on the beach or burn off energy on the nautical-themed playground equipment.

The writer was a guest of the Holiday Garden Inn Albany and Tourism WA. This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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