Out of all the places we have visited in Southwest Australia Albany was the city that literally stole our hearts along with 40-meter-high cliffs situated in its neighbourhood and some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia being part of national parks with Little Beach as the TOP attraction considered one of the best beaches in the world! Albany itself is not just a picturesque city, it is also a place rich in history from the 1st World War. The awful weather did not spoil our enjoyable stay there, we could only imagine how magnificent this place has to be on a sunny day if it was still so beautiful on a windy and rainy day. For sure Albany can absorb anyone thanks to its exceptional ambience and the landscapes around the city! Check it yourself!
The most famous national parks in the area are: Two Peoples Bay Reserve, Torndirrup National Park, Porongurup National Park and Howe National Park. We skipped the last two: Howe National Park because of the weather could be reached only by 4×4 jeep. In Porongurup you can get to the so called Granite Skywalk – 1.5 mile trail leading through the forest to 2 viewpoints: a 38-meter vantage point and the 2nd lower viewpont with superb panorama of nature – the weather wouldn’t let us see everything, for sure we would not have seen the hills, so we skipped this place. However, the windy and colder weather was perfect for exploring Torndirrup National Park! It is a place popular with majestic cliffs which during stormy weather look phenomenal as the rough ocean waves reach cliffs even higher making the view otherworldly. You just have to be careful walking on wet cliffs as their surface is slippery and take into consideration the fact that even a gust of wind can be strong enough to push you down the cliff, in some places it’s hard to keep standing still on your feet. We arrived by car to the so called Cable Beach first:
Then we went on a cliff on the right side going towards the lighthouse, which was closed and in fact the entrance to the cliffs seemed closed too.
On many information panels in Albany there often appears the so called Gap/ a gap between the rocks, which is considered a natural ‘landmark’ in the area:
The second characteristic place is called Natural Bridge, a bridge formed by rocks, which we didn’t actually find so impressive:
Heading further (by car) to the main road and going to the right you will will get to a viewpoint where you can walk on a glass bridge until you find yourself near a huge cliff where it’s absolutely obligatory to snap a photo:
On a parking lot close to the glass bridge there are machines with information that you need to pay 12AUD admission fee per vehicle (and it’s possible to do it by credit card only), but we noticed that no one was paying the fee.
Next national park that we visited was Two Peoples Bay Reserve located east of Albany. There was also a ticket machine at the entrance with the same suggested fee of 12AUD possible to be paid by credit card only (we didn’t pay anything, thought that maybe later there would be some guard that would charge us for the entrance and we would pay in cash but there was no one;)).
Within the same reserve there is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We honestly did not expect that it would look so beautiful because of the nasty weather, and we were wrong assuming that. Little Beach is simply gorgeous and we only regretted that we could not soak our bottoms in crystal clear ocean water which we would normally do on a beautiful sunny day:)
Going back to the main road of the reserve and heading further you will reach the next beach and camping site. The beach is pretty with white sand (but Little Beach definitely wins the contest):
After visiting the two parks we went back to Albany for a moment to 1849 Backpackers Hostel (where we stayed 1 night) and there we devoured some chicken with vegetables prepared by Michal in the hostel’s enormous kitchen.
BTW in the hostel they served delicious pancakes for breakfast every day prepared by a receptionist. The dinner was also served on that day for free (we were lucky :P) and we got pasta a la carbonara. The accommodation was not so cheap (the cost was 99PLN/25EUR per person), but there is nothing to complain about, in fact we got there 3 meals because on the first day we arrived at the spot early in the morning and were invited for breakfast too, then in the evening we got pasta for dinner and on the next morning got a standard breakfast. The hostel suit us well also because of the private parking, free Wi-Fi and awesome location in the city center and near the port, and this was one of the cheapest options we found online.
It was wonderful to finally take a bath under a hot shower, but we got a little surprised upon noticing an information card in the bathroom with a request to reduce the time for a bath to 3 minutes due to the water shortage in Australia. Maybe there were some individuals able to do that, but me with my red hair which required ‘’pampering’’ after 3 days without a proper bath could not fit in 3 minutes ..
In 5 minutes by car from the hostel you will be able to reach Mt. Adelaide, which offers a good bit of history from the First World War. You can get to the hill by car, and right beside the parking lot you will notice ANZAC Center (the admission fee costs about 28AUD) and a few interesting routes leading to places which you can visit for free, such as shelters, see cannons and artillery pieces used during the 1st WW, reach various viewpoints and get to the monument commemorating the victims of World War I (mainly: soldiers of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – ANZAC).
It’s interesting to know that during World War I Albany was a stop for ships that set off from there to Europe. In addition, Mt. Adelaide was a strategic observation point; the hill was was to ‘’protect’’ the Australian continent against any attacks from the southwest. Albany itself was also a shelter for refugees during the war.
There are 2 other hills which you can visit in Albany: Mt. Clarence and Melvin Hill. The latter one overviews the city and the harbour. Walking down the streets of Albany is quite enjoyable too. You can easily spot the British style of architecture prevailing in such buildings as the Townhall and churches, but in fact Albany looks like a small American town with low buildings situated on a slight hill.
The streets seem to be a quiet place to walk, without crowds or clubs with loud music. There are cafes and restaurants, some of them offering a set course menu for 33AUD per person, where children eat for free by selecting options from the children’s menu, there are even Chinese restaurants, but this diversity does not disturb the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere of this place. Everything fits together.
We sincerely recommend this part of Australia especially if one wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big Australian cities and spend pleasant 2-3 days in a climatic city with many natural attractions around to choose from. It is worth mentioning that in Albany you will also find some nice spots for snorkeling which are quite close to the shore, which we didn’t check for obvious reasons (the weather..). Maybe one day we will manage to do that..? Who knows .. 🙂