GO BACK IN TIME AT THE HISTORIC WHALING STATION
Albany will be remembered as the home of the last operational whaling station in Australia, having ceased operations in 1978. It's also the most intact historical whale processing facility in the world. You can explore the whaling story on the flensing deck, where men would process the caught whales, or visit what remains of the boiling room, where that meat was then pressure cooked. There are some massive whale skeletons on site, including a Pygmy blue whale that was found locally. The 2.4-hectare property also hosts seasonal events, including movie nights in the old oil drums and theatre productions in the amphitheatre in the adjoining Regional Wildflower Garden. See discoverybay.com.au
PAUSE AT THE NATIONAL ANZAC CENTRE
Photo: Tourism Western Australia
Albany has a long and storied history, and it's a large part of the Anzac story. In 1914, the town's skyline was the last thing tens of thousands of outbound troops saw as they departed Australia to fight in World War I. The impact of that was felt deeply; many never returned. To honour that, the National Anzac Memorial and Museum opened in 2014, cataloguing the Anzac journey and offering a plethora of ways for people to remember, including a walk up the hill to the Princess Royal Fortress, interactive storytelling, and Garrison – a restaurant on site serving local Akoya oysters and caramelised scallops. See nationalanzaccentre.com.au
GASP AT THE GAP
Photo: Tourism Australia
If you're not one for heights, skip the Gap, where the natural madness of Mother Nature has resulted in an awe-inspiring 40-metre gash in the endemic granite-topped rock. An integrated walkway and lookout was recently built, enabling brave tourists to stand over the ravine, where the deep blue waters of the Southern Ocean thrash and splash below. On a windy day, locals say, the force of the waves can spray water tens of metres in the air. BYO raincoat. See parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au
WALK THE HARBOUR
Photo: Tourism Western Australia
Princess Royal Harbour, the port from which Albany connects to the rest of the world, is one of the world's largest natural harbours – and it has the views to prove it. Known as Kinjarling by the Menang people of the Noongar nation, the harbour was once home to bountiful wildlife and sealife, including whales. (Evidence of Noongar fishing traditions is evident in the Oyster Harbour fish traps, which are over 6000 years old.) There's a pedestrian path around the waterfront area, opposite the new Hilton Garden Inn, that wraps to the Anzac Peace Park on one end and the cafes and eateries on the other. It also connects to the pedestrian footbridge into town.
GO FOR A DIP
Given Albany is a port city, perched at the southernmost point in Western Australia, there are more beaches than you can throw a towel at within spitting distance. Misery Beach – perhaps the most famous, for its title of Tourism Australia's best beach in 2022 – is a must-do secluded spot within the Torndirrup National Park, but Middleton Beach has a shark net and an active sea-swimming culture, plus a platform that you can swim out to. Emu Point is cool, calm and collected, with a cafe right on the point for post-dip refuelling.
FUEL UP AT THE ALBANY FARMERS MARKET
A staple for this agriculturally-inclined regional city, the Albany Farmers Market has been running on Saturdays since 2002. From 8am, local small-batch (and bigger name) growers and producers pull up their vans and trucks to this other unassuming slab of asphalt off the main strip. Those who sell here must offer produce they have made or grown themselves, so you know that you're having the most direct experience possible. See albanyfarmersmarket.com.au