Setting off from Perth we headed straight down to Albany to check into the Happy Days Campground which is just east of Albany and on the river, a perfect spot to use as a base for exploring. We didn’t set off until lunchtime from Perth so the afternoon was taken up with driving down to Albany which took around 5 hours. After setting up camp and making dinner we had an early night ready for a full day of activities in Albany.
We have visited Albany a couple of times before so we had some specific things we wanted to do which in our opinion turned out to be some really good highlights if you only have a day to spend in Albany.
The first port of call was the National Anzac Centre within the Albany Heritage Park. We arrived before the centre opened at around 08:50 and it was mid-week so not too busy. We paid for our tickets with an RAC membership discount which saved a few dollars. On entry you receive an audio stick which you can swipe at various places around the centre and a card with a code on the back which when placed on card readers gave a personalised story of the individual war veteran you receive, making the whole visit very personal. We were fascinated learning about the Australia and New Zealand view of the First World War and the centre takes you on a timeline journey of how events unfolded. Looking out the window across King George Sound you can imagine the first and second fleet heading out to Gallipoli. We spent a long time in the Centre, longer than we had thought we would and still had plenty more to explore outside. Outside the Centre are other buildings to look in and an amazing coffee shop where we stopped for a coffee and an Anzac Biscuit. The walk up to Mt Adelaide to look at the gun posts was fascinating with some amazing views over the Southern Ocean. Visiting the National Anzac Centre and surrounds is a good half day trip and we could have spent longer but had other things we wanted to see. On the way out we took a short trip up to Mt.Clarence Summit to visit the war memorial and take a look at the views over Albany.
In the afternoon we drove out to the peninsula just to the west of Albany to visit Torndirrup National Park. We had been here before but wanted to visit the new lookout that has been built jutting out over the cliffs at Natural Bridge. We drove to the end of the peninsula for lunch and then worked our way back calling into the bays and lookouts popping out for short walks down to the beaches. If we had been in Albany for another day we would have tackled the Bald Head walk but we really needed a good day to do that. The weather had taken a turn for the worse but we headed out to the new lookout at Natural Bridge which did not disappoint. The lookout juts out over the cliffs so you can look down to the Sea below, great fun and a great view.
It would be quite easy to use Albany as a base for a few days to explore the area as one day gives you a taste and only some of the highlights that are on offer. Last time we passed by Albany just to the north to visit Porongorup National Park which is another amazing place with a lookout at the top of Castle Rock. Then a bit further north is the Stirling Range which take a few days to explore should you wish to climb some of the peaks.
After Albany we headed straight onwards to Esperance passing by lots of other highlights we have visited before but if we had more time would have liked to visit again. A year is beginning to feel not that long!