Albany sits right at the southern most point of Western Australia and is a must-see destination when travelling the state. A Perth to Albany road trip is an action packed getaway, with a great mix of natural beauty and historical sights.
There are so many things to do in Albany and the surrounding area that you really need 5 days to see it properly. Driving time chews into the days on either end so anything less than this will feel rushed.
I grew up in Albany but have since lived and travelled around Australia and the world. Coming back to Albany years later gave me a new appreciation for just how special this region is. There aren’t many places in the world with so much raw natural beauty.
►If you’re planning on road tripping anywhere in Australia then make sure to read this detailed list of Australian road trip tips that will help you pull it off without a hitch.
Table of Contents
Perth to Albany Road Trip Highlights
- Climbing the beautiful mountains of the Porongurups and Stirling Range NP.
- Endless stunning beaches and coastline to explore
- Torndirrup National Park with it’s many unique sights and excellent hikes
- The National Anzac Centre
- Quaint historical buildings and interactive museum
Where to Hire a Car in Perth
Before you set off, you’ll need to arrange car hire (if you don’t already have your own!) The easiest way to do that is head over to this website and browse from a wide selection of providers for reasonable prices. We always use this website no matter where in the world we road trip! Use the form below to do a quick search.
The Best Travel Insurance for Australian Road Trips
If you are travelling to Australia from overseas then make sure you have good travel insurance before hitting the road. We use Heymondo when we travel as it’s perfect for adventures such as hiking, surfing, road tripping etc.
For peace of mind while abroad, Heymondo is one of the most reputable travel insurance companies that will provide you with simple and flexible coverage. Whether you are into adventurous activities or simply looking for trip cancellation and basic medical insurance, Heymondo has you covered.
As a reader of The Road Is Life, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance by using the link below!
Perth to Albany Road Trip – The Ideal 5 Day Itinerary
Day 1 – Perth to Albany Road Trip
Perth to Albany
The aptly named ‘Albany Highway’ runs all the way from the middle of Perth and right into Albany. Driving from Perth to Albany is a little over 400km and will take you anywhere from 4 to 5 hours.
The highway is quite a boring drive and there is not much to see on the way but there are plenty of places to stop for coffee and snacks. From late August to Early October however the canola fields are a sea of beautiful yellow flowers.
See below for the recommended sights to explore on your first day in town. There are many choices for accommodation, from free beachside camp grounds to beautiful historical cottages. See the end of this section for some of the best choices.
Explore the Museum, Brig Amity and Old Gaol
There is a branch of the W.A. Museum in Albany which is small but action packed. It is right next to the Old Gaol so both can be explored at the same time. The museum is separated into two buildings and some outdoor exhibits.
The main building, called the Eclipse building, hosts interactive displays. These are a lot of fun for kids and there are also areas with historical items from Albany for the adults. Across the carpark is the Residency building, with a historical photo gallery and displays detailing Aboriginal history.
Sitting beside a small lake and overlooking the harbour is the Brig Amity. This replica 1800s convict ship brought some of the first settlers to the shores of W.A. You can climb aboard and explore what life was like at sea for sailors and convicts.
Opening Hours: Daily – 10am to 4pm
Where to stay in Albany
As mentioned there is something for everyone when choosing where to stay in Albany. See below for our top picks in each category.
Evelyn House – This beautifully restored cottage is right in town and features chesterfield sofas, a fireplace and beautiful jarrah furniture.
Dolphin Lodge – This highly rated spot is right between the town centre and the main beach. It is excellent value for a self contained apartment in this location.
Beachside Caravan Park
Big 4 Holiday Park Middleton Beach and Emu Point – Perfect if you’ve got kids and need to keep them occupied or just want to be right at the beach. They have a swimming pool, games room, hot tubs, BBQs and ocean views.
There are some great camping options for those with all the gear or a campervan. Some of our favourites are East Bay Camp Ground and Betty’s Beach at Two Peoples Bay. We also like Cosy Corner East and Shelley Beach on the opposite side of town. Click here for details of these and other camp grounds.
Day 2 – Perth to Albany Road Trip
After doing a fair bit of driving yesterday you might want to have an easy first day. The best thing to do is to see all the sights in and around town today. Below are some of the must-see sights and experiences for you to explore at your own pace.
National Anzac Centre and Princess Royal Fortress
Albany is flanked by two large hills, Mt Melville and Mt Clarence. The latter forms a saddle with a lower peak called Mt Adelaide. Atop this rise is the National Anzac Centre, standing vigil over the bay from which the ANZACs departed to war.
The centre was completed in 2014 to celebrate 100 years of ANZAC history. The museum inside provides a great memory and experience of the history of the ANZAC legend. You can buy your tickets in advance here.
The centre is located within the grounds of the Princess Royal Fortress. You can walk around the whole area which features gun batteries, barracks and bunkers. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Australia however it was upgraded over the years.
A short drive away on Mt Clarence is a Desert Mounted Corps memorial and the Padre White lookout. From here you will be able to overlook the town centre of Albany as well as the harbour. The Apex Lookout on the way down has a nice view of Middleton Beach. There are facilities and a café at the National Anzac Centre.
Middleton Beach and Ellen Cove Boardwalk
This is the main beach of Albany and is a nice place for a swim and a picnic. The Ellen Cove Boardwalk starts from the end of the beach closest to Mt Clarence. This wooden walkway loops up around the headland and offers fantastic views back onto the beach and over King George Sound.
From June till October there is a great chance to spot whales from the various lookouts. If you are not capable of a fairly steep walk then you are able to park at several of them.
A good idea is to park at Middleton Beach and follow the boardwalk all the way up to the National Anzac Centre and Fortress. By the time you have returned to the beach you will be more than ready for a refreshing swim!
Explore more of Albany town
If you didn’t make it to the museum complex and old gaol yesterday then you should head there now. If you’ve already been then you could spend the rest of the afternoon casually exploring some of the historic buildings in town.
The best way to do this is starting at the top of York St and wandering down. You will pass the town hall and a couple of nice churches, with most of the historic buildings being near the end. Turn left onto Stirling Terrace to see some nice old facades and the Penny Post building, which is now a university campus.
You can finish your stroll by crossing the bridge from Stirling Terrace across to the town jetty. Here you will find a restaurant/bar called Due South, which is in a lovely spot right on the water. You’ll probably be there at the perfect time for an early dinner and will definitely be ready for some refreshment!
Day 3 – Perth to Albany Road Trip
Today you’ll head out of town a little ways to explore the beautiful landscape of Porongurup National Park (NP) and Stirling Range NP. On the way back to town you can also visit one of the best beaches in the region for a refreshing dip.
The Porongurup and Stirling Range NPs are both accessed from the same road out of Albany and can be visited on the same day. Depending on fitness and energy levels you may only be able to hike one peak in one park. Read below to decide which one interests you more.
Porongurup National Park
This park is located about 47km north of Albany along Chester Pass Road. The highlight of the park is hiking the Castle Rock trail and climbing to the impressive Granite Skywalk at the top. A suspended glass walkway has been built around this peak which offers amazing panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Read our Granite Skywalk hiking guide to find more detailed information about completing this challenging but rewarding hike.
For those who can’t or don’t want to hike, there is a scenic drive around the park and several lovely forested picnic spots. The Porongurup NP is also home to a boutique wine region which is known for producing delicious Rieslings.
There are plenty of wineries to visit, some of which offer lunch and beautiful grounds to enjoy. Try some tastings then grab a bottle for a picnic lunch and small forest walk at the ‘tree in the rock’ picnic area.
Stirling Range National Park
Another 40km up the road you will find another national park, this one containing the second highest peak in the state. Bluff Knoll offers an imposing façade, towering over the surrounding landscape at a height of 1099m above sea level.
The hike is a classic W.A experience however it is 6.8km return on a very steep trail so it does require at least a moderate level of fitness. The hike should take you 3 to 4 hours and trust me it leaves your legs feeling quite fatigued! You may not be able to do both Castle Rock and this hike in one day unless you are an experienced hiker.
Mt Toolbrunup and Mt Talyuberlup are other great hikes in the park however they are similarly challenging. A scenic drive winds through the park with various lookouts for those who prefer to admire from ground level.
There is not much more to explore in the park if you are not hiking and you may want to stick to the Porongurups if that’s the case. On the way back to Albany you can take a detour for a refreshing swim at a stunning beach.
Two Peoples Bay
A stop here on your way back to town will only add about 45km to your trip and is definitely worth it! Two Peoples Bay has some of the most picturesque beaches in Western Australia and is the perfect place to cool off after hiking.
There is a visitor centre with information about the park and this is a good place to enter in your GPS when navigating here. There are also toilet facilities and BBQs so you may want to bring a picnic to enjoy.
The main beach is a huge, gently curving stretch of sand where you will always find a quiet spot to yourself. Just east of the main beach you will also find two picture perfect little bays. Little Beach and the adjacent Waterfall Beach have become top spots for photographers for good reason. You’ll have no shortage of white sand and stunning turquoise water here, so choose a beach and enjoy!
Day 4 – Perth to Albany Road Trip
Torndirrup National Park
On the other side of the harbour from Albany town centre you will find Torndirrup National Park. This peninsular offers many spectacular sights and attractions and can easily occupy the better part of a day.
Below are some of the best attractions in the park. Everything more or less branches off the single main road, so are listed in the order you will come across them.
Albany Wind Farm
This collection of huge turbines is in a super picturesque location along a rugged stretch of sea cliffs. This spots allows you to get up close with the turbines and really get a sense of their awesome size and the speed of the blades.
The area offers one of the best sunset viewpoints on the south coast. A walkway runs along the top of the sea cliffs and all the way down to the ocean if you’re game. There are several viewing platforms which offer an amazing perspective and some great photo opportunities.
You can also ascend a small hill to get a better view of the whole wind-farm and there is a sheltered information station which gives some interesting facts about the turbines.
The Gap and Natural Bridge
Ancient geology and erosion have created two visually impressive natural wonders at this must-see stop. Walk out onto the platform above the gap and feel the awesome power of nature as waves crash into the huge split in the rock and explode in a spray of foam.
A short path will take you to another lookout over the huge blocks of granite making up the natural bridge formation. The granite of Western Australia is some of the oldest rock in the world and natural processes have had time to create some amazing sights all over the state.
You can walk out onto the bridge but be aware that there can be sudden strong winds and slippery rock in this area so stay well away from the edge.
This sight will involve a moderately strenuous walk across some uneven terrain to reach so make sure you are up to it. Caves under the rock in this area have air forced into them by the waves crashing into them. The pressure created escapes in a rush of air and water from cracks in the rock into the open air above.
This can be an impressive and fun sight to see however it does require a pretty significant swell to produce more than a noisy rush of air. If you want to avoid a long walk for little action then you can check the swell online prior to visiting.
Lookout for the turnoff down Newell’s Road to find this pretty lookout with a view of a narrow finger-like bay reaching between two tall hills. The lookout is right next to the carpark so it’s easy to hop out and have a quick gander.
Point Possession Heritage Trail
There are a number of different hikes in this park however we recommend this one as it of moderate length and won’t take too much time out of your day. The views are also some of the best.
The start point is one of the most picturesque beaches in the area and as you hike gently upwards you get increasingly beautiful views. At the top you can see the town centre in the distance as well as the rest of the hike laid out before you.
You’ll hike along a couple of nice beaches and from the tip of the peninsula there’s a good chance to spot sea life, including whales in the right season.
Albany’s Historic Whaling Station
Whaling was big industry in Albany before it’s eventual banning. This museum has preserved some of this history, including a real whaling ship that you can explore! There are other displays and a huge whale skeleton in the main building.
In the same area you can also find a small wildlife park with native marsupials and a wildflower garden.
Adult: $32, Children (6 to 15yrs): $12, Family of 5: $75
Daily: 9am to 5pm
Day 5 – Perth to Albany Road Trip
Today is mostly going to be about returning to Perth however you can still spend the morning hitting the beach or checking out any sights you may have missed.
If you have some flexibility with your schedule then the trip doesn’t have to end here. The nearby towns of Denmark and Walpole have some amazing sights to see. It’s well worth it to add an extra couple of days to your trip to explore this area.
Check out our 3-day Denmark itinerary to maximise your time.
A great option for a short extension is an organised day trip from Albany. You may also just want to spend more time relaxing rather than all the hiking and sightseeing above. Why not check out a food and wine tour to some of the best spots in the Great Southern wine region? There are two options departing from Albany, which will take you to several selected wineries of the Denmark or Mount Barker sub-regions.
For those with a lot of extra time, check out our 11-day Perth to Esperance Road Trip that takes you to all of the above plus more!
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