Albany (Australia) (Photo:Galore777/Shutterstock)
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Briar Jensen
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of Albany (Australia)

Albany might be Western Australia's oldest settlement, but there's nothing staid about the township. Just make sure you pronounce it correctly -- residents say Al-bany (as in Al Pacino), not Awl-bany.

Located approximately 400 kilometres (250 miles) southeast of Perth on the state's southern coast, Albany sits at the northern edge of Princess Royal Harbour, part of the much bigger King George Sound. The main drag, York Street, runs toward the harbour, making for picturesque views as you explore the town.

The surrounding coastal scenery is dramatic, with rugged rocky shores, sweeping white beaches and national park headlands, so if you miss it on arrival, make sure to catch it as your ship departs. Ataturk Entrance to Princess Royal Harbour is very narrow, and locals line the northern foreshore to observe cruise ships closely passing by.

Albany was the first European settlement in Western Australia (WA), founded in December 1826, in part to beat the French colonising the area. Consequently, there are many historic buildings in town, which became a reprovisioning port for ships travelling between England and Australia and later a base for the area's whaling industry. With a population of about 34,000, it is now a tourist destination and service centre for the surrounding agriculture, timber and fishing industries.

Consequently, fresh produce abounds, including seafood, fruits, cheeses and bush foods, many produced organically. Connoisseurs will enjoy sampling the region's award-winning wines or visiting a brewery and distillery.

The area is famous, or infamous, for its whaling industry. The Historic Whaling Station pays tribute to these beautiful creatures while depicting the gruesome trade in its heyday. The National Anzac Centre, opened in 2014, is Australia's foremost museum honouring the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) of World War I. Poignantly, the engaging, interactive museum overlooks Ataturk Entrance through which more than 41,000 Australian and New Zealand troops departed for the Great War, many never to return.

About Albany (Australia)


Pro

Foodies will delight in Albany's abundance of fresh local foods and the local brewery and distillery

Con

The beaches here are stunning, but the surf can be strong and dangerous for inexperienced swimmers

Bottom Line

Most come for the beaches and scenery, but Albany has a slew of interesting attractions


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Top Albany (Australia) Itineraries

Where You're Docked

Ships dock at the Port of Albany, but they sometimes anchor and tender passengers ashore. As a utilitarian working port, there are no passenger facilities at the pier, which can be busy with trucks coming and going. However, all ships are welcomed alongside by a lone bagpiper, so head to the pier side of the ship as it ties up. The pier is about a 20-minute walk from the centre of Albany.

Good to Know

The beaches here are stunning, but they can be dangerous. If you are not used to surf or are not a strong swimmer, chose more sheltered beaches and swim in the patrolled areas.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Australian dollar is the currency. Visit www.xe.com or www.oanda.com for exchange rates. ATMs can be found on York Street. Two ATMs are located close to the shuttle bus dropoff point, on the opposite side of the road. ATM locations are marked on the shuttle bus map distributed when you board.

Language

English is the official language. Local terms you might hear include "yorkie," meaning going for a drive up and down the main street, York Street, and "beachie," taking a drive past the port and Middleton Beach.

Shopping

Western Australia is known for its timber industry, and beautiful handcrafted timber items are available at South Coast WoodWorks Gallery, which represents more than 20 artists, including renowned designer Dean Malcolm. Visit the shop in town (upstairs, 220 York Street) or the main gallery (50750 South Coast Highway, Youngs Siding 35 kilometres, or 21 miles, west of Albany).

A range of fragrances and beauty products made from ethically produced, organic-certified WA sandalwood oil are available at The Sandalwood Factory. (2 Down Road 15 kilometres, or nine miles, north of Albany)

If you're looking for historical books on whaling or the Anzacs, head to Paperbark Merchants. (240 York Street)