Stroll the streets of downtown, taking in historic buildings such as the Town Hall, St. John's Church, and those along Stirling Terrace -- especially the wonderful brick confection of the Old Post Office. Walk or cycle along the bush-lined Marine Drive Scenic Path, which loops around the Mt. Adelaide headland between Albany Port and Middleton Beach.
You must visit Whale World, Frenchman Bay Road, 22km (14 miles) south of Albany (tel. 08/9844 4021; www.whaleworld.org), to see how Australia's last whaling station operated. The entire process is there for you to see or rather, imagine, with all the original decks and cranes, boilers and vats still in place. Several whale skeletons provide an impressive reminder of the size to which whales can grow. The site opens daily 9am to 5pm, except December 25. Admission is A$25 adults, A$10 children 6 to 12, A$15 students 13 to 18, and A$55 families (up to three children). This includes free guided tours which leave on the hour 10am to 3pm. There's a cafe with views across the sound. Allow 2 to 3 hours.
A short distance across the headland is the Southern Ocean with all its uncertainties: brilliant sparkling blue sea when fine, and wind-swept storm-laden fury when roused. Sheer granite cliffs plunge into the water, with dramatic sea-eroded features such as the Gap, the Blowholes, and the Natural Bridge.
The road back into town passes an unusual venture, the Great Southern Distilling Company, 252 Frenchman Bay Rd., Albany (tel. 08/9842 5363; www.distillery.com.au). This boutique distillery uses mostly local produce to generate small quantities of gin, brandy, grappa, and WA's first single-malt whisky. The stylish tasting room and coffee lounge is open daily 10am to 5pm. A nearby turnoff leads to the Albany Wind Farm, located in prime position high above the ocean some 12km (7 1/2 miles) southwest of the town. Twelve giant turbines spin endlessly, generating about 75% of Albany's power needs. It's a surprisingly attractive and feel-good installation, open to the public.
Several wineries provide cellar doors and tastings, in and near Albany. One of the more unusual is Oranje Tractor, 198 Link Rd., off South Coast Highway, 12km (7 1/2 miles) from town, Albany (tel. 08/9842 5175; www.oranjetractor.com), named after its still-working 1964 Fiat tractor. The grapes are organically grown and hand-picked, and their Riesling won a trophy at the 2008 National Wine Show. A cellar door tasting plate is offered, based on "food miles" to support local producers.
If natural fragrances or oils are your thing, make your way to Mount Romance, on the corner of Down Road and Albany Highway, 15km (9 1/2 miles) north of Albany (tel. 08/9845 6888; www.mtromance.com.au), open daily 9am to 5pm. The wafting soothing scent of sandalwood is almost palpable. A distillery and factory produce a wide range of sandalwood and emu oils and other body-care products, and there are free daily tours of the facility. Sandalwood oil is a major element of the on-site Santal Signature Spa treatments, and of "The Cone, the Gong, and the Bowl" experience, which is available in 1-hour sessions for A$18. Bookings are essential.
Try to be in town on a Saturday morning, to experience the Albany Farmers Market, on Collie Street, when the local farmers and orchardists bring their produce to town, or follow the Taste Albany Trail, which takes you to the individual farm gates.
For a gentle relaxing time, take a half-day scenic cruise around King George Sound, with Silver Star Cruises (tel. 04/2842 9876; www.whales.com.au). You'll have the company of passing dolphins and optimistic pelicans and the chance to see whales from June to October. The 2 1/2-hour cruises leave at 9:30am and 1pm (subject to weather conditions) and cost A$75 adults, A$40 children, and A$200 families of four.
The Albany Waterfront has been extensively redeveloped, with a marina, an excellent entertainment center, and a promenade around the Anzac Peace Park.
The Anzac Trail
The Princess Royal Fortress was built in the late 19th century overlooking King George Sound, to counter a perceived Russian threat. It is now a museum that commemorates, among other things, the start of the Anzac legend. The Anzac Convoy that assembled here in October 1914 had 20,000 men on 36 troop-carrying ships, and six accompanying warships. Albany later saw the start of the Anzac Day dawn service tradition when a local chaplain returned to Albany and decided there should be a commemoration where the troops last saw Australia.
A statue of Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk was erected between King George Sound and Princess Royal Harbour, in recognition of the bond that later developed between Australia and Turkey. The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial on nearby Mt. Clarence was originally built at Port Said after World War I, but blown up during the 1956 Suez conflict. The remnants came back to Australia and this is a replica, but using the stones of the original base.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.