5 hours on the road heading east from Margaret River and we arrive at the town of Albany, but not before a stop at the Giant Tree Top Walk just 45 minutes outside of the town. Similar to the Otways on the Great Ocean Road, you can experience the forest from 40 meters above the ground on a series of steel beam walkways and bridges, not for those with a fear of heights. It’s a great place to get out of the car and stretch your legs for an hour, and breath in some fresh air. The main tree here is the Tingle tree – a giant species of tree, with some so big here you can walk right through them! Lots of great photo opportunities, and for only $10 a head it’s not a bad deal.
We finally arrive in Albany, the largest township between Perth and Adelaide running along the southern coast. With its stunning coast line and white sand beaches you could easily spend a week here in the summer. There are also dozens of walks in the area from easy paved pathways to rugged steep terrain and a bike trail for those looking to keep active. Since it’s getting late in the day we book two nights at the YHA to allow us all day tomorrow to explore. We start our next day off in an Amazing Race fashion to see and do as many of the lookouts points as we can before the scheduled rain catches up with us in the afternoon.
The most popular lookouts include the “Gap” and the “Bridge” – stunning rock formations on the coastline that get their name from their shape. Further down the road are the “Blowholes” – water shoots up through openings in the rocks that sounds exactly like whales clearing their blowholes. From there we visit the wind farm which produces up to 75% of the electricity used in Albany. Then it’s off to check out half a dozen beaches that are scattered around the city from the city center beach, Middletown, to private secluded coves that require some rock scrambling to get to.
One of Albany’s biggest tourist attractions is whale watching during the humpback migration from June to September every year. Albany does not disappoint – we spotted whales from the lookouts, not once, not twice but three times! We were fortunate enough to get quite a close look down at Middletown beach with 6 whales lazing in the water quite close to shore, tails slapping and all. While the whale watching boat was able to get a bit closer, I was glad we saved the $70 a person and caught the show for free.