Albany has a beautiful coastline, calm and inviting bays with crystalline waters giving way to wild and rugged cliffs. We set out to experience as much of this area as we could in the short time available to us.
First on our list were the Gap and the Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park. The drive out to these spectacular natural features took us about 20 minutes from the centre of Albany, and the sites are very well signposted.
There is plenty of parking, but you need to pay a National Parks entry fee unless you have an annual parks pass.
A raised pathway leads from the carpark across the top of the rocks and granite making it an easy stroll out to the viewing platform at the Gap for the spectacular views. The path always extends out to the viewing area of the Natural Bridge, where the rocks on the coastline have been eroded over time by the sea creating a bridge like formation. The pathway is wide and reasonably level, making both of these viewing platforms accessible to everybody, and although it can get quite windy, the views are worth it.
Second stop on our itinerary was the Blowholes. After the well set out pathway to the gap we were expecting more of the same; Haha, were we in for a surprise! The path to the Blowholes started off innocently enough; a nice bitumen path leads you from the carpark for around 400 metres to the top of some very steep steps, once at the bottom of the steps the path heads off still on a downward slope over the granite cliffs to the blowholes which are indicated by signs. This is not an easily accessible area really and I’m glad I didn’t have children with me that I would have to keep a keen eye on.
As if getting down to the Blowholes wasn’t hard enough, we had yet to make the return climb. I realised about halfway up the steps that I really need to exercise more, both myself and my husband had to stop for a short rest; we are both reasonably fit so I don’t know how some of the other tourists were coping, we were joking with some of the others that maybe there should be a defibrillator station at the top of climb.
After the exhilarating walk to the blowholes we decided that we were in need of refreshments, so we headed off to the old whaling station on Frenchman’s Bay Road. The Cheynes Beach Whaling Company was the last whaling company to cease operations in Australia. Operating until 1978, it reopened in 1980 as a museum and is open daily (except Christmas Day) for tours and viewing. In addition to the whaling factory, there is a restored whaling ship that you can go aboard and discover. As well as the museum and grounds, there is a cafe and this is where we plonked ourselves down to recover from our morning’s expedition with a well deserved iced coffee along with a lovely view out over the bay.
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