Cruise ships dock at the commercial Port of Albany. As this is a working industrial port, it’s lacking cruise passengers’ facilities as such. You will be welcomed by a bagpiper, playing a traditional melody. Usually there are free shuttle buses, organised by the port authorities, that will take you to the city’s main street – York Street. When a larger cruise ship arrives in town, there are market stalls set up in the Town Square. It is possible to walk from the port to the main street, it would take about 20 min, the distance is about a mile and a half. The Port of Albany is 15 min away by car, 15 km distance from the Albany Airport. In some rare cases cruise ships would anchor further in the Princess Royal Harbour and the passengers would be tendered ashore.
The local currency is the Australian dollar (AUD). Australia has eliminated the penny and cash transactions are rounded up to the nearest nickel. All major credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are plenty of ATMs and exchanging money is easy. You can exchange cash at one of the money exchange shops and bank offices in Albany. Make sure you check the market rate and ask if there would be any commission charges and fees. In general, smaller, independent shops have better rates than banks and major companies, but the best thing to do would always be to check the rates on the day. If you use your cards to draw cash from an ATM, make sure you have notified your bank you would be spending time abroad and you are aware of any transaction fees. More and more banks and financial companies now tend to offer cards with no additional fees when using abroad, so it might pay off for you to check if you can get such card before travelling.
Opening hours and bank holidays. The opening hours in Albany are quite standard. Most shops and shopping centres are generally opened from 9 am to 5.30 pm, with most of them having a late night shopping on Fridays or Thursdays with an hour or two extension. They are also open full day Saturday and until midday or 4pm on Sunday. Some of the bigger shopping centres are open every day until 9 pm Many of them would work even on Christmas Day. There are number of National bank holidays as well and some shops will be closed, so do make yourself familiar with those, especially if your time is limited.
Tipping in Australia is not as common as it is in Europe and the United States. There are jars for tips, but they are hardly used. You can tip if you are happy with the service, but you don’t have to. There are no service charges added to your bill at restaurants either.
It is common knowledge that English is the language of Albany, so you would have no problems being understood.
The local time in Albany is GMT+8 and the International dialling code is + 618.
Things To Do
Albany is the first and oldest settlement in Western Australia (the city was founded in 1826) and there is a lot of history packed in this small city. If you are interested in the story of Albany and its people, head off to the Albany Heritage Park, surrounding the summits of Mount Clarence and Mount Adelaide and a home to pre- and post – European attractions, many connected to the military and the world wars. The Princess Royal Fortress at the top of Mount Adelaide is the first federal defence site of Australia, opened in 1893. Explore the Underground Magazine, the Artillery Display, the HMAS Perth trail and the Convoy Lookout for the incredible vistas over King George Sound. The National Anzac Centre is the newest addition to the park and tells the story of the “Anzacs” – the first troops of Australia and New Zealand gathered at the harbour below the centre to leave for the World War I in 1914. The Desert Mounted Corp Memorial is a replica of a monument, built with funds, donated from the surviving soldiers to honour the fallen on the banks of Port Said in Egypt. Avenue of Honour is not only the road that leads to the top of Mount Clarence. At the base of each of the large gum trees that line the avenue is a plaque with a name of a soldier that has lost his life at war.
There is an impressive collection of museums at Albany. Start at the Whaling Museum – the only complete whaling station – tourist attraction in the world, where you can learn more about the industry that was once crucial for the city’s economy. See a giant blue whale skeleton and climb onboard the last, fully restored Whalechaser ship – Cheynes IV. At the Museum of the Great Southern find out more about the native Aboriginal people of Menang Noongar, as well as the early settlers and convicts and the region’s natural landscapes, flora and fauna. The Brig Amity is nearby – a replica of the original ship that brought the first European settlers to Albany, placed only a few hundred metres away from the very spot where Major Edmund Lockyer and his companions arrived at Princess Royal Harbour on Christmas Day 1826. The Albany Convict Gaol is a restored former goal, functioning as a museum, that was built in 1852 to host imperial convicts, both men and women that were send to Western Australia as skilled labourers. See the oldest surviving dwelling in Western Australia – the Patrick Taylor Cottage Museum, built in 1832 and containing many beautiful artefacts of several eras.
If you would rather be out and about, breathing the fresh ocean breeze of Albany, head off to one of the nearby nature reserves – Torndirrup National Park, famous for its fascinating rock formations, called The Natural bridge, The Gap and its Blowholes. At Walpole-Nornalup National Park see the only tingle forest in the world – the Red Tingle of Western Australia is unique to this region and is one of the tallest trees in the state. West Cape Howe National Park is popular with Hang Gliders and Paragliders, fishing and bushwalking. The Bubbulmin Track is one of the longest walks in the world, from Kalamunda at the outskirts of Perth to Albany, named after the native owners of the land, the Bibbulmun or Noongar people. It stretches over 1000km and is clearly marked with the Waugal – a symbol from the Aboriginal Dreaming.
You shouldn’t leave the fascinating city of Albany before you see the two unique and amazing art projects in the city. One of them is the Field of Light – an immersive art installation of LED lights by Bruce Munro, illuminating the Avenue of Honour, paying homage to the Anzacs. The other one are the Public Silo Trails – a project about taking art out of the galleries and putting it out on the open, visible for miles around in various locations in Australia. One of the murals in Albany is the happy ruby sea dragon, painted by artists The Yok and Sheryo on massive silos close to the port in 2018.
One of the number one activities Albany is famous for, is going to the beach – there are some gorgeous, white sand, turquoise waters, award winning ones, such as the Middleton Beach, Little Beach, Emu Point Beach, Namrup Beach and Two Peoples Bay Beach. There are also some lovely wineries and whiskey distilleries in and around Albany.
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