Explore Beyond Downtown Perth – Albany

Two People Bay Nature Reserve

Located South-West of Australia, Perth is a one of the most isolated cosmopolitan city in the world, surrounded by abundant natural beauty in the downtown.

The city lies along Swan River, with Kings Park (a large natural bushland) that offers a spectacular view of the downtown. The suburbs lies near white sandy beaches with beautiful Rottnest Island within proximity reach via ferry.

Although Perth has plenty of activities to offer, the beauty beyond the downtown is not to be missed!

From Perth to Albany

Depending on the location of your accommodation, the faster and easier way to reach Albany by driving is via Albany Highway from Armadale suburb.

Beyond the city, the highway is usually a single carriageway sealed road with overtaking lane at certain areas. Avoid overtaking other vehicles while driving in a single lane, as the kerb of the highway is usually covered with sands, which make it dangerous if the tyres hit on it at a high speed.

You can choose to drive all the way from Albany Highway to Albany for a distance of 417 km | 4 h 32 min. If time is on your side, you can consider the following side trips:

Stirling Range National Park

Situated 399 km | 4 h 30 min from Perth, the park can be reached by Albany Highway, follows by a left turn into Great Southern Highway. At Cranbrook Townsite, make a right turn into Salt River Road. At the intersection with Formby South Road, turn right until the end of the road, follows by another right turn into Chester pass Road, which will run through the park.

The park is home to Western Australia’s highest peak, Bluff knoll, standing at 1,099 metres above sea level.

Bluff Knoll is renowned for its cloudy environment and it is one of the only places in Western Australia, which snow will fall on the summit occasionally.

By far, climbing to the summit of Bluff Knoll is the most popular walking trail in the park. While along Chester Pass Road, turn left into Bluff Knoll Road, which will wind across the rugged terrain to the parking lot.

If you are lucky, there will be native kangaroos roaming around the parking lot.

The trail is well-marked and takes approximately 3.5 hours return, depending on individual fitness. Bring along a sweater, as the mountain range weather is unpredictable. The trail might be quite tough for some, but the scenery at the summit is not to be missed.

Bluff Knoll in Sterling National Park
Bluff Knoll in Sterling National Park

Click here for other walking trails in Stirling National Park.

Porongurup National Park

Porongurup National Park is an ancient granite dome rising at 670 metres. The park is surrounded by the forest of Karri trees and offers various hiking trails and activities for travellers.

From Stirling Range National Park, continue South-West along Chester Pass Road and turn right at the intersection with Mount Barker Porongurup Road.

Hiking trails in the park are situated at different locations. By far the most popular hike in the park is the Castle Rock Trail, which the parking lot is situated on the left side of the road, near the intersection with Mount Barker Porongurup Road and Chester Pass Road. It is equipped with picnic and toilet facilities, so please make sure to clear your bladder before embarking on the long hiking trail.

The trail starts from the parking lot for a distance of 1.5 km (2 – 3 hours) to the summit. Do remember to bring along drinking water, as some part of the trail can be quite challenging. The first part is the most relaxing, hiking across the Karri Forest. The hike starts to get steeper along the way to the Balancing Rock, which is a perfect place to take a rest and opportunity for some photo-taking.

Balancing Rock at Porongurup National Park
Balancing Rock at Porongurup National Park

The final portion of the trail is the most difficult, which require hiking among the crevices of the granite boulders until reaching a caged ladder which leads to the top of the Castle Rock. On the top, there will be a skywalk which offers magnificent views of the surrounding terrain.

Caged Ladder mounted on Castle Rock - Porongurup National Park
Caged Ladder mounted on Castle Rock

The granite boulders can be very slippery during the wet season. Do wear a proper footwear to avoid any injuries.

Tree-in-the-Rock Circuit: situated on the western range of the park, it can be reached from Castle Rock parking lot by driving Westward along Mount Barker Porongurup Road, follow by turning left into Bolganup Road. Avoid speeding and beware of oncoming traffic in this road, as it is single lane for both directions. The parking lot is situated at the end of the road.

The circuit is famous for its mature Karri tree that clings on a granite boulder with its roots extend into the crevice of the rock. The tree is situated 100 metres from the parking lot, with picnic and barbeque area along the trail. The total circuit takes approximately 2 – 3 hours to complete with moderate elevation.

Tree in the Rock - Porongurup National Park
Tree in the Rock – Porongurup National Park

Tree-in-the-Rock and Castle Rock are not the only trails in the park. Click here to find out more about Porongurup National Park walking trails.

Within Albany

Direction: exit Porongurup National Park by turning left from Mount Barker Porongurup Road in Mount Barker townsite and travel Southward along Albany Highway to Albany. Total Time Taken: 35 min | 49.5 km from Mount Barker.

Sitting on the Southern coastline, Albany is one of the oldest settlement towns in Western Australia, surrounded by beautiful beaches, National Park and historical landmarks.

While in the town, a visit to either Mount Clarence or Mount Melville is a must. Both mountains offer a magnificent view of the town and its surrounding from the summit. The iconic Dog Rock, along Middleton Road, is another popular destination for travellers.

A visit to Albany is never complete with the following two destinations:

Torndirrup National Park: situated 10km from the town, the park is easily accessible via Frenchman Bay Road. Stretching on the Southern rugged coastal line with an area of 39.36 km2, the park is famous for its blowhole, limestone cliff wall and a natural bridge.

From Frenchman Bay Road, turn right into The Gap Road until the end of the road, which the parking lot is situated. Both The Gap and Natural Bridge lookouts are situated approximately 100 metres from the parking lot along a paved track.

Pavement to The Gap and Natural Bridge
Pavement to The Gap and Natural Bridge

The Gap – 24 metres drops to the sea, the limestone cliff is carved by the strong waves that hit on the coastline by the Great Southern Sea. Beware: do not lean or climb on the railing to take a photograph as it doesn’t look firm enough to withstand the impact.

The Gap - Torndirrup National Park
The Gap – Torndirrup National Park

Natural Bridge – located a few metres away from The Gap. The bridge is formed naturally by wear and tear of the rocks from the impact of the ocean over the years. The platform provided a magnificent view of the bridge. Do not attempt to go down to have a closer look as the strong ocean wave might swipe you away without any notice.

Natural Bridge - Torndirrup National Park
Natural Bridge – Torndirrup National Park

Blowholes – situated in a different location, it can be reached by exit The Gap Road and turn right into Frenchman Bay Road, follows by another right turn into Blowholes Road.

The blowhole might not be one of the most impressive in the world, but it is definitely worth a visit. Particularly, I loved to sit down on the rock to enjoy the strong chilling wind and sound of the ocean wave swiping across the coastline.

Blowhole - Torndirrup National Park
Waiting for the performance of the blowholes

Two People Bay Nature Reserve – Located approximately 37.2 km | 42 min from Albany, the reserve can be reached via Lockyer Ave in the town, follows by Ulster Road and Lower king Road.

Once outside the town, continues along Nanarup Road and turn left into Two People Bay Road. Although the road is non-gravel, it is still accessible by 2WD vehicles.

The park was developed as a Natural Reserve to protect the endangered Gilbert’s Potoroo and Noisy Scrub-Bird, which both are presumed extinct, until the re-discovery in Two People Bay.

The park offers the magnificent view of unspoilt coast scenery with crystal-clear water. The parking lot at the end of Two People Bay Road has a visitor centre that provides history, flora and fauna information of the place. There are picnic and barbeque areas but no camping is allowed. No drinking water is also available, so you will need to bring your own.

The most popular trail in the park will be Two Peoples Bay Heritage Walking Trail, which winds through bushland, swamp and eventually end on the beautiful Little Beach. The loop trail is about 4.6 km long, so allow at least 2 hours to walk around the area.

Two Peoples Bay Heritage Trail at Two People Bay Natural Reserve
Two Peoples Bay Heritage Trail at Two People Bay Natural Reserve
Little Beach at Two People Bay Natural Reserve
Little Beach at Two People Bay Natural Reserve

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