Albany is the oldest city in Western Australia, and easily the most historic destination in the state. Located along the south-west coast, just 400 kilometres from Perth – which for Australia, is just down the road! – Albany dates back to 1826, and has gone down in Australian history for being the departure point of the first ANZAC troops who left to fight for the Empire in the First World War I.
Travelling from Perth to Albany is as simple as taking a bus or a flight, but you’ll want to self-drive to see the best that the south-west has to offer at the same time. Take the scenic route from Perth to Albany and explore the beaches and coastline along the way. Call in at the giant trees of Pemberton or savour the culinary delights of Margaret River.
Here are the best ways to travel from Perth to Albany, including my definitive road trip itinerary!
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The Best Time of Year to Travel From Perth to Albany
Albany WA experiences a mild climate for Australia, split into four distinct seasons. While summers, between November and February, are hot and sunny, the rest of the year it can be cold and downright dreary at times. The nearby Stirling Range even sees snowfall in winter.
It’s not uncommon to encounter thunderstorms and rain for much of the year, but don’t let that put you off, because as well as being surrounded by spectacular scenery, there are a lot of things to do in Albany even if it starts pouring down.
To truly experience the best of Albany though, you’ll want to visit in summer, when the beaches are at their best and when you can camp out under the stars with little chance of being rained upon.
Spring and Autumn, while it can rain a lot, sees much cooler weather, and if you’re looking to hike, it can be a better option to visit in the shoulder seasons to avoid the worst of the summer sun – just pack a raincoat.
Perth to Albany Flights
While the drive from Perth to Albany isn’t too long, if you’re pushed for time – if you just have the weekend or want a quick city break – then there are short Perth to Albany flights available every day.
Albany has the airport code ALH, and flight time on a Perth to Albany flight is just over 1 hour. Flights are operated by Regional Express, or REX, and they usually run four departures each way per day, from morning through to the evening.
Albany Airport, like most regional airports in Western Australia, is incredibly small, with limited facilities. It’s located on the Albany Highway, 12 kilometres outside of the city centre.
At the airport, you’ll find rental car agencies where you can pick up a car for the duration of your stay. There’s no public bus to the airport though unfortunately, so you will need to either rent a car or arrange a taxi in advance.
The Bus From Perth to Albany
Perth to Albany is one of the few routes in Western Australia that’s actually served by a frequent bus service and with a journey time of four to five hours, on comfortable modern coaches, it can make more sense to take the bus rather than fly if you aren’t driving, especially as the bus drops you off in the city centre. Costs won’t be too dissimilar compared to flying, although the bus is generally cheaper of course.
The route is operated by TransWA, with coaches departing from the East Perth terminal. There are departures daily, both ways.
You can also catch a bus from Albany to Esperance, a journey time of around 5 hours along the south coast. Like Albany, there are also some great things to do in Esperance, including some of the best beaches in Australia.
If you don’t have a car then travelling around the wider area is a challenge, however, there are several public bus routes in the city itself, some of which have stops at the beaches. The city centre is very walkable.
Perth to Albany Road Trip Itinerary
In my humble opinion, there should only be one way to travel from Perth to Albany, and that’s on a road trip. There are loads of great stops along the way, and given the comparatively short distance between the two cities, it’s a road trip that you can complete in a just a few days if you’re pressed for time!
A Perth to Albany road trip, or an Albany Perth road trip, is relatively straight forward too. Distances between destinations are never too long, and you won’t need to worry about getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere if you break down. It’s a good entry-level road trip if it’s your first time in WA!
There are two potential routes that you can take, either travelling straight down the Albany Highway or taking the longer scenic route along the south-west coast, through Margaret River.
You can find both routes below, and if you are just going as far as Albany, then you can turn this into a loop when you need to head back to Perth. There are plenty of petrol stations and rest stops on each route.
Perth to Albany via the Albany Highway
The Albany Highway stretches from Perth to Albany, and it’s the most direct route between these two cities. It’s a distance of just over 400 kilometres, which you can cover in 4 or 5 hours if you aren’t stopping.
If you aren’t in a rush to get down to Albany though, then there are a few stops – and a few detours too – that you can make along the way, including visiting iconic Bluff Knoll and the Porongorups. If you’ve got a few days to get down south, then the national parks on the way are excellent places to camp out and explore.
Distance From Perth to Albany via Albany Highway – approx 400 Kilometres
Stop 1 – Kojonup
When you’re starting out from Perth, you’ll want to get some distance between you and the state capital before you make your first stop. While there are a few national parks just outside the city, and off the highway, you can always visit these on a day trip from Perth. Save your time for the south.
Drive for 3 hours, and around 250 kilometres, and you’ll reach the rural town of Kojonup. This is where the south-west really begins, and you’ll find that the pace of life slows down considerably compared to Perth – which is already fairly laid back as it is! Kojonup is known for its wildflowers, but they only really bloom between September and October.
If you’re passing through any other time of the year, you can also call into the heritage centre known as Kodja Place, where you can learn about the local farming history and about indigenous culture.
You don’t need long, to be honest, so get back on the road and head south again once you’ve had your short-lived fill of Kojonup.
Stop 2 – Mount Barker
From Kojonup, it’s a one hour drive and 100 kilometres south to Mount Barker. There’s nothing to do in Mount Barker, and I can tell you this from experience because I worked for three months on a strawberry farm half an hour down the road when I was backpacking through Australia on a Working Holiday Visa.
If you want to break up the journey though, then the Mount Barker caravan park can be a good spot to spend the night, while nearby you can also find the rolling hills of the Frankland River, where you can tour around some of WA’s most renowned wineries. Just don’t drink and drive.
Stop 3 – Stirling Range National Park
From Mount Barker, you can head off the highway towards the Stirling Range National Park. It’s just 60 kilometres away and you’ll be there in less than an hour. There are camping sites within the national park, as well as a few caravan parks on the way in too.
The Stirling Range is a phenomenal sight in an otherwise flat country, as mountain peaks rise high across the plains. There are lots of different walking trails leading to the summit of the different mountains, but if you only have time for one, then it’s going to have to be the Bluff Knoll hike.
At 1099 metres in height, this is one of the tallest mountains in Western Australia, and it’s the only place in the state that regularly sees snowfall. Head here in winter, and you might see the top covered in snow.
Stop 4 – Porongorups
From the Stirling Range National Park, it’s another short drive to the Porongurup National Park, which is just half an hour away. In fact, if you get an early start climbing Bluff Knoll, then you can spend the afternoon at the Porongurups before heading down to the coast, to Albany.
The Porongurups are a unique area of granite boulders that are steeped in local aboriginal myths and legends. You can climb Castle Rock and walk across the Skywalk for exceptional views over the forests, before marvelling at the perilously balanced Balancing Rock.
From the Porongurups, it’s just 50 kilometres south to Albany!
Perth to Albany via Margaret River
If you’ve got more time, or if you prefer beaches to mountains, then from Perth to Albany you can road trip via Margaret River.
This popular route takes you along the south-west coast, alongside white sand beaches and through a towering forest of Karri trees. It’s a longer journey, as there’s much more to see, and distance-wise it’s at least 650 kilometres, depending on just how many stops you and detours you make exactly.
You can take anywhere from a few days to a week to really appreciate this road trip from Perth to Margaret River, then to Albany.
Distance From Perth to Albany via Margaret River – approx 650 Kilometres, depending on exact road trip itinerary.
Stop 1 – Busselton
Head south from Perth, and carry on down Highway 1 to Bunbury. From here, take the coastal highway and stop off at the city of Busselton. It’s a great first stop, as in Busselton you can find the world’s longest wooden pier – Busselton Jetty – which stretches way out for over 2 kilometres from the harbour, into the Indian Ocean.
There are beaches, restaurants, cafes and bars, and it’s one of WA’s most pleasant seaside cities. At just over 200 kilometres, or two hours of driving, it’s a great first stop, and you can spend the afternoon here before finishing the last 50 kilometres into Margaret River.
Stop 2 – Margaret River
You’ll want to spend the night in Margaret River, or at a camping or caravan park nearby, because this is the culinary capital of Western Australia. It’s a popular weekend getaway from Perth, but you’ll find busy bars, cafes and restaurants all through the week.
Visit the local farmer’s markets, explore the wineries and head to the coast for epic sunsets over the Indian Ocean, and perhaps even have an encounter with the friendly rays that get close to the shore. From Margaret River, you can also visit the beaches at Hamelin and Augusta, and you might see dolphins or whales off the coast too.
Stop 3 – Pemberton
After Margaret River, it’s time to turn away from the coast and to head inland. Your next stop is the small town of Pemberton, which is hidden away in the forests. Pemberton is surrounded by tall Karri trees which are indigenous to the area and can reach 100 metres in height.
They are staggeringly tall, and at Gloucester National Park, you can even climb select trees. It’s a blisteringly nerve-wracking climb, as you work your way slowly up the metal railings to the old fire lookouts at the top that sway in the wind
The views from the lookouts are incredible though, but if you’re scared of heights, you might want to hang out at the bottom of the trees instead.
Stop 4 – Walpole
From Pemberton, it’s just over an hour to Walpole, where you’ll find even more enormous trees in the vast forests that extend almost to the ocean. At Walpole, you can visit exceptionally pristine beaches, or you can explore the town’s famous treetop walk.
The Valley of the Giants is a unique treetop experience that allows you to walk on raised platforms that weave through the giant Karri trees.
Stop 5 – Denmark
You’re getting closer to Albany from Perth now, and the last stop on this itinerary is the town of Denmark.
Found halfway between Walpole and Albany, Denmark is just one hour further along the road. You can enjoy a quaint and charming town, with cafes and restaurants, and you can visit the excellent beaches.
Ocean Beach is a good spot to hang out, and to learn how to surf, while Greens Pool and the Elephant Rocks are some of the most iconic natural spots along the south-west coastline, where you’ll find super-clear water for snorkelling and monstrous granite boulders shaped like elephants.
Final Stop – Albany WA
From Denmark, it’s just a 40-minute drive and you’ll finally be in Albany WA. On the way through, you can call into the West Cape Howe National Park, where you can camp out at the highly recommended Shelly Beach, and wake up with a view of the ocean – this was probably my favourite campsite in the south-west.
From West Cape Howe National Park, you can then visit Torndirrup National Park, where you’ll find old whaling stations, enormous blow holes and windswept beaches. This is some of Albany’s best scenery, and if you’re into hiking, you’ll want to tackle the Bald Head hike, the most spectacular, but most challenging hike in Albany.
In Albany, there are lots of things to do, from hiking, beaches and nature, to visiting the ANZAC Centre or visiting the local breweries. You’ll want at least two days to see the highlights, and longer to explore all the surrounding national parks and beaches!
Where to Next?
From Albany, then you can travel back up to Perth, with the quickest route being the direct Albany Highway, of course.
If you’re road tripping around Australia and have plenty of time left, then you can carry on along the coastal highway from Albany to Esperance. There are a few stops on the way, and once in Esperance, you can visit the beautiful beaches of Cape Le Grand National Park.
From Esperance, you can then travel north to the mining town of Kalgoorlie, and trust me, there are some strange and bizarre things to do in Kalgoorlie. From Perth to Kalgoorlie, you have another potential road trip too, and you can stop off in remote Outback destinations such as Wave Rock.
If you go straight back to Perth, then you can always head north. There are plenty of road tripping opportunities on the long route from Perth to Broome!