Friday, 14 October 2016

Self-contained accommodation in Albany: Albany Harbourside Apartments and Houses.

Albany Harbourside Apartments
David and I came to Albany in Western Australia for the whales. In September 1998, when our boys were little, we arrived to discover two of these magnificent creatures had taken up temporary residence in King George Sound. The weather was warm, the sun was shining and the whales were making the most of a temporary respite from their long journey south. They stayed in the sound for three or four days, putting on a great show of frolicking, slapping their tales and generally, dare I say it, having a 'whale of a time'. One afternoon as I walked along the boardwalk at Middleton Beach, I saw them directly below me, no more than a few metres away - their massive, sleek bodies gliding effortlessly through the water. It was an experience I will never forget.

Fast forward to September 2016, almost two decades later, and the whales are not co-operating. Neither is the sunshine! The sky is overcast, the temperature is cold and the wind is blowing a small gale. We have tentatively booked a whale watching tour and are not at all upset when the tour operator fails to return our phone call. Even if the whales are out there, neither of us have any wish to brave the ocean swells in pursuit of them. Fortunately, Albany has many other attractions and our three nights spent at the Albany Harbourside Apartments and Houses are far from wasted.

Frenchman Bay, Albany
Oyster Harbour - not far from where we saw the whales on our first visit to Albany. As you can see from this photo, we got some sunshine.

Albany Harbourside Apartments and Houses


Check-in


We arrive late in the afternoon. The drive from Margaret River took us through the spectacular forests around Pemberton and Walpole. This is karri tree country - home to some of the tallest trees in the world. As an added bonus we came across several flocks of emus beside the road.

Our apartment is easy to find. Let's face it, Albany isn't that big - you would struggle to get too lost. The keys are waiting with a welcome note in a box outside reception and we run into Louisa, one of the owners, as we are collecting them. She greets us warmly, and apologises for the weather.

'It might be a bit better tomorrow,' she says, then adds with a good-natured laugh, 'or it might not!'

She has that slightly resigned, long-suffering look reserved for those who live in less than perfect climates. She confirms we are unlucky to have struck a cold snap so late in the year.

Our Apartment


We are staying in a Double Story Apartment. We arrive to a welcoming blast of warm air - someone has thoughtfully turned on the heater downstairs. On the kitchen table we find a complimentary bottle of  red from a local vineyard.

Ferngrove Cabernet Merlot
The local red is a lovely welcome surprise.

The apartment is clean, spacious and comfortable.  There is a living room, kitchen and laundry downstairs and two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. With a queen size bed in one bedroom and a queen and a single bed in the other, it could easily accommodate a family. The sitting out area at the back and an upstairs verandah next to the main bedroom would be lovely on a sunny day. There is a lawn next to the apartment - perfect for children to play on.


Living room Albany Harbourside Apartments
The living room in our Double Story Apartment

Main bedroom in Albany Harbourside Apartments
The main bedroom

Although Albany has a good selection of restaurants and cafes, we decide to stay in and enjoy the luxury of a home cooked roast for dinner. Being able to cook for ourselves is one of the simple pleasures we miss when we stay in hotel rooms night after night - along with a separate living room, dining table to have dinner at and, that ultimate of all traveller's luxuries, a washing machine and dryer.  There is nothing quite like having all the facilities of home while you are on the road.

The sun puts in an appearance the next morning. It might be colder and windier than is usual for September but at least it isn't raining. David and I take advantage of the sunshine and head down to the harbour to look for whales - you never know we might get lucky!

Cycle path at Albany
The shared walking and cycling path  - Emu Point.

Location


Albany Harbourside Apartments and Houses have properties in several locations. The Double Story Apartments are on Festing St, within walking distance of the Historic District and the main street. All the apartments and houses look equally well located.



Albany Harbourside Apartments and Houses
This garden was outside our kitchen window

Facilities


All apartments - except the Foreshore Apartment


  • Kitchenette
  • Flat screen television and DVD player.
  • Public parking on site
  • Note: There is no wifi in the Foreshore Apartment

Click here for links to the full list of facilities in each apartment.

My tip -
  • If you are here outside summer and you feel the cold opt for a single story apartment or house. We found the upstairs area of the two story apartment a bit chilly. The electric blanket on the bed kept us warm at night but for some reason the heat from the reverse cycle air conditioner downstairs failed to make it to the second story. To be fair - I feel the cold more than just about anyone else on the planet.

Attractions in Albany


There is no shortage of attractions in Albany. This part of Western Australia must be one of the best kept secrets in the country. Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for my 'Things to do in Albany' post. In the meantime here are just a few of the don't miss sights.

  • Whale Watching - The whale-watching season runs from June to October. If there are whales in King Geoprge Sound head down to the lookout on Ellen Cove Boardwalk at Middleton Beach for the perfect spot to see them.
  • The National ANZAC Centre - The National ANZAC Centre is dedicated to commemorating the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in the First World War. For my review of our visit to the centre click here.
  • The Gap and Natural Bridge -  For a close up encounter with the power of the Great Southern Ocean take a trip out to Torndirrup National Park. A viewing platform allows visitors to stand directly above the waves as they surge through a natural gap in the granite foreshore.
  • Wildflowers - Western Australia has 12,000 species of wildflowers, over 60 percent of which are found nowhere else on the planet. Come to Albany in spring and you can't miss seeing them. For my review of the wildflower festival in Kings Park, Perth click - here.
  • Wildlife -  If you are looking for kangaroos, you don't need to leave Albany. Take Frenchman Bay Road south and then east toward Vancouver Peninsula and you are likely to see them laying around in the front of houses on the larger blocks of land.
  • Walking and Cycling - The shared walking and cycling path runs along the foreshore at Middleton Beach. It is the perfect place to look for whales!

Note: David and I received a media discount during our stay at Albany Harbourside Apartments and Houses.

I publish a new post every Thursday or Friday, depending on your time zone. If you would like to follow our travels, check back each week or enter your email address in the 'Never miss a post: Follow by email' box in the right hand sidebar just below my profile picture.

Click on the titles below for other posts from our road trip in Western Australia: - 

34 comments:

  1. I love Albany, sounds like a great place to stay.

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    1. Stay tuned! My next post will be 'Things to do in Albany.'

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  2. Albany is beautiful even without the whales! I'm definitely adding it to my list. #wkendtravelinspiration

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    1. It is a lovely part of the world. You can't go wrong with the south west corner of Western Australia.

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  3. I am thinking about Albany and doing a road trip from Perth to Albany (and maybe even to Esperance). Your holiday apartment recommendation may come in handy.

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    1. The south west corner of Western Australia is an easy place to road trip. It is relatively populated so there are plenty of towns to get accommodation in. Let me know when you firm up your plans and I can send you all my recommendations. You definitely need to include Albany and if you enjoy wine regions go via Margaret River. I loved Esperance but it is a long drive from Albany. I'm going to do a post on Esperance in about a fortnight.

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  4. Nice accommodations! Thanks for the info and photos! #theweeklypostcard

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  5. Ohh we love Albany - particularly the bike trails and the nearby wine estates, oh and the walking and the beaches! Looks like you had a great time despite the woolly weather and Albany Harbourside Apartments look like a great place to stay.

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    1. I can understand why you love Albany. It might get a bit chilly but it is a beautiful, interesting place.

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  6. I guess the whales would be the icing on the cake, but what a lovely place to have a stay. We so agree that sometimes a home-cooked-away-from-home meal just can't be beat!

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    1. Whales would have been great, although I don't know why I care so much. David and I saw one today in Sydney Harbour. I really should look in my own backyard first - lol.

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  7. It's lovely to be able to cater for oneself when travelling, occasionally, and feel like you're properly at home. Even nicer to spend some time and be able to unpack!
    Staying in apartments from time to time is a great idea and it sounds as if the Albany Harbourside Apartments is a recommended place to stay...shame about the weather!

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    1. We travel so much that we have learnt to take the bad weather with the good. It could have been worse, at least it didn't rain much.

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  8. It is funny with whales. We were having breakfast a couple of weeks ago, and next thing two were breaching out of the water in front of us. Albany looks lovely, as does your apartment

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    1. David and I saw a whale in Sydney Harbour today but it was a far way out from where we were.

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  9. Hi Lyn. I've not yet been to Australia, so I know I have lots to see and explore. Exciting that you saw wild emus! You don't mention what kind of whales visit the area. Are they humpbacks?

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    1. Hi Doreen,
      I didn't mention the kind of whale because I am just hopeless at that sort of thing and didn't want to get it wrong, but both humpbacks and southern right whales visit Albany. You have to be there at the right time of year though. If you are looking for whales you don't need to go to Western Australia. They migrate up and down the east coast as well. David and I saw one in Sydney Harbour yesterday - it was a long way out but we knew to look for it because there was a stationary whale watching boat nearby. The whale watching cruises out of Sydney and other east coast towns and cities are great.

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  10. Albany looks really beautiful. I hope I'll make it to Australia someday. Thanks for joining us for #TheWeeklyPostcard, Lyn.

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    1. When you do make it to Oz, let me know and we'll have lunch!

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  11. You can never count on Whales but the Albany Harbourside Apartments looks like a great place to drown your sorrows:-)

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    1. Haha - you can never count on wild animals full stop, but you can hope!

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  12. This is the frustrating part of seeing animals in the wild -- they often don't cooperate! Hope you had a pleasant getaway anyway-- local wine and nice scenery certainly help!

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    1. We had a fabulous time - even without the whales.

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  13. As a young teenager my parents took us on a couple of summer holidays to Albany, I remembered it as a place too cold to swim - what a waste of summer since (I live in Perth where it is HOT through summer). But since those days in the early 80's Albany has more to offer than just pretty beaches too cold to swim in and a rock that looks like a dog. I have read great things about the Anzac museum and so Albany is back on my list as place to visit for a short family holiday.

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    1. Haha - I forgot about the Dog Rock. I remember seeking it out the first time we went to Albany. I thought the boys would love it - they were very nonplussed. This time we drove past it a couple of times and barely gave it a second glance. As you say, Albany has many other attractions.

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  14. Good timing :). We are planning a trip to Albany, and I was researching places to stay there. Albany Harbourside looks like a great place to stay. Lyn, I’ve been following your posts about Western Australia, and I am curious how do you find places to stay there? Any insiders tips you wouldn’t mind to share? Cheers!

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    1. Probably the best thing about Albany Harbourside Apartments is the range of different apartments and houses they have. You can choose what suits you best.

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  15. Albany sounds lovely. And that apartment looks delightful. I like staying in apartment setting where we can eat in as a break from restaurant meals.

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    1. I totally agree about getting a break from restaurants. The brutal truth is that restaurants in Australian country towns aren't always that great and the good ones are quite expensive.

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  16. That living room looks very cosy. I've not been there yet - another place to add to the bucket list. thanks for sharing!

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    1. Try to go there in the wildflower and whale season. You'll love it!

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  17. Hi Lynn
    Loved this post and the one about the ANZAC centre. I live in Albany. :)
    Just one little thing. What you call Frenchman Bay in this post is actually King George Sound. Frenchman Bay is a small bay in the sound near where the whaling station used to be. And the photo you captioned Frenchman Bay is actually Oyster Harbour. Not a criticism but just a correction. You may delete this if you wish.

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    1. Hi Gerrit, It is great to discover someone in Albany has read my post. Thank you for the information. I will change the captions - they are easy to edited. I hate getting things wrong and I spent a lot of time looking at Google maps trying to figure out where Frenchman Bay and King George Sound started and ended. I even asked a local to check the post - but maybe geography wasn't their strong point - lol.

      David and I loved Albany. It is a magical part of the world and when those of us from the eastern states think of W.A we always tend to think of the regions north of Perth and forget that there is a beautiful, fertile corner in the south west.

      If you find anything else I have got wrong in my posts on Albany, there was a new one this week, please feel free to point them out.

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