Wind Farm, The Gap, Natural Bridge and Squid Shack, Albany
After our breakfast at Albany Pie Cafe, we were ready to do some sightseeing.
First, we went to Albany Wind Farm. It was a warm, muggy day and the flies swarmed aggressively. I inhaled three that got too close to my nostrils - not intentionally, believe me - it's a real problem for me every summer as I do a lot of walking and flies seem unnaturally attracted to my nose. My friends tease me and tell me I should get one of those Aussie cork hats. :)
The Wind Farm supplies the City of Albany with around 77 million units of electricity every year, which is enough to supply around 15,000 average homes, or up to 75% of Albany’s electricity needs.
It was amazing to look up at the enormous 100-metre turbines and listen to their steady swoooooosh swoooooosh, thinking this is how green energy is made. You can get a lot closer to a few of the turbines than shown in my photo below.
There are a number of scenic walking trails to follow and information that you can read as you go, telling you all about the Wind Farm. There are displays about the wildlife you may see and signs reminding you to take care and respect nature as you make your way through.
A couple of the trails are quite steep - good walking shoes are a must, as is carrying drinking water on a warm, sticky day.
The Albany Wind Farm connects to the Bibbulmun Track, Western Australia's 1000km walking trail that stretches from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills all the way South to Albany. Jac and I have talked about walking the Bibbulmun track or at least part of it, on a future holiday.
As you walk around the Wind Farm, you get beautiful sweeping views of the coast. Can you see the surfer catching a wave below?
Albany Wind Farm
Free and open every day.
Lots of parking.
Get a great map of Albany showing the location of Albany Wind Farm from the Albany Visitor Centre at the Old Railway Station on Proudlove Parade.
After getting back to the car and brushing away the flies*, our next stop was the Gap and Natural Bridge, rock formations created by the Southern Ocean, in the Torndirrup National Park.
The Gap and Natural Bridge are in a coast risk area - meaning visitors should keep well clear of the sea, watch for freak waves and swells, slippery rocks and strong winds, stay on paths wherever provided and not go exploring alone. On the day we were there it was very windy, but luckily no freakishly large waves.
The Natural Bridge is a huge piece of granite that has been shaped by the sea over centuries to create an arch/bridge.
It was easy to imagine, as we walked along the rocks, how treacherous these parts of the coast are in stormy conditions. The wind was very strong and I had to take care not to let it literally blow me over.
There are viewing platforms so you can get a good view of the Gap and Natural Bridge from a safe distance. Apparently in rough conditions, the spray comes right up to the top of the Gap. You wouldn't want to be there when that happens.
If you appreciate the beauty of nature, the Gap and Natural Bridge are worth a visit. We were told you can spot whales in the ocean from the cliffs, especially in winter.
The sky grew darker and the clouds got steadily bigger the whole time we were there.
We were hoping to see the Blow Holes as well but by this time it wasn't just the strong winds we had to contend with - it had begun to rain heavily, making it difficult to see anything (and impossible to take photos!), so we went back to the car and drove around for a while.
The Gap and Natural Bridge
Torndirrup National Park, via Frenchman Bay Road, Albany
Free, lots of parking.
It's very beautiful but not a good place for children to run around unsupervised
Get a great map of Albany showing the location of the Gap and Natural Bridge from the Albany Visitor Centre at the Old Railway Station on Proudlove Parade.
The Squid Shack
It was now past lunch time. We headed to the Squid Shack, a local fish and chippie at the Emu Point marina.
It was still raining when we arrived, so we grabbed a table inside the shack. It's a simple set-up. You order at the counter and they give you one of those disc-shaped pagers that beeps/flashes/vibrates when your order is ready.
It's casual dining, like a food hall - just sit wherever you find a free spot. The salt/chicken salt and vinegar (in spray bottles) is self-serve, on the tables. It was almost 2pm by the time we sat down to eat, past the lunching hour for most people - so it wasn't very busy. The clientele was mostly tourists and local surfers wrapped in towels straight from the beach. I tried not to stare longingly (and obviously!) at the fish and chips of the people sitting next to us.
We had a dinner reservation for that evening and wanted to save our appetites - so we just shared a serve of salt and pepper squid and chips.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that this was the freshest and best-tasting squid and chips I have ever eaten from a fish and chip shop. Bite-sized pieces of tender fresh squid were coated in a savoury salt and pepper batter, fried till golden and crispy on the outside, served with a wedge of lemon. The squid was deliciously moreish, like the magnificent popcorn shrimp at Sake Restaurant in Sydney. It was so good I recklessly devoured crispy curls of squid with little regard for my burning fingertips and mouth.
If I lived anywhere near the Squid Shack, I could see myself as a regular - the local surfers and little old me, sitting in the shack enjoying freshly deep-fried seafood and chips by the sea.
The Squid Shack
Emu Point Marina
Albany WA 6330
Telephone (08): 9844 9771
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 7pm
If you like fish and chips and you visit Albany, definitely make it a point to check out the Squid Shack.
A friend of ours who visited the Wind Farm in the cooler months told us the flies weren't an issue then. We must've just picked a perfect fly's day out.
More Albany posts
This post is part of my series about our trip to Albany in January 2011.
See the full list of Albany posts.