Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve
After our buffet breakfast at the Dog Rock Motel, we got in the car and drove to Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, a protected area with two small secluded beaches, beautiful bushland and breathtaking views. It is home to a number of threatened bird species, most notably the rare noisy-scrub bird and one of Australia’s most critically endangered marsupials, Gilbert’s potoroo.
Our first stop was an information centre surrounded by bushland, where we learned the remarkable stories of Gilbert’s potoroo and the noisy scrub-bird. These two species, originally discovered in the 1840s, were thought to be extinct for many years but were rediscovered at Two Peoples Bay – the noisy scrub-bird in the 1960s (noisy scrub-bird) and Gilbert’s potoroo in 1994.
Back in the 1960s there were plans to redevelop the bay and turn it into a holiday resort, but with the support of Prince Phillip and dedicated conservation groups, Two Peoples Bay was declared a nature reserve in 1967 to protect the noisy-scrub bird and its habitat. The information centre takes you through all of this history and you can see images of both Gilbert’s potoroo and noisy scrub-bird, as well as hear recordings of the noisy scrub bird’s call – it is a very noisy little bird!
Next, we visited Little Beach, where the sky was a gorgeous bright blue, the water turquoise and icy cold, and an excited toddler ran away with Jac’s thongs (flip-flops) – don’t worry, she got them back! This would be a lovely spot to swim and enjoy a picnic.
We walked along a series of rocks and trails and enjoyed the beautiful views.
Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve
Nanarup, Western Australia (35km east of Albany)
- Get a great map of Albany showing the location of Two Peoples Bay from the Albany Visitor Centre at the Old Railway Station on Proudlove Parade.
- Car parking, picnic tables, barbecues and toilets available, but camping is not allowed.
- The two beaches are Little Beach and Waterfall Beach
- If you’re a nature lover visiting Albany, it’s definitely worth going to Two Peoples Bay.
You probably won’t see any noisy scrub-birds or potoroos – the potoroos are especially shy, nocturnal animals that hide in the scrub – but it’s great to learn more about them and appreciate all the hard work of conservation and land management staff and volunteers to conserve the rare animals of Two Peoples Bay and their beautiful habitat.
- 20 quick facts about Gilbert’s potoroo
- Noisy scrub-bird recovery plan (1994)
- Discovering Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve (book)
We got back on the road and headed to…
Albany Bird Park and Marron Farm
We parked the car and entered via Nippers Cafe, where staff were busy serving morning tea and brunch to customers.
The desserts blackboard displayed an impressive list of desserts – lime cheesecake and fresh strawberries with cream appealed most to me.
But even before we stepped into Nippers and before I saw that desserts board, the first thing I noticed was the chickens in the garden bed. They looked pretty comfy and content.
We were instructed to go to the red shed and pay $9 per person to the man chopping up fresh fruit and vegetables. He gave us different containers of food to feed the two-legged and four-legged animals.
There were birds roaming free-range – more chickens, ducks and a couple of scary-looking geese. There were various birds in cages and a covered walk-in aviary too.
It was lovely to have the birds come right up to us, even though it was the food they were interested in, not us! A little parrot even flew onto Jac’s shoulder and sat there as she walked around hand-feeding the birds.
This cheeky bird was chuffed with its little snack.
This greedy bird stuck its claws right out through the cage and grabbed the bowl of food.
This was Percy the pig. He was asleep the whole time we were there. I called his name and got barely an ear-flick.
We checked out rabbits…
…and guinea pigs, who were keen for some carrot. There were rabbits and guinea pigs you were allowed to pat and pick up.
The horses also came right up to us for a feed.
I liked this pony very much. It waited patiently and hung its chin over the fence, looking adorable until we offered it a piece of carrot.
These were two female donkeys (I only learned last year that a female donkey is called a jenny) who also got a bit of a feed.
In a shed we found big tanks containing koi.
They farm two kinds of freshwater crustaceans here – marron and yabbies, which both feature of the menu at Nippers Cafe (more on that later this post).
Here’s a marron. I love the purply-blue colour of live marron.
There were tanks filled with marron and yabbies – here are the yabbies.
Once we had fed all the animals we could and had seen everything there was to see, it was time to have lunch at Nippers Cafe.
We each had a set of lobster eating tools – finger bowl, claw cracker and lobster pick (for extracting meat from the difficult-to-reach places).
The food took ages to arrive, but it was fantastic!
Jac ordered the taste plate (AU$20), which included four yabbies and a whole marron in their shells served with seafood sauce and lemon. The marron was served cold, the yabbies freshly boiled and served hot. I love how the blue shell of the marron turns bright red when cooked.
Here’s Jac’s painstakingly peeled/extracted marron tail. Marron tastes similar to lobster but being a freshwater crustacean is sweeter and less salty in flavour than lobster.
Jac enjoyed using the lobster tools to get every last bit of meat out of the marron, including its head. Jac was a very messy dining companion – she kept flicking bits of marron and yabbie meat and squirting lemon juice at me, and when she was finished eating, she really needed to change her shirt! They should really give you (or at least Jac) a bib when you order marron and/or yabbies served in their shells.
I ordered the butterfly marron (AU$38 full/2 marron; $24 half/1 marron). The marron tail was barbecued in its half shells with lime-wasabi butter, served with fresh salad and homemade bread.
After my first taste, I regretted only ordering the half size (1 marron)! The barbecued marron was absolutely gorgeous – sweet, tender and buttery. I have been dreaming ever since about barbecued marron tail dripping with lime-wasabi butter.
The homemade poppyseed bread was crusty on the outside, soft on the inside. I used it to mop up as much lime-wasabi butter as possible. I drank the very last drops of butter from the tail shells and meticulously scraped every last bit of sweet marron meat from them.
We had a great time at Albany Bird Park and Marron Farm. It’s an old farming property that’s evolved over the years to become a tourist attraction especially for animal lovers and families.
Things that would improve visitors’ experience:
- Better signage – for example, to explain what kinds of birds we were feeding, especially the different species of parrot (there was no one to ask).
- A guided tour of the aquaculture farm so we could learn more about marron and yabby farming. I was interested, but there was no information or anyone to tell me about it. The marron farm could/should be a more prominent and interactive feature.
The service at Nippers Cafe was very slow, but the food was wonderful. I’ve been craving marron ever since.
Nippers Cafe, at Albany Bird Park and Marron Farm
304 Two Peoples Bay Road
Albany WA 6330
Telephone: (08) 9846 4239
You’ll pass Albany Bird Park and Marron Farm on the way to Two Peoples Bay.
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.