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  • Writer's pictureAlison Fenton

meeting the elements at Albany

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

1 May 2018

With some wild weather closing in, we found ourselves in a very posh (expensive) caravan park at Middleton Beach in Albany.

The park was very fancy-pants, far more salubrious than our normal haunts! Long term travellers will know that I’m talking about the type of place that makes you feel human again - hot showers, heated spa, lovely pool and beautiful games room - but burns a nasty hole in your tight travel budget!

Still reeling from the $60 per night charge, we were determined to make the most of the facilities. Chase and Drew enjoyed the indoor spa and later the kids watched DVD’s in the TV room.

Unfortunately we didn't get to use the pool. We’d hit winter in Albany and it was brutal! We quickly moved from shorts and tees to jackets and jeans.

A trip to the GP to check on Ollie’s injured knee resulted in tears and trauma, as the doctor tried to remove a stitch that wouldn’t budge. A call to the hospital determined that it was dissolvable and only needed the ends cut.

Tip #1: If you must visit a medical center on a follow-up visit, make sure you take written instructions with you from the original doctor or hospital about requirements for further treatment. This can save a lot of drama!

We visited the National Anzac Centre, which made excellent use of interactive technology for story-telling, but left us depressed by the subject matter.

Visitors were given the name and picture of a soldier to follow and by scanning at stations throughout the exhibition, could check on their wartime exploits. I held my breath every time I scanned my card, anxious that my soldier had survived each offensive. The boys were also kept very engaged by this approach.

I was keen to do the ANZAC walk which left from the carpark of the Centre, but the howling wind and sheeting rain put a stop to thoughts of that.

Tip #2: The Anzac Center is a must-do. It provided an insight into the soldiers lives, both pre, post and during the war. Visitors will appreciate that soliders were real people too - something that can be easily overlooked in museums displaying war-time relics.

The next morning we went to the Albany Convict Gaol. The boys excitedly locked one another into the cells and also tried out the stocks. It was an interesting little museum which we all enjoyed.

We did an audio-guided tour of the Brig Amity replica, the boat sent to colonise Albany with 21 soldiers, 23 convicts and a handful of farm animals. The information provided by the audio was excellent. We could only imagine the conditions on board the small boat.

Tip #3: Both the convict gaol and the brig were very well spent $12 family tickets. Kids and adults alike will enjoy it. If you don't want to do the audio tour of the brig you can have a look at he top deck of the boat and pay a gold coin donation instead.

The weather improved the following day as we moved on from Albany. I would have liked to stay longer as there was still plenty left to explore. We didn't go all that far, moving out of our expensive caravan park to Cosy Corner Campground instead.

Tip #4: If you are set up to camp off grid, you can stay in this free campground for up to three nights. The beach is beautiful and you can use it as a base for Albany and Denmark, with access to the Bibbulmun Track.

We stopped at Torndirrup National Park, where the incredible power of the ocean was on display at The Gap and Natural Bridge. It was frightening, but mesmerising to watch. Even as far back as the carpark, sea spray gently floated overhead, leaving a salty covering on everything it touched.

Authorities have erected signs warning sightseers to stay on the paths and boardwalks, as there have been a number of accidental drownings in the past. Sadly these warnings are not always heeded and only a few days after we visited a tourist taking photographs from a ledge was swept away.

Tip #5: Do not miss Torndirrup National Park.

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