Not too many hotels in Australia seem to offer breakfast as part of their room charge, like they do in America, but a lot of them offer kitchenettes, so we were able to make some coffee and have something to eat in our apartment before setting off for Albany. It is a fairly long, but fairly easy, drive of about 4.5 hours to Albany with straight roads and little traffic. The scenery was fairly interesting though same-ish and for the first couple of hours a lot greener than I expected. The bush cleared after a couple of hundred kilometres to become farmland, with very little to break up the journey. The few names of towns that I saw on the map turned out to be literally just a filling station with a diner, and in a few cases long shut down – I have to be honest and say I didn’t expect so little of interest on the route! Towns are even smaller and further apart than in the Karoo! At Williams we made a quick pit stop for a cup of coffee and a pie (for me) at The Williams Woolshed before carrying on again.
The trip was fairly boring and the scenery didn’t change too much after Williams, until we got to Albany, which is quite a big, spread out town. With not much in it! Lots of large shopping malls and car dealerships but not much in the way of bars and restaurants – though it has to be said we arrived on a Sunday afternoon so that may be why everything seemed to dead. We found the hotel and set out again straight away as there was quite a lot we wanted to have a look at around Albany. The weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was starting to get very windy and gusty, but we pushed on, starting at Middleton Beach which is ok as a beach I suppose, but the highlight was some odd grey and pink birds that Brian immediately dubbed ‘Flamigeons’.
We took the scenic Marina Drive back to Albany, and from there carried on towards Frenchman Bay, which was very pretty, and then making our way around all the other beaches and lookouts on the peninsula. It was all very scenic but bloody windy and we didn’t hang around for too long at any specific sight. The Blowholes were a bit of a disappointment though the Natural Bridge and The Gap were quite good. I found the wildflowers fascinating as some are so similar to what we see in South Africa, whereas others are completely different. We got back to the hotel around 17:00 and had a quick catch up on emails and news before heading out looking for something to eat and drink.
We found Six Degrees just round the corner from our hotel where they had some live music on and decided to eat there as the rest of town looked pretty dead when we drove through. Brian had a burger, which despite his best endeavours, came with mayonnaise and BBQ sauce, which wasn’t great at all! I had a beef burrito which also wasn’t particularly nice, but we were both hungry and the beer and wine was good so it was all ok in the end. Just as well we stuck around as 2Maia took to the stage sometime after we got there and they were a really good band, with great musicians, doing a selection of covers and originals. They also seemed to have their whole extended families in and everyone had a great time dancing around and enjoying the band. Albany was an interesting experience and throughout the evening a lot of different and varied characters came into the bar (LOTS of tattoos and interesting hairstyles spotted). It would have been interesting to see if the town will be much different on a Friday or Saturday night, but of course we don’t have time to stick around and find out!