Our World Perth to Albany by Coach Guide: so much to see

Photo of Mogens Johansen

Travelling on the luxury coach to Albany for the West Travel Club Albany Maritime Festival Gala Dinner and weekend this July? There’s plenty to see along the way. Our Coach Guest Guide starts from the Albany Highway junction in Armadale...

About the highway

As the name suggests, Albany Highway links Perth with Albany. It starts at the causeway in Victoria Park and finishes 405km south in Albany. Along the way, it passes through the southern Wheatbelt and the Great Southern region.

The total distance from the Albany Highway junction at Armadale is 381km if you don’t make any detours.

On the road

Only minutes after turning on to Albany Highway in Armadale, You’re up on the Darling Scarp driving through the Jarrahdale State Forest. You have left the city behind, and can breathe a little easier as you drive through the lungs of Perth.

Jarrah trees are unique to WA. They became one of our first major export resources after the first trees were logged in the 1840s. Jarrah’s strength, durability and attractive appearance made it a highly sought after commodity throughout the British Empire.

Mt Cooke 46km from Armadale

Mt Cooke is one of the highest points on the Darling Scarp (582m) and was named after WA’s first government astronomer, William Earnest Cooke. The Bibbulmun Track crosses the Albany Highway in this area, and if you were to take the turn-off to Mt Cooke, you’d find a moderately challenging 9.7km loop trail to the summit. (Maybe think about coming back another day to do that.)

North Bannister 66km from Armadale

To the east after North Bannister there’s an area of dryandra woodland. Dryandra Woodland National Park is the largest remnant of original vegetation in the western Wheatbelt and is home to 24 mammal, 98 bird and 41 reptile species, including WA’s State emblem, the numbat. It is also a great place to view wildflowers during winter and spring. Dryandra Woodland National Park was created in January 2022.

Bannister 78km from Armadale

The Riverside Roadhouse, alongside the highway, was originally the site of the coach house and police station. The small town is named after Thomas Bannister who, in the settler era, discovered the nearby Bannister River which is a tributary of the Hotham River.

Williams 106km from Armadale

The district of Williams was first explored in 1831 by Captain Bannister when he was travelling from Perth to Albany.

Around 1853 the road was upgraded to allow for a reliable mail service between Perth and Albany.

Williams became an important stopping point for changing horses and a rest point for passengers.

The town site was surveyed in 1905 and most of the buildings in the present town site were constructed after that time.

Williams grew into an important centre for the wool, cattle and grains industry and to this day remains as one of the most popular stops for travellers between Perth and Albany.

Arthur River 170km from Armadale

The town originally served as a hub to support pastoralists who had been granted grazing leases in the area in the 1850s. It gradually developed into a thriving little town. Remnants of the original settlement including the tiny post office and St Paul’s Church are interesting and picturesque places to explore.

Kojonup 227km from Armadale

Kojonup is a little over half way.

Every country town worth its salt has a big thing. Kojonup’s is a giant wool wagon loaded with bales of wool. It’s located in a small park on the right hand side at the bottom of the hill as you pass through town heading south. The wagon celebrates the importance of the wool industry to the town which really kicked off around the middle of the 19th century. The early economy of the town was initially dependent on cutting and transporting sandalwood and kangaroo hunting.

Cranbrook 294km from Armadale

Around Cranbrook, you get the first look at the spectacular Stirling Range National Park.

The Stirling Range was formed over millions of years by weathering and erosion and is widely regarded as a biodiversity hotspot of world importance. “The Stirlings” rise up from the surrounding plains. The range has some of WA’s highest peaks, including Bluff Knoll which tops out at 1095m. The Stirling Range has many excellent walks and is famous for its staggering range of wildflowers. More than 1500 species can be found there and many of them are endemic to the area.

Mt Barker 330km from Armadale

You’re now entering the Great Southern Wine Region and while Mt Barker is a very pleasant and interesting town to stop at in its own right, the wineries make this the perfect last stop on the journey to Albany.

Plantagenet Wines is one of the more famous ones and it is located right alongside Albany Highway. The cellar door is open for business daily from 10am to 4.30pm and the cafe is open Friday to Sunday from 11.30am to 3pm. The lovely grassed alfresco area out in front of the winery is a pleasant place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine or a coffee.

Albany 381km from Armadale

Congratulations, you have made it to WA’s oldest European settlement. We hope you had a pleasant and stimulating journey. Enjoy your stay at the Hilton Garden Inn and prepare for a busy weekend with the West Travel Club team.

Fact File

To book tickets or to find out more about the Gala Dinner featuring Stephen Scourfield, Steve Richter and Chef Costa Simatos, go to our events page.