The spontaneous road trip to Bluff Knoll inspired a roadtrip to Albany. Two weeks later I was heading back down Albany Hwy for the weekend listening to John Butler – The Tin Shed Tales. With track 11 blaring and the never ending open road in front – what more could you want?
On the way we stopped at the Ballister bakery to pick up sourdough bread and that’s where I met this funny creature. He had so much character!
After a cruisy drive, we arrived at Lilacs Waterfront Villas & Cottages. It’s a beautiful clean cottage overlooking Princess Royal Harbour. You can walk out the back door and see the lake from your veranda. There’s a playground, basketball court and open grassed area which is perfect for families. Wasting no time I unpacked a few things and headed out to the local Fish & Chips shop. The potato scallops were to die for – just saying.
The next morning I got up while still dark out and with a coffee in one hand, camera in the other, I walked down to the lake to capture the sunrise. It was a cloudy dark morning and very quiet. The sky was a beautiful navy blue with light purples. After a stroll along the lakeside, I sat out on the veranda with a home cooked breakfast of good ol’ baked beans on toast.
And then we ventured.
It was a freezing cold, dark and rainy. As I walked towards the lookout, I saw the ocean crashing against the hillside. I fell in love from the minute I saw it and I realised how much I’ve missed the ocean. Last summer I didn’t get to spend much time at the beach as I was too busy flicking off flies in the bushland. The turquoise was truly inviting.
The Gap lookout is a fairly new addition and it hangs ever so slightly off the edge of a cliff. When you look down, you’re standing over the ocean. I felt nauseous straight away! The sound of the waves crashing up against the rock was so loud, you could feel it in your chest. Yep. I was that woman holding onto the side for dear life, slowly etching towards the end to have a look. It didn’t help that they were doing maintenance on the day.
Not too far from the lookout is the Natural Bridge and this was my favourite view. It spoke volumes of the grand vastness of the ocean. There’s a little island out in the distance and while we were on the bridge, a thick cloud of fog came rolling in at super speeds and completely covered the island! As it started to rain, it was time to leave and check out the Historic Whale Station and The Blow Holes. All the sites are in the same area so you can drive to them in no time.
Historic Whale Station
The Blow Holes
It’s an 800metre walk from the carpark and you feel like you’re walking on the edge of the earth. The ocean was fierce and unforgiving. The BlowHoles can be dangerous and there have been drownings (just something to be mindful of). The blowholes were fun to watch but I was eager to climb the rocks and soak in the views from up high. Further up you can watch the waves crashing against the hillside and to your left, gaze out into the open ocean.
Albany Town Centre
We checked out a few local shops and had lunch at the pub. One store in particular I was totally frothing over.
Store photos by Electic Ladyland
As soon as I walked into Eclectric Lady Land I was intoxicated with inspiration. When I was a little girl I’d sit on my bedroom floor cutting out magazine photos and re-creating my own editorials in a scrapbook. I really gravitated towards dessert landscapes, vintage, big shades and turquoise stones. My walls were filled with photos and quotes I’d printed, back when we didn’t have phones or social media. I could tell the owner had put a lot of effort and creative energy into bringing this shop to life. One wall was covered in polaroids and on the changeroom doors, the forests you’d imagine in Washington DC.
If books could speak, I swear this one chanted my name. I slowly flicked through the pages and was mesmerised by the artistic and powerful vision of the two designers. The book is called Spell Designs and I don’t know why I’m centuries behind in discovering this brand but it is amazing. I put the book back on the shelf and continued to walk around. Shortly after I left the shop, I felt regret. I turned back and bought the book! It’s one of my favourites to date.
We had lunch at Six Degrees. Sitting on the couches with the gas heater warming the air, the mood was set. I had a vegetarian burger with a pea and bean pattie, sweet potato chips and a sauce I could drink! The bartender was incredibly helpful and the vibe of this place is perfect after a long morning venturing around. We took the relaxed mood back to our villa and made a big cup of hot cocoa. I flicked through my photos from the day and felt myself sinking into the couch. I was tired but we’d planned to go back to the Gap and watch the sunset. And boy am I glad we did!
Fantasy sunsets that are real
With a thermos of hot tea, we drove around Albany checking out the harbour before heading back to Torndirrup. As we were driving towards the Gap I saw a lighthouse in the distance and the biggest rainbow I have ever seen! We pulled over and ran as fast as we could towards the lighthouse. I kind of expected treasure at the end because of all the bold colours shining through. Being a colour junkie, it was definitely a high. I’ve never seen a full rainbow with hot fuschia. The sun was setting and I really wanted to capture the colours from The Gap. So we hurried back to the car and got a move on!
The island that was once lost in the fog made a spectacular appearance.
Remember that little island that disappeared earlier in the day? Well, the fog and rain had cleared. The sunset was like something you’d see in a fantasy movie! Unreal. But real. It was truly mesmerising. With unobstructed views, the open ocean and untainted hillside, the sunset was wonderfully and beautifully different depending on where you stood.
You’d think I was lucky enough with the sunset over the Gap but no, Albany felt like showing off. Venturing back out to the lake the next morning, the sunrise boasted purples and reds. I had to split my time between capturing it and just wanting to take it in.
The weekend trip to Albany was short but filled with powerful and colourful moments. I felt incredibly grateful. What I learned from this trip is – winter road trips are a must. But also, in the words of my father “you have to be in it to win it”. That’s the thing about life – if we wait forever or play it safe, we miss opportunities that fill our lives with so much joy.