We are very grateful to the lovely volunteer at Albany Visitor Centre who urged us to “stay another day” and visit Whaleworld and the rugged Torndirrup National Park.
We drove out to east of Albany to Frenchmans Bay to Australia’s last operating whaling station: Cheynes Beach Whaling Company.
It is so close to the number 1, Tourism Australia’s Best Aussie Beach for 2022 – Misery Beach. The beach may well have been named for the butchered whales – as their remains of offal and teeth stained its shores. Make sure you see its turquoise waters and granite cliff when you’re there!
They literally down tools at the whaling station in 1978, after a century of harvesting whales – so all the equipment and real workshops are still there!
There is a free tour with your entry. Take it. It was excellent: the sealer’s hut, you saw where whales were brought up and weighed.
We were told no one would insure the workers, it was such a dangerous job and clothes had a stink, you could not get out!
We saw the factory where they would boil it all up and the harbour they’d pump out to the ships. The processing factory had three huge cookers to rend down the oil. We stood on the flensing deck, where the blubber is stripped from each whale.
Not just our kids, but we marvelled at the reconstructed skeletons of whales, even a 22 metre pygmy blue whale.
Very family friendly, there is a 3D movie and even tail swings and a slide inside a whale.
Cheynes IV is Australia’s only accessible whalechaser. We took an audio tour, so our tribe explored at their own pace, learning about life on a whaler.
The Australian Wildlife Park was next door. It was pretty cool to pat a koala.
We lunched on our very crusty baguette (from Albany’s Boat Shed Markets) at a picnic table with glorious views over King George Sound for our lunch stop. And the sun came out!
If you are here June to October, bring your binoculars – you may spot a Southern Right or Humpback whale. And there is a wildflower walk, August until October.
It truly was an excellent family outing, and important to remember this industry was part of our history. It is wonderful to know that the whales are protected now, and swimming in the sound around us. We all learnt so much, and it was suitable for all ages.
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