ALBANY (Western Australia)
At 400 kilometres southeast of Perth, Albany is often overlooked in favour of the bigger city. This is of course a mistake as Albany and its gorgeous surrounding region have much to offer.
The city is the oldest settlement in Western Australia, beating Perth and Freemantle by over two years (Albany was founded in late 1826, the others in June 1829). At the time of its foundation, the city was used as a military outpost as part of a plan to a prevent invasion, particularly by the French who had taken a shine to the region. With its excellent – and unusually deep – harbour, Albany was seen as the jewel of Western Australia and there are reminders of the city’s colonial past all over the city.
The arrival of Europeans in the region led to Albany becoming a major player in the whaling industry. This only ceased in 1978 and the Historic Whaling Station, a museum dedicated to the city’s industrious past, now honours the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of a business that once supported an entire community. If that does not sound like your cup of tea, then do not miss a trip to the Princess Royal Fortress Military Museum for a glimpse of Albany’s ANZAC History at the excellent National ANZAC Centre.
However, like much of Australia’s west coast, the real beauty of Albany lies in Mother Nature. Walk to the top of Mount Clarence and view the magnificent Kinge George Sound from above or take a stroll along the coastal path and enjoy vistas of some of Australia's most rugged and spectacular scenery.