Albany – The Great Southern

20180110_100940Albany is a port city in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, 418kms SE of WA’s capital city Perth.
It is the oldest colonial settlement in Western Australia and is renowned for it’s rugged coastlines, natural wonders and rural, convict and indigenous heritage.

Albany is a great escape from what can be harsh summer temperatures in Perth. Rarely rising above an average of 25°C it is the perfect setting for bushwalks and sightseeing experiences, which the region has in abundance.
Princess Royal Harbour, which is a part of King George Sound, is the gateway to the Southern Ocean and is often used as a haven for whales and their calves to escape the challenge of open water. Between May and October these magnificent creatures can take solace in a place which once hunted them commercially but has since decided to embrace their wonder. Indeed the Historic Whaling Station at Frenchman Bay has been converted into a Discovery Centre for visitors to experience why these animals where once hunted and, equally, why the decision needed to be made to stop. The Station is also bordered by the Australian Wildlife Park which houses some iconic Australian animals, including Koalas, Kangaroos, Quolls and Possums. Some who are more than happy to pose for a picture.DSC_2107

Albany has undergone a mass transformation in recent years from a lovely, quiet, rural holiday town to a bustling community bursting to showcase it’s history and it’s place in the region. The Princess Royal Fortress Military Museum is world class and includes the award winning National Anzac Centre which ‘uses multimedia, interactive technology and historical artifacts to create a deeply personal connection with the past, as well as pay tribute to those who served*’ in Australia’s war time endeavours. Funded in part by the community and both State and Federal Governments, the Fort on Mt Adelaide is truly something to experience.

The natural coastline that surrounds Albany can certainly be wild but is also undoubtedly extraordinarily beautiful. The Gap, Natural Bridge and Blowholes are natural rock formation wonders of the region which have been enhanced by recently upgraded lookouts and infrastructure which enhances the experience and keeps tourists safe. If pristine white beaches are more your speed the region has a selection of some of the best in the world. Middleton Beach is just a stones throw from the city centre but you are more than adequately catered for if a secluded beach is more your thing such as out at Two People Bay or Little Beach. Walking trails such as the famous Bibbulmun Track are numerous and if you’re feeling more adventurous the climb to the top of Bluff Knoll, the highest peak of the Stirling Ranges, has been known to great people with a rare snow fall. There are also impressive man-made sights to take in, such as the impressive coastal wind farm which uses the strong ocean winds, which can generate up to 80% of Albany’s energy requirements.20180110_120418

 

 

Local produce and artworks are showcased at the Albany Farmers markets but can also be perused at farm gate or cellar door. Restaurants are numerous and cater for an array of tastes and budgets. Stand alone events are also common so it’s recommended you check out calendars and tourism sites from the region in order to see what may coincide with your trip. I have barely scratched the surface of what Albany and it’s surrounds have to offer. There are many more museums, food outlets and adventures I could list, the Old Gaol, the Brig Amity, the Marron Farm, to name but a few more but your adventure in Albany and the Great Southern is bounded only by your own preferences and imagination.

 

* http://www.nationalanzaccentre.com.au/visit/national-anzac-centre

 

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