Albany is a port city and the oldest European settlement in Western Australia. It is located in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia, some 390 kilometres south-east of Perth, the state capital and is lovingly known as the rainbow coast. It used to be a major whaling station and coal shipping port. The city centre is located at the northern edge of Princess Royal Harbour, which is a part of King George Sound. The Central Business District is bounded by Mount Clarence to the east and Mount Melville to the west. When driving along Frenchman’s Bay Road and looking across the water Albany looks as though it is nestled between two large breasts.
Albany has a fascinating and rich history which has been preserved and with British and French connections. There are numerous historic buildings from St John’s Anglican Church in York Street, The Residency Museum to the Forts on Mount Clarence. Mount Clarence is certainly worth a visit with the War Memorial, The Forts and at the top the awesome coastal scenery.
If history is not your thing then Albany has numerous beaches and a very rugged coastline. Follow Frenchman Bay Road and see ‘The Gap’ ‘The Natural Bridge’ ‘The Blow Holes’ ‘The Windmills’ and finish at the Whaling station. These are all part of Torndirrup National Park and offer great walks and hikes. For the very fit and those wanting to be challenged there is a strenuous 16 km walk to Bald Head. The trail takes you over Isthmus Hill and Limestone Head, finishing at Bald Head, the most eastern point of the TorndirrupPark. It offers great coastal views and is a great place for spotting whales. We have not quite made the entire return trip, but I can assure you those that have, sensed enormous achievement and triumph.
Wildflowers are one of the best kept secrets of Albany. Of the 10,000 plant species, which naturally occur in Western Australia, over half are found throughout Albany and its surrounds. They are easily discovered on walking trails or when wandering around the region. The main wildflower season extends from August until December, with the peak flowering period usually between September and November. Our wildflower season draws visitors from all over the world. Bring your camera and wander over the sand dunes and against the most awesome and unique backdrop of the ocean, forest canopy in the Stirling Ranges and Porongurup’s shoot some of the most stunning and beautiful wildflowers in Western Australia. During the wildflower season the Mt Martin Regional Botanic Park hike which takes you from Ledge Beach over the hill to the other side of the Emu Point Channel is spectacular. It is not a difficult walk and the views are breathtaking.
From late May to beginning of October the whales travel through our waters. They can often be seen from the local beaches as they put on breathtaking displays. Whale watching tours can be booked. If you don’t see a whale the next tour is free until you spot a whale.
We have read a lot about being a tourist in your own town, so we have decided to visit one ‘new’ or familiar place every couple of weeks. We are taking time out to appreciate the town we live in and all it has to offer. We take our camera everywhere we go, eat out and talk to new people all without having to leave our beautiful coastal town.