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Albany, facing King George Sound, is considered the main port for diving and other trips in the Great Southern region.
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Albany is the oldest European settlement in Western Australia, a picturesque town on the Great Southern region first inhabited in 1791 by Captain George Vancouver. Situated between the hills of Mount Melville, Mount Adelaide and Mount Clarence, this pretty town faces the beauty of King George III Sound. Albany is often used as a base to explore this part of the Great Southern region. In town you can admire the old St. Johns Anglican Church, stroll around York Street or take a look at the beautiful Princess Royal Harbour. A good example of eco-power is the Western Power Wind Farm which supplies 75% of all electricity used in Albany.
Its hinterland offers walking tracks such as the Bald Head Walking Track and the Bibbulmun Track which runs all the way from Albany to Perth. You can also visit the wineries (Goundrey Estate) and scenic coastal drives up to Denmark. The Walpole-Nornalup National Park is known for its huge Karri & Tingle trees exceeding heights of 40 meters. You can take a look at the in flowers covered Porongurup & Stirling Range National Park with spectacular peaks, easily reached after an hour drive north. Well known surfing beaches include Jimmy Newhill's Harbour and Salmon Holes, while swimmers might have more fun on the sandy beaches of Middleton Beach, Two People Bay, Muttonbird Island and Frenchman's Bay. Other attractions are Mount Barker, the Old Farm on Strawberry Hill, the Princess Royal Fortress, the Sandalwood Factory and Emu Point. There are tens of whaling view points, rugged cliffs, many pristine bays and enough boat and river cruises available not to miss this natural beauty.
From July to October, Albany is the main port for Southern Right Whales. Ironically, the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company was the economic drive that made Albany popular, killing more than 500 whales each season. Nowadays, a visit to Whaleworld Museum with the restored whaling vessel Cheynes IV is a must. There are many popular dive sites in the bays near Albany, Michaelmas Island and Breaksea Island. Some of the best are probably the 133m long guided missile destroyer the HMAS Perth, which is a favorite for wreck penetration divers. The Cheynes III is another nice shipwreck which was scuttled in 1982, making it the first artificial dive site in the southern hemisphere. Besides these phenomenal wreck dives you can find granite rocks, superb black coral forests and a wide variety of large and small marine life. Another highlight might be a dive with the extremely curious Australian Sea Lions which are often met while scuba diving in Albany.
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