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Published: March 13th 2014
Leaving Wave rock and Hyden we head for Albany a town steeped in history with a great sense of pride as being the departure point for 30,000 troops who left Albany for Gallipoli in 1914.Albany's special place in the remembrance of ww1 is recognised the world over.Each year thousands of people gather for the dawn service at the top of Mt Clarence looking over George Sound to commentate the Diggers who perished in the great war.A peace park recently completed on the foreshore is designed to recognize the significance of the city's role in the Anzac legend.There are several other sites around the city which add to the history of the Diggers memory and the contribution they made in WW1. Albany is considered to be Australia's ANZAC Capital.
Albany also has a rich Indigenous culture and history dating back some 18,000 years with many significant cultural sites around the city and surrounding countryside.
The first European settlers to arrive in Albany came by ship from Sydney on the Brig Amity on 9/11/1826 of which a replica now stands for visitors to explore and try to understand the hardship endured by these early settlers as they set out for new
weather vane in the middle of the main street
beginnings.This replica is situated in an complex housing several museums and art/craft shops making this a must see attraction.
A whaling station was once a thriving business here, now turned into a major attraction which gives visitors an insight into the past whaling industry,with the current emphasis on whale preservation and whale watching during the whale migration past the coast.
The main street York st. is a living history itself with many of the original buildings still in daily use which gives a glimpse of the past along with the present and is well worth a leisurely walk.
A short stroll through the caravan park brings you to the beach and numerous walking tracks.Rocks from which fishing could be attempted and in my case again unsuccessfully together with some beautiful views of the surrounding islands.The port can also be seen from this location were large ore and grain ships can be seen loading up whilst others wait their turn anchored off the headland.
Albany is surrounded by numerous national parks,all with their own unique attractions.We chose to visit Porongurup National Park and in particular Castle rock Trail and Balancing Rock,the walk is only 4ks long but
uphill all the way walking through jarra and marri forests to reach the intriguing Balancing Rock, a rock balancing on top of another rock as if placed there in some art form.To reach the summit of Castle rock requires scrambling over rocks and climbing a ladder to reach a semi circular viewing platform giving a great view of the surrounding countryside.Not for the fainthearted or those with no head for heights .Jackie and Ron one of our traveling friends made the effort and brought back pictures for us less adventurous.The day was rounded off with a light lunch at a local cafe set at the foot of the mountain range.
Princess Royal harbour is protected by three connected peninsulas which give Albany's deep water harbour it's safe anchorage. Torndirrup,Vancouver and Flinders embrace this major inlet into Albany and also form part of the local national parks.Torndirrup National park boasts some spectacular scenery and natural phenomena including blowholes and a natural bridge jutting out into the ocean together with a feature called the gap made of granite and formed by the force of wind and water it has a 25mt drop to the the ocean.The whole park is a beautiful
place to wander through taking in the rugged coastline and many striking beaches.Rock fishing is popular along this coastline,however rock fishing can be very hazardous and in one particular location, The Salmon Holes, anchor points are mounted into the rock for anglers to tie themselves to.
Just a couple of kms out of town lies a Whisky distillery established 10 years ago, functioning as a cellar door and cafe offering guided tours of the distillery and whisky tasting.Not what you would expect in this part of the world.In spite of only being in whisky production for 10 years they have won many international awards for their single malts.No guided tours available on the day we visited but for our effort of going there I was offered the opportunity to taste two of their most awarded whisky's and very nice they were to.
Our time at this caravan park was limited because of being booked out for an upcoming sporting event and although we have seen many of Albany's treasures we certainly haven't seen them all, so once again a reason to visit next time.Our next port of call is Denmark,no we are not leaving the country just a
mere 50kls down the road.
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