It's amazing how many National Parks are in Australia. No matter where you travel, it seems one finds land set apart for the enjoyment of all. It was no different when we traveled to Albany on the Southern Ocean. Mag decided Albany would be our base of operations.
View of Albany from Mt. Clarence.
Albany was first settled in 1826, two years before Perth. Not only does Western Australia's first white settlement boast one of the best natural harbours in the world, it has within its shire boundaries spectacular coastal scenery, perennial rivers, dense karri forests, rich farmland and the state's most temperate climate.
Albany is 408kms south-east of Perth on a a stretch of coast which looks out to Antarctica, several thousand kilometers to the south.
After securing shelter for the night, we toured the town and then went up to Mount Clarence, a hill overlooking the town and home to Albany's War Memorial where a special dawn service is held every ANZAC Day. According to Magi, Albany was the embarkation point for Australian troops in the First World War and for many of them, their last view of the island continent. The first dawn Anzac service was celebrated on this mount in 1930.
Albany is also the end point of the Bibbulmun Track, a 964km walk trail extending from Kalamunda (in Perth's suburbs) to Albany. It takes the walker through some of the most beautiful areas in the southern part of the state. There are overnight huts for walkers every 20kms. I imagine the Bibbulmun is somewhat like the Appalachian Trail on the east coast of the U.S. Over the last few weeks with our jaunts into the bush, we have stumbled on the Trail at Mandaring Weir, Dwellingup, Kalamunda and Denmark. In Dwellingup last week we saw hikers at the Visitor's Center and in town stocking up on supplies.
In Albany, we gave a pass to visiting the Brig Amity....though we did take some pictures of this tourist attraction. "Amity" is a full scale reproduction of the ship Major Edmond Lockyer sailed when he established the first British settlement in WA. He landed here on Christmas Day in 1836 with 23 convicts and a handful of militia.
We also gave a pass to Albany's Whale World. Though we did not go in to view the exhibits, we did walk around the grounds because Whale World occupies the site of the last operating whaling station in Australia.
Our main reason for coming to Albany was to go to Torndirrup National Park. Leaving town, we followed Frenchman Bay Road, passed Princess Royal Harbour, to a long narrow peninsula. It is here where Australia looks out on the Southern Ocean.
Further down the coast were the "Natural Bridge" and "The Gap".
The Natural Bridge
Photos by Magi and Bob.