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The Great Southern Wine Region

Aug 17, 2007
Albany city centre is located between the hills of Mount Melville and Mount Clarence which look down into Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound. Albany, dubbed the Heart of the Great Southern, is a bustling town on the rugged southern coast of Western Australia, 409km from Perth. The site of the first European settlement in Western Australia, Albany is steeped in early Western Australian maritime history.

The area surrounding Albany is rich in natural beauty. The majestic Stirling Ranges and the Mount Barker wine region to the north, the dramatic Southern Ocean coastline and the many gorgeous small rural towns such as Denmark, all go to make the area a treat to explore. Albany is set on the beautiful King George sound and Princess Royal Harbour. It is the oldest town on the west coast. Whale and dolphin spotting from the coastal cliffs is an exhilarating pastime.

The main industries of Albany is tourism, agriculture and fishing, although before the 1950s whaling was one of the major sources of income and employment for the population. The Whaling Station, which closed operations in 1979, has now been converted to a museum of whaling, and features one of the Cheynes whale chasers what were used for whaling in Albany. The station was the last operating whaling station in the Southern Hemisphere at the time of closing.

The Great Southern Wine region played its part in establishing Western Australias reputation in production of fine wines.

There are many beaches surrounding Albany, with Middleton Beach being the closest to the town centre.

The historic post office was opened in 1870. It is recognised as the oldest Post Office in Western Australia. When it was first built it housed a number of colonial authorities including the Mail Room the District Customs, the Customs Office and the Bond Store. In 1985 it underwent substantial alterations and the turrets and towers were added. The 25m shingled clock tower can be viewed from all round.

The best time to experience the blowholes is on rough days with a large swell when they really do blow. Many visitors have drowned by being swept out to sea by an unexpected and unseen king wave. Do not turn your back on the sea.

Southeast of town, Frenchman Bay Road curls round Princess Royal Harbour to Whales World, the site of Australias last whaling station until operations finally ceased in 1978. The informative tours begin with a gory video and move on to the crude and sickening whale dismembering machinery and towering Cheyne IV whale chaser, before an upbeat, eco ending in the skeleton shed.
About the Author
Douglas Scott writes for The Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Villa Rental Site in Australia
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