Located 409 km south of Perth, Albany is less than an hour by plane and just over four hours by car from the state capital.It is the hub of a 40,000 square kilometer region known as the Great Southern, home to 52,000 people. Albany's temperate climate is characterised by soft winters and mild, sparkling summers. Winter temperatures in July range from 7C to 16C on average. January's midsummer temperatures average a comfortable 14C to 25C. Bounded by the Southern Ocean, the picturesque Stirling Range and the Great Southern hinterland, Albany embraces clean, green principles, from wind-generated energy to sustainable and organic agriculture, to ensure its continuing viability as a liveable, progressive centre. A landscape that is never dull, a history that is alive and a future that is full of promise.
For thousands of years, Noongar Aboriginal people of the Mineng group lived by Albany's sheltered waters. Much of their story is lost in time but Noongar people play an increasingly prominent role in Albany today.
Albany's safe anchorages attracted many sailing ships in the early years of exploration of the Australian coastline. European settlement began on December 26, 1826, and Albany grew into a thriving port during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Albany is rich in heritage with many stories including:
- Western Australia's first European settlement in 1826 (three years before Perth).
- Whaling in the 19th century and much of the 20th century, and a subsequent transformation into a whale watching haven with the lauded Whale World visitor attraction.
- A profound and continuing connection with the Anzac legend. Albany was the place of assembly and departure for some 30,000 troops serving in the Great War and Gallipoli in 1914. It was the place of Australia's first official dawn service.
- A rich maritime heritage including voyages of discovery by French and English explorers.
Albany's town centre is characterised by many interesting local shops, gift stores, boutiques and national chains, cafes, restaurants and bars and all major banks. Supermarkets include Woolworths, Coles and IGA Stores.
Albany Town Hall Theatre plays host to many bands, musicians and theatrical performances. The Vancouver Arts Centre contains a gallery, studio and workshop complex operated by the City of Albany to promote the arts of the region. It is housed in a magnificent historic building, which was first built in 1887 as the Albany Cottage Hospital. A visit to the Sandalwood Factory in Albany offers visitors the chance to enjoy the ultimate in relaxation after a free tour of Australia's only Sandalwood extraction plant.
Loves bus service travels Monday to Saturday between the City centre and some of the outlying suburbs including Middleton Beach, Emu Point, Lockyer and Spencer Park. Timetables are available from the Albany Visitor Centre. Two taxi companies operate in Albany and tour buses leave from the Albany Visitor Centre for tours to Whale world and the region's wineries.
For more information on Albany, check out www.albanytourist.com.au and www.albanygateway.com.au.