Established in 1826, Albany is the oldest European town in Western Australia. Before it was occupied by European settlers, the area was inhabited by Aboriginal people and there is much evidence of their historic presence, especially around Oyster Harbour. Thanks to it’s excellent harbour, Albany was a thriving whaling town up to the 1970’s, and when steamships started travelling between the UK and Australia, it also was coaling station.
Evidence of it’s historical past are the fine colonial buildings still preserved. Many Victorian shopfronts can be found on Stirling Terrace. The Old Gaol on Lower Sterling Terrace is now a folk museum, and the admission includes a visit to the Patrick Taylor Cottage on Duke Street, the oldest dwelling in Western Australia. Opposite the Old Gaole is the Albany Residency Museum, exhibiting seafaring objects, flora and fauna, and Aboriginal artifacts. The Princess Royal Fortress (1893) on Mount Adelaide with its restored buildings, gun emplacements and fine views is also worth a visit.
You can get some great views of the town and the coast from Mount Clarence and Mount Melville. The coast near Albany has some incredibly rugged and spectacular scenery. South of town, off Frenchman Bay Road, you can see the Gap and Natural Bridge rock formations, the Blowholes, and many other impressive formations. You can also take whale-watching tours from July to September, or go diving, snorkelling, fishing, etc. The coastline here can be dangerous though, so ask around for the safest spots to go swimming or surfing.