409km (256 miles) SE of Perth
First settled in 1826, Albany (pop. 25,000) is the largest town and port along the south coast. It's set among wooded granite hills on the shores of an enormous double-bay natural harbor. The outer portion is the broad King George Sound, while the inner part is Princess Royal Harbour. Albany has several strong links to Australia's Anzac story, and the first great Anzac Convoy assembled here.
History of a different sort can be found on the opposite side of the Sound, on the site of Australia's last whaling station at Cheynes Beach, now converted to the Whale World Museum. The whaling only stopped in 1978, and the whales have since become a tourist attraction, with increasing numbers cruising past and into King George Sound.
Albany is still a quietly bustling and attractive town, with many buildings reflecting its early days. It's the centre of a rich agricultural region, historically important for sheep and wheat but now with numerous vineyards producing good wines. The local national parks are ablaze with wildflowers every spring, with WA's only "mountain" range, the Stirlings, 80km (50 miles) north of town.
Albany's heritage and business activities are based along York Street, lined with many of the town's cafes and restaurants.