The oldest city in Western Australia, founded in 1828, Albany lost out to Perth to be the state capital and has struggled to recover since. It has a population of 35,000, compared to Perth’s 2 million. It’s a pleasant place though, home to a few sights including views from the Mount Clarence Lookout, and the nicely presented Museum Of Western Australia which has a replica of Amity, the first European ship to visit the area.
From Albany it’s a 45 minute drive to Porongurup National Park. This is known for it’s unusually shaped granite boulders, which can be accessed by the relatively nimble via the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock walk. After a steady walk up through the bush you come across this impressively free standing boulder.
Beyond which are two lookouts. One is an easy walk round the corner, the other requires the use of some conveniently positioned hand / foot holds to clamber up, followed by a 7m enclosed ladder, before reaching a walkway that juts out from the boulders with views of the area.
In the other direction from Albany lies the adjoining Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, home to a rather pleasant sheltered bay and more giant boulders.
The Gap and Natural Bridge nearby were rather self explanatory natural features, with particularly impressive wave spray in The Gap.
For contrast inland near Walpole are a pair of giant tingle trees, one intact, and one damaged by fire.
The Bibbulmun Track runs through this area. It’s a 1,000km hiking track between Perth and Albany which can be done in sections, or end to end over 8-10 weeks. I walked 2.5km of it as a taster, surrounded by many huge tingle and karri trees.