On the traditional lands of the Minang Noongar and Wagyl Kaip peoples, Albany is the oldest European settlement in the state; it was settled in 1826, shortly before Perth. Albany is now the bustling commercial centre of the southern region, and is a mixed bag comprising a stately and genteel decaying colonial quarter, a waterfront in the midst of sophisticated redevelopment and a hectic sprawl of malls and fast-food joints. Less ambivalent is its spectacular coastline, from Torndirrup National Park's surf-pummelled cliffs to Middleton Beach's white sands and the calm waters of King George Sound.
The town is in an area that's seen the violence of weather and whaling. Whales are still a part of the Albany experience, but these days are hunted with a camera lens.
The Bibbulmun Track ends (or starts) here, just outside the visitor centre.