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Hiking to the top of Bluff Knoll mountain in the Stirling Ranges near Albany, Western Australia

©John Crux Photography/Getty Images

Albany Western Australia

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.

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