|Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
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7-12 May 2006 - Albany
We spent a week in Albany on the south coast of Western Australia. The Albany area has higher rainfall (934 mm long term annual average but declining in the last 30 years) than areas inland and further east along the coast. It's too wet for wheat but provides good pasture for sheep and cattle, we haven't seen such extensive green pasture for a long time. There is a large, and increasing, number of tree farms growing Tasmanian blue gums to provide wood chips for export. Even on the edge of the city we drove past rows of tall, straight blue gums at least 30 metres high and looking very healthy.
Population is 30,000 making Albany a substantial size. The main shopping street is in a valley between two mountains so most housing growth is inland to the north. Whaling used to be carried on from a whaling station across the bay from the city; the whaling station is now an excellent museum of the whaling industry but one which glosses over the fact that the whaling industry in Australia ended because it had over-exploited the stock and the whales they hunted were rapidly approaching extinction. But the wheel has turned and the slowly restoring population has become a tourist attraction as whales migrate past southern Australia between Antarctica and the Australian north coast; unfortunately not at this time of year.
The cliffs and boulders of the Albany coast have been developed as scenic tourist attractions and there is a succession of car parks and scenic lookouts along the coast. The scenery includes a wind farm, completed in 2001, on the coast and containing a dozen very large wind turbines. Further inland we visited an emu oil and sandalwood business a few kilometres outside Albany.
Albany is primarily a port and service centre. Outbound tonnage through the port is dominated by wheat from the inland wheatbelt with woodchips providing a fairly large (and growing) tonnage. Imports are a fraction of the total tonnage and are mainly fertiliser products. The port area is dominated by a forest of tall, white and shining grain silos and a couple of large heaps of wood chips waiting to be loaded in a bulk carrier ship.
The weather varied between bright, sunny, but cool days and cloudy rainy days. Nights were generally cool to cold (8 to 10 degrees outside the A-liner). This was definitely autumnal weather and we had decided when we were planning this trip that we would leave southern Western Australia when the weather turned. This has happened so we will be heading north from Albany leaving the Margaret River area for another visit.
|Central Albany from Mount Melville Lookout. York Street runs across the middle of the picture, newer shopping centres and supermarkets are on the left.|
|The Bibbulmun Track between Perth and Albany runs along this beach west of Hanging Rock. The walker
on the beach has a large pack and is using two walking sticks. |
|Albany wind farm.|
|Grain handling terminal in the Port of Albany|