Albany might be Western Australia's oldest settlement, but there's nothing staid about the township. Just make sure you pronounce it correctly -- residents say Al-bany (as in Al Pacino), not Awl-bany.
Located approximately 400 kilometres (250 miles) southeast of Perth on the state's southern coast, Albany sits at the northern edge of Princess Royal Harbour, part of the much bigger King George Sound. The main drag, York Street, runs toward the harbour, making for picturesque views as you explore the town.
The surrounding coastal scenery is dramatic, with rugged rocky shores, sweeping white beaches and national park headlands, so if you miss it on arrival, make sure to catch it as your ship departs. Ataturk Entrance to Princess Royal Harbour is very narrow, and locals line the northern foreshore to observe cruise ships closely passing by.
Albany was the first European settlement in Western Australia (WA), founded in December 1826, in part to beat the French colonising the area. Consequently, there are many historic buildings in town, which became a reprovisioning port for ships travelling between England and Australia and later a base for the area's whaling industry. With a population of about 34,000, it is now a tourist destination and service centre for the surrounding agriculture, timber and fishing industries.
Consequently, fresh produce abounds, including seafood, fruits, cheeses and bush foods, many produced organically. Connoisseurs will enjoy sampling the region's award-winning wines or visiting a brewery and distillery.
The area is famous, or infamous, for its whaling industry. The Historic Whaling Station pays tribute to these beautiful creatures while depicting the gruesome trade in its heyday. The National Anzac Centre, opened in 2014, is Australia's foremost museum honouring the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) of World War I. Poignantly, the engaging, interactive museum overlooks Ataturk Entrance through which more than 41,000 Australian and New Zealand troops departed for the Great War, many never to return.