Following a very scenic tourist route, we drove to the top of Mount Clarence for a look at the Princess Royal Fort and the ANZAC monument. The Fort was opened in 1893 as the first federal defense of Australia. It's an open air museum today.
The monument and memorial park at the top of Mount Clarence was closed for upgrades and repairs in preparation for ANZAC Day celebrations. We opted to sneak a peek anyway and though we were eventually, but most politely, shooed away, we did get to the top for terrific view of the bays below. More about ANZAC Day later.
On the opposite side of Albany, across the Princess Royal Harbour is Torndirrup National Park, a coastal area with outstanding views and lots to see. We headed first to the Albany Wind Farm.
Owned and operated by Verve Energy, these 18 turbines are the largest in the southern hemisphere. Relying on the strong southerly winds, these guys can generate up to 80% of the city's electricity usage.
At top speed. the blades appear to be moving very slowly - one revolution every three seconds - however the end of the blades are traveling at 175mph/ 290kmh. We were surprised by the walkways and trails in and around the area and how close we were able to get to turbines themselves.
The Cheyne's Beach Whaling Company, a whaling station, operated successfully for 26 years. A century of whaling came to an end in Australia when all whaling operations ceased in 1978. The facility has now been converted into a museum of whaling, Whale World, and features one of the 'Cheynes' whale chasers that were used for whaling in Albany. The station was the last operating whaling station in the Southern Hemisphere.
The natural features of this peninsula are breathtakingly beautiful and fall within the boundaries of the Torndirrup National Park. It's an area with white, expansive sand beaches interspersed with rugged granite rocks and outcrops. The Natural Bridge is a granite formation caused by the gradual wearing away of the rock by the Great Southern Ocean. Walkways and paths lead visitors from the car park to outstanding views.
The Gap, right next door to the Natural Bridge, is an impressive, rugged channel carved by the waves of the Southern Ocean crashing against the granite coastline forming a spectacular sheer drop of nearly 25m/80'. While we were there, there wasn't much of an ocean swell, but we're told during storms, the waves crashing into the Gap can spray the cars in the parking lot ~60m/200' away.
Standing sentry over Cable Beach, the Cave Point Light was very impressive, but not open to visitors.
We stopped by the impressive Princess Royal Yacht Club on the edge of the harbour, but it was closed early in the week.
After an afternoon of sightseeing and hiking, we visited Don and Judith at their home for dinner. The view of Albany and the Princess Royal Harbor from their deck was outstanding as the sun began to set.
We've been moderately good about mixing work with pleasure. Well, not really … okay, we've been quite bad about it. I'm fessing up. I've been a terrible influence on David and we've been enjoying ourselves way too much. This needs to stop … but not quite yet.