WA – Albany

Sunday was another rainy day and we headed south on the highway to Albany. We stopped off at Kojonup to see their small aboriginal center, excellent information center and café. At Cranbrook we took a detour via the Stirling National Park.

The mountains looked moody and dark in the pouring rain and the adventure got even more interesting when the tarmac ended and we found ourselves on a dirt road. Thankfully this only lasted 12km or so before we were back on solid ground and within the hour we were checking into our motel in Albany. Sunday in Albany seemed pretty quiet and we found most of the town closed by 16:30 when we went out for provisions. Luckily our little motel we was well equipped, and we found one supermarket open, so we made a chicken salad before settling onto the comfortable sofa in front of the television for the evening.

On Monday we witnessed a beautiful rainbow from our motel before headed to the ANZAC center in the Albany Heritage Park. This center opened in November 2014 exactly 100 years after 41,000 Australian and New Zealand troops left Albany for the Great War. I think this visitor center could have been a challenge, they have few artefacts and what they do have are not terribly exciting to look at. What they have done however is use the power of technology and personal stories to bring this exhibition to life. Thirty-two men are featured throughout this exhibition and each visitor is given a card which they can place on interactive hotspots to follow the journey taken by your allocated individual. Audio pens allow you to listen to letters written by those experiencing the war. At the end you can find out if the solider you were following survived and if so what happened to him afterwards. Throughout the journey you can look out onto King George Sound and contemplate the old photos showing the ships full of troops and horses leaving Albany.

Next we went to Torndirrup National Park for a tour of the Whale World Museum. Aside from some additional children slides this whaling center has been left pretty much how it was in the days it was operational. The oil storage towers have been converted into movie theaters and gory pictures of whaling line many of the warehouse walls. The highlight for me was the skeleton shed where the true size of these giants is realised and also their relationship to humans.

The Cheynes IV whaler chaser is also featured, it was used to harpoon and drag back the whales.

After a warming bowl of soup we headed back along the peninsula, first via the Jimmy Newells harbor and then the blowholes. From here we continued westwards to Denmark where we had a look around the sleepy town before dinner.

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