Alternating sheltered bays and rounded granite headlands make up the southern coast, or “Great Southern”, around Albany. The temperate climate and changeable weather here create a rural Antipodean–English idyll unknown in the rest of WA. Site of the region’s original settlement, nowadays it’s an appealing area of wineries, art and craft galleries and fine restaurants. Albany, 410km from Perth, is an agricultural centre and holiday destination, while an hour’s drive north lie the burgeoning winemaking region of Mount Barker, the ancient granite highlands of the Porongurups and the impressive thousand-metre-high Stirling Ranges. While Perth’s radial bus services to the main centres run on a fairly frequent basis, moving around by bus requires considerable planning to avoid inconvenient delays. Consequently the area is best explored by car.

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