THE GREAT SOUTHERN REGION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Centred around Albany on the magnificent south coast the Great Southern area offers a little of
everything Western Australia has to offer. Magnificent coastline with safe beaches and surf breaks,
towering coastal cliffs, karri forests, national parks and nature reserves, remote arid regions and
stark rock outcrops. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
The area has a productive agricultural base with cereal crops and livestock being the most
important. Along the coast, fishing and aquaculture contribute to the economy.
In the 1600s Dutch explorers investigated Australia's western and northern coastlines sailing from Dutch East Indonesia
in their quest for spices and other tradable commodities. In the early 1800s it was the French who came, sailing along the coast
and naming many of the features of Western Australia.
Albany was originally settled in 1826 as a military outpost to thwart the designs of the French who were
active in the area and threatening to claim much of the coastline. Its natural deepwater port was for many
years the only one in Western Australia until Fremantle was established. It is the oldest settlement in
Western Australia and was the last stop for troopships departing Australia during the First World War.
The Fitzgerald River National Park
The Fitzgerald River National Park is 419 kilometres south-east of Perth, near Ravensthorpe
and Jerramungup. It includes the Barren Mountains and Eyre Range and the Fitzgerald River and has some 40,000 visitors annually.
There are 62 plant species unique to the park and Southern Right Whales visit the coast on their winter
migration. (May to September).
The park is accessed via Bremer Bay, or Hopetoun but the central area of the park is only accessible
by 4WD vehicle or on foot.