My mini-guide on where to stay, what to do and the best beaches to visit in Denmark.
Up until recently, the Great Southern was an area I had left relatively unexplored. The furthest I had ventured south was Walpole and that wasn’t by choice; that was by force on an 11 day Outward Bound camp for school. This time I returned to the area by choice, and explored both Denmark and Esperance with my friends Tiffany and Rachael.
We stopped in at Denmark for a few days before heading on to Esperance, and it was love at first sight. Something about Denmark had me from the moment we hit town. I am not sure if it was the towering trees, the lush green bush and farming fields, the quaint little country stores, or a combination of it all; but I was in love.
And I hadn’t even seen the ocean yet…
After spending just a short few days in Denmark, it has earned itself a spot on my ‘I must go there again’ list. Not because there is still tonnes for me to get around and do down there, but for the exact opposite reason – the town is slow, cruisy and the perfect escape for city folk. Time becomes irrelevant, your swimmers are your religion, and shoes are optional.
If you happen to find yourself in Denmark, or are already considering a visit, below are a few places and things you should definitely get to checking out while you are there…
Where to stay
Sitting along the southern most coast line of Western Australia, the mornings and evenings in Denmark get cold. It is the sort of cold that slaps you in the face and takes your breath away. If I could suggest one thing when selecting accommodation in Denmark, make sure that it has a wood fire. Nothing beats defrosting your toes in front of roaring flames – red wine essential, of course.
There are plenty of gorgeous, cosy Air Bnb listings down Denmark way; but we chose to stay at Parry Beach Breaks, a 15 minute drive out of town in Parryville. We occupied one of the 3 self contained homes on the block, and had a gorgeous view out over the western most end of Williams Bay, all the way up to Greens Pool. Honestly, I could sit out on the verandah and take in that view all day!
As for the rest of the house, we had a large, fully equipped kitchen to cook meals in each night, and a gorgeous living area with roaring wood fire to enjoy our meals and a glass of wine beside (there may have even been some marshmallow toasting happening too). I love staying in self contained homes when I am travelling in produce abundant farming areas like Denmark; especially when you are on a secluded property that is a fair drive from the next restaurant or grocery store.
The best beaches
Where do I even start with this?! The entirety of Williams Bay is just stunning, so you really can’t go wrong with pulling in at any spot along the beach. But for starters…
Greens pool is one of the most famed beaches down Denmark way. Even just the path leading down to the boulder studded turquoise waters is Instagram fodder. Most tourists will stop in at Greens Pool as it is great for snorkelling and for people who are less confident with waves; and it is along the same track as the one that leads to Elephant Rock.
Another famed landmark in Denmark, Elephant Rock makes you feel like you are on Castaway. To get to the beach, you have to time the waves and creep through a small opening in the rocks as the water flows back out. Once you are through the rocks, the white sand beach and calm waters are the perfect spot to spend a few hours frolicking about.
If you are after somewhere a little less rammed with tourists, Waterfall or Lights Beach are your go to. Although a little rougher than Greens Pool and Elephant rock, these 2 beaches are equally as picturesque. There is even a beautiful little wooden lookout at Lights Beach where you can sit and enjoy the views.
What to do
If you are in town, you must call in and see the guys at Ravens Coffee. They roast their own beans (in fact, the owner has done pretty well in roasting competitions of late) and make a damn good brew. Their food offering is amazing too, and that is just based on what I saw on display in their fridge (think ready made poke bowls, chia puddings and a range of delicious foods for all dietary requirements). The staff are super helpful about fun things to do about the place too!
You can pick up some reading material just across the road at Tea House Books. This charming little store is everything you would expect of an independent country book store – complete with cafe and cosy corner around a wood fire. We could have spent hours in there browsing and reading in the chesterfield if we didn’t have an agenda!
If exercise is of utmost importance, get a few minutes in on the short, 15-minute hike up Monkey Rock. It is well worth doing. Any level of fitness can attempt it, and the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking! You can see all the way out across Williams Bay and beyond. Just be wary of how windy it gets up there – hold on tight to those precious possessions!
For something a little left of centre, stop in at Bartholomew’s Meadery. Yep, a mead winery! For anyone who is unfamiliar with mead, it is an ancient fermented honey wine, often associated with vikings. It sounds sickly sweet, but trust me, it isn’t. The meadery is home to thousands of bees (which you can see in action – safely!) and produces a myriad of different styles of honey, ice-cream (the honey and ginger was to die for) and of course, mead. It is just by the turn off to Lights Beach and Monkey Rock, so you can do the trifecta in one day.