The beauty and curse of Denmark is it’s distance. The 4.5 hour drive is just that little bit longer than other down-south destination, but the distance means no crowds and plenty of space – the Margaret River of old. The reward is a gorgeous coastal town and a region full of incredible wineries, restaurants, boutique shops, nature walks and of course, stunning white beaches. As a local resident with a passion for travel, here are my recommendations for the ultimate weekend or week away.
Create your own wine tour
There are several picturesque vineyards with cellar doors in Denmark, all offering a wide variety of quality wines for tasting. Thanks to the cool, Mediterranean climate of the Great Southern, the region is known for its Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay.
Rising Star is owned by couple Paul and Gwen, who purchased the land in 2005 and have expressed their Texas roots with their cowboy-esque cellar door, patriotically embellished with a Texan star.
Rockcliffe celebrates Friday nights during the summer months with live music and food stalls, but also has a cellar door open all year round. Conveniently, their cellar door is located inbetween Silverstream Wines and Singlefile Wines along Scotsdale Road, so you can plan stops at all three as you embark on the ultimate Denmark wine tour.
Further afield, Forest Hill is set on a beautiful property along South Coast Highway, on the same site as popular restaurant Pepper and Salt. You could tee up your wine tasting experience with a gourmet lunch between Thursdays and Sundays.
Explore along South Coast Highway
The South Coast Highway extends for a fair distance along the southern coast, but there are a few worthwhile pitstops between Albany and Walpole is you are keen for a roadtrip in the local area.
Boston Brewery & Willoughby Park Winery is a must-do. The brewery and attached cellar door boasts a large indoor seating area fit with heaters in winter and an outdoor grassed area with picnic tables, perfect on a summer evening. Make sure you try the Tingletop if you’re a fan of ginger beer, which pairs nicely with one of their woodfired pizzas.
Located just past the turnoff for William Bay, Bartholomew’s Honey Meadery sells many varieties of honey from their property. They also make their own honey ice-cream, which they blend with flavours such as passionfruit, chocolate and hazelnut – the perfect treat after a day at the beach!
Heading past the honey meadery as you head towards Walpole, Denmark Toffee Factory are famous for their homemade toffee and house-made cider, as well as a large range of preserves and condiments under their label ‘a bit on the side’. They have also started serving hearty burgers for a lunchtime pitstop.
Spend time in town and stop for brunch at a café
You could spend an entire morning wandering around the town’s shops, including Didi’s Boutique, the Dented Beach House, Wholly Local and Karrisma Gallery and Gifts. After you’ve scored a few local goodies, why not head to a café to enjoy a delicious brunch?
Ravens is a coffee roaster and café serving breakfast and lunch every day, located just over the bridge if you’re driving in from Albany. There, you can find sushi, raw desserts, avo toast, wraps and other yummy dishes, as well as quality coffee.
Located right in the middle of town, Bibbulmun Café offers alfresco seating, making it a great place to sit and watch this sleepy town go by. They serve crowd favourites such as eggs benedict, burgers and milkshakes.
The Green Pantry is attached to the Health Food Shop, and serves healthy and delicious sweet treats, breakfast and lunches. If you’re wanting to grab a coffee to go, make sure you bring your reusable cup, as they are phasing out disposable cups.
The Bakery Café is the adjoining café to the town’s award-winning bakery. They do a large range of breakfast and lunch options, many of which are accompanied with their bakery-fresh bread.
Go beach hopping
Denmark is renowned for its world class beaches. They are pristine and remote, and if you visit out of peak season, you may be lucky enough to have a beach all to yourself.
Ocean Beach is a great family-friendly option; there are lifeguards, a kiosk in summer and a grassed area to park up for the day. In spring each year, if there is enough rainfall, the sandbar between the ocean and the inlet is dug open, resulting in a crystal-clear oasis at the Prawn Rock Channel. It’s a great place for fishing, paddling and SUP boarding, and is both pet and kid friendly.
Lights Beach is an ideal option if you bring your dog down to Denmark, as they can run around to their heart’s content. While the swell can be quite strong at times, there are a few rockpools and sheltered oases that kids and adults can lounge around in. From the carpark here you can hop on the WOW (Wilderness Ocean Walk) trail, which takes you all the way to Ocean Beach.
Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks are the crowd favourites in Denmark, and for good reason. Located in the William Bay National Park about 20 minutes out of town, these adjoining beaches boast peppermint green water and soft, flour-like sand, with plenty of granite rocks to jump off. From Greens Pool, you can head over the large rock to the left of the stairs and walk for a few minutes to Elephant Rocks. You’ll find it hard to resist taking a few photos here – the rock formations and the colour of the ocean are out of this world!
Madfish Bay is the lesser known beach in the William Bay Park, but it is just as beautiful. Fit with rockpools, mesmerising blue water and beautiful vegetation, it is definitely worth checking out.
Parry Beach is located off South Coast Highway, halfway between Denmark and Peaceful way, in the direction of Walpole. This is the place to head if you want to do some surfing, especially if you’ve already checked out Ocean Beach. There is also a campsite right next to the beach, offering an affordable accommodation option.
Immerse yourself in nature
Denmark is the perfect place to get back to nature and spend an afternoon going on a coastal or bush walk.
Part of the Bibbulmun Track, Monkey Rock is a short and fairly steep 15 – 25 minute walk that rewards you with stunning views of the vast coastline, farmland and dense bush, all from the top of a granite outcrop. To get there, head down Ocean Beach Road from town, and turn off at Lights Road. A few kilometres down the road you’ll see the turn off for Monkey Rock, with a small gravel carpark.
The Wilderness Ocean Walk (WOW) Trail is a bitumen track connecting Ocean Beach to Lights Beach, providing great coastal views. It is 6.2km one way and can get quite hilly. You can start at either the Lights Beach carpark or the Denmark Community Windfarm next to Ocean Beach. Remember to pack a hat and lots of water, and of course, your camera!
The Mokare Heritage Trail is a 3km loop long the river from Berridge Park in town to the Rivermouth Caravan Park and back. It is a flat and bitumised walk, making it perfect for a leisurely cycle, and allowing you to appreciate the Denmark River and vegetation along its bank. The caravan park is also home to a café called Reminisce, which makes for a good pitstop and incentive for your walk!
Image credits: Tourism Western Australia, Denmark Western Australia, Denmark Good Food Factory, Denmark Bakery & Bakery Cafe