A visit to dazzling Denmark.
Sometimes you strike a place that is so naturally beautiful, that you want to tell everyone a visit is not only highly recommended but compulsory.
We are standing at the edge of Greens Pool in a region blessed with wonderful wilderness, old-growth forests and reinvigorating fresh air.
Just this WA town itself, Denmark, is definitely worth the nearly five-hour drive south-east of Perth.
On so many trips travelling through the region over the years, we just eased into Denmark visited the family friendly pub, antique shop and galleries and moved on, adoring the countryside only along the main road. This time, we’ve committed to widen our horizons for bush tracks, treks and trails, car touring routes so ridiculously close to town and that dramatic coastline where Greens Pool offers a natural, calm ocean pool, surrounded by rounded granite boulders.
A loop walk takes you further along William Bay National Park to Elephant Rocks, a cheery cluster of granite formations resembling a herd of elephants, sort of.
Denmark’s information office advises us that we’re in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots “possessing the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth”. We can accept that.
The Denmark coast, with the world’s most southerly coral reefs, is also up there for marine biodiversity.
Seals, dolphins, whales and innumerable species of fish flourish in these waters. Fishing here is a dream, though choosing the right time of year to avoid heavy rain and scary swells is highly recommended.
For a quieter time with the kids, there’s the Denmark River with paddleboats, canoes, bike hire and birdwatching on a big scale.
At land’s tip is the Rivermouth Caravan Park where the river meets calm Wilson Inlet, serving as a launching/landing pad not only for the enormous flocks of pelicans and seabirds but also — as it has for generations — eager visiting fishers and surfers.
Surf around Denmark often thunders in from the horizon in endless lines of ocean mountains. Even the bravest of professional boardriders can only stand on the high ground looking down in amazement on those days. Fishing boats don’t move from their protected moorings.
Denmark’s coast has some cracker names: Poison Point, Madfish Bay, Anvil Beach, Cosy Corner, Nornalup and Conspicuous Cliff.
The town has no historical relationship to the European country Denmark.
The Denmark River was named by British navy officer Tom Wilson in 1829 after colleague Dr Alexander Denmark and the town acquired the name. Pioneers, surely, must have been staggered by the natural resources and beauty of this stretch of West Australian wonderland.
There was no shortage of rain or fertile soil and timber was the main magnet.
Fishing was quickly added and as timber started to run short, farming boomed with fruit, vegetables, beef and dairy and ultimately winegrowing.
Tourism now looms large.
Today, there are cellar doors beckoning. The several main touring routes provide magnificent vistas of vineyards, forests of towering tingle and karri, orchards, dairy farms, berry farms, glassworks and leatherworks and signs tempting us with toffee, honey, mead, cake and cider.
In this undulating country, there are heaps of lookouts, natural and manmade, including Shelley Beach Lookout with incredible views to a crescent-shaped beach below and Albany’s coastline and wind farm.
Some roads are unsealed though in good nick. Some four-wheel-drives head along the glorious white sand beaches.
Walkers deem this region a paradise. There are some decent- size hills for the fittest and you could wander out of town in any direction and find terrific tracks, up, down and level. There are high-rise challenges for bike riders, too, but it clearly doesn’t deter them. Scenic winding roads and tracks also suit the leather lads and ladies astride motorbikes.
The songwriting member of the Seekers, Keith Potger, is among those who relished the peace and beauty of Denmark.
Potger once told this writer his former Denmark getaway was ideal for creativity, joking that with all the region’s rain, there was every incentive to stay indoors and exercise the grey matter.
Summer in Denmark sees temperatures contained under 25C with low humidity and cool nights, which will appeal to many summer-sweltering Perthites.
Spring brings a flood — of wildflowers — while winter brings average temps of 16C. Overnight frosts are promoted here as “magical morning vistas”.
With coaches to Denmark operating from East Perth and Albany, retirees make up tourist numbers big time.
As we head from town, we notice a group of grey nomads dashing into the information office in drenching rain, glancing at a big sign outside.
You may also like
Photography: Shooting for the stars
MOGENS JOHANSEN is always looking skywards. And here he gives practical tips on capturing that scene, at night.
Photography: Wing it without a prayer
Keen birders and photographers won't want to miss the forthcoming Birdlife Photography Conference in Fremantle, writes MOGENS JOHANSEN.
Travel Story: Going with the wind in Augusta
MELANIE ANDERSON continues to be lured to the coastal SW town by simple pleasures and a charmingly unhurried pace of life.