Elephant Cove, named for the rocks that look like a herd of elephants is in the water
Known for its award-winning cool-climate wines, tranquil forests and rugged coastline, the Great Southern region of WA is isolated, vast and charmingly unspoiled by tourism.
The quaint little town of Denmark is home to approximately 25oo people. Nestled on the Denmark river, it is surrounded by majestic karri forests, with stunning beaches and rugged coastline that locals love to surf. Once home to timber mills, the forests have been successfully regenerated and the town’s past as a hippy commune means it has an eco-consciousness and sustainability focus.
The breathtaking Tree Top Walk in Nornalup, 30 minutes drive from Denmark, with Tingle trees you won't find anywhere else in the world
SEE & DO
Winery hop. Boutique wineries are spread out around Denmark, Albany, Mt Barker, Franklin River and the Porongurup’s and produce award-winning riesling, shiraz, chardonnay and cabernet.
Take the Scotsdale Scenic Drive, which winds through the towering karri trees and explore the works of local artists at their workshops and galleries. Many of the cellar doors are here, as well as an alpaca farm.
Explore the Mount Shadforth Tourist Drive, which takes you through lush cattle farmland and karri forests and provides stunning sea views.
For the fit and adventurous, walk the Bibbulmun Track, one of the world's great long distance walks, which winds for 1000kms from the coastal town of Albany to the Perth hills. The track is broken up into smaller pieces, so you can walk the 85 kms from Albany to Denmark with its rugged coastal scenery.
Take the Elephant Rocks walk in the Williams Bay National Park for truly stunning coastal views of the Southern Ocean. From the white sands and turquoise water of Greens Pool to Elephant Cove, named for the rocks that resemble a herd of elephants in the water.
Drive 30 minutes to The Valley Of The Giants Tree Top Walk in Nornalup and walk 40 metres above the ground in the canopy of the magical tingle forest. This is an experience you cannot get anywhere else in the world.
EAT & DRINK
At Pepper and Salt Restaurant at Forrest Hill Winery you can enjoy breathtaking views of the forest and the sea. Fijian/Indian chef Silas Masih combines his love of spices with local, seasonal produce, creating dishes such as kangaroo loin with hot and sour eggplant kasundi. Masih also runs classes to teach you how to spice up your own cooking.
Luscious Coffee Bar is a tiny coffee shop in town which serves up vegan, gluten and sugar free meals, slices and treats. They also stock CDS from local artists.
Happiness in a cup at Luscious Coffee Bar
Ravens Coffee is hipster heaven. They roast their own coffee and make organic juices and smoothies, vegan, raw cakes. They serve all day breakfasts plus a range of curries and hot dishes. Their display cabinet houses bento boxes and sushi packs to take away. We ordered smoothies and coffee each morning to take with us as we explored the area.
Local Harvest can provide you with a box of spray-free or organic local fruit and veggies if you want to cook for yourself. The store stocks organic meat, local free range eggs, breads and a small range of organic groceries.
The award winning Lake House Denmark, situated 6 kms from town, is the most picturesque of the cellar doors and the perfect venue for a long lunch. We ordered a couple of glasses of the He Said/She Said Rosé and the Madison Vineyard Platter and settled in at a table by the lake for the afternoon. They make their own range of award-winning condiments, including chutneys, sauces and jams, which you sample on the platters and can buy in the shop to take with you.
Image courtesy of The Lake House Denmark. Image of the platter courtesy of Denmark.com.au
We didn’t expect to find artisan gelato at this 5 star rated winery, but Rockcliffe Winery’s owner studied the art of gelato making in Italy and serves up both Sicilian and northern styles that are as good as any we’ve tasted in Melbourne and Italy.
The Boston Bewing Co. serves a full lunch and dinner menu with wines and their own artisan ales and beers. This place is kid friendly and often offers live entertainment.
Sasden boutique supports Australian-made and sustainably produced clothing and homewares. They also stock Italian sneaker brand Superga.
Lilleven Fashion & Interiors prides itself on knowing who made the clothes and homewares they stock, and choose from suppliers who use ethical supply chains. With a strong nordic influence, they are registered stockists of handmade Danish boutique footwear, Duckfeet.
We stayed at Serendeva, a three-bedroom two-bathroom holiday house high on Mt Shadforth. With breathtaking views over the lush hillside, down to Wilson’s Inlet and the Southern Ocean, we took in the breathtaking views from the balcony and the spa bath with a glass of the local wine. Owner Aled was always available to help and left a bottle of Lake House wine in the fridge, ready for our arrival.
Image courtesy of Serendeva.com.au
Denmark offers a range of day spa options for those who want to focus on their mind, body and spirit.
Aiyana Retreat offers luxury villa accommodation plus 8 types of massage, including deep tissue, aromatherapy, hahana hot stone massage as well as private yoga lessons.
Chimes Day Spa offers a range of spa treatments for men and women
Located at the Karma Cottages, Karisma Spa offers massage, body treatments, facials and more, plus pamper packages for total indulgence.
The Floating Forest Wellness Centre offers flotation pods, yoga classes and massage and suggest combining a floatation session with either yoga or massage for a ‘high level wellness’ experience.
We flew to Perth, hired a car at the airport and drove to Denmark. The quickest route from Perth takes about four and a half hours and takes you through vast farmland that turns into lush vineyards once you reach Mt Barker. The longer scenic route takes you down the South West Highway and through the majestic karri and tingle tree forests that only grow in this part of WA.
Because Denmark is influenced by the Antarctic, it is cold and rainy in winter and quite mild in summer. We were there in October and experienced blue skies and weather in the low to mid 20's.