The Complete Guide to Denmark, WA

By Bruce Elder

November 24, 2022

Nestled between beautiful beaches and tall tree country, this small town is an ideal holiday destination.

Denmark is one of the main tourist towns on the spectacular south coast of Western Australia. It is surrounded by a richly diverse landscape, from a rugged coastline with pristine beaches to a forested hinterland.

The city itself is characterized by tasteful, low-key development, making it an attractive alternative to more developed destinations on the west coast.

The South Coast Highway is one of Denmark’s main shopping destinations, with boutique shops and quaint local businesses. Image credit: shutterstock

Among the main attractions of Denmark is Green Pool – the most beautiful beach in Australia. It is on the eastern edge of William Bay National Park and has a natural rock swimming pool, rocks and white sand.

As impressive is the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk, where visitors can walk above the forest canopy in the majestic Walpole Wilderness. The ancient landscape here is known for its beautiful thickets through impressive stands of jarrah, karri and ringwood forests.

Location:

Denmark is 421 km southeast of Perth and 54 km west of Albany via the Albany Highway. It is 18 m above sea level.

Origin of the name:

In 1829, Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson named the river and surrounding area after his friend and colleague, Dr. Alexander Denmark.

Useful sites:

For visitor guides and information on food, accommodation and attractions:

denmarkchamber.com.au

denmarkwesternaustralia.com

Over half a dozen wineries around Denmark produce wine from grapes from the surrounding Great Southern wine region.

The area is also known for its excellent fishing, with Ocean Beach (9km south of town), Parrys Beach (29km west) and William Bay (18km west) all salmon, tailor, snapper, skippy, herring, whiting, silverbream and more for the talented angler. .

Self-guided walking tour

Starting from the riverside, take a self-guided walking tour exploring six historic sites around Denmark: including St Leonard’s Anglican Church (1899); Fig Tree Square (1925); and the Danish History Museum (1923), located in the Old Police Station.

William Bay National Park

With its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and breezy headlands, William Bay NP is one of WA’s natural wonders.

Located 18 km southwest of Denmark, this national park is ideal for swimming, snorkelling and hiking in the forest. Walk parts of the famous Bibbulmun Track or see the unique formations of Elephant Rocks – huge granite boulders reminiscent of a herd of elephants running into the sea.

Fish for whiting, bream and salmon at Madfish Bay or visit the small waterfall at Waterfall Beach.

William Bay NP is great to visit all year round, but it’s especially beautiful to visit in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.

Greens Pool

In William Bay NP you will find Greens Pool, a natural rock swimming pool. Swimmers can jump off low granite cliffs or snorkel among zebrafish, silver drummers and mosaic starfish. A short walk connects Greens Pool with Elephant Rocks, another unusual swimming spot.

Denmark-Nornalup Heritage Railway

This 68 km trail runs west along the old coastal railway line from the mouth of the Denmark River to Nornalup. Along it are four original wooden railway bridges, a number of railway sidings, historical plaques and explanatory boards.

The trail is divided into three parts, so you don’t have to complete it all at once. It can be used by hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders.

Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk

Located 54km west of Denmark, the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk is the easiest way to experience the wonder of the great forests of south-west WA. Move through the canopy of an ancient tinsel forest on a boardwalk suspended 40m above the ground.

Image credit: shutterstock

Much of the plant life here is unique to WA, and the origins of these ancient forests can be traced back 65 million years to the supercontinent of Gondwana.

Explore the forest floor on the Ancient Empire boardwalk, which winds through a grove of 400-year-old redwood trees. With their giant hollow trunks, these trees are as breathtaking from ground level as they are from above.

History

Before European settlementThe Minang Noongar First Nations people lived in the territories of Albania and Denmark.

The first European to explore the area was Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson (right). 1829.

In 1831 Captain Thomas Bannister noted that planting the land required “great physical and moral courage.”

In 1884 Edwin and Charles Millar hired out and started logging.

In 1895 The Millar brothers took a private lease on 20,000 acres (8,094 ha) of old-growth karry forest and built sawmills on the banks of the Denmark River. By 1905 local timber was exhausted.

By 1907 Few families remained until the WA government bought the town from Millar for £5,000 after much negotiation.

By 1911 dairying was the main rural industry and 1926 The Great Southern Butter Company built a butter factory and continued to operate this plant 1973.

In 1922 Denmark became part of the First World War Group Settlement Scheme, which provided land for soldiers to support themselves. About 1500 immigrants came to Denmark.

During World War II US soldiers stationed in Albany made daily excursions to Denmark, creating a demand for teahouses and souvenir shops.

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