This week I’m mixing it up by switching from my Alaska series back to Western Australia and sharing another post from our younger daughter, Mlle.
She spent a few days over the New Year staying with friends down south in the pretty town of Denmark – not the European country I might add! It took me quite a while after we first moved here, 30 years ago, to realise people weren’t jetting off overseas when they said they had been to Denmark for a weekend break!
Denmark is situated a few hours’ drive south from Perth on the coast in the Great Southern Region of WA – the terrain is a striking contrast of thickly forested hills and vegetation leading down to pristine beaches and coastal inlets. Monsieur and I visited Denmark nearly 20 years ago when we spent a couple of days with our family staying at the nearby town of Albany. I can remember how green the landscape was and how refreshing it was, even in summer, with the strong breezes coming in off the Southern Ocean cooling the temperatures down.
You can read more about the history of the settlement here – the inlet and river was first sighted by Europeans in the 17th century. When many years later the first Europeans set foot on the lands in the region of present day Denmark, the area was inhabited by the Noongar the traditional indigenous people and custodians of the land. They called the river and the inlet Kwoorabup, which means “place of the black wallaby” (kwoor).
I was interested to hear Mlle’s perspective as she has already made a couple of trips to Denmark since her return to Perth last year. Denmark has become a popular alternative to the more touristy Margaret River area with a climate that also supports vine growing – wineries, restaurants serving local produce and a thriving arts and crafts scene are some of its attractions.
Here’s Mlle’s perspective:
Walks and Hiking – a myriad of opportunities.
She did a portion of the Bibbulmun Track – the leg of the trail she and her friends did is called Poison Point Walking Trail Castle Rock. It’s about a 1.5 hour round hike though allow longer if you want to take it at a really leisurely pace. There are amazing views at the top! The final part of the trail is optional where you climb through a ladder. If you look at Mlle’s photos you may be able to spot the dugite sunning himself on the rock. Mlle is scared of heights (like her dad!) and opted out of the top ladder climb, which is where her “friend” was hiding out. No one was hurt or injured fortunately!
The earlier part of the trail went through some dense forest where Mlle noticed some amazing houses. She thinks you might be able to rent some of them – it would appeal to you if you wanted to get away from it all, indeed Mlle thinks they might be completely off grid.
Oceans Beach – great spot for beginner surfers apparently (I’m not a surfer but Mlle has done some surfing holidays in Europe as well as enjoying getting in the water back here in WA). She says there were clean easy breaks to ride!
Greens Pool and Elephants Rocks – beautiful coastline, rocks to climb and you can walk between the two.
The photo gallery below is a compilation of the walking trail, the grounds near their house and the beaches.
Finally a few thoughts on the town itself:
Mrs Jones Cafe – Mlle says it’s “THE BEST BREAKFAST/BRUNCH” and they literally went there every day! The photos on the website (link here) give you a feel for the charming ambiance – it would be right up my street too!
Next door is a gallery with beautiful art, prints, woodwork and other small gift ideas/cards etc.
Other shops and attractions:
Denmark Arts Market – Mlle and her friends went on the Saturday of their trip. They were lucky as the markets are only held 4 times a year (see here for details). Held in the lovely setting of Berridge Park down by the river in town, the market has live bands playing and food trucks plus plenty of arts and crafts stalls to browse round.
Sasden for clothes – a great range of labels!
Sacred Tree for crystals and gifts.
Tiny Treasures games shop – to stock up on some activities for evenings by the fire.
Talking of fires, as I said earlier on, it’s considerably cooler down in Denmark than Perth would be at the same time of year. In late December and early January we had maximums in the high 30s here in the metro area, whereas it was only low to mid 30s down in Denmark. They were even wearing jumpers in the evenings!
Always pack warmer clothing for trips down to the south and south west of WA at any time of year. I got caught out once years ago in the autumn when it was still quite hot in Perth and wet and cold down south. I had to wear the same pair of old exercise tights for several days in a row just to keep warm!
Unfortunately I don’t have any digital photos of our trip to Denmark from the early noughties. It does sound though as if Denmark has managed to retain its charm and appeal, despite ever more visitors and city dwellers seeking a sea change who are drawn there by its many attractions.
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