Though it’s a little further than Dunsborough and Margaret River, what you get in return for a little extra time at the wheel makes Denmark an incredibly worthy local escape.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or you’re desperate to get outdoors and explore the beautiful Wagyl Kaip and Southern Noongar Region, you will not be disappointed.
From romantic cabins and top-notch food to world-class attractions and loads of wine, here are the best things to do in Denmark, Western Australia.
Places To Stay
Ark Of Denmark
Nestled into two acres of bushland and only three kilometres from the Denmark town centre and beach, Ark of Denmark is the perfect spot for an excluded getaway not too far from civilisation. There are two properties to choose from, Due South and The Yurt, both of which abound with cosy cabin vibes, fireplaces, big windows making you feel at one with nature and wood and stone detailing. Relax with all the creature comforts, including claw-foot baths, self-contained kitchens, WiFi, flat-screen TVs and DVDs for when you’ve chewed through all that Netflix has to offer. Ark of Denmark welcomes dogs upon request.
Aiyana Retreat is home to four luxury, eco-friendly villas, all with unique details and personal touches. Hosted by Gadi and Lalita Barak, choose between the Tao, Mira, Leela and Rumi villas, all of which feature luxury appliances, handcrafted ceramics, local furniture and artwork and comfortable living spaces. Three of the villas boast king beds and spa baths, and the Leela has two bedrooms. Perfect for a romantic weekend away, the retreat is home to the Aiyana Spa where you can book in for a relaxing Hahana hot stone massage or reflexology, and if you need to centre yourself they also offer private yoga sessions.
William Bay Cottages
Your perfect home base for exploring Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, William Bay Cottages makes for a tranquil escape among a karri and peppermint forest. Featuring seven cottages packed with character, with one, two and three bedroom options available, the property is also home to a working farm that guests are invited to explore. Each cottage offers something different, but Settlers Tavern has stolen our hearts thanks to its romantic touches, wood-panelled ceiling, roaring wood fireplace and a double spa looking out to the forest.
If you’re planning a getaway with your best couple friends, The Birches is the place to go. With two rooms that make like private oases, each with private sitting areas, luxury bathrooms and views out across Mount Shadforth, your only tense discussion will come when deciding who gets the room with the spa. The kitchen is fully stocked with all the appliances you’ll need to whip up gourmet feasts and there’s even a balcony to break out onto when the weather is warmer.
The Tree House
Surrounded by granite boulders and towering karri trees, The Tree House offers the best parts of a secluded escape while being just two kilometres from town. The living area is even built around a boulder, making you feel that little bit closer to nature. Climb the stairs to the tin-lined house and you’ll be met with an outdoor deck, wood burning heater, bespoke built-in furniture and a loft bed adding to the fun. There is a double spa bath and separate shower, as well as aircon for those warmer days, and come night time the surrounding trees light up adding to the atmosphere.
Places To Eat & Drink
Mrs Jones Cafe
Award-winning brekky and lunch spot, Mrs Jones Cafe has your coffee cravings covered. On their all day breakfast menu, they’re slinging goodies like Scotch pancakes with lemon curd and stewed strawberries, plus crowd favourites such as eggs benedict and a full English breakfast. Come lunchtime you can fill up on buddha bowls with quinoa, pulled pork burgers, and bangers and mash with pork and fennel sausages. The cabinet is stocked with goodies like sandwiches, banana bread and other sweet treats, and everything can be grabbed to go.
The Lake House
For relaxed long lunches, The Lake House doesn’t disappoint. Set on the banks of a lake, surrounded by trees and beautiful gardens, this multi-award-winning winery specialises in lavish platters designed for sharing. Kick off with a wine tasting at the cellar door before tucking into the gourmet vineyard platter. Jam-packed with local produce, including Vinofood condiments that are small batch made on site, you likely won’t need dinner. Think Mt Barker smoked chicken, prawns, antipasto, Dellendale double cream brie, Vinofood beetroot and shiraz relish, house-baked bread and vegetable frittata. Be sure to pick up a few cases of wine and some wine-infused preserves before leaving. If you want to take your platter to-go, you can order a takeaway picnic hamper for your day at the beach, or to have cosied up at your fireplace.
Pepper & Salt
With Silas Masih at the helm, expect a mashup of local-inspired cuisine with a traditional Fijian twist at Pepper & Salt. Open for lunch Thursday to Sunday and dinner on Fridays, the restaurant is situated on the grounds of the Forest Hill Winery, meaning you can enjoy cool climate wines with your food. Devour everything from spice aged eye-fillet, beef cheeks and smoked beetroot kitcheri roasted brussel sprouts to soda and fennel fried Moreton Bay bug. Apart from being highly recommended by locals and tourists alike, Pepper and Salt was recently highly ranked in TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Best Fine Dining Restaurant in all of Australia.
Editor’s note: Pepper and Salt will be closed over winter, from July 19 - September 2, 2021.
Boston Brewing Co
Break up all that wine drinking with a visit to Boston Brewing Co. Perch yourself under an umbrella on the manicured lawns and kick back with a beer tasting paddle featuring their Tingletop ginger beer, Devilslide red India pale ale and Shark Eye stout. Serving classic pub grub, comfort food and woodfired pizzas, if you time it right you’ll get to enjoy some live music while you’re there.
Ajar on Shadforth has arguably the best views in town. With sweeping vistas of green rolling hills and the distant coastline, be sure to request a table near the floor to ceiling windows. Their lunch and dinner menu has plenty of hearty and delicious options, from pan seared duck breast, to twice cooked pork belly and house made potato gnocchi. If you time your visit close to sunset, you might be lucky enough to witness fairy floss skies as you wine and dine the night away.
The Green Pantry
With a focus on sustainability, be sure to bring your own cup to The Green Pantry if you’re wanting to takeaway. While this cute and friendly cafe doesn’t serve sit down meals, they’re the perfect spot in the centre of town to grab an amazing coffee and sweet treat to sustain you while you wander the main street. One look at the sweets cabinet and you’ll be walking out with enough slices of lemon tart, brownies, banana bread and pastries to last the remainder of your trip.
Things To See & Do
Kick Back On Beautiful Beaches
Home to some of the most stunning beaches in Western Australia (heck, the whole of Australia, if not the world), Denmark is the place to go if you love getting sand between your toes. Most probably know about the turquoise paradises of Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks, but it’s also worth popping by Madfish Bay and Waterfall Beach while you’re driving through the William Bay National Park. For surfing Ocean Beach and Parry Beach deliver, for bright white sand and majestic rocky outcrops head to Shelley Beach and if you’re looking to head out to Young Siding, Cosy Corner is the place to go. If you bring your furry friend along on the ride, definitely take them to Lights Beach, and check out Prawn Rock Channel, which is seasonally connected to Ocean Beach.
Treat Your Sweet Tooth
What’s a holiday without indulging your inner sweet tooth? When the time comes to reward your tastebuds, Denmark presents plenty of delectable options. There’s sweet honey at Bartholomews Meadery (definitely try one of their honey ice-creams!) and artisan truffles at Dark Side Chocolates and Pawprint Chocolate, who both have storefronts set up in town. When you’re heading along South Coast Highway in the direction of Greens Pool, check out the Denmark Good Food Factory for quality toffee and the licensed chocolate lounge Denmark Chocolate Company.
Walk Among The Giants
Experience life as birds do from 40 metres above ground as you wander through the treetops of an ancient tingle forest. It’s no wonder people travel from all over the world to experience the Valley of the Giants. The huge eucalyptus trees are unique to the area and some have been standing tall for hundreds of years. If you’re afraid of heights, the entire boardwalk is just 600 metres long, so you’re not sky high for too long. The views are worth a little dose of fear, trust us.
Cuddle Up To Some Animals
Denmark Animal Farm & Pentland Alpaca Stud is a hands-on farm and wildlife park where you can snuggle, feed and pat everything from alpacas and baby rabbits to chickens and joeys. Help feed some of the farm’s baby animals at 3pm, and give some love to the friendly camels. Your $15 entry fee includes a bag of feed.
Go Winery Hopping
When people think of wineries in WA their mind most likely harks back to the Margaret River region but Denmark boasts some pretty speccy vineyards too. We’ve already mentioned The Lake House, but there are plenty more to uncover. Singlefile is known for its chardonnay, Harewood Estate will treat you to pinot noir and more, visit the five star Rockliffe winery and you’ll get to taste delightful gelato alongside your vino, and the sweet Ducketts Mill Wine will blow you away with rieslings, cab merlots, rosé and tawny port which can be enjoyed with a delectable Denmark Farmhouse Cheese platter. Other honourable mentions include Silverstream Wines, Castelli Estate, Forest Hill Wines, Rickety Gate Estate, Rising Star, and Apricus Hill Wines. If you have a taste for cider, try Monkey Rock Winery and Cider, Denmark Heritage Cider Co., Black Pig Cyder and the drink selection at Denmark Good Food Factory.
For something closer to home, here are our favourite Swan Valley wineries.
Image credit: Tourism WA (Valley of The Giants), William Bay Cottages, The Lake House, Tourism WA