The second half of the Australian leg of our journey is a tour around the south coast of Western Australia. Denmark is about 450 km south of Perth which takes around five hours in the car generally pushing against the speed limit of 110 kmh! Compared to Europe, the main difference to the route is that once clear of Perth there are very few cars on the road so it’s actually quite a relaxing drive. Beware the road trains which can be up to 36 metres long and require a bit of planning to overtake safely (especially in our Nissan Pulsar!).
We were a bit surprised by the main road (highway 30 from Perth to Albany) as I had expected to be driving mostly across dry scrubland – I don’t have any foundation for that expectation but that was my vision of inland roads in Australia. But it isn’t like that at all; the first half of the journey is mainly through light forests which gradually turn to vast swaths of wheat fields interspersed with trees. Unexpectedly pleasant.
Despite that, there is almost nothing to see along the route other than a few small roadside villages. Given that roadside emergency phones and mobile reception seem to be intermittent I can imagine that any breakdown is followed by a very long wait, thankfully Nissan did us proud.
We arrived in Denmark early afternoon and the first impression is of a very neat small town (it actually reminded me of the Steve Martin film “Roxanne”) with its small arts and crafts shops and trendy cafes. Denmark seems to be a haven for the artistic, new world type hippy with numerous adverts for Yoga, eclectic dance and organic therapies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – although the lingering smell of jostick drifting out of various shop windows was somewhat overpowering.
In the afternoon we headed out to the coast and the Greens Pool which is a sheltered beach and part of William Bay National Park. It has a sandy white beach ringed by large granite boulders that prevent the swell of the Southern Ocean reaching the shoreline. Really quite spectacular and unlike any attraction of this sort that you might visit in the UK, completely free!
A 10 minute walk further around the coast to Elephant cove, so named because the rocks look like a herd of elephants …and they really do. As well as the amazing scenery, the beaches are largely deserted giving the place a very special remote feel.
Capping off the day was dinner at Pepper & Salt restaurant just out of town. A restaurant that is only open one day a week and has an Asian / Fusion focus.
Overall an excellent start.