Wilderness Ocean Walk Trail Denmark

Wilderness Ocean Walk near Denmark offers some stunning coastal views.

The Wilderness Ocean Walk

The Wilderness Ocean Walk starts at the wind turbines at Wilson Head near Denmark. Its about 4.5 hours drive from Perth on Western Australia’s south coast. It is a multi-purpose track for wheelchair access, walking, and riding. (Big Brook Dam is another location with wheelchair access)

Wilson Head Denmark

Wilson Head near Denmark is a thumbnail of headland that protrudes into the Southern Ocean. Its irregular edges are punctuated with rugged cliffs interspersed with rocky bays. Just to its east lies the broad forefinger of Nullaki Peninsula. At the pinch point of finger and thumb, and frequently guarded by a sandbar at Ocean Beach, is the opening to Wilson Inlet. The town of Denmark lies a few kilometres inland where the Denmark River meets the Wilson Inlet.

Wilson Head and Ocean Beach are popular with surfers and fishers. As a photographer I have always found interesting subject matter in the region. The rugged coast and exposure to changing weather has always provided a range of photographic opportunities in any given day.

Coastal Heath

Perhaps it’s just my imagination but the coastal heath looks a little different. The flora appears more prolific and varied than other coastal areas, even those in neighboring national parks. Watch out for the delicate shapes, hues and textures of various plants. There can be colourful spreads of wildflowers in Spring.

back beach denmark
Back beach, Denmark, Southern Coast Postcard Series

So when I visited Wilson Head recently it was with pleasant anticipation as to what I would find. My last visit was just as the community wind farm was being completed. At that time public access to the windmills was closed.

New 6km surfaced track with coastal views

Unlike the neighboring Bibbulmun Track, this track is surfaced between the wind farm turbines at Wilson Head all the way to Lights Beach. It’s about 6km long and is one way, so you may choose to return the way you came. There is also a myriad of old 4WD tracks crisscrossing the area should you choose a different route.

Beach Access

The Wilderness Ocean Walk Trail offers some unique views towards Lights Beach and William Bay National Park. There are also views to Wilson Inlet and Mount Hallowell. But if its views of white sandy beaches you are after then you can always access Back Beach via the wooden steps.

If you are spending time in the Denmark region then I recommend you take a stroll along the Wilderness Ocean Walk Trail. You can download a pdf map of the Wilderness Ocean Walk Trail from the Shire Of Denmark here.

Colour or Black and White?

I made this photograph on HP5 using my 4×5 field camera and a 300mm lens with a tripod. Maybe you would have preferred to see this image in colour, instead I chose black and white film. Partly because I wanted to emphasize the design in the steps to the beach. And partly because the time of day was not particularly colourful.

I find it visually fascinating the way we make our beach access steps zig zag to conform with the surrounding topography. It makes sense of course but in so many other areas of path construction, we tend to just bulldoze straight ahead no matter what.

I have not thought about this until now but maybe this be some type of analogy in landscape photography? Perhaps a straight line or direct approach is not necessarily the most creative? That inspiration and creativity are borne out of the journey rather than simply applied to a predetermined end point? What do you think?

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Since 1989, Alex Bond has published cards, calendars, books, and posters under his imprint Stormlight Publishing. His images showcase the West Australian environment. Bond's handcrafted, silver-gelatin, fibre-based prints are personally made by the author in his darkroom.
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