When I was a kid growing up, Elephant Rocks near Denmark WA was a place of mystery and fascination. I suppose I was wowed by its beauty as well. Nowadays, it’s a popular destination for drone photographers (and Instagrammers) and whenever I go back to Elephant Rocks I can see why – it really is a spectacular spot. Just over the rocks is the similarly breathtaking Green’s Pool, part of William Bay National Park.
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I have said it before and I will say it again; I don’t think I am biased, the south coast of Western Australia is truly spectacular. The combination of pure white sands, turquoise waters and fantastical sculpted granite rocks makes for some really beautiful places. During much of the year these places are not busy, and you will be the only person on the beach. (Not during the height of summer though!)
Apart from being a spectacularly unique rock formation, Elephant Rocks near Denmark also provides a nice spot for a swim or snorkel. For us Elephant Rocks and the nearby Greens Pool are definitely amongst the Best Beaches in Western Australia.
As a Western Australian AND South Coast local, I’ve been to Elephant Rocks and Elephant Cove many times over the years – in all seasons and weather. In this post I have covered how to get there, the best time to visit, and what to expect when you arrive.
What are the Elephant Rocks, Denmark?
The South Coast is famous for its granite outcrops. However, few are as distinctive and unique as this rock formation that resembles a herd of elephants lumbering in the water. For the practical person, Elephant Rocks WA are huge, cracked oval boulders on the edge of Elephant Cove. With a bit of imagination you can see a grey herd of elephants heading out to sea.
Aboriginal people of the south-west of Western Australia are known collectively as Noongar (meaning: “the people”). The Noongar lived in and around the Denmark River and Wilson Inlet, or Nullaki, within the Minang and Bibbulman/Wardandi territories to the east and west. The Shire of Denmark Dual Naming Project did not identify a name for the Greens Pool/ Elephant Rocks area but did name these other areas along the Denmark coastline.
- Parry Inlet – Kordabup – meaning: “Place of the Heart” and “Coming Together Place”
- Peaceful Bay – Kwallup – meaning: “Sand/Place of Sand”
- Ocean Beach Peninsula – Pooryungup – meaning: “Place of Large Rock”
The people of Noongar Boodja (Noongar People’s Country) are the traditional owners of the South West of Western Australia. We recognize their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to elders past and present and continue a commitment to the amplification of their voices.
If you are visiting Denmark Western Australia, check out our many resources:
The BEST Things to do in Denmark WA (2022)
The Best Denmark WA Accommodation
The Truly Awesome Boston Brewing Denmark WA – A Review
Top 3 Stops on a Walpole to Albany Trip
Where are Elephant Rocks Located?
This unique herd of rocks are located in William Bay National Park, just outside the very attractive town of Denmark WA. Elephant Rocks are adjacent to the stunningly turquoise Greens Pool, famous for its tranquil picturesque waters. The Greens Pool/ Elephant Rocks redevelopment and car park are 15km west of Denmark, and 55km east of Walpole. From Perth it’s a 5 hour drive if you don’t stop. However, you should, check out our Tips for a Perth to Albany Road Trip – you will divert to Denmark at Mt.Barker.
As there is no accommodation or camping at Greens Pool or Elephant Rocks, the best spot to base yourself is Denmark town, or the gorgeous surrounding areas. More on our ideas for the best Greens Pool accommodation to come.
How to get to William Bay National Park?
It’s easy to get to Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks if you are already in Denmark. It’s a 14km drive, and if you come over a big hill and see the ocean sparkling out in front of you – you are nearly there! At the bottom of the hill turn Left into William Bay Road, following the signs to Greens Pool. It is then 4km from the turn off from South Coast Hwy into the parking areas.
Since the Greens Pool redevelopment, there are now two carparks. The first right hand turn is best for Greens Pool. If you go to the second carpark (with a toilet block on the left hand side) you are perfectly positioned to head down to Elephant Rocks.
From here follow the signs. Be aware that this is not a sealed pathway and the gravel can be slippery. Along the path, there is a lookout from which you’ll already be able to spot ‘the elephants’.
What is There to do at Elephant Rocks?
As I mentioned before, my childhood memories are of climbing around the rocks. Now I am a mother I realize just how very high “the elephants” are – and how many crevices and places to fall there are! So while we encourage adventures, be cautious and careful at the same time.
When you find the entry to the Elephant Cove you feel like you are an adventurer – or maybe a Pirate – as you find the secret entrance to the beach.
The sheltered beach is stunning, with the view of the Elephants from below just as beautiful as from above. Whether the kids want to paddle in the shallows, or you want to go snorkeling there are some very interesting things to see. Out of summertime you are likely to have the Elephant Cove to yourself, or with very few people.
Safety on the Coast
As mentioned above – the South Coast is a dangerous powerful place, and the ocean is prone to surges. Don’t go too close to the edge or take risks. There are people lost to the ocean each year – it does happen.
Is there a Cost to Visit William Bay National Park?
No, there is no cost. Entry to William Bay National Park is free.
Best Time to Visit Elephant Rocks
During summer, and school holiday periods in April and September, Elephant Rocks can get very, very busy (see our special advice about the peak Christmas-New Year period below). Hot days are packed! As the south coast has plenty of cool days during summer, if you go on a wet or rainy day it’s not too busy (and the clouds make some very atmospheric photos).
In general, to get picture perfect photos or an untouristed experience, going early in the morning or later in the day is best.
While the water at Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks is a beautiful turquoise green, and so inviting – it also happens to be freezing cold! (Even in the summer months.) The best months for swimming are December through March, and even then it’s cold – my kids wear wetsuits most of the year!
Important – William Bay National Park December 26th through January 10th
From December 26th through to approx. January 10th Greens Pool/Elephant Rocks are amongst the busiest places in the Denmark and South Coast area.
Each year, Greens Pool carpark gets VERY FULL. Try to visit before 8am or after about 3pm. If you must visit during the busy hours be aware:
- Parking alongside the road verge extends about 1km back from the main carpark, and up to 1km from the Elephant Rocks carpark.
- Drive slowly and carefully! There are many walking along the road, including small children and families.
- Please don’t damage the environment when you park. Yes, get off the road but don’t drive your 4WD up a rehabilitated bank, completely destroying it – or actually drive your big rig over planted areas with stakes in it. Yes I saw it happen and couldn’t help tell the person!
- Take your rubbish with you.
Consider one of these other beaches as alternatives to Greens Pool:
- Ocean Beach (make sure you swim between the flags)
- Lights Beach (swim with care)
- Parry’s Beach
- Gorgeous Peaceful Bay. This is the best option for people with kids – read Peaceful Bay WA – A Complete Guide.
Facilities at Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks
The entire car park has recently been redeveloped to accommodate the growing number of visitors more comfortably. Though it by no means can cope with the crowds between Christmas and New Year’s. The facilities at the car park include toilets and changing rooms at Greens Pool, and another new change room at Elephant Rocks.
Nearby Greens Pool
Greens Pool is even more popular than Elephant Rocks. It’s one of Denmark’s most visited places due to its turquoise waters and beauty. Locals know that on a windy day, it’s one of the best beaches in Denmark for sheltered swimming. Eg, when it’s blowing an Easterly Greens Pool is good; but Peaceful Bay is not.
While children’s swimming lessons are held at Green’s Pool and the water is completely sheltered, offering inviting water, please do not think it is 100% safe. It is definitely not.
In 2022 a tourist died while snorkeling out beyond the safe area. He got taken out by a strong rip at an area known as “the plughole”. His friends saved themselves by clinging to one of the outer rocks.
William Bay National Park Denmark Western Australia
Elephant Rocks is only one of the many beautiful attractions in William Bay National Park. The park was named after Sir “William” Edward Parry RN, a famous British Arctic explorer and navigator. He never visited Western Australia but did work in Port Stephens, New South Wales 1829-1834.
Some of the other places you might want to visit in William Bay National park are:
- Madfish Bay
- Waterfall Beach
- Parry’s Beach
These will be covered in the:
- Great Beaches of the South Coast of WA/ A guide to Denmark Beaches (Greens Pool alternatives)
- A guide to Greens Pool and William Bay National Park
The Verdict – Elephant Rocks WA
We hope that you are excite to visit these picturesque herd of Elephants ambling into the green blue waters of the Southern Ocean; but while they are beautiful and adventurous, they are not the only attraction in the area. Pack your swimmers and head over to Greens Pool for a swim, or in winter enjoy the dramatic ocean scapes that you won’t experience in any other part of the world!
We realize that things change all the time, and so it’s really important to us that we provide the most up to date information possible! That’s why we go through our pages annually making sure they are as current as possible. As always, if you notice something that’s not quite right, please let us know in the comments!
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