If you are searching for the best things to do on a Walpole to Albany trip then we’re making the assumption that you are doing the Walpole to Albany leg of your road trip in one day. If you are staying around the area longer then we recommend you delve into our different, detailed guides for each town.
In direct travel time you can follow South West Highway for 1 hour and 30 minutes when traveling between Albany and Walpole along the South Coast Highway. This is definitely the quickest way to travel between the two towns for a total driving distance of 120km. This area is known as the Rainbow Coast. And, it’s true that you frequently see rainbows over the ocean (if you are lucky!).
We love this area and have provided a number of alternate routes to best plan your time. As locals to this area, we have been travelling Walpole to Albany for 40 years. This is not a guide put together after one or two visits!
An overview of this entire area is found at:
Great Things to do in Walpole WA
The Best Things to do in Denmark WA
Amazing Things to do in Albany WA
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Best Things to do From Walpole to Denmark
We think that spending a few days around Walpole is a good idea. There are 7 parks that make up the Walpole Wilderness area. These include the Mount Frankland National Park with its truly amazing views over the surrounding countryside.
Nearby if you visit Fernhook Falls on the Deep River in the winter months you are in for a spectacular display. All year round Fernhook Falls is a great bush campground (camp fees apply). Before leaving the town of Walpole, drop into the friendly Walpole Visitor Centre for maps of the south coast and local’s insider information on the Denmark region & Walpole.
Optional Stop Giant Tingle Tree – Walpole-Nornalup National Park
To visit the Giant Tingle Tree is a one way loop road. So, it adds a short amount of driving to the Walpole to Albany trip (on a generally well maintained gravel road). First stop is Hill Top Lookout which offers panoramic views across the Nornalup Inlet and the forest. The second stop is a visit to the Giant Tingle Tree. This makes for a nice for a picnic spot and short walk. However, given you are just starting out for the day you might want to do the 800 metre walk (that’s just 0.6 miles) through the rare Red Tingle Forest to the enormous hollowed out Giant Tingle Tree.
This Red Tingle Tree is a massive example of how fire and fungi eats out the hollow centre of the tree. However, the tree is still able to live as long as the cambium layer is intact. It’s unbelievable that the heart of the tree can get burned out by fire while the outer sections of the tree can remain. At over 400 years old, this very rounded giant is one of the biggest trees still standing. Make sure you go stand inside to get an appreciation for just how big this tree is!
Stop to Eat – If you are already thirsting for morning tea the very cute Nornabar in Nornalup has famous cakes and great coffee.
First Must Stop – Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
When it was built over 25 years ago the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk was very innovative. It is specially designed to reduce the environmental impact of visitors on the precious Red Tingle Trees. Still is one of the “must do” things in the Denmark region & Walpole area. It is an amazing place to get a bird’s eye view of the forest. The Tree Top Walk moves slightly to recreate the feeling of being at the top of a tree. At 40 metres above the ground at its highest point it is not that easy for those who don’t like heights!
For those that don’t like heights, there is also the highly recommended ground level walk “The Ancient Empire”. It is one of the easier options to get a sense for the majesty of the incredible tingle forest. You can also see the rare Yellow Tingles, as well as the occasional Marri Trees.
For more information – A Complete Guide to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk Walpole Denmark
Optional Stop – Beaches near Peaceful Bay
If you are taking a meandering trip from Walpole to Albany then you might want to make a visit to Conspicuous Beach. Also known as Conspicuous Cliffs, it is down a gravel road off the South Coast Hwy. It’s one of our personal favorites! Not as a swimming beach, but because there you can experience the sheer power of the ocean. If you are looking for a brisk workout, climb to the top of the cliffs for incredible views. Also, there is a chance to spot Humpback Whales during their migratory season.
If you are comfortable driving gravel roads, Conspicuous Cliffs to Peaceful Bay is a short drive along Ficifolia Road which is named for the endemic red flowering gum the Corymbia Ficifolia. This pretty gum tree is well-known in cultivation. However, it is rarely seen growing in the wild, with only a few populations between Denmark and Walpole. We’d definitely then stop in at the sleepy collection of shacks at Peaceful Bay. The fish n chips are delicious and there is a gorgeous white sandy beach and turquoise water.
If you are visiting the South Coast area during the busy Christmas, New Years and first week of January school holidays then we would recommend choosing Peaceful Bay over Greens Pool unless you visit before 9am or after 3pm. In short, Peaceful Bay is on the Walpole to Albany drive but earlier on the itinerary.
Stop to Eat – If you have a hankering to try out some Western Australian Marron you might like to stop at the Marron Tale located at the turn off to Peaceful Bay. This is a cute, locally owned restaurant with beautiful views over farmland.
Optional Stop – (Recommended for families/kids) Denmark Dinosaur Park and Reptile World
Denmark Dinosaur Park and Reptile World located just past Bow Bridge is a great place to meet locals like kangaroos who like to be patted. There are plenty of beautiful birds to admire. You can also learn about the conservation of the critically endangered Red Tailed Black Cockatoo.
Families also love to meet the rare pythons, monitor lizards and dragon lizards. And from living lizards to extinct lizards, here you can meet the only T-Rex in Australia and learn more about the pat with the Denmark Dinosaur Park, also on the same site.
Optional Stop – (Recommended for Families/Kids) The Cone & Denmark Good Food Factory
If you haven’t already had a bite to eat at one of the aforementioned delicious options, you are going to be famished! And take it from us, the burgers at the Good Food Factory are tops! As are the huge ice-creams from The Cone (claimed to be the world’s largest ice cream cone). If you are thirsty then why not try a cider from the Elephant Rocks Cider Co? There is definitely a great range of food! We highly recommend pulling off the South Coast Hwy when you see the Giant Cone!
Second Must Stop – Greens Pool & Elephant Rocks
Your next stop on your Walpole to Albany trip should definitely be Greens Pool and William Bay National Park. Note comments above about busy period!
We cover in detail both Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks in our detailed post, A Guide to Elephant Rocks WA (2022).
Optional Detour – Scotsdale Road Tourist Drive
From the point where William Bay Road hits the highway, it’s just 2km to the turnoff to Scotsdale Road tourist drive. Turn left, it is clearly signposted. Families will definitely want to divert down here for a visit to the highly recommended (by our kids) Denmark Alpaca Farm. In addition to seeing alpacas and llamas, you can see a host of farm animals and also natives like the Western Grey Kangaroo. … and also potentially a roll down the hill at Denmark Thrills Adventure Park. The lovely meandering tourist drive offers a host of lunch and winery options including the easy walk at Harewood Forest. This is also a beautiful setting for lunch if you packed yours for the day.
Stop to Eat – Here are some recommended places to eat near Denmark WA. For those who decide not to turn down Scotsdale Tourist Drive, head along the South West Hwy in search of lunch. The Dam is brand new, innovative and conveniently close to William Bay – approximately 4km towards Denmark. Alternatively, a few kms up the road Pepper and Salt at Forest Hill Winery is delicious.
Third Must Stop – Denmark WA
Denmark WA is a fabulous coastal town with a vibrant cafe culture and music scene. Stop in Denmark town for a browse in some of the fabulous boutiques. Then there are a number of choices for lunch, including Mrs. Jones.
We generally take the kids to the playground at the Denmark River or head over to the nature based Kwoorabup Community Playground. There are picnic tables and toilets at both playgrounds if you want to pack the lunch. If you haven’t already got your fill of beaches then Ocean Beach in Denmark is spectacular. Though this post is intended to be the ‘best things to do between Walpole and Albany” so I’d recommend Greens Pool in the quiet season or Peaceful Bay in the busy season.
If you have kids and are looking for a good family option then we choose to continue along the highway to Boston Brewery for a late lunch, and a bevvy.
Kwoorabup is the Menang word for Denmark, meaning “Place of the Brush Tail Wallabies.” The people of Noongar Boodja (Noongar People’s Country) are the traditional owners of the South West of Western Australia, and we recognize their ongoing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past and present and continue a commitment to the amplification of their voices.
Denmark to Albany – Places to Stop
Assuming you’ve had a late lunch at one of the fabulous eateries, wineries or restaurants in Denmark you might like to know that it is a short 35 minute drive from Denmark to Albany. Compared to the morning’s heavy hitters in terms of stellar attractions, there is not a lot to do and see. Sorry, that’s my honest opinion!
Given I know the area between Walpole and Albany so well I think an interesting addition to the lists of West Cape Howe on lists “best things to do between Walpole and Albany” is an interesting one. If I only had one day, or a short amount of time to visit this area, West Cape Howe is a little bit off the beaten track for my “best of” list. Not to say that I don’t love the ruggedness of the area, but to truly experience the wonder of West Cape Howe you need a four wheel drive and a sense of adventure.
My advice is – if you are short of time, drop West Cape Howe from your Walpole to Albany “to do” list. However, if you do want to go into the park, turn onto the Lower Denmark Road at about 18 km from Denmark (just past the highly recommended Surf Gallery).
Optional Stop – The Surf Gallery
The Surf Gallery is located just before turnoff to Lower Denmark Road. With the largest publicly displayed private collection of vintage surfboards in Australia, anyone who loves a wave or surf culture will want to put the Surf Gallery on their “to do” list when travelling from Denmark to Albany. There is an amazingly curated ‘Evolution of the Surfboard’ exhibition features surfboards, skateboards, photographs and surfing memorabilia all beautifully presented.
Stop to Eat – We recommend Eden Gate Blueberry Farm. However, it is open only in summer (December through February. The Eden Gate Blueberry Farm is a great place for fresh blueberries, frozen blueberries, preserves, ice cream, muffins, Blitz bluemonade. Please not it is always closed on Tuesday and Weds.
Optional Stop – West Cape Howe National Park
If you visit West Cape Howe National Park, you can claim you have visited most southerly point in Western Australia! After turning onto the Lower Denmark Road you will see the signs for West Cape Howe and Cosy Corner. West Cape Howe National Park is roughly half way between Albany and Denmark.
The only 2WD accessible spot is the beautiful Shelley Beach. There is also a spectacular lookout above for views out to sea and along the rugged coastline to Torbay Head. Other places within the park require high clearance four-wheel drive. Make sure you have a tyre pressure gauge and a tyre pump. Park features can also be reached by bushwalking along the sandy four-wheel drive tracks.
After Arriving in Albany
This is the end of the Walpole to Albany itinerary! There is a lot to see and do in this vibrant port city, including giant murals on the wheat silos. We find Albany an interesting place to spend a few days. You should definitely visit the following places. However, should you make these stops on an Albany to Walpole trip? Well … no … It would be physically impossible to visit all the great spots on this list and these as well in one day. But, there’s nothing stopping you from heading off the following morning.
• National Anzac Centre (allow half a day)
• Natural Bridge and The Gap in Torndirrup National Park. (allow a couple of hours)
Make sure to read our comprehensive Things to do in Albany post covers these places and much more. Also, if Albany Wa is your stopping point, then The Best Family Accommodation in Albany WA is a must-read.
Other Ways to Get from Albany to Walpole / or Vice Versa
The Bibbulmun Track
The Bibbulmun Track is a world famous long-distance walk trail which runs for 1003 km between Kalamunda in the east of Perth to Albany. For those who choose to do an “end to end” it takes a massive six to eight weeks. For many people (including us) doing shorter walks on the track of a couple days or even a week is a great place to get a taste for hiking, and for the Bibbulmun track. Without doubt if you take on the Albany to Walpole section you are going to experience the track’s wildest and most spectacular scenery with rugged cliffs and coast to the ancient tingle forests of Walpole.
Walpole to Denmark/ Distance: 126km
While the Walpole to Denmark portion of the track gives walkers the best mix of forest and coast … it also includes some of the most difficult days on the entire Track. Once you pass Peaceful Bay and the fun and adventurous canoe crossing on the Irwin Inlet, are three very challenging days of more than 20km each. The terrain is tough – with a mix of long beaches, soft and steep sand dunes mixed with forest and heath.
Denmark to Albany / Distance: 85km
If you are starting your hiking career keep in mind that the Denmark to Albany is section than Peaceful Bay to Denmark. The crossings of Wilson and Torbay Inlets require research and planning, so make sure you investigate further. This part of the Bibbulmun offers gorgeous swimming spots and some of the best uninterrupted scenery along the south coast with lots of wow factor!
The Munda Biddi Off Road Cycling Trail
The Munda Biddi Trail is a long-distance mostly off-road cycling trail that runs for over 1,000 kilometres from Mundaring to Albany. When it opened in April 2013 it claimed the title of the longest continuous off-road cycling trail of its kind in the world. You could ride from Walpole to Albany in 4-5 long days of between 40-50km of mountain biking per day. Like on the Bibbulmun Track short rides are possible and a good way for testing your mettle and interest in doing Off Road Cycling.
The Verdict – Best Stops Between Walpole and Albany, via Denmark WA
As we’ve mentioned before we have driven this road – and explored its treasures many, many times. We hope that we have convincingly shared our knowledge of this beautiful part of the world with its spectacular views, fine foods and vibrant coastal towns. Our travel guide doesn’t include everything that there is to do between Albany and Walpole (or in reverse directions) because that is not the intention of the guide. We wanted to share with you the different routes and best way to experience this beautiful area in a short amount of time (1-2 days).
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