Chimes is located in the heart of Western Australia’s Great Southern Wine Region, and the surrounding countryside is truly spectacular. There’s a great deal to do, see and enjoy right here on our property – not least the luxurious Chimes Day Spa. However, we also recommend that our guests set aside some time to get out and explore the region.
The best ways to explore the surrounding countryside is by car, and there are a few truly spectacular driving routes in the region. If you’re going to spend even a couple of days at Chimes, we highly recommend you consider setting aside a few hours for a leisurely drive in the countryside.
With that in mind, we’re going to highlight a few of the most popular driving routes in the area. All of these drives are easily arranged from Chimes, and each has its own set of diversions, detours and attractions along the way.
Here are Denmark’s five most popular scenic drives:
- Scotsdale Scenic Drive
This is one of the most celebrated drives in the region, spanning a 34 km stretch of Scotsdale Road running from Denmark to McLeod Road. Along the way, you’ll drive through stunning karri-tree forests that occasionally give way to orchards and farmland. While a mere 34 km may not seem like much of a drive, there’s much to see and do along the way. There are several artists’ workshops and art galleries to visit, as well as scenic overlooks and even an alpaca farm.
You can also stop off in Harewood Forest for a walking trail that leads to wineries and features excellent bird watching opportunities. At the terminus, Scotsdale Road joins the South Coast Highway and ultimately connects to Williams Bay Road. You can actually extend the drive and continue on to Greens Pool in William Bay National Park.
- Mount Shadforth Scenic Drive
This is another drive that starts from downtown Denmark. Begin on North Street and drive west out of Denmark. Mount Shadforth Road traces a ridge over a winding, 15-km stretch of road passing through pastures with grazing cattle. The views over the rolling, verdant hills are unrivalled. At around the 7-km mark, a left onto Mohr Drive leads to the Mount Shadforth lookout.
Continuing on, you’ll drive through karri tree forests and a few local vineyards, ending up at Nullaki Peninsula and Wilson Inlet. On particularly clear days, you can see Point Hillier on the distant horizon. Bear in mind that the latter third of Mount Shadforth Road is unsealed gravel.
- Valley of the Giants Road to Tree Top Walk
If you want to go beyond the Mount Shadforth Scenic Drive, we recommend packing a picnic lunch and heading all the way to Peaceful Bay. After lunch, you can spend more time here swimming or fishing before continuing west on the South Coast Highway until you reach the Valley of the Giants Road. The main attraction here is Tree Top Walk – a famous walkway through the canopy of a grove of tingle trees. This stand of trees has been dubbed ‘The Ancient Empire’, and some of its mammoth trees have a base circumference of up to 16 metres. They truly have to be seen to be believed.
The canopy walkway serves dual purposes. From a visitor’s perspective, it offers a new vantage point on this ancient forest – one that you simply cannot enjoy when looking up from the ground. But it also protects the trees’ root systems from excessive trampling by visitors. If you’ve ever embarked on a canopy walk before, the Tree Top Walk is different than most because it’s built on steel trusses rather than a swinging suspension system. It’s safe for young visitors and is even wheelchair accessible.
- Drive to Walpole
The town of Walpole is located to the west of Denmark, and it takes about 45 minutes to drive here along the South Coast Highway. This is not an official tourist route, but it’s scenic nonetheless and well worth your time. You’ll drive out of Denmark on a tree-lined road that rambles through a karri forest before eventually straightening out after you emerge from William Bay National Park. From here, the road veers into flat pastureland with what many consider to be the greenest grass in Western Australia.
The karri wilderness resumes as you approach Walpole. This particular drive doesn’t offer ocean views, but there are several turn-offs along the way leading to seaside villages and attractions. Consider stopping at Parry Beach, Peaceful Bay or Conspicuous Beach. There are also a few craft shops, wineries and restaurants between Denmark and Walpole.
- Drive to Albany
Albany lies to the east of Denmark, and it only takes half an hour to drive there. But there are plenty of activities to enjoy and attractions to see – both on the way and in Albany. To get to Albany, you can drive along either the South Coast Highway or Lower Denmark Road. The latter is slightly longer and stays closer to the coast.
To extend this drive, we recommend stopping off at West Cape Howe National Park and driving all the way to Lowlands Beach. There’s a gravel road here that continues to Shelley Beach and Cosy Corner, winding through farmland and karri forests. The road may not be sealed here, but the dramatic scenery of rocky cliffs is well worth the detour.
If you’d like to embark on any of these drives whilst staying at Chimes, feel free to let us know. We can assist with trip planning and make suggestions for specific sights and activities to enjoy along your route in order to make your couples spa retreat experience one to remember.
Many of our guests arrive with a rental car, but we’re more than happy to help you make those arrangements if you don’t have a suitable vehicle. Even if you have a car, you may want to consider hiring a 4WD drive vehicle, as this opens up more opportunities to explore. Contact us now to start planning your visit.