Elephant Rocks – located in Denmark, Western Australia WA is an absolutely beautiful beach and is one of the most popular places to visit on Australia’s southwest coast!
Whilst it used to be quite a mysterious place known only to locals, over the years Elephant Rocks has grown rapidly into a hotspot not only for families and friends to enjoy, but also for Instagrammers and drone photographers due to its breathtaking, mesmerising scenery.
This article explains all you need to know about Elephant Rocks in Denmark WA, including when to visit, how to get there, and what to do when you arrive!
What Is Elephant Rocks?
Elephant Rocks are the unique giant rock formations you’ll see at Elephant Cove – a rectangular cove with a beach on the south coast of Western Australia (WA) that is popular for swimming and snorkelling.
Why Is It Called Elephant Rocks?
Spend some time on Western Australia’s south coast and you’ll soon realise that many of the beaches here have granite boulders or outcrops. Elephant Rocks however has the most distinct boulder shapes.
Elephant Rocks is named so because of the gigantic boulders here that resemble a herd of elephants heading out in the magnificently beautiful shallow turquoise waters!
From several different angles the towering rocky formations appear to look like elephants – it’s really quite incredible to see.
The boulders are situated on the edge of Elephant Cove, to the right.
They aren’t completely obvious straight away, and you may have to use your imagination at first – however once you’ve seen them it really feels like it is a herd of elephants from behind, heading towards the ocean!
Where Is Elephant Rocks Located In WA?
Elephant Rocks and Elephant Cove are found in the stunning Williams Bay National Park. Williams Bay National Park forms part of Western Australia’s southern coast known as the ‘Rainbow Coast’.
The closest town to Elephant Rocks is Denmark, WA, and a visit to Elephant Rocks is one of the best things to do near Denmark. Elephant Rocks is located 18km west of Denmark and 55km east of the town of Walpole.
How to get to Elephant Rocks WA
If you are already in Denmark, getting to Elephant Rocks is easy as it’s just a 18km (20 minute) drive. Follow the South Coast Highway west, follow the signs for William Bay National Park and turn left at William Bay Road.
Head straight down this road for about 4km until you get to the Elephant Rocks parking area. There is a car park on the right for Greens Pool, and a car park further along on the left for Elephant Rocks.
However it doesn’t matter which one you park in as both are just a very short distance from each other, and whilst you’re here you should definitely see Greens Pool. There is a basic toilet block at the Elephant Rocks car park.
At the Elephant Rocks car park you’ll see the footpath signs leading towards Elephant Rocks so follow the signs down. It’s a short 5/10 minute walk on a well-kept gravel path, but do pay attention if it is wet as it might be slippy.
Also watch your step during the warmer months as snakes are present – one was on the path as we were walking!
Walking along the path you’ll see a sign pointing to the lookout in one direction and the beach in another direction. My advice is to go to the lookout first and then from there you can head down a secret shortcut path to the beach!
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Things To Do At Elephant Rocks WA
Visit Elephant Rocks Viewpoint
At the end of the path you’ll reach the viewpoint, which is above the cove on the top of some boulders. From here you’ll be able to get the best view of ‘the elephants’ heading out to sea. It’s like you are viewing them from slightly above.
The views from the lookout are absolutely stunning – the boulders look so giant, impressive and unique, and the colour of the vibrant turquoise water is incredible!
The water looks so still from above, and if you look closely enough you might even be able to see stingrays in the water!
Please pay attention to your footing at this viewpoint. Don’t go too close to the edge as there are no barriers! You can see us on the viewpoint boulder in the bottom left on the picture below:
Visit Elephant Cove
Many people just admire the view from the lookout and don’t bother heading down to the beach, however I definitely recommend heading down to the beach as well if you have time as the views from there are just as lovely!
Plus you’ll be able to go for a paddle and maybe even see a stingray up close!
To access Elephant Cove, look for the staircase next to the lookout – this goes down to Elephant Cove.
There’s probably around 30 steps or so – they end in a sandy patch between some boulders and then you’ll see the entry to Elephant Cove.
You need to wade through knee-deep/ankle-deep (depending on the tide) water between two towering boulders for a few metres to get onto the beach.
It’s a fun way to reach the beach and you really feel like an adventurer! Do watch out for rocks in the water plus any stingrays!
If you can’t go down the steps, or don’t fancy getting your feet wet, you can always walk back along the path and then take the turning on the right to the beach.
It’s a few minutes longer but it’s a sloped path so is easier if you struggle going down stairs.
Spend some time exploring the extraordinary Elephant Cove and admiring the different shapes of the rocks, or simply just relaxing on the beach.
If you are lucky enough to get Elephant Cove to yourself it really feels like you’re on a different planet! This is really a spectacular place to visit, and the remoteness just adds to its beauty!
The beach is nice and sheltered, and you can enjoy a different but just as impressive view of the elephants from here.
Go For A Swim Or Snorkel
The water is very calm, providing you stay well within the cove. This makes it perfect for families and children who want to paddle in the shallow water, as well as snorkellers who wish to look for stingrays, crabs and other marine creatures.
Whilst we were there this stingray was in the shallows the whole time!
Stingrays are gentle creatures, but pay attention and never touch a stingray tail. Stingrays will whip their tail and use the poison sting in the long barb if they feel threatened or scared. They can cause very serious injury.
Stingrays are powerful and wild animals. Never ever chase them. We took these photos using our GoPro attached to our 3 metre long pole so we didn’t need to get close to the stingray.
Visit Nearby Greens Pool
Just around the corner from Elephant Rocks – a 5 or 10 minute walk away following the path west is Greens Pool.
Greens Pool is exceptionally beautiful and is a favourite place for families to visit as the water is so calm due to the boulders preventing the waves from getting in. It feels like a giant rock pool and the kids love it!
Greens Pool is in fact even more popular than Elephant Rocks, and as it is so close you should definitely make a stop here whilst you are in William Bay National Park!
It’s easy to get from Elephant Rocks to Greens Pool and you don’t need to head all the way back to the car park – just follow the signs for Greens Pool along the track. You’ll walk along a rocky headland path until you get to the steps to Greens Pool.
Can You Swim At Elephant Rocks?
Yes you absolutely can swim at Elephant Rocks – it is a lovely place to go swimming and snorkelling.
Both Elephant Cove and Greens Pool beaches are fairly well protected from the waves by the boulders in the sea and are a popular place to swim.
That being said, whilst Elephant Rocks and nearby Greens Pool are great places to swim and are undoubtedly two of the best beaches in Western Australia, you do need to be very careful to not swim out too far here as the waves are incredibly strong.
Safety At Elephant Rocks WA
The Great Southern Ocean coastline is extremely prone to surges and big waves, which are incredibly powerful and can be dangerous. Never get close to the edge when walking, and don’t swim out of the protected waters.
People die every year in the ocean here so please be careful. Always try and explore with another person. Phone reception is often non-existent here.
Is It Free To Visit Elephant Rocks?
Yes, entry to William Bay National Park is free. There is no cost to pay to visit Elephant Rocks, WA.
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When Is The Best Time to Visit Elephant Rocks WA?
Elephant Rocks gets very busy during the summer, as well as the school holidays (April and September).
If you visit during this time and want to enjoy with less people around, it’s best to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon when there are less crowds.
Hot sunny days in particular will be busy, so it’s also a good idea to arrive on cooler, cloudy days in the summer if you want to visit when there will be less people.
Throughout the rest of the year, Elephant Rocks isn’t too busy and you may even find you are the only ones on the beach!
We visited on a sunny Saturday afternoon in March, and whilst several people came to admire the view from the viewpoint above, very few people came down to the beach so we basically had Elephant Cove to ourselves most of the time!
If you visit mid-week out of the summer months, especially if it’s not a sunny day, there’s a good chance you’ll have the whole place to yourself – magic!
Especially if you want to get photos without people in, or you’ll be flying a drone, it’s best to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon when there are less people around.
Whilst the water here at Elephant Rocks looks incredibly tempting, it is very cold – even in summer!
It’s best to visit during the summer months of December to February/March when the ocean is slightly warmer if you want to go for a swim (even then, it’s still cold)!
If that’s not possible, I’d advise wearing a wetsuit in this water for the rest of the year, or just brace yourself for the cold water!
During the Christmas and New Year period, Elephant Rocks and Greens Pool gets incredibly busy. In fact, they become some of the busiest areas along the whole of Western Australia’s south coast at this time of year!
This means the car parks will get very full, and whilst there are lots of parking spots, you might actually struggle to find a parking spot during the day.
The parking spots extend along the road up to about a kilometre away from the car park, so it can be a long way to walk with young children and beach equipment.
Therefore it’s definitely best to arrive before 8am or after 3pm so you can find a convenient spot.
It’s also important to drive slowly as there may be lots of young families walking along the road towards the beach.
If you find a parking spot in either Elephant Rocks car park or Greens Pool car park – take it, regardless of which beach you are going to as they are so close to each other, and you’ll be walking far less from your car to get to the beach.
If there’s absolutely no parking available at Elephant Rocks or Greens Pool, it’s worth checking out one of the nearby beaches, and then coming back to Greens Pool/Elephant Rocks at another time.
Peaceful Bay is a great spot to take children, or alternatively visit one of the beautiful beaches below – just swim with care.
What Else Is There To Do In William Bay National Park, Denmark?
Elephant Rocks is just one of many stunning beaches in William Bay National Park! Other nearby beaches in William Bay National Park that are definitely worth a visit include:
- Parry’s Beach
- Waterfall Beach
- Madfish Beach
All the beaches in William Bay National Park have incredible white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters and towering granite rocks on the beaches.
Whilst Elephant Rocks is visually the most spectacular, they are all definitely worth a visit if you have the time!
In addition, lots of beautiful colourful wildflowers bloom here in William Bay National Park year-round, which also attracts people.
William Bay National Park was named after the British explorer and navigator Sir William Edward Parry.
As mentioned above, a short walk over the rocks from Elephant Cove is the similarly breathtaking Green’s Pool, also part of William Bay National Park and one of the most visited places in Denmark.
With its calm waters, Greens Pool is an ideal place to go swimming or even snorkelling. You can see colourful fish, starfish and stingrays in the clear turquoise shallow water.
It’s also one of the best beaches to visit in WA on a windy day as it still provides sheltered swimming.
Even though the water is very sheltered here and it’s an ideal place for children to practice swimming – never let this put down your guard. Always pay attention to people swimming here and never ever swim beyond the sheltered area.
Strong rips occur beyond the safe area and do take people out to the ocean every year. Please stay vigilant.
Where Else To Visit on Western Australia’s South Coast?
Whilst the south coast of Western Australia is a lot more remote than other touristy beach areas of Australia, there is still so much to do and many other breathtaking places to explore.
Full of crystal clear turquoise waters, incredibly white sands, impressive granite boulders and not many people around – the beaches on the south coast of Western Australia are unlike anywhere else and are truly wonderful places to explore.
If you will be continuing your drive east of Elephant Rocks – Denmark, a 1 hour drive will take you to Albany.
Or continue driving another 2 hours to get to Bremer Bay – home of the Bremer Bay killer whales between January and April!
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Facilities at Elephant Rocks
Both Elephant Rocks & Greens Pool car parks have been redeveloped recently to accommodate the growing number of visitors to the area.
In addition to extra parking spots, the facilities include toilets and changing rooms at both Elephant Rocks and Greens Pool car parks.
There are no bins so you will need to take all your rubbish home with you. If you’ll be planning to spend a day here you will need to bring your own food and drinks as there are no supplies here.
Accommodation To Stay Near Elephant Rocks WA
As there is no accommodation or camping options at Elephant Rocks, the nearest accommodation is in Denmark town.
There are several accommodation options in Denmark to choose from. Here’s a good selection of places to accommodate the budgets of economical travellers and backpackers, mid-range travellers as well as luxury travellers.
For more accommodation options in Denmark search here on Booking.com!
Summary of Elephant Rocks, Denmark WA
Elephant Rocks is a truly spectacular place to visit and is well worth the journey!
The dramatic landscape was unlike anywhere else I had ever experienced in the world! Don’t rush your time here – we spend a couple of hours at Elephant Rocks alone before heading to Greens Pool, so you can really make a day out of it – especially if you’ve got the kids in tow!
Make sure to also explore the other great beaches in the area – there’s so much to explore here!
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!
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Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!