advertisement

Take a day's leisurely driving to follow the Scotsdale and/or Mount Shadforth tourist drives that wind through the countryside north and west of Denmark. On the Scotsdale route, call in on modern, sophisticated Howard Park Winery, 2km (1 1/4 miles) from town (tel. 08/9848 2345; www.howardparkwines.com.au), one of the highly regarded producers in this area. Try their Riesling and shiraz wines. It's open 10am to 4pm daily, except December 25, Good Friday, and until noon on April 25. Take a short diversion on to Lantzke Road to visit the Denmark Berry Farm and the Jonathan Hook Studio (tel. 08/9848 1436; www.jonathanhook.com) to see some striking ceramic work. The studio is open from 10am to 5pm Monday through Friday and holiday weekends noon to 4pm. Farther on, at the junction with McLeod Road, make sure you stop at the Pentland Alpaca Tourist Farm (tel. 08/9840 9262; http://pentlandalpacafarm.com.au), which has an amazing collection of animals -- not just alpacas -- for you to get close and intimate with. There are koalas, dingoes, baby kangaroos, emus, and Tyson the Bison. There's a cafe and craft gallery. The farm is open daily from 10am to 4pm, with koala feeding at 10am and bottle feeding of the "babies" at 3pm; it's closed December 24 and December 25. Entry is A$12 adults, A$6 children 3 to 15, and A$35 families (up to three children). The Mount Shadforth Drive has some great views, as well as the charming rural retreat of the Lake House, Turner Road off Mount Shadforth (tel. 08/9848 2444; www.lakehousedenmark.com.au), with its wine tasting area and restaurant (serving fresh lunches and coffee) overlooking a tranquil lake and terraced gardens. It's open 11am to 5pm daily except December 25.

Other attractions worth visiting in the Denmark area include the South Coast Wood Works Gallery, South Coast Highway, 17km (10 miles) east of Denmark (tel. 08/9845 2028; www.wn.com.au/dmalcolm/ww), which showcases the work of some 40 local craftspeople. It's open from 10am to 5pm Wednesday to Sunday and daily during school holidays, except May to August, when it's open by appointment. The sweetest place of all around Denmark is Bartholomew's Meadery, South Coast Highway, 16km (10 miles) west of Denmark (tel. 08/9840 9349; www.honeywine.com.au), which sells a wide range of honey-based products, including ice cream and mead (honey wine). It's open daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm and 9am to 5pm during school holidays; it's closed December 25.

The Valley of the Giants is the must-see attraction around here. In addition to the Treetop Walk, there's the Ancient Empire, at ground level, where a boardwalk takes you around and even through the gnarled and buttressed trunks of the venerable red tingles. One ticket covers both, which are open from 9am to 5pm daily and 8am to 6pm December 26 to January 26 (closed Dec 25). The cost is A$10 adults, A$6 children 6 to 15, and A$25 families. There's a shop and interpretive center.

In Walpole, the WOW Wilderness Ecocruise (tel. 08/9840 1036; www.wowwilderness.com.au) sails through the shallow Walpole and Nornalup Inlets to the coastal wilderness. Guide Gary Muir provides one of the most informative, entertaining, and thought-provoking tours you will find, and has fittingly won the state's top guiding award. The tours run daily from 10am to 12:30pm, except in August and on December 25, and cost A$40 adults and A$15 children 5 to 15.

Swaying Through the Treetops

The Treetop Walk (tel. 08/9840 8263; www.dec.wa.gov.au/content/view/355/1045) is something really special. A 600m (2,000-ft.) see-through steel-mesh walkway some 40m (131 ft.) above the ground reaches out across a forested valley. The walkway, ensconced within the tops of the trees, is built upon tall anchored pylons at the end of each walkway section, which allows the structure to sway with the wind or as a reaction to people walking along it. It can be a spooky feeling to realize that the steel structure you're standing on is moving, and not necessarily in concert with the branches all around you. But it's exciting and wonderful, too. Each anchor point has a platform where you can catch your breath and let others overtake you. It's impossible to take everything in on your first walk, so there's provision to go round again at no extra charge.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.