This beautiful, dramatic cove gets its name from the Elephant Rocks, the tall rounded granites that form the bay’s western headland.
It is a long, rectangular shaped bay cut deep into the land. The huge sheer-sided boulders that surround the small beach make it feel peaceful and secluded.
Swimming With the Elephants
In perfectly calm conditions, Elephant Cove is an idyllic swimming spot. During the height of summer when Greens Pool gets crowded, the cove can be a nice quieter alternative.
It sure is a fun and interesting place to swim! Several of the rocks in the middle of the cove are quite easy to climb, and can be jumped from into deep water. And swimming in the shadowy canyons between towering “elephants” is an awe-inspiring experience.
Just be aware that strong surges and currents are often present in the cove, due its long and narrow shape. Even small gentle-looking waves in Elephant Cove often have a strong surge behind them as they’re channelled through the narrow gaps between boulders and sand banks.
- Swimming at Elephant Cove is fairly safe when there are no waves at all, like in the first picture on this page.
- If huge waves are crashing on the outer rocks, or if you can feel a strong pull from the small waves breaking on the shoreline, then it’s best just to paddle in the shallows and avoid swimming.
- Be cautious about swimming off a sandbank into a deep channel, because there could be a rip
- Watch kids closely when they’re playing in the water, and ensure they’re accompanied by a strong swimmer if they want to swim where it’s deep
- Always check the water depth near a rock before jumping
- Stay a good distance back from the water’s edge when exploring the rocky headlands, and watch out for unexected large waves.
Exploring the Rocks from Elephant Cove Beach
The “elephants” on the western side of the beach are tall and sheer-sided, but you can get to the top quite easily by climbing the staircase hidden at the end of a narrow chasm between two rocks.
From up on the headland, you can view the Elephant Rocks from above, where they most look like elephants, and walk westwards across the rocks to Greens Pool. It’s a short, but scenic and pleasant walk.
Walking around the headland to the east, there are yet more spectacular coastal views. If you walk far enough you’ll find a small, secret beach with very calm, shallow water and a stream flowing out to sea.
Along the eastern side of Elephant Cove, you’ll find some rocks that look out of place on the predominantly granitic South Coast of Western Australia. They are fine-grained and dark, suggesting volcanic origins.
This, along with the jointed nature of the granites to the west (the elephants) gives some clue about the formation of the cove and the elephants, and why its two headlands are so long and straight. The bay was most likely formed by a volcanic dike eroding faster than the surrounding granitic rocks.
In exploring the Denmark coast you’re sure to come across several other small coves and inlets that appear to have formed in a similar way. The small cove at Boat Harbour in the Quarrum Nature Reserve is one example.
How do you get to Elephant Cove?
There are two paths leading down to the Elephant Cove beach, but the most fun way to get there is to descend the steep staircase into the narrow gap between two huge elephant boulders. Water surges in when the tide is high, so be prepared to get your feet wet!
You get to the staircase by first walking to the Elephant Rocks headland above the cove, either from the beach at Greens Pool (see the Elephant Rocks Walk Trail for the details), or from the gravel Elephant Cove carpark (follow the track, taking first the left fork, then the right, then the left).
The other way to get to the Elephant Cove beach is to follow the track from the gravel carpark, taking the left fork each time the track branches. This will lead you around the back way onto the beach, without descending the staircase.
Last Updated: 29th May, 2015.
First posted on 11th October, 2013 by Bonny.
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