Ocean Beach is a popular surfing spot, and a favourite place to swim during summer. It’s considered to be the “main beach” for the town of Denmark, as it’s the one that is the shortest drive away from the centre of town.
The sweeping views from both Ocean Beach and the headland above are of the most beautiful along the South Coast of Western Australia.
Beautiful Coastal Views
As you can see from these photos, Ocean Beach is incredibly scenic. The views from the beach extend far across Ratcliffe Bay to the massive sand dunes and towering cliffs of the Nullaki Peninsula, all the way to West Cape Howe (Western Australia’s southernmost point).
Swimming at Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach is a great beach for swimming on a hot day. But is has big waves and rips, so choose your swimming spot wisely.
The best, and by far the safest, part of the beach for swimming is in the south-western corner of the beach at the end of Ocean Beach Road, right in front of the surf club and the carparks.
During the summer months, this 500m-long section of beach in front of the surf club is patrolled by surf lifesavers. So, you should swim between the flags to stay safe from rips and other hazards.
The waves are usually smallish at the south end of the beach. They break on a sandbar about 100m out – good for boogie boarding and body surfing.
Further east along the beach, in front of the inlet sandbar and the Nullaki dunes, Ocean Beach is dangerous for swimming, with huge ferocious waves and strong rips.
Rips at Ocean Beach
Avoid swimming at the far southern end end of the beach next to the rocks. A permanent rip flows out to sea alongside the headland. Also avoid swimming anywhere near the inlet channel, which has a strong rip associated with it.
The safe area to swim is in between the headland rip and the inlet rip!
Surfing Ocean Beach
Surfing at Ocean Beach is very popular, especially in the south-west corner next to Wilson Head, near the surf club and car park.
Most days the waves are on the small side, due to Wilson Head sheltering the beach somewhat from southern and south-western swells. The waves break over sand banks a good distant out, and are just perfect for kids and beginner surfers.
The surf tends to be best during the winter months, and when the inlet channel is open.
Heading east along the beach beyond the inlet you’ll find a series of beach breaks, and further still at the far end of the beach, some good reef breaks.
The Wilson Inlet Channel and Sand Bar
The tall dunes behind Ocean Beach make up the Nullaki Peninsula, the landmass separating Wilson Inlet from the ocean.
When the Wilson Inlet sand bar is open, the deep, swiftly flowing channel between the inlet and the sea divides Ocean Beach in two. This makes the long, wild south-facing section of the beach difficult to access. But most of the time, the inlet’s channel through to the sea is closed over by the sandbar.
Walking the Beach and Exploring
With its wild waves, tall sand dunes and spectacular views, Ocean Beach is a superb beach for walking along. When the inlet channel is closed over, the full length of the beach is 3 kilometres, so it’s quite a long walk.
But when the channel’s open, you can only walk about 500 metres or so. The channel is deep and fast flowing near where it meets the ocean, so wading across from Ocean Beach is impossible. However, you can cross it quite easily from further inland.
During winter it’s worth having a close look around the limestone cliffs near the Wilson Inlet channel. If you’re lucky you might be able to spot some fairy penguins there.
Prawn Rock Channel snakes its way around a broad sandbar, a huge flat expanse of windblown powdery white sand that was always a favourite kite flying place when I was younger.
Across the inlet channel at the far end of the sandbar, the sand dunes are very tall. If you’re up for a challenge, climb the huge sand blowout to the top of the tallest dune. The soft, powdery sand makes it three steps forward, two steps back all the way up to the top, but the views out over Wilson Inlet make it worth while, as does the fun of leaping and tumbling back down the hill.
At the far westernmost end of the beach there’s a reefy area before the beach ends at a limestone cliff.
Driving on Ocean Beach
Another way to explore Ocean Beach is by four wheel drive – if you’re lucky enough to find the beach open for driving. The road leads downhill from the carpark directly onto the beach next to the surf club, but access via this road is often barred. And if the inlet channel is open, you won’t be able to drive far anyway.
Where is Ocean Beach and how do you get there?
Ocean Beach is about a 6km drive south around the inlet from the town centre of Denmark. You can drive straight there by taking Ocean Beach Road. The Ocean Beach Road turn off is just east of the town centre along South Coast Highway.
Ocean Beach Location
View Ocean Beach location in a larger map
Last Updated: 29th May, 2015.
First posted on 1st November, 2013 by Bonny.
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