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William Bay National Park Activities and Things to Do
Denmark, Western Australia
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Greens Pool (above), Madfish Bay (below) and Elephant Cove (bottom):
When the weather is warm, swimming at the picturesque protected beaches in the eastern half of William Bay is a dream come true. Greens Pool in particular is the perfect natural ocean swimming pool, as safe as could be, perfectly calm, sheltered from the wind and incredibly scenic.
The boulders off-shore are fun to swim out to and jump off.
The other superb swimming spot is Madfish Bay, just a few minute's drive around the corner. Here, you have several beaches to choose from on the mainland and over on the island, which you get to by wading across a shallow sandbar.
Swimming in Elephant Cove in the shadow of the towering granite boulders is a memorable experience, but be careful if the water isn't dead-calm as there can be rips.
The one down-side to swimming in the safe, sheltered water of William Bay is that the water is very cold, but all the good points more than make up for this - especially on a hot day in the middle of summer!
Greens Pool and Madfish Bay are also excellent snorkelling sites. The water is generally crystal-clear and lots of fish congregate around the boulders and headlands.
The most common fish you'll always see are zebrafish, king george whiting, senator wrasse, moonlighters, silver drummer, bullseye and old wives.
Other fish you may or may not see include leatherjackets, crested morwong, catfish, goatfish, herring, Australian salmon, blue groper (juveniles, mainly) amd breaksea cod.
Bright orange starfish are reasonably common, and if you're very lucky you could spot an octopus or cuttlefish.
I've written a page about snorkeling at Greens Pool, which includes details of where's best to go, plus underwater photos from a snorkel I did there in December 2012.
I've never tried snorkelling at Elephant Cove, but I should imagine it's pretty similar to Greens Pool and Madfish Bay. Please let me know in the comments if you've snorkelled there before and if it's any good!
Fishing from the rocks and from Mazzoletti Beach is a popular activity in the national park for good reason! The waters along this coastline are thriving with fish. The most common catches are king george whiting, skippy, herring, flathead, tarwhine and, during the late summer/autumn season, Australian salmon.
You might also catch mulloway or a small shark.
The Bibblumun Track Through William Bay
The Bibbulmun Track traverses the full length of William Bay National Park. You can access this section of the track by car from Lights Beach, the road down to Greens Pool or Parry Beach.
From Lights Beach, the track heads inland, eventually climbing to the top of Tower Hill. It stays inland for a while longer, before coming out onto Mazzoletti Beach. It then follows the beach all the way to Parry Inlet. Depending on the inlet sand bar, you may have to wade across the channel.
Tower Hill Short Walk
The point where the road into the eastern end of the national park crosses the Bibbulmun Track is well sign-posted. From this point, if you follow the track to the east it will lead you to the top of Tower Hill, the prominant steep hill with strange, unearthly looking rock formations on top. The rocks are bigger than they look from down below - they have a "Stonehenge" feel to them. The views from the hill are spectacular, and provide a unique aerial perspective of the national park.
The track is 2km one-way, but takes a two hours because it's steep and you'll want to stop a while at the top to rest and admire the views!
The William Bay Bibbulmun Track campsite is up on the hill.
Beach Walks and Rock Hopping
The clean, powder-white sands, granite terraces, boulders, headlands and even islands of William Bay National Park form a varied and scenic coastline. While the Bibbulmun Track follows a large section of coastline (the entire Mazzoletti Beach), it branches inland before Greens Pool.
There aren't many other formal walkways following the William Bay coast, but that doesn't matter as in most places the rocks of the headlands slope gently up and are easy enough to walk over. If anything, the relative lack of boardwalks, stairways, sign-posts and fences is part of what makes coastal wanderings in William Bay so wonderful.
Walking Greens Pool Beach
The best way to take in the beautiful views of Greens Pool is to walk the entire length of the beach. If you feel like it, you could continue along Mazzoletti Beach.
As you head further west, you'll find the boulder-islands are closer to the shore and some are right up on the beach. The water is less protected further to the west beyond main swimming area, so on some days you'll see waves crashing close to shore.
The Greens Pool Headland to Elephant Cove and Beyond
This is the classic William Bay National Park walk, taking in Greens Pool, the Elephant Rocks and Elephant Cove. If you're just quickly stopping off in the national park and can't hang around all morning or afternoon, I'd suggest this walk is the one thing you shouldn't miss (plus a quick swim in Greens Pool if the weather's warm enough).
From Greens Pool, you walk up the gentle rise of granite and continue round past a series of rock pools and channels until you're standing above the massive Elephant Rocks boulders. From here you take a steep staircase down into a canyon between two "Elephants", through which you walk to find yourself on the beach in Elephant Cove. You can continue around to the other side of the cove and further still to another small beach where a stream flows out to the ocean.
Exploring Madfish Island (Snake Island)
This is a coastal walk with a difference. You reach the island by wading about 150m from the beach beneath the Madfish Bay carpark across a shallow sandbar where two sets of waves meet, splashing together.
Once on the island, you should take some time to investigate the rock pools, which are home to plenty of sealife including crabs, periwinkles, seaweed and even fish.
Madfish Bay to Waterfall Beach
This is an short and easy walk over the headland that separates the two bays. Once you reach Waterfall Beach, you can continue along to see the waterfall.
East from Waterfall Beach
Walk over the next headland from Waterfall Beach, and continue walking over a series of rocks and beaches along an espcially interesting stretch of coastline. You'll need to be mindful of large waves along much of this walk. Don't get too close to the water when you're up on the rocks.
It's possible to walk along the coast all the way to the eastern border of William Bay National Park, and beyond along Lights Beach.
You can pitch a tent or park a caravan at Parry Beach Caravan Park, just outside William Bay National Park to the west.
If you want to camp out in the wild, then the only places where it's allowed are in the designated campsite along the Bibbulmun Track just beneath the summit of Tower Hill.
Fires are not permitted in the William Bay National Park.
Four Wheel Driving
Depending on the Parry Inlet channel, you can take a 4WD from the Parry Beach caravan park along the full length of Mazzoletti Beach, all the way to Greens Pool.
There are also some tracks from South Coast Highway that will take you down onto Mazzoletti Beach without having to cross the inlet channel.
All William Bay National Park Pages:
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