Boat harbour is about 30 kilometres west of Denmark, the small road off the main highway is easy to drive for the first five kilometres or so but then the track becomes four wheel drive only for the final half of the track. If you like visiting places that are out of the way and not part of the normal tourist route, then the trip is well worth it.
The day I went to boat harbour it was very stormy, not a great day for sight seeing or photography, but an interesting way to see the rugged coastline. Boat harbour is one of the few places where a boat can get safe access to land for miles around and it’s easy to understand how it was named. You can also access the beach by vehicle if you want to launch or retrieve a boat.
The beautiful calm natural harbour is protected by large rock out crops on either side, the narrow rocky front opens out as it gets to the wide white sandy beach which means that any large swells from the ocean tend to lose their ferocity by the time they have spread out and they gently roll up the beach while out the front there are big ferocious swells.
The seas here are fairly treacherous low sloping rocks may seem like easy access to the waters edge, but they are often slippery and waves can come out of nowhere, remembering that there’s nothing but open ocean between here and Antarctica. The coastline around the area is very rugged, you can see in the background that it’s rocks and steep cliffs for as far as you can see, you can imagine that any early explorers would have been very happy to find a calm little harbour like this. You notice in the picture above that the four wheel drive track leads you right up onto the rock, this is one of the few areas of coastline down here where you can drive right up onto the rocks. Caution is required of course, earlier this year someone parked their brand new Ford Ranger on the rocks, but didn’t park it too well and it rolled straight down the rocks and into the water. The funny thing at the time was that when the RAC recovery truck arrived there, the guy couldn’t find the vehicle, he was used to vehicles stuck in the surf on rising tides, not ones almost four metres under water.
Out on the front it’s rough and rugged, a great area to explore walking along the rocky headland with the camera, you can drive a lot of the front here but I prefer the walk, you see a lot more.
It can be difficult to get an idea of size, but in the picture below there’s a cave in the centre right of the picture below, this would be almost large enough to stand up inside.
It’s a tough life for plants out on a rocky headland like this, there’s no soil, just rock in the process of breaking down so very little nutrient to sustain life. And you’re being constantly battered by wind and weather blowing up from the Antarctic with salty spray off the ocean.
There are a few gorgeous little protected coves you’ll find as you explore, this one was very close to the main headland and I could see from a distance that the beach was predominantly shell grit. It was very awkward getting down to the beach as there were no tracks, still it was worth it. All the little beaches and coves along here which are rich in shells, have different types and/or sizes of shells. This one had lots of large shells and a lot of it very sun bleached, still some interesting fossicking and I had to fill my hat as I hadn’t come prepared with any containers.
Another small section further around the headland where there was a gap in the rocks had a very impressive amount of shell grit. I was going to have a lot to sort through from around boat harbour and quite different to what I’d collected around at Parry’s beach.
A lot more pieces of coral and unusually shaped items, many I have no idea of what they might be including an interesting lacy folded piece. Lighter colours and whites tend to be more prominent in this area rather than the more diverse and brightly coloured stuff I collected from Parry’s beach which is only on the other side of the headland maybe 10 kilometres away perhaps.
If you’re in a four wheel drive and you like the less touristy locations then boat harbour is well worth a visit. The track in was reasonable, there weren’t many sections that were difficult, just some loose sandy bits but in the middle of winter I only heard the traction control come on once in the Land cruiser.
There’s some drop toilets here near the beach and evidence that a few people have been camping in little spots near the beach. There aren’t any no comping signs but there are no bins, so please take your rubbish with you, I picked up half a bag of rubbish while I was there. The Bibbulmun track passes by here along the coast line, so if you become bored with the beach or the rocks you can walk some of the track in either direction. I plan on visiting again and exploring to the west along the Bibbulmun as the coastline looks magnificently rugged.