Prawn Rock Channel is located at the far western end of the Wilson Inlet, a few hundred mtrs north of Ocean Beach. The rock channel creates an island in the Wilson Inlet which you can cross to using a floating bridge near the channel's northern end.
The channel flows out into the Southern Ocean when the Wilson Inlet channel is dug across Ocean Beach each year to connect the Inlet with the ocean.
Only a few kilometres outside Denmark on Ocean Beach Road, the popular swimming location is just before the Ocean Beach look-out which is well signposted.
Prawn Rock Channel facing West across the Wilson Inlet.
The lovely part about Prawn Rock Channel is that it changes quite regularly. The depth of the water rises and falls, the strength of the flow of water from and to the ocean varies, making the water flow in and up, or out towards the ocean.
An easy place to keep your eye on children, when the channel is shallow, an ideal place to spend the day swimming in the beautiful waters without the crashing of waves... but if you want waves, walk around the headland to Ocean Beach!
Depending on the time of year you visit the channel may be deep and fast or slow and shallow.
The waves from Ocean Beach change the level of the sand at the bottom of the Channel, sometimes even carving a deeper channel through the shallow sand.
The water is warmer than the Ocean as this water is mixed with that of the Wilson Inlet, which is fed by rivers and land-locked therefore tends to be a lot warmer and more pleasant to swim in for longer periods of time.
A wonderful place to spend time enjoying the tranquility of Denmark.
The bridge crossing onto the island over Prawn Rock Channel in the Wilson Inlet
You can see the state of the channel at any time from Ocean Beach Lookout which is immediately left after Prawn Rock Channel.
An access road will bring you up, to the left along the cliff top to the Ocean Beach Lookout.
This lookout is also an easy way for surfers and wind-surfers to check the waves and wind.
The Channel at Prawn Rock is a changeable place. Most noticably is the change of water colour which occurs when the inlet is an inlet... or an outlet. When the water flows INTO the Inlet from the ocean (via a channel which is dug at the end of Ocean Beach) the water is ocean-y blue and turquoise. Cool and fresh, this water flows into the inlet and up Prawn Rock Channel. The water is fresh and ocean-cold.
When the Inlet current is dominant, the inlet waters flow out into the ocean. The Wilson Inlet, along with almost all of the inlets along the coast are stained with tannin from the gum tree leaves which fall into the rivers and streams which feed the Inlet. Among them the Hay and Denmark rivers. This tea-staining effect changes the colour of the water, and of course the temperature of the water is much warmer than the ocean.
Later in summer the beach (Ocean Beach) begins to fill the channel that was dug and the water gets shallower.
When the sandbar (beach) is breached each year the Inlet floods out into the ocean, widening the channel.
When the sandbar is finally back, the Inlet tries to trickle out over the beach... but it will have to wait until a new channel is dug next year, starting it all over again.
More information on the south-west coast in our other Western Australian travellers guides:
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