Explore outback WA! Visit the Wheatbelt town of Hyden to see their famous Wave Rock, a natural rock formation that’s shaped like a tall breaking ocean wave.
? My Road Trip to Outback WA ?
Hyden – Holland Track – Coolgardie
On the 4-day long Easter weekend that passed in Western Australia, I went on a road trip out to Australia’s Golden Outback to embark on the very popular 4WD trail “The Holland Track”, a pioneering 4wd route that was carved through rugged bushland and woodlands by John Holland in 1893 as a quick shortcut to the Goldfields.
The Holland Track is a ‘bucket list’ must-do outback adventure and if you love 4wding and camping, you’d want to tick this one off your list. The track connects Broome Hill in the Southern Wheatbelt to Coolgardie in the Goldfields and can be undertaken in two different sections.
We chose to enter the track from the Hyden-Norseman Road entryway, a route that takes you from Hyden to Coolgardie town. At 290km it will take 2-3 days to complete, so camping is involved! I had an unbelievably awesome time out there, and I’ll write a separate blog on my Holland Track experience soon – but first, I want to write about my time at the not-so-sleepy town of Hyden and its famous natural attraction, Wave Rock.
Hyden is a small country town with a population of 460 people, situated in the desolate and dry Wheatbelt Region of Western Australia. It’s located 292km east-southeast of Perth in the Shire of Kondinin and every year, the town attracts 100,000 tourists who come to view its famous natural attraction, Wave Rock.
It’s a four hour drive by road from Perth, or one hour by air. There’s also a twice weekly public bus service, regular tourist coaches or join thousands of others in self-driving up there, like we did!
There is much more to Hyden however, than just Wave Rock. The Aborigines were the first inhabitants to the area and plenty of artifacts have been found on old campsites here. In addition, their artwork is still seen today on caves like Mulka’s Cave and the Humps in the form of drawings and painted hand prints.
Other interesting things about Hyden is that Sandalwood cutters were believed to be the first white men to visit the area in the early 1920’s. They came to cut down trees that were sent to China to make incense for the Chinese Temples. Not long after that, farming started in 1922 and then wheat production in 1927.
It’s been said that the farmers in the Hyden district are amongst the best dryland farmers in the world. I won’t argue with that! While the Wheatbelt landscape may look simple, it’s one of the oldest on Earth and has a very interesting story to tell, which is why I recommend self-driving up there – just be extra careful, stay alert, watch your speed and look out for wildlife (emu’s and kangaroos) and you will have a great experience.
As you approach Hyden town you will see Street Scape Sculptures in the main street. They tell the story of how Hyden came to be from Aboriginal history, the first sandalwood cutters to the shearers and farmers. Definitely instagram-worthy!
? About Wave Rock – The Star Attraction!⭐⭐⭐
Wave Rock is just as it sounds but much, much cooler – it’s an impressive granite cliff that’s 15 metres high and 110 metres long rock that looks like a tall breaking ocean wave. Situated in the middle of the distinctive and unique dry Wheatbelt region of WA, it’s a stunning sight to see and photograph because it stands out so much (don’t forget your selfie stick).
It’s rounded-like shape has been caused by weathering and water erosion which has undercut the base and left a rounded overhang. The vibrant colouring of the wave is due to water from the springs (running down the rock during wetter months) helping to dissolve minerals into it.
One more important fact that should be highlighted – Wave Rock is kind of a big deal – it’s ancient! It’s been said Wave Rock was formed before the age of dinosaurs, which was about 2.7 billion years ago, making it one of the oldest rocks in the world.
In addition, crystals from Hyden Rock (which forms the north side of the hill/cliff) were dated at being 2700 million years old back in 1960, which are also amongst the oldest in Australia.
So go on, visit Wave Rock, see Hyden Rock and touch the rock-floor, or take an epic selfie at least, I know you want to. While you’re up there, check out the nearby connected Hippo’s Yawn, which is an unusually shaped granite that also makes for great photographs.
Essentials to know?
- Vehicle access is provided with a nearby car park. Cost is $10 per vehicle and is to be paid at the entrance to Wave Rock at the meter or visitor kiosk.
- There are toilets and rubbish bins situated at the entrance to Wave Rock.
- You will find interpretive signage around the rock, enlightening you on the history of the rock and surrounding areas.
- There is a loop walking track at Wave Rock.
? My Wave Rock Experience ?
I love exploring Perth and Western Australia and then sharing my experiences with you, my readers. Take a look at photos below from my stopover in Hyden and Wave Rock. I wish we could have stayed longer (I really wanted to see Mulka’s Cave) but we had our Holland Track 4WDing & camping adventure awaiting us! Check out pics below.
In addition to experiencing Wave Rock and Hippos Yawn, other things to do around Wave Rock are:
- Explore the Humps and Mulka’s cave – A 15 minute drive north of Wave Rock you will see a “giant” granite rock formation known as the Humps. Mulka’s cave showcases Aboriginal hand stencils and line paintings on the walls.
- Experience Aboriginal culture – Hand art, stones and gnamma holes (natural cavities that act as natural water tanks) made and used by Aborigines have been found on their old camp sites throughout the area.
- Walk trails and guided tours – If you love hiking or just want to enjoy the scenery more, go on a self paced interpreted walk over and around the rocks. There’s a small selection of trails and walking loops to choose from.
- The Wave Rock Wildlife Park – Three hectares of natural bushland creates the best haven for native and exotic animals that live at the local Wildlife Park – see kangaroos, koalas, alpacas, camels, wombats & more!
- See Wildflowers and orchids – If you are visiting during Spring, the bushland comes alive with an explosion of colour. A a photographer’s dream and the cost is free!
- Enjoy Lake Magic at sunrise and sunset – The local lake 1km north of Wave Rock isn’t called ‘Lake Magic’ for nothing – the lake shows off an array of changing colours morning and evening that make for great pictures.
- The Lace Place Museum – Built in 1900 to house an original collection of antique gowns and wedding dresses from the Valerie Mouritz Collection. Cost is $5 entry.
- Pioneer Town & Museum – Features a variety of site specific displays, including an old general store (complete with old grocery items), pipes, tobacco tins, cameras and veterinary instruments from the 1930’s and a bottle collection dating back to 1870. Cost $4 per person.
- Rabbit Proof Fence – No1 Rabbit Proof Fence – the longest fence in the world! The Rabbit Proof Fence is approx 50 kms east of Hyden. If you are driving on the Granite Woodlands Discovery Trail (Hyden – Norseman Road), you will cross the Rabbit Proof Fence 53 kms East of Hyden.
- The Miniature Soldier Museum – A collection of over 10,000 handmade pieces are displayed in the series of the great wars. A small section of the original Rabbit Proof fence is also on display in the Miniature Soldier Museum.
Road Trip: Getting to Wave Rock
The best way to get to Wave Rock and hyden’s Wave Rock is by car – it makes for a fun road trip! Just make sure you are fully prepared for your journey to Wave Rock (i.e. make a checklist that features important things like radiator water, lubricants, tyre inflation pressure, first aid kit, water, small emergency cash and more).
- FROM PERTH’S NORTHERN SUBURBS: Approx a 3 1/2 hour drive through the Jarrah Forest of the Darling Ranges to historic York, across the grazing farmlands and lake chains to Quairading, Corrigin, Kondinin and to Hyden.
- FROM PERTH’S SOUTHERN SUBURBS: Approx a 3 1/4 hours drive starting along Albany highway through the beginning of the Wheatbelt via Brookton, Corrigin, Kondinin and to Hyden.
Both routes then travel through Corrigin, a popular town stopover 3kms east of Hyden. It’s also known as the ‘Town of Windmills’ due to the abundant supply of ground water where almost every home had a windmill until 1960. Also check out their famously unusual Dog Cemetery – where pet owners have laid their dogs to rest. Awwwwwwwww! *tear*
All roads to Hyden have sealed surfaces and the landscape is beautifully diverse. You will notice an change in the landscape and vegetation as you journey further out, from the fossil temperate rain forest strip of Grey Jarrah along the plateau edge, to the ghostly York Gums inland, to shiny Salmon Gums and stumpy Mallee near Corrigin, then the rolling, low sand plain heath near Hyden and beyond.
Watch Speed, Take Breaks & Look Out for Kangaroos!
Open road speed limit is 110km per hour and you will have to slow down to the usual 50km per hour limit in most of the country towns you pass through up to Hyden. Stop at least every two hours for a break. Apparently free coffee for the driver is provided at many “driver reviver” fuel stations along the way.
Drive carefully and watch out for wildlife hazards (especially Kangaroo and Emu’s at dusk and dawn). Many kangaroo’s jump in front of cars, and if this happens to you, control your braking in a straight line on the road surface. If you do this and hit a “roo” as we nickname them here, then sure, your car may be dented and the ‘cute’ kangaroo might be killed, but you and your family will be alive. Don’t swerve at speed, as once your car hits the gravel edge you could lose control of you car.
Accommodation, Tours & Events in Hyden, Wave Rock
There’s a nice range of accommodation choices around Wave Rock. Choose from a resort, motel, camping, backpackers and caravan park (which also offers pet-friendly accommodation). Follow the links below to find more information about tours, trails and events around Wave Rock and Hyden.
The Hyden Visitor Centre – Wave Rock Contact Details
The Hyden Visitor Centre is located on Wave Rock Road opposite Wave Rock. The staff are locals, providing a diverse range of information and assistance to visitors travelling through the Hyden and Wave Rock region.