Our kids have been keen to visit the iconic Wave Rock for a long time. It features regularly on tourism posters, beckoning us to visit. We hoped it lived up to their expectations.
Wave Rock, in the central Western Australia wheatbelt region, is a very convenient stopover on the way from Perth to Esperance, breaking up the trip close to half way. Many travellers do a short day stopover for lunch and a quick look, but that doesn’t do this region justice.
Clare used to visit her auntie’s farm in Hyden and explore Wave Rock growing up, but boy has it changed. The whole Wave Rock area has been developed with a caravan park and pool, café and touristy shops and museums across the road.
We stayed in the caravan park, which is adjacent to the rock. Staying this close definitely has its advantages, as you can see the rock in the early morning light before the crowds arrive. The caravan facilities are very good too, with a great communal eating area with TV’s (where we watched the cricket) and playground. We also enjoyed the refreshing pool, as Hyden can get very hot in summer
We started our day at Wave Rock with a stroll along the bottom of the wave, then ascended up the steps to explore around the top of the rock (called Hyden Rock – Wave Rock is just the wave part of it), which has a fenced off water catchment area. From the top you can view the vast area of farming land surrounding.
From the wave there is a lovely walk through the trees to Hippo Yawn, a different rock formation. It was much quieter here, as less tourist venture this way. It is an interesting rock formation, it really does look like a hippo yawning, and you can actually climb into the mouth and pass through it, and end up out the back to climb up on top.
We drove to Mulka’s Cave, located on the north-eastern edge of another rock formation, The Humps. Here there are some historic rock paintings inside, mostly of handprints. The cave contains over 450 handprints and images made by Aborigines, with an interesting story to match.
After a swim in the pool, we crossed the road from the caravan park to explore the collection of shops. There is a café, a wildflower shop, a miniature soldier museum, and a lace museum!
There is a fairly new resort near Lake Magic where they are building a salt spa (we assume for guests, but is currently open to use even though it is not finished). The water is so salty you can float with ease, in fact it is impossible to sink. This experience was very relaxing!
After our relaxing float, we drove around the neighbouring large salt lake. It looked inviting for some sunset shots, so we took a walk out to the centre as it looked salt-encrusted and solid. As we walked across the edges of the lake, the salt crust was not as solid as the middle was, and we all ended up cracking through into the clay-like mud underlayer up to our ankles. The kids totally loved this, and we all had a great laugh at the muddy mess!
This was a great way to end our very special but quite different experience of Hyden.