Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Wave Rock


It is a well known fact around the world that Aussies are a lazy bunch when it comes to certain things. The best example is that when we speak everything gets shortened. Certain consonants such as 'd', 't', 'r' automatically get omitted in our speach. This laziness flows into other areas as well. The way animals and places are named is another example. The Eastern Grey Kangaroo is found on the eastern side of the continent and is a grey colour. The Port Lincoln Ring Neck Parrot was discovered in Port Lincoln and has a distinctive yellow coloured ring around its neck. The Great Ocean Road is a road that follows the coastline between Melbourne and Adelaide and you can see the ocean from most of it. Likewise, Wave Rock is a 14m tall rock face that is shaped like a wave at the beach. So you see identification is an easy process in the land of Aus.

Today's post is about Wave Rock and the surrounding area. The actual name is Hyden Rock and Wave Rock is just the section that is shaped like a wave. Hyden Rock is located 3km east out from the small town of Hyden, and roughly 340km east-souteast from Perth. It is usually visited if people are going to Esperance from Perth, exploring Western Australia's wildflowers, or perhaps have just crossed the Nullabor and are heading west to Perth. Our last few posts have been about our journey from Bunbury, crossing the Wheatbelt, and eventually down to Esperance where we plan to spend the summer (but that will be a post in a few weeks time). 

Western Australia often doesn't get as much attention from travellers as NSW and QLD so if small towns want to experience the benefits of tourism, the largest growing industry in Australia, they have to make an effort to get noticed just like the 'Tin Horse Highway' on our previous post. Wave Rock however first hit the world-wide tourism scene way back in the 1960's. A photograph of Wave Rock was entered into a Kodak International Colour Picture Competition in New York and in 1964 amateur photographer Jay Hodges was announced the winner. Shortly afterwards the picture was on the cover of 'Walkabout Magazine' then later also featured in 'National Geographic'. This photo paved the way for tourism to Wave Rock and the surrounding areas. Not only is the shape of the wave realistic, but the vertical colour contrasts add to it as well so it now appears as a wave that has now turned into stone.

Hyden Rock is one of many granite outcrops in the Wheatbelt. There are quite a few walks around that you can do. We stayed at the Wave Rock Caravan Park for two nights as a friend had told us that entrance to Hyden Rock and Mulka Cave is included in the price. We got to the park in the afternoon, got set up, looked at the maps, then explored. From the park it is about 100m to Wave Rock. We were there just in time to see some brilliant colours on the rock from the setting sun, but not early enough to catch the sunset when we walked on top of Hyden Rock, we didn't rush it as we were there two nights and allowed for plenty of time the next evening.

The following morning after breakfast we followed the rock and path around to the left until we got to Hippo's Yawn and like Wave Rock, the name fits the description. It was cool to see. From here you can just go back to the car park, or continue on the boardwalk loop that takes about an hour. After we had lunch, we drove out to 'Mulka Cave' and 'The Humps' which is another granite outcrop nearby. There are many informative signs along the walks, but the one I remember the most was about how the local Aboriginals used traps to catch goannas. It worked like a trap-door. A big slate piece of rock was rested on some smaller rocks. The goanna would go under the slate, the hunters would knock out the smaller rocks and the goanna would be trapped underneath. Even today goanna is a favourite food for many Aboriginal groups across Australia.

Hyden has had to be resilient from the start due to lack of infustructure and drought, but it has lead to an incredibly strong community spirit that is still vibrant today. In recent years the town used the help of an artist to help create some scrap metal sculptures, that look comical, but each sculpture tells the story of the town and there are plaques with each one. The first hotel opened in the 60's. Money from the hotel has helped to fund and establish many of the other facilities around the area too such as the Caravan Park, local shops, the Wildflower Shoppe Cafe, the Wildlife Park, the Lace Place Museum, the Miniature Soldier Museum, the Pioneer Museum and many other local facilities.

If you are road tripping in Western Australia, Wave Rock is worth a visit. For more of our posts from this area check out our 'Destinations' page where Cameron has made it easier to search our posts via location.

Happy travels.

- Jeni

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