Wave Rock

The fridge at my grandparent’s place is covered in magnets from the places they travelled to over the years. They enjoyed exploring Australia together and so the fridge came to amass dozens and dozens and dozens of tiny magnetic postcards from destinations all over the country. As a kid, there was one magnet in particular that caught my eye. It showed a giant wave… in the outback: Wave Rock. And ever since the moment I first laid eyes on that magnet, I vowed I’d see the giant wave for myself someday…

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48 Hours in Western Australia

I’ve never made it to Western Australia before now. The WA capital of Perth is more than 3000km from Sydney, so it’s a decent mission for us east coasters. It’s said Perth is a contender for the most remote city on earth, and it’s certainly true that it’s often cheaper for those of us based on Australia’s east coast to visit South East Asia, the Pacific Islands, and New Zealand than it is to head far west to Western Australian.

All of that aside, my mate was getting married and so the time had finally come for me to go west. And my oh my what a gorgeous wedding it was — we gathered at the outdoor amphitheatre of Beedawong Meeting Place, set in the bushland and gardens of Kings Park, overlooking the water on the edge of the Perth CBD. It was a really special afternoon, capped off with a trip to Trigg beach where we laid out the picnic blankets and watched the sunset over the ocean. Those WA sunsets are really something!

Day trip to Wave Rock from Perth

The day after my mate’s wedding I decided to make the most of the hours I had before my late flight back east. I was tempted by day tours to the wine regions of Swan Valley and Margaret River, but with my recent trip to Adelaide dominated by days spent in the Barossa, McLaren Vale, and Adelaide Hills, I decided to switch things up. When I realised I was within reach of Wave Rock, the decision was simple: ‘someday’ had arrived… it was time to go see that giant outback wave.

Wave Rock!

Wave Rock!

Wave Rock is located at Hyden in Western Australia — about 330km from Perth. It is a granite outcrop, 15m high and 110m long.

Wave Rock is part of the larger Hyden Rock formation, and was created by weathering and erosion over millions of years. The streaks of colour on Wave Rock are caused by water combined with the presence of tiny lichens, mosses, and algae.

Wave Rock at Hyden in Western Australia.

Wave Rock at Hyden in Western Australia.

Wave Rock is a granite outcrop shaped by water, it is 15m high and 110m long.

Wave Rock is a granite outcrop shaped by water, it is 15m high and 110m long.

To get to Wave Rock from Perth, you travel inland several hundred kilometres, across part of the Western Australian Wheatbelt — a sprawling area of agricultural land — the Wheatbelt and Wave Rock are part of what’s known as Australia’s Golden Outback region.

The natural wonder of Wave Rock is not the only reason people flock to this outback region — from July through November, wildflowers bloom. There is said to be more than 12,000 species of wildflowers in WA, making it the world’s largest concentration of wildflowers.

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Wave Rock, part of Hyden Rock

Wave Rock is one section of the larger Hyden Rock formation. You can climb to the top of Hyden Rock, essentially standing on the top of the ‘wave’. From the top of Hyden Rock you score a view across the region.

The view from Hyden Rock in Western Australia.

The view from Hyden Rock in Western Australia.

Hyden is located about 4 hours drive west of Perth and is home to Hyden Rock and Wave Rock.

Hyden is located about 4 hours drive west of Perth and is home to Hyden Rock and Wave Rock.

Boulders on top of Hyden Rock in Western Australia.

Boulders on top of Hyden Rock in Western Australia.

Hippo’s Yawn

Hyden Rock, Wave Rock… but we’re not done with excellent rocks just yet. Down the road from Wave Rock is a formation that has come to be known as Hippo’s Yawn, because, you guessed it, it looks like a hippo having a yawn.

Hippo’s Yawn is a ‘tafone’ within a boulder. That is, a hollowed out, cave-like boulder — in the case of the Hippo’s Yawn rock formation, this was likely formed as a result of salts, pressure, and weathering over time.

Hippo’s Yawn is a ‘tafone’ within a boulder. That is, a hollowed out, cave-like boulder — in the case of the Hippo’s Yawn rock formation, this was likely formed as a result of salts, pressure, and weathering over time.

I made it to Wave Rock!

I made it to Wave Rock!

Wave Rock to Perth

After admiring the rocks and sweating it out in the 35 degree heat it was time to hit the road and head back to Perth.

Driving west at the end of the day, golden hour light lit up the fields of the wheatbelt before the sunset turned the sky magnificent shades of yellow and orange. We were driving into another spectacular Western Australian sunset.

While many people looking for a day trip from Perth opt to visit the wine regions, or closer coastal attractions such as Rottnest Island, the journey inland is a worthy consideration. If you’re into the outdoors and rural and regional landcapes — sprawling farmland and charming country towns — a trip out to Wave Rock offers that up in abundance.

The journey from Perth out to Wave Rock and back makes for a long day — my round trip was about 13 and a half hours — but it’s well worth the journey, to stand in the midst of nature’s grand ancients.


Keen to try this trip? I travelled with Gray Line who offer a day trip from Perth to Wave Rock return.