Towering about the barren landscape of the Western Australian wheat belt, Wave Rock is a prehistoric rock formation like few that exist anywhere else. The enormous rock is in the shape of a wave, captured in stone seconds before breaking. Wave Rock is located in the small town of Hyden, some 340 kilometres east-southeast of Perth, and sits on the north side of a hill, known as Hyden Rock. Visitors come to see the wave, explore several other interesting natural rock formations in the area, and see the region’s other attractions, which range from natural to historical.
Things to do and See at Wave Rock
- Wave Rock – The largest example of a ‘flared slope’ structure in Australia, Wave Rock is believed to have formed more than 20 million years ago. It stands around 14 metres (46 feet) high, stretches for 110 metres (360 feet), and is known for its unusual colouring. This colouring, varying shades of yellow, red and grey that have formed in vertical strips down the rock face, has been caused by minerals washing down the rock over the centuries. The Wave Rock formation has been a source of interest for both the scientific community and the public in the last few years, and is actually one of a number (although Wave Rock is the most impressive) of similar flared slopes in the area. Wave Rock can be visited at any time, but many visitors prefer to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to see the changing light on the rock.
- Wave Rock Wildlife Park – The Wave Rock Wildlife Park, located within easy reach of Wave Rock, is a three hectare property of native Australian bushland. Home to a number of native Australian and exotic animals, the Wildlife Park is an easy way for visitors to see and learn about the area’s fauna. The Wave Rock Wildlife Park is home to different species of kangaroos, emus, wallabies, koalas, wombats and lizards. There is a large colony of birds at the park, including pink and grey galahs, magpies, mudlarks, crows, currawongs and ‘twenty eight’ parrots. Unique among many other similar wildlife parks, the Wave Rock Wildlife Park allows visitors to interact with some of the safer animals, which roam freely in the park.
- Rock Formations – Wave Rock is certainly the most popular attraction in the area, but there are other rock formations that are equally worth seeing on your visit. These include Hippos Yawn, a 12 metre high rock that resembles the open mouth of a hippopotamus located around 2 kilometres from Wave Rock. Other formations visitors will likely enjoy seeing include The Humps, Camel Peaks, King Rocks and a number of other smaller formations located around the park area.
- Other Area Activities – Apart from rock formations and wildlife, the Wave Rock area is home to a replica pioneer town, the cave of a legendary Aboriginal law-breaker, and a number of beautiful bush walks. The cave has a particularly interesting legend, that states a giant man named Mulka lived there after he was exiled from his people for his evil ways. Those who believe the legend should keep an eye out for his giant handprints that are stencilled on the wall along with thousands of others, dating back thousands of years. Information on these activities can be found at the visitors centre near the entrance to Wave Rock.
Entrance to Wave Rock and surrounding sites is free, but the Hyden township charges $10 per car for parking.
- Heat – Wave Rock and the areas that surround it are not widely vegetated, and can be very dry. This landscape can increase the feeling of heat-stress in visitors, particularly those who choose to undertake walks in the area. Visitors should be aware of this, and remember to cover up with a hat, sunscreen and longer sleeves to avoid sunburn. Also, remember to bring lots of water.
- Wildflowers – Hyden and the areas of Wave Rock are most popular between the months of September and November. During this time, which is spring in Australia, thousands of the area’s wildflowers bloom, totally changing the landscape and inserting splashes of colour not seen at any other time of the year.
- Eating and Drinking – Although the township of Hyden is quite popular with tourists, its small population means there aren’t many facilities for eating and drinking. Unless you’re travelling with a tour that will organise food for you, visitors are urged to bring their own food and beverages.
- Car: The drive to Wave Rock takes around 4.5 hours from Perth, and is a big drive to do in just one day. However, those planning on spending more time in the area can get to Wave Rock and Hyden via State Route 40.
- The Wave Rock Wildlife Park is home to a very unusual species, rarely seen in Australia: the White Kangaroo. The kangaroo, although often thought to be an albino variety, is in fact a rare colouring of the local species.
- Crystals found close to Wave Rock in the 1960s were dated as being 2,700 million years old, some of the oldest ever found in Australia.