Ever seen a wave that’s 15m high and over 100m long?
It was a long weekend in Western Australia for Anzac Day, so with a few friends I took a road trip to a town called Hyden — and to the iconic Wave Rock.
Wave Rock is about 350km east from Perth, out in WA’s wheatbelt. You can do the drive in about four hours, but if you want to see anything of Wave Rock and the surrounding area, it’s best to take an overnight trip, making some stops on the way.
Getting out of the city always excites me, there’s so many new places to see and the way the empty road stretches out in front of you seems like a red carpet, or an invitation. With WA, the desire to get in your car and just drive and drive and drive is a real possibility — and that’s just going north. Imagine if you pointed the car east and just kept driving.
Our first stop on the journey to Hyden was the town of York, and calls itself the oldest inland town in Western Australia. Whether that is true, or true depending on a certain definition, I’m unclear.
York is a beautiful historic town with some original architecture and heritage buildings dating back to the gold rush.
If you’re ever passing through, it’s a good place to stop or to visit for a few hours. You can have lunch at a local cafe and have a look around the town, it’s one of those places that could use your tourist dollars now there’s little to be made from traditional agriculture.
After a short break in York, and a visit to a local bakery, we pushed on: to another notable town, a placed called Corrigin.
As difficult as it may be to believe at first, Corrigin holds the world record for ‘the most dogs in a ute’.
It may sound incredible, but this WA town took the title back in 2002 with over 1,500 dogs in utes.
I’m presuming that’s separate utes, not one ute piled high with 1,500 dogs. The town even has a statue to commemorate the historic event. It also has a large pet cemetery, but that didn’t seem like such an important thing to visit.
While the town of Hyden might not have historical, heritage buildings, or world records for dogs and utes, it does have a big draw: Wave Rock.
Big is the word for Wave Rock: it’s nearly 15m high and over 100m long. And yes, it kind of looks like a crashing wave, appropriately enough for Western Australia.
Some people think I’m slightly crazy for wanting to drive for nearly 4 hours and stay overnight in a motel in a country town just to see a rock. I think those same people are slightly crazy to prefer to spend that time watching sport on television.
There is also the Hippo’s Yawn: a short walk through the bush from wave rock. Hippo’s Yawn is a rock that’s over 12m tall that kind of, maybe, looks a bit like a hippo’s gaping mouth.
Once inside the mouth of the “hippo” if you’re so inclined you can climb and wriggle through gaps in the rock to get on top of the rocks behind it, for a view of the surrounding area.
Another “must see” place in Hyden is Mulka’s Cave. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much — not after Wave Rock and Hippo’s Yawn. But, much like with people and a Kinder surprise, it’s what’s inside that counts. What some of the legends about a child-eating cannibal don’t tell you is that inside the cave are original hand prints and paintings on the rock. That kind of thing always excites me more than any footy game on television ever could.
You don’t need much more than 24 hours in Hyden — and technically you could do Wave Rock in a day, if you wanted an 8-hour round trip, but it’s worth taking your time, stopping on the way, and getting a room at the Wave Rock Motel.