Wave rock in Western Australia’s wheatbelt farming region has long been a famous tourist destination drawing about 150,000 visitors a year.
The town of Hyden was promoting Wave Rock in an effort to attract visitors to the region long before Australian tourism was the phenomena it is today. This early promotion has proved visionary with the massive influx of tourists and caravanners spreading out in all directions looking for the next stop-over or snapshot location.
The region itself is remarkably unspectacular and fairly representative of a reasonably dry and mildly undulating wheatbelt landscape.
The rock itself is natural granite formation just east of the town of Hyden. Postcards have long depicted a tourist ‘surfing’ the face of the rock, in salutation of the wave-like tubular shape that gives the place it’s name.
Wave rock is part of the Hyden Rock erosional remnant and stands about 15 metres tall and stretches 110 metres long.
The prevalence of granite outcrops in the Western Australian wheatbelt has seen them ingeniously used as a diversion for the catchment of precious rainwater and Wave Rock is no exception. In the 1950’s the state government constructed a catchment wall and dam in conjunction with the rock in order to store water.
Estimated to be around 60 million years old the shape arises due to natural subsurface weathering and results in the exposed overhang seen today.
Several other smaller examples of this type of striped, undercut rock overhang can be seen through the region. The striped face of Wave Rock is created as rain washes naturally occurring iron hydroxide and carbonate deposits down the face.
Other Local Attractions
Other local attractions include the Hyden Humps and Dam 20km north of Hyden, the Hippo’s Yawn - a 12 metre high rock anomaly and in season, the native wildflowers. Mulka’s Cave, a historical hideout for local aboriginal legend and outlaw Mulka, lies about 18km from Wave Rock and is also worthy of a visit and a recitation of the story.
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