Our trip was earmarked by Google Maps as a 4.5 hour journey (Hyden is 340km east of Perth). I'm thankful to say that it took only 4, including a 30 minutes stop for food etc (and yes, the speed limits were followed (I was driving not Sarah :))).
Our journey to Hyden, the home of Wave Rock, took us through some quaint country towns, notably Brookton, Corrigin and Kondinin. Each of these towns has clean public facilities, small supermarkets and an array of cafes to fill up on food. We stopped for a short rest in each town but I really recommend stopping in Brookton. We had a picnic lunch alongside the Brookton Historic Railway Station - a great spot with a small garden, fountain, picnic tables and plenty of parking :)
Other than the towns mentioned, the trip was rather uneventful. Be careful of roadtrains...they are everywhere and really slow you down. However, there are lots of straight lengths of road to safely overtake :) On a side note, the price of petrol rose sharply as we moved further inland, so be sure to leave with a full tank (and wait until Hyden if you are staying overnight - you get a discount voucher for the local petrol station :))
We rolled into Hyden by mid-afternoon and headed straight to the Wave Rock Caravan Park. I had phoned ahead to organise a cabin for the night (a necessity because their website, frankly, is atrocious). The cabin we were provided with was quite basic, but included a small kitchen, lounge, bedroom and bathroom (not bad for $130 a night - and if there are more of you travelling the cabins can accommodate up to 6 people). For the more budget focussed, tent sites or on-site caravans were also available.
After a short rest, Sarah and I began the arduous hike to the base of wave rock (seriously...we walked almost 250 metres!!!!!). Turning the final corner to the rock was amazing - WAVE ROCK IS HUGE, EPIC, AWESOME! Just imagine it...a concave granite cliff measuring 110 metres long and 15 metres high and dating back 2700 MILLION YEARS!!!!! I was overjoyed, not just by the immensity of the rock itself, but by the freedom permitted in the park. You could go left, right, up, down, under, on top or any other way around the rock you could find. We climbed, surfed, slid and ran around the rock until we were laughing ourselves silly (Sarah laughed particularly hard when I failed in my attempt to mount my imaginary surfboard - instead I came crashing back to Earth :()
After viewing Wave Rock we strolled along a short track to Hippo's Yawn (amazingly with a man who was also from Ballarat - what are the odds of that!!!). Hippo's Yawn was almost as impressive as Wave Rock itself. The large granite tor, when viewed from the side, looks remarkably like a hippopotamus! After some amazing (and...so I've been told...dangerous) rock climbing, I made it to the top for Sarah to take an awesome photo :).
The following morning we were up before sunrise to view Wave Rock in a different light - but it was pouring with rain! So we headed back to the cabin for a quick nap before checking out at 10am. Before heading back to Hyden we took a detour to Mulka's Cave. The cave derives it's name from an Aboriginal Legend and is home to 453 separate Aboriginal Artworks (mostly handprints). Squeezing through the opposite end of the cave, we found ourselves of a track leading up to a rocky outcrop with an AMAZING view of the local landscape - definitely worth the extra effort! For the adventurous - if you make you way through the trees at the back of the platform you can climb even further for a better lookout position :)
After our journey through the cave we headed back to the car and headed back towards Perth - exhausted but elated. It was a perfect 2 day trip, well worth the drive and completed on a relatively modest budget (although we could have made it even cheaper!) The rock formations we saw were brilliant and quite surprising, especially considering many Perth residents had told us it would be a boring trip not worth our time. But the photos speak for themselves - WAVE ROCK, HYDEN, WA - check it out next time you are in Western Australia - you will not be disappointed :)
PS - for those with a caravan or campervan - you could be sneaky and park overnight at Mulka's cave for free - they have toilets and plenty of parking :)
Happy Travels to All :)