In the moment before a wave crashes, when it rears up, lip curling, ready to plunge, there’s a quiet sense of calm, awe and beauty. At Wave Rock, that moment is solidified in granite, freezing tranquillity and power in an awe-inspiring, 15m high statue.
The 2.7 billion year old, 110m-long slab of naturally eroded rock captured the world’s attention in the 1960s, when a photograph of it was published in National Geographic magazine. Thousands have been making the 300km trek east of Perth ever since, in a loop known as Pathways to Wave Rock. Found 3km from Hyden, you can walk both along the bottom and across the top, giving you plenty of scope to experience how big it really is. Just as astonishing is how many other captivating spots are nearby – most of them free to visit. Here, our top picks.
1. Next door is another rock called Hippo’s Yawn
A 1.7km loop walking trail from the carpark, via Wave Rock, leads to the gaping formation, Hippos Yawn, and its name tells you all you need to know. Stand beneath the looming slab of rock and you’ll score some excellent selfies. There are interpretive signs along the way and you’ll likely spot rock holes, where water gets trapped and intricate greenery sprouts. Get down low and look in: you’ll find tadpoles and other forms of life.
Hippo's Yawn Hyden Western Australia. #thegreatsouthern #asplinimages #hyden #watourism #abcgreatsouthern #abcmyphoto #tamronaustralia #tamroncreates #tamron2470g2 #hipposyawnhyden #albanyadvertiser #perthnow #centralwheatbeltvisitorcentre
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2. It leads to the 'eclectic equine art' of the Tin Horse Highway
The Tin Horse Highway is a 15km stretch of road, dotted with horses fashioned from bits of tin and metal made by local farmers who clearly have a good sense of humour. There are now more than 70 colourful horses pulling various poses, and while most are on the Gorge Rock-Lake Grace Road, others pop up on roadsides around Kulin. The horses were originally created to help promote annual Kulin Bush Races, but they’ve ended up drawing people to the region year-round. Track down the West Kulin Whoppa – the largest tin horse in the land.
Why not stop in at @the_mains_guest_house on the way. The Tin Horse Highway is a 15km stretch of road which heads east along Kulin - Lake Grace Road from the town of Kulin to Jilakin Rock, the location of the annual Kulin Bush Races. With over 70 horses along the trail there are plenty places to stop along the way to take snaps of this living gallery of bright, quirky community creations 💕 📷 @s1mon @centralwheatbeltvisitorcentre #wheatbelt #wheatbeltwa #pathwaystowaverock #goldenoutback #westernaustralia #justanotherdayinwa #tinhorse #tinhorsehighway #kulin #selfdrive #explore #hittheroad #publicart
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3. There’s a doggo cemetery nearby!
A large stone dog statue crowns this lovely resting place, Corrigin Dog Cemetery for more than 200 treasured pets, just outside the township. Its existence was unintentional: in 1974, a local man buried his beloved canine companion in the paddock. Others noticed, and followed suit. Wander through the mementos to many a best friend and feel the pull on your heartstrings. The peaceful place will evoke memories of your own dear pets and you’ll feel happy that such a spot exists.
4. There’s a swimming pool like no other, close by
Found 800m from Wave Rock, this circular salt pool is like the Dead Sea – you can bob about in weightless style in the middle of the scrub. Its base is gypsum, and it’s 6m deep, constructed by a local some time ago. Steps in provide accessibility and the saline content is meant to deliver therapeutic benefits. It’s next door to Lake Magic, a larger saltwater expanse that’s particularly beautiful at sunset.
5. Wildflowers and wineries dot the surrounding outback
Between the fields of wheat and canola, there are two unusually located wineries to stop in at. Both Walkers Hill Vineyard - the most inland winery in Western Australia – and Downderry Wines offer free tastings and each has clocked up a number of awards. Away from the vines, tiny starlets of colour pop from the countryside from late July to early November. WA’s wildflower display is unparalleled – look for cricket ball hakea, granite bottlebrush, tinsel flower and rare donkey orchids.