For surf-loving grey nomads who may not have caught a wave in a year or two, the Hyden area in Western Australia offers the perfect non-energetic opportunity to do just that.
The natural rock formation known as Wave Rock has long delivered the perfect photo opportunity for those travellers eager to adopt a surfing pose beneath the perfectly shaped 14-metre-high ‘wave’ which is about 110 metres long. Hyden Rock, of which Wave Rock is part, is a granite inselberg thought to be around 2.6 billion year-old.
It lies a few kilometres away from the small township of Hyden, and about 300 kilometres south east of Perth. The area is of great significance to the local indigenous population, with the Ballardon people traditionally believing the rock was a creation of the Rainbow Serpent, and was formed as he dragged his swollen body along after consuming all the water in the land.
The popularity of the formation has spawned quite a tourism industry in the area and the Wave Rock Caravan Park, which is within walking distance of Wave Rock itself, can be a very busy place. Given its growing fame, it is no surprise that a fee is payable to access Wave Rock. Visitors are currently charged $10 per vehicle.
Happily, that money will also you to enjoy Hippo’s Yawn, an unusually shaped granite tor, not far from Wave Rock. And that’s not all. There’s the delights of Lake Magic close by and about 15 minutes drive to the north is the giant granite rock formation known as the Humps. There are a couple of walking trails that offer a great chance to explore; the Gnamma Trail; and Kalari Trail which climbs steadily to the summit offering superb views. Nearby also is Mulka’s Cave, which contains has some interesting examples of Aboriginal hand art on its walls.
The town of Hyden is well serviced and has a good selection of shops and facilities. It is also notable for the numerous sculptures made from old machinery, implements and scrap metal that line the streets and tell the history of the town.
For grey nomads eager to explore all the area has to offer, the Miniature Soldier Museum, the Pioneer Town Museum, the Lace Place, and the wildlife reserve all offer plenty of interest. And, of course, the other star of the show – as in so many places in Western Australia – are the wildflowers.
If you are lucky enough to be in the area in season, the floral explosion of colour is simply unforgettable and the variety of orchids staggering. It’s not hard then to see why then it’s not just the ‘surfers’ who make a beeline for this inland tourist mecca.