• Helen Avaient

Wave Rock and other amazing rock formations around Hyden, Western Australia

The Southwest corner of the Australian continent is a vast granite landscape. Much of the granite is hidden under sandy soils, but there are many hundreds of granite rock outcrops to be enjoyed. The variety of these outcrops is amazing. Wave Rock near Hyden is one of the most well known. The wave is an overhanging wall more than 100m long and 15m high on the northern side of Hyden Rock. Water and weather have caused erosion and undercut the base. This has left a rounded overhang that looks like a wave.


A carpark is close by and it is a short walk to the wave. Paths lead around the granite outcrop and it is a lovely walk through Sheoake trees, Salmon gums and local grasses. Another well visited and photographed part of the rock is Hippos Yawn. This large outcrop does indeed look like a yawning hippopotamus.

At Buckley's Breakaway the landscape is starkly beautiful, still made up of granite rock. 30km from Hyden it is definitely not to be missed. Like the Pinnacles in Western Australia, this area looks like a landscape on a distant planet. Erosion has cut away the granite from under the clay layer leaving spectacular white cliffs and gullies that contrast with the pink and browns of the surface clay. It looks amazing both at ground level and even more breathtaking from above. Aerial photographs were taken with a dji mavic mini drone. You can stroll around at your leisure here. An information board and picnic table are located near the carpark.

18k from Hyden is another outcrop of granite rocks called the Humps. Here you will also find Mulka’s Cave. Aboriginal legend tells how an illegitimate child (Mulka) was born and as a result he was crosseyed and could not throw a spear to hunt. He then hunted and ate children. He even ate his own mother when she scolded him. They say he was of colossal height and lived in this cave until hunted down and killed.


The cave contains the largest collection of Aboriginal paintings in the south west of WA. A total of 452 motifs have been recorded, most other sites have less than 20. You can enter the cave and see these artworks for yourself.

There are two signposted walking trails around and up the Humps. The Kalari trail is 1670 metres and takes around an hour to walk. The trail climbs steadily to the summit where the views over the countryside are commanding. This is the trail I took and it was not too difficult. Signs along the way described the vegetation and geology of the rock.

Yes, I climbed to the top of the rock below. The view was definitely worth the climb.

The second trail is the Gnamma trail, 1220 metres and takes around an hour. This one shows the landscape around the Humps.


All the above formations can be seen in a day, or enjoyed at a more leisurely pace over a few days. Each is uniquely different in its own way, and each spectacularly beautiful. Often people travel to Hyden to just visit Wave Rock, however I do not feel you can do justice to this amazing area of Western Australia without visiting all five of the sites mentioned above.


Happy Travels!


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