Wave Rock Walks
Directions - Wave Rock is located near the wheatbelt town of Hyden, a three hour drive east of Perth. From the centre of town, travel east on Hyden-Lake King Rd until you see the signs for Wave Rock and turn onto Lovering Rd and then Wave Rock Rd. The car park for the Wave Rock walks is past the café/wildlife park/caravan park.
The Hike - With our adventures around Esperance coming to an end, there was just the matter of the 9 hour drive back home to deal with and as everyone will know who has done the trip, it's not easily done in one long stretch. A great way to break it up is to stop in at Hyden and visit a famous Western Australian landmark in Wave Rock. This unique natural formation has drawn visitors for decades and a thriving little hub has built up around the area to service the tourists. Luckily one of those services is a few walk trails that make stretching the legs a pleasure and allow you to see a bit more than just the curling barrel of rock shaped like a wave.
With the farming season not quite underway our drive to Hyden consisted of lots of open sky and limitless yellow expanses mixed in with the occasional nature reserve as if to prove to the travelling public that not all of Western Australia was cleared for farming or mining. Arriving at Wave Rock we were amazed at all the cars and buses lining the parking lot (for which payment is required) given it was a weekday outside of school holidays. As I paid for our ticket I saw a family leaving the walkway to Wave Rock grumbling about not paying for the experience and how it wasn't worth it. Having visited as a kid and seeing lots of photos I'm not sure what he was expecting but as soon as we made it to the main tourist spot I think I know what he wasn't happy at. Hoping to get in some fairly uncluttered shots of Wave Rock we quickly discovered that the place was overrun with Chinese tourists taking a million selfies from all different angles.
We walked through the chaos trying not to get in the way and eventually decided that we would come back later after our walk to see if things had improved. With the trail head lacking any maps we followed the sign that pointed us to Hippos Yawn, knowing this was a proper trail with markers and we disappeared along the rock face to the east. Things were remarkably quiet compared to the main attraction as we weaved in-between the rock face and the unexpected she-oak forest that obviously benefits from the rainwater run-off. Finding she-oak forest was a very pleasant surprise and even in mid autumn there were still green patches around to enjoy. The Hippos Lawn Loop is just under 2km of the figure 8 trail I did and half way through you get to see the titular feature. A few seats are located in front of the rock that resembles a hippo yawning (hence the name) and at the time of our arrival there was a family enjoying said seats and the views so my photos were only from one side.