Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hyden and Wave Rock 17-18 August

After a lovely weekend with Frank and Sue Egan in Rockingham, south of Perth, we reluctantly left the coastal areas for the inland. Frank and Sue had shown us the appealing seaside areas of Rockingham and Mandurah. Rockingham in particular has been beautifully landscaped and includes many lakes, both natural and artificial. Some, unfortunately, are surrounded by bush infested with tiger snakes. We also saw the Thrombolites at Lake Clifton (freshwater versions of the famed stromatolites, and just as exciting) and had a delicious lunch at Cape Bouvard Winery. We also checked out their new home in a lifestyle village at Pinjarra. It was great to catch up with them after such a long time. We wished we had more time to explore the southern parts of WA, but we have left enough places to see on another trip.

Rockingham and Mandurah from Point Peron
Thrombolites at Lake Clifton

Our destination was Wave Rock, located at Hyden, about 400km east of Perth. Contrary to my first imaginings it is nowhere near the ocean or any other type of wave. We had received mixed reports about it varying from "Why bother, it's just a rock" to "There are lots of things to see and do there". So it became a matter of go and see and make up your own mind.

Hyden is a small town of about 400 people in the middle of a major wheat growing area. It is heavily reliant on the tourist trade to bring money into the town and keep people employed. As it doesn't have a major supermarket it still has a butcher, which many much larger towns don't. It also has a very chatty librarian, who I suspect, doesn't have many people dropping by. The town has a historical display made of outdoor metal sculptures, and its garage gives caravan park patrons 4 cents a litre off fuel.

On the way we passed through Corrigan which has a dog cemetery, some graves shown below.

Above and below - sculptures in Hyden

Beautiful countryside at Hyden
Wave Rock itself is part of Hyden Rock which has several minor features such as the formation known as Hippo Yawn,  the Breakers which are small rocks, and the Hyden water storage dam. According to the Guru,  the wave shape has been formed because the lower rock was wetter and eroded more quickly, creating an overhang at the top. When we first saw it late in the afternoon it looked rather dull, but David went for a walk early in the morning after it rained and it looked much more spectacular.

Plants growing on top of the rock
Looking down from the top. Notice the safety ledge

The morning light is much better, especially after rain

Hippo Yawn

David took this photo of a reflection for me
Much more interesting to me were the Humps, a rock formation about 18km away. Although it was quite steep in places I was more concerned about coming down a steep slope than climbing up. However it was definitely worth the climb. We probably saw it at its best as the rock crevices were full of water and the plant life was quite different with a lot of mosses and lichens (yes, I know they aren't really plants) and some tiny carnivorous plants, among many other species. The Guru felt the need to give me  a lesson on plant sucession,  but my camera diverted my attention elsewhere.
The Humps also contains Mulka's Cave, an Aboriginal rock art site with hundreds of hand stencils, but we could only see a handful as the floor of the cave was covered with large rocks.
Approaching The Humps
Canola crop and interesting weather
The entrance to Mulka's Cave
Hand stencils in the cave

Walking up the Humps, beautiful plant life
Tiny carnivorous plants

Another wave rock in the making
Towards the top. At the top it was too windy to hold a camera, felt like I could be blown off the edge
There are several other places to visit near Wave Rock including the Lace Place, Toy Soldiers display and a wildlife park to name a few. I found the Lace Place interesting,  with displays from the 1600s to the present, but David stayed at camp to find someone to chat to, and to gather some wood for the firepits generously placed around the caravan park. We had an excellent fire, the first for ages, mostly fuelled by mallee roots.

Our verdict was that Wave Rock and the surrounding area had enough of interest to see, and was definitely worth the visit.

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