16 January 2017 – Day one objectives: Get to Wave Rock – SUP.
Packing up – Wave Rock Here We Come
Packing the car took us most of the morning. Three young kids will do that. By noon everything was in and there was little space left for anything else save the occupants. Noon, and we still weren’t on our way to Wave Rock. Tent, sleeping mats, personal items and food all take up space, and time, as it turns out. The final steps: secure the important stuff; two stand up paddle boards, paddles and surfboard, to the roof on borrowed soft racks (our Thule roof racks were still coming in the post) and to get the kids in.
By noon we were away, destination Wave Rock… Off across town we drove, and up through the hills of the Darling Escarpment. 112km eastwards on the Brookton Highway we went, arriving at Brookton, funnily enough, in the Mid-West Australian wheatbelt.
A brief rest stop in Brookton revealed a rather quiet town assembled around a quaint railway platform from another era when passengers frequented the rail line.
From Brookton we drove on through Corrigin to Kondinin where another rest stop and a snack were in order.
After this brief interlude in the mid afternoon heat we headed off again, ever eastward past Karlgarin to Hyden, 200 kilometers further east from Brookton. Hyden is not far short of the rabbit proof fence, which was built in 1902 “to keep the rabbits out”, (just like China’s Great Wall…). With Wave Rock only 2 kilometers past Hyden we continued on for a quick look before returning to town. We checked in to the Wave Rock Motel and grabbed a satisfying meal before retiring for the night.
Next morning we were up early and headed back to the rock to check the wave quality and climb the rock. Well… I’d been here once before as a kid and you know how everything is less impressive when you see it again as an adult? Well not this time!
The wave is both impressive and lifelike, standing 15 metres high and extending some distance. Accordingly, the stand up paddle boarding didn’t disappoint, he he ;-). A Dutch couple who pulled up nearby, having driven from Esperance, quickly pulled out their windsurfer, like us, eager to take advantage of the wave. A short, moderate climb up Hyden Rock revealed a collection of boulders, sculpted by nature, and sweeping vistas of the surrounding district.
Wave Rock is a part of the Hyden Rock formation and, while not of the scale of Ularu (Ayres Rock) in the Northern Territory, should not be missed. It lies close to a number of other attractions such as Hippo’s Yawn, The Humps and Mulka’s Cave, which houses Rock Art from Australia’s first people, the Aborigines. The area offers some quality hiking options with short walks near and around the remarkable rock formations. Some good info on Wave Rock here.
Distance: Our base in Perth to Wave Rock – 345 kilometers
Travel Time: with stops (2), driving within the speed limit and including getting across Perth in moderate traffic – 5.5 hours. Google Maps estimate – 3hrs 48min (no stops). Outlander Nav System Estimate – something like 6 hours??? Perhaps it factored in our stops.
Verdict: a longish drive but most certainly worth it. Wave Rock and the surrounding attractions are impressive and you could easily spend a more than a day here if your itinerary permitted. This time ours didn’t but we’ll definitely be back. Also a great stop over if you are traveling between Perth and Esperance.
Ride: Given the size of the trucks in this area and the general lack of cyclists, It’s probably wise to stay off the roads here. There is a track from Hyden out to the Rock but I’d leave cycling for a more bike friendly location.
Paddle: Great photo opportunities for wave sports but don’t expect your board to get wet unless it’s raining or you sneak it into the motel pool or the town water supply dam.
Hike: Genuinely good hiking in the vicinity of the rock that could be intensified if you visit during wildflower season.
From Hyden we headed off to our next destination, Lake King , where I attended school as a kid. (Lake King blog entry in the pipeline. – Link coming soon. Check it out for some more cool stand up paddle pics.)