The last attraction for our 3rd day road trip takes us to Hippo’s Yawn, near Hyden. The drive from Emu Point to the Hippo’s Yawn is a 353km drive and takes close to 4 hours. On our way, we passed many pink coloured lakes which could be salt lakes. Our normal 2WD car prohibits us from driving up close to the lakes although it is near to the main road. So suffice by just taking photos from the roadside.
From Hyden, we drove a further 4km passing Wave Rock Caravan Park, (the entrance to Wave Rock) straight to Hippo’s Yawn about 700m ahead. Direct vehicle access to the Hippo’s Yawn off the main road (Wave Rock road), via a 200m gravel road is a much better option than walking 1km from Wave Rock.
Being the second most visited site in Hyden after Wave Rock, the Hippo’s Yawn is a 12.6m giant granite boulder with a cave weathered out at its middle to form what appears to be, a hippo opening its mouth. It is located 5km outside Hyden but close to the Wave Rock. Finished taking photos and selfies, we back-tracked to Wave Rock Caravan Park to check-in to our cabin where we spent a night.
After a late lunch, we visited Wave Rock, that irresistible force that brought us to Australia for the first time. Although Ayers Rock is our prime destination, driving 3,670km (one way) from Perth to Uluru is out of our league. Domestic flight and accommodation at Ayers Rock are rather high thus making Wave Rock, our realistic alternative for the moment. Entrance to the Wave Rock is situated at the vehicle parking area, a 30 second drive from our cabin or a few minutes walk.
Hyden rock, where Wave Rock and the Hippo’s Yawn are located, emerges from a flat surrounding land 4km outside of Hyden township. Entrance to the Wave Rock is through Wave Rock Caravan Park. Drive about 150m in and there is a vehicle parking area towards your left that can accommodate cars, buses, caravan, etc. There is an entrance fee of $10 per vehicle payable at the ticket machine in the parking area or in the kiosk at the entrance.
At the entrance to Wave Rock, there are sheltered information display boards detailing history of the rock and its geology. Initially on tiled passageway, than gravel path, leads you to the rock face through trees and undergrowth. In spring, you will find orchids and flowers growing on the grounds. Walking around Wave Rock, you will find interpretive signage enlightening you on the history of the rock and its surroundings. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the face of Wave Rock.
The iconic Wave Rock is a granite cliff hanging like an incredible 15 metre high 110m long giant wave, poised to crash. The concave granite face of Wave Rock with its vertical coloured stripes is caused by weathering and water erosion that created its present form. Water from springs running down the rock dissolve minerals adding to the colouring of the stripes. Crystals from Hyden Rock has been dated to being 2.7 billion years old, being amongst the oldest in Australia.
During our visit to Wave Rock at 5:20 pm, we were about the only people there. We guess most of the visitors are day trippers and would have left by late afternoon. It’s a 4 hours drive to Perth.
o—– Wave Rock —–o
Towards your right, at the end of Wave Rock, there is a dam with a steel stairway by its side leading up onto the rock. It is an easy climb up the stairway and worth it for the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. A 3.6km walking track leads up, over and across the rock than to a walking trail that links up with nearby Hippos Yawn and across to Lake Magic, Wave Rock airport and back (refer guide map below).
The rock is a catchment area for the town’s water supply A a two feet high concrete retaining slabs are erected along its top directing water to the dam nearby, apart from small stream running to the dam.