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22 April 2012 / leggypeggy

Waving in the middle of nowhere

Sunrise at Hyden Rock

Hyden and Wave Rock made for a fabulous stop in Western Australia. Unfortunately, or according to Poor John fortunately, not many people visit the place, only 140,000 visitors per year. We got here by driving 300 kilometres west from Norseman on a well-maintained dirt/gravel track, known as the Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail.

Science says that Hyden Rock, of which Wave Rock is a part, has an ancient history—going back an unimaginable 2.64 billion years.

Wave Rock

Wave Rock is a flared slope. At 14 by 110 metres, it’s the tallest and longest flared slope in the world. It’s estimated to be 120 million years old, and has supposedly been exposed for about half of that time. I won’t go into a long explanation, but water and erosion (but not an ocean) have played a big part in creating Wave Rock’s flared slope that is visible today. Tiny lichens, mosses and algae have created the colourful stains on the wave face.

While the face itself is very impressive, it’s equally interesting to climb the still bigger Hyden Rock. There are plenty of plants, rock formations and views—plus a gorgeous sunrise. So we crawled out of our tent bright and early to make the climb. It had rained some over night, so every indentation was brimming with water.

Fortunately, the rock itself had dried out, because it’s quite slippery when wet, which we discovered when we tried to climb it the day before.

Low barriers channel water into the Wave Rock dam in the background

Water is a precious commodity in the Hyden district—the average annual rainfall is a mere 337 millimetres (13 inches).

But in 1928, the whole rock became a water catchment for the community. Low barriers were built around the edges of the rock face, and these help to channel rainwater into Wave Rock dam, which is to one side of the rock. The dam’s capacity was increased in 1951, and it can now hold almost 30,000 cubic metres.

Of course, all the indentations on the rock collect dirt as well as water, so we were quite surprised to see just how many different plants manage to grow. There are also quite a few rocks on the rock, that have weathered to interesting and colourful shapes.

All in all, a fascinating place to explore. Plus, the information sheets say most of the development for Wave Rock occurred underground, and there is speculation that a new wave is forming beneath our feet. I must remember to tell my great-grandchildren to tell their great-grandchildren to be on the lookout for a new wave.

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Leave a Comment
  1. lmo58 / Apr 22 2012 1:50 pm

    Hi Peggy,
    Those photos are beautiful; especially the sunrise.


  2. spesifikasi genset / Jul 17 2015 12:25 pm

    You should take part in a contest for one of the greatest sites on the web.
    I am going to highly recommend this site!


    • leggypeggy / Jul 22 2015 9:30 pm

      Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence. I don’t enter contests or competitions, but I appreciate the encouragement.



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