Wave Rock is a multi-coloured granite rock shaped like a wave in the Wheatbelt town of Hyden, Western Australia. The 15m high rock is 110 m long and impressive to see up close. It’s one of the most popular tours from Perth.
We visited Wave Rock as part of our Perth to Esperance road trip. In this extensive travel guide, you will find out what to do in Wave Rock, where to stay, when to visit, and how to get there.
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Wave Rock Location
Wave Rock is in the Wheatbelt region, about 350 km south-east of Western Australia’s capital, Perth. Hyden is the closest town, only a 5-minute drive from Wave Rock.
The town is small, with a tavern, IGA food shop, bakery, fuel station, outdoor public swimming pool, and a park with toilet facilities.
Hyden is about a four-hour drive from Perth through agricultural land. You can either self-drive or take a tour.
Hyden to Wave Rock
Wave Rock is a 5-minute drive from Hyden along State Route 40 until you reach Lovering Road on the left. Turn here and follow this road for about 1 km until you reach Wave Rock Road. Turn right and follow the road – the entrance to Wave Rock is on the right.
Things To Do near Wave Rock Western Australia
You can pay the entrance fee at the Caravan Park kiosk, and they will provide you with a pass and a walking trail map. Alternatively, there’s a ticket machine in the car park. Wave Rock is an easy 100 m walk from there.
The main attraction is the deep grey, red, ochre and sandy-striped wave seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The formation is incredible and pretty amazing to see up close. Remember to have the obligatory surf photo!
There are toilets in the car park along with rubbish bins.
Local’s Tip: Wear a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent in spring & summer (the flies can be horrendous). Take plenty of water with you.
Entry Fee to Wave Rock
As of October 2022, the entrance fee for Wave Rock is A$12 per car.
Wave Rock forms part of a larger granite outcrop called Hyden Rock. There are steel steps leading from the end of Wave Rock up to the top of Hyden Rock.
The trail is well-marked, with signage detailing what you are looking at. A concrete wall at the top (not visible from the bottom) guides rainwater to Hyden Humps Dam.
Some climbing is involved, so wear trail shoes or trainers.
From the bottom of Wave Rock, the Breakers Trail traces the foot of the outcrop to the Breakers picnic area. This easy walk is 1.35 km return along flat paths.
There’s also a car park and toilets there.
Hippos Yawn Loop Trail
This 1.71 km loop trail goes east from Wave Rock and follows the foot of the outcrop to Hippos Yawn, a granite rock formation resembling a massive hippo opening its mouth. There’s a car park here if you’d prefer to drive.
The trail then loops back to the Wave Rock car park. It’s an easy, flat trail.
Wave Rock Walk Circuit
This 3.6 km circuit starts at Wave Rock car park and leads to Hippo’s Yawn before heading over the salt lakes. Lake Magic is about the halfway point before the trail loops back around to the car park via the shops and café.
Fifteen interpretive signs explain Australian Aboriginal and settler history, the weather, birds, and the night sky.
The flat path makes this walk ideal for pushchairs and cycling.
Download a copy of the Walk Trails at Wave Rock for more information.
This salt lake changes colour at certain times of the day due to the presence of salt and minerals. The best time to visit Lake Magic is at sunrise, when the colours change as the sun rises or at sunset, when the water has an orange tinge.
Lake Magic is a short walk and easy to get to for sunrise or sunset if you stay at the caravan park.
You have to pay to visit Lake Magic (payable at Wave Rock Kiosk, next to Wave Rock Caravan Park):
Adults A$10 Child A$5
Local’s Tip: Do not drive your car on the lake side as you may get bogged, and there’s a A$500 fee to get your vehicle out.
Wave Rock Salt Pool
Near Wave Rock Resort and Lake Magic is a 20m round, 6m deep swimming pool-like gypsum pond constructed by Denis Collins. With such a high salt concentration, you float effortlessly (like the Dead Sea), which is reported to provide therapeutic benefits.
There are now swinging day beds for you to make the most of this experience.
The cost is:
Adults A$10 Child A$5 (payable at Wave Rock Kiosk, next to Wave Rock Caravan Park)
This huge granite rock formation, a 15-minute drive from Wave Rock, is included in your Wave Rock Pass along with Mulka’s Cave.
Here there are trails to explore the landscape and geology of the area.
An easy 1.22 km flat loop with interpretive signs detailing the landscape using the words and illustrations of local Noongar elders and artists.
This 1.67 km Grade 3 trail takes you to The Humps’ summit for panoramic views of the surrounding farm land. It’s a steady climb with interpretive signs focusing on geology and flora.
Mulka’s Cave is within the Humps nature reserve and accessed from the car park.
This cave holds significant importance to the Noongar people, so please treat it with respect. Aboriginal sites are protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act and may be declared Protected Areas. Rock Art is rare in WA’s southwest, so Mulka’s Cave is both a Protected Area and listed on the National Estate Register.
The cave got its name from an Australian Aboriginal legend who was the illegal son of a woman who fell in love with a man with whom marriage was forbidden. Storyboards tell the Dreamtime story behind the legend of Mulka.
As you enter the cave, let your eyes adjust to see ancient rock art depicting Aboriginal stories and legends. There are 452 motifs in this cave, a very high number for this region (most sites have less than 30), with 275 being hand stencils. There are also 40 sprayed areas, 23 paintings, 23 handprints, 3 drawings and a colourful stencil.
The hand stencils were made by blowing a pigment over the hand and were used as a type of signature. A date has yet to be given for the artwork, although archaeological excavations of the floor suggest that the use of this site was relatively recent (about 400 years ago).
Public toilets and rubbish bins are in the Humps car park.
Hyden Street Art
As you drive through Hyden, look for the quirky sculptures made from scrap metal and old machinery, showing the town’s history.
If you visit Wave Rock during spring, you will be rewarded with beautiful Western Australia wildflower displays. The best time to see them is usually September when they are at their peak.
Wildflowers you may find include Cricket Ball Hakea, Pigface, Bottlebrush Grevillea, Blue-eyed Smoke Bush, Granite Bottlebrush, Tinsel Flower and Flame Grevillea. Also, look for wild orchids like Spider, Donkey, Bee, Cowslip, Ant, Dragon, and Sun Orchids.
Local’s Tip: Flies can be a nuisance at this time of year, so consider a fly net.
Miniature Soldier Museum
This museum is great for military enthusiasts, with over 10,000 handmade toy soldiers displayed in a series of World Wars.
Over 100 dolls donated by Yvonne Mouritz are also on show here.
A small section of the original rabbit-proof fence, the longest fence in the world, is exhibited here. The 1837 km fence was built in 1907 to try to contain out-of-control rabbits introduced into Australia in 1859 by Thomas Austin (he imported 12 breeding rabbits from Europe for his home in Geelong, Victoria). The fence is now used to control the movement of dingoes, emus, and kangaroos.
Entry is A$5 (or buy a Gold Pass for A$20 which includes the Lace Place, Toy Soldier Museum, Wildlife Park, and the Pioneer Town Museum).
The museum’s displays feature a general store (complete with old grocery items) and memorabilia, including a bottle display dating back to 1870.
Entry is A$15 (or part of the Gold Pass for A$20).
Pioneer Museum is open from 8:30 am to 6 pm from September through to March and 5:30 pm from April to August.
Wave Rock Wildlife Park
Se on 3 hectares of natural bush sits Wave Rock Wildlife Park. Here you can see native wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, camels, and alpacas.
You can buy food at the Wildflower Shoppe Café or bring a picnic to enjoy on the tables and seating provided.
I’m not a big fan of Wildlife Parks, so we didn’t visit here.
Entry is A$15/adult, A$7.50/child (A$20 Gold Pass)
The Lace Place
Accessed through the Wildflower Shoppe, this lace collection features lace and garments, including handmade antique gowns and wedding dresses.
Entry is A$5 (or part of the Gold Pass).
You can purchase tickets for the museums and wildlife park at the Wave Rock Kiosk.
Wave Rock Sunset & Night Sky
If you’re staying overnight in Hyden or can time your trip to be there at sunset, visit Wave Rock to see the rock colours change as the sun fades.
On a cloudless night, Wave Rock provides an excellent viewpoint of the stars.
Wave Rock Weekender
This Wave Rock festival is a music event held annually, usually on the long weekend in September.
Wave Rock Weather & Best Time to Visit
You can visit Wave Rock at any time of year, but if you want to see the wildflowers, September is the best time.
November to March provides a better chance of having clear blue sky, but it will be hot with lots of flies.
Winter could be sunny or pouring rain!
The Bureau of Meteorology provides a seven-day forecast for Hyden.
Local’s Tip: Visit early morning to avoid crowds and the heat.
Wave Rock Map
Perth to Wave Rock Road Trip Itinerary
You can reach Wave Rock in just under four hours from Perth. A good way to see more of Western Australia is to visit rural towns along the way.
If you are only visiting Wave Rock, you can travel via York and Corrigin on the way and Brookton on the return.
We have only visited Wave Rock as part of a longer road trip. Some travellers visit Wave Rock before crossing the Nullabor to Adelaide and South Australia.
There are car hire booths at Perth airport, but it’s best to pre-book your car rental. Choose from Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, Enterprise, and Thrifty.
To compare rental car company prices, I use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are have a high rate of customer satisfaction.
Drivenow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, Jucy as well as smaller ones.
Perth to Wave Rock to Esperance
We did this route in reverse on our way back to Perth from Esperance. The distance from Wave Rock to Esperance is 382 km via Ravensthorpe, and will take around four hours to drive.
See our Perth to Esperance road trip itinerary for more details.
Kalgoorlie to Wave Rock
Kalgoorlie to Wave Rock is about a 4 hour 15 minute journey.
Wave Rock Accommodation
Being a small country town, there isn’t a large range of accommodation options.
Wave Rock Caravan Park
If you’re camping, the Wave Rock Caravan Park is right next to Wave Rock (handy for those sunset photos).
This campsite offers three self-contained, air-conditioned cabins and powered and unpowered sites. These one-bedroom chalets can sleep four people, with a double and single bed in the bedroom and a single bed in the living area.
- Washrooms & Toilets
- Swimming pool
- Kids playground
- LPG (gas)
- Under-cover eating area
- Camp kitchen
- Accessible facilities
- Cricket pitch
Local Tip: Free camping at Wave Rock is prohibited.
Wave Rock Resort
This resort offers fourteen self-contained waterfront villas at the edge of Lake Magic, surrounded by nature.
The villas have two bedrooms, a kitchen, lounge, ensuite, private courtyard, air-conditioning, free WIFI and sleep up to six guests.
- Private Courtyard
- Free WIFI
Wave Rock Hotel
This hotel is 5 km from Wave Rock and offers 55 guest rooms with three executive spa suites.
Enjoy a meal in one of two restaurants and drinks in the bar.
- Swimming Pool
- Tea/Coffee making facilities
- Tour Desk
- Free Wi-Fi
- Open Fire
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge with Baby Grand Piano
- Bar & Restaurants
Airbnb Wave Rock
Wave Rock Tours from Perth
If you don’t have transport, it is possible to see Wave Rock on a tour.
This day trip from Perth by Australian Pinnacle Tours visits York and sites at Wave Rock. Be prepared for a long day though, with around 8 hours of driving.
If you’d prefer a personilised day tour, this private tourcan include as much (or as little) sites as you like.
How was Wave Rock formed?
Wave Rock, part of a large granite outcrop called Hyden Rock, is over 2.7 billion years old. Hyden Rock consists of biotite K-feldspar porphyritic monzogranite that is part of the Yilgarn Craton (one of the largest segments of Archean crust on Earth).
Hyden Rock has three granite domes shaped by weathering beneath the ground about 100 to 130 million years ago.
The top of the rock became exposed about 60 million years ago, and when it rained, water ran down its sides and is thought to have worn away the rock, undercutting the base.
The flared slope of the rock face was probably shaped by underground chemical weathering and exposed by erosion.
The runoff from local mineral springs formed the striped colours you can see on the wave.
Wave Rock, known as Katter Kich to the local indigenous people, has been a significant site for them for thousands of years. It is a Noongar keniny (dancing) ground with a camping place not far away and gnamma holes (water holes).
The area was part of a Noongar trade route, a crucial part of Noongar lifestyle.
Sandalwood cutters are thought to be the first white settlers to the area around 1922. The town is said to be named after a young man who camped at the rock while cutting sandalwood trees.
The first wheat crop was planted in 1927, which led to a railway between Kondinin and Hyden in 1930.
One hundred people lived here in 1931, and the town was surveyed in 1932.
The Water Authority built the water channel on top of Wave Rock to provide water to the town in 1951.
Today, Wave Rock has over 100,000 visitors annually.
As it’s a long drive from Perth to Wave Rock, I would combine it with a visit to Kalgoorlie or Esperance. Our family enjoyed seeing the huge rock up close and exploring the area, but we wouldn’t visit just for a weekend.
Save money planning your holiday
Flights: We use different sites to get the best possible price for flights. Check matrix.itasoftware.com to get an idea of the cheapest dates, but you can’t book through this site. Compare the cost of flights with Kiwi.com and try different routes.
Accommodation: We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are usually cheaper than Airbnb.
Car Rental: To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated.
Campervan Rental:Drivenow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, Jucy as well as smaller ones.
Tours: We use third-party sites Viator, Get Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing. We occasionally book through Red Balloon too.
Mobile: Telstra has the best coverage in Western Australia. We buy our sims through Boost who provide 4G/4GX coverage on full Telstra 4G Mobile Network. With up to 82GB for 28 days or 240GB for 12 months, unlimited national calls & text, and international inclusions on selected plans, you’re sure to find the right prepaid SIM for you. See plans here.
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