Wave Rock is one of Western Australia’s iconic destinations, along with the Pinnacles North of Perth and the Tree Top Walk in the South. A Google search revealed very little about how to visit Wave Rock with kids!
Wave Rock is located in the Wheat belt of Western Australia; some 300km southeast of Perth. It is a natural rock formed like a tall crashing ocean wave. The “wave” is about 14 m (46 feet) high and around 110 m (360 feet) long.
The age of Wave Rock is mind-boggling – a mere 2.63 billion years old, made of granite, with multi-colored stripes created by the rain washing chemical deposits, carbonates, and iron hydroxide, down the face of the rock, forming vertical stripes of greys reds and yellows. The wave-like shape was formed by the gradual erosion of the softer rock beneath the upper edge over many millions of years.
For us, our long-awaited WAwinterescape came with a winter blast, a huge front of storms and rain across the state and temperatures falling below zero overnight in our destination: The Goldfields. While we like to say that the weather does not affect us; honestly it does make things more difficult!
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6 Tips To Visit Hyden And Wave Rock With Kids
Organize Some Stops En Route
It is about 3.5 hours from Perth in the middle of sheep and wheat country. That means a long drive with lots of wheat and sheep fields in between.
Depending on the route you want to take from Perth we recommend:
- Stop in York: We have heard that there is plenty to do, as the York Ice Cream Co, the Residency Museum (complete with a dress-up room!), and a playground.
- Or, taking a different route, the Tin Horse Highway at Kulin is a seriously funny 20km stretch of road outside the rural town of Kulin.
Or if you are just going for a 2-day trip, then perhaps you could make it a loop trip?
There is not much to choose from in the way of Wave Rock accommodations. We stayed the night in a cabin in the Caravan Park – it was about 100m from Wave Rock itself. There are not a lot of options, the Hotel in Hyden town, or some cabins out on Lake Magic; which looked very isolated.
Definitely head up to the rock – or better still on top of the rock for great sunset pictures. Wave Rock itself becomes a deep red at sunset and offers stunning photography. That’s a great tip for traveling with or without kids.
You can check here for other Wave Rock accommodations.
Do Some Walking
If you wanted to save your Wave Rock visit for the next day, you could choose a sunset walk at Lake Magic, which is also a short walk from the Caravan Park. As salt lakes go, it is fairly normal. However, if you make the effort for sunrise or sunset you can take fantastic pictures as the color changes as the sun comes up or goes down. Kids would love running along the shores of the lake after a long day in the car.
For the actual visit to Wave Rock with kids, there is 3km plus meandering hike through the rocks and salt lakes which takes in the famous Hippos Yawn as well as going up onto the rock and seeing the town’s water supply.
Don’t Miss The Hippo’s Yawn
Whether you choose to drive or walk the kids absolutely loved Hippo’s Yawn.
We actually we ditched our plans for the 3km hike through the rocks and salt lakes due to the weather. Instead, we took the short walk to Wave Rock. The temperature hitting at just 5 degrees for the visit. Master 2.5 was making his displeasure felt. He refused to walk so Dadda and Miss newly 6 decided to do the walk to the Hippos Yawn while Mumma drove the young guy around.
We waited at the Hippos Yawn, and waited. Called Coo-ee and called some more. After the longest time, miss M emerged with her father hobbling behind. Turned out they’d had to wade through knee-high water most of the way, and the old fella with soft feet was finding it hard to walk with numb toes. Still, it was an adventure and total highlight for the day.
Miniature Soldiers, Lace Display, And Wildlife Park
As we had opted for just 1 night at Hyden and had to drive a further 5 hours that day to Kalgoorlie, we decided to head off but these places did sound pretty interesting!
From there, the shortest route to Kalgoorlie is via the ‘Southern Cross Road’. The people at the Caravan Park were confident that it was well maintained, and it probably would be fine for a little car like ours under normal circumstances. Given it had rained a lot; it probably wasn’t the best idea to go in a non 4WD vehicle. We made it but it’s worth remembering this is quite remote and always check local conditions.
Around Hyden would be gorgeous! We enjoyed the canola fields in mid-winter but we are sure that during the Wildflower season it would be truly spectacular. Do your research if you plan to visit in Western Australia’s springtime!
We’ve traveled with Lonely Planet for over 20 years! For unbiased and detailed advice, they are our trusted guide book. Even in this digital age, you can’t go past them for maps and info on the go. Take a look below for our favorite Western Australia destination guidebooks.
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