Located just 3 kilometres from the town of Hyden, Wave Rock is a natural geological feature which does closely resemble a massive wave that is curling over getting ready to break.
Hyden is 296 kilometres east of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, and is a small rural community with a population of slightly less than 300. Wave Rock forms part of the north face of the much larger Hyden Rock, and one of the coincidental features of the rock which simulates water is that the top of Wave Rock is a collection point for channelling water to a reservoir which supplies water to the town.
The wave portion of the rock is 14 metres high and 110 metres in length and is believed to be about 2.63 billion years old.
Although many people believe that the shape of the rock is due to weathering, this is not quite true. The shape is formed more by chemical weather than normal erosion from wind and water. Wave Rock is an example of a flared slope, which geologists describe as being a concave bedrock that is found along the base of much larger inselbergs, which is an isolated rock hill or small mountain that is usually formed from granite.
The rock is coloured and has a vertical striped appearance, which is caused by rain washing chemical deposits down the face of the rock. The colours change throughout the day and are more vivid in subdued light rather than direct sunlight.
Hyden Rock, which includes Wave Rock and another nearby formation called Hippo’s Yawn (because it does very closely resemble a hippo yawning), is part of a 160-hectare nature reserve called Hyden Wildlife Park.
There are five marked walks within the Hyden Wildlife Park ranging from a distance of 650 metres to 3600 metres, and all are quite easy to negotiate, even though there is some climbing on Hyden Rock.
As well as the rock itself, there is very diverse range of flora and fauna to be seen in the vicinity of the rock including some very pretty native orchids. There is an abundance of birdlife to be found and often reptiles, such as lizards, can be seen sunning themselves on the rock.
There is plenty of parking at the entrance to Wave Rock, and a caravan park at the base. Opposite the car park is a cafe and souvenir shop which also contains a wildlife park, a military figures museum and the largest lace collection in the Southern Hemisphere.