The wheatbelt town of Hyden is just over 330 kilometres east of Perth, and though small in population (2002 Census figures have the population as 140) it is much visited due to its proximity to Wave Rock, attracting more than 100,000 visitors annually.
Due to the influx of visitors the town has a good range of services and diversions, and is a good base for exploring the surrounding country. The average temperature range in winter is 4 to 24 degrees Celsius, in summer 10 to 34 degrees.
Brochures, displays and information on the area can be found at the Hyden Tourist Information Centre, in Marshall Street, housed in the town's wildflower shop. There is a good range of restaurants and cafes, a bakery, pub with an excellent beer garden, plus an 18 hole golf course, open to visitors.
Wave Rock is situated 4 km east of the town, within a 160-hectare nature reserve. As the name suggests the rock has the shape of a breaking wave, frozen in time. It is 110 metres long and 15 metres high, with vertical bands of ochre, brown and grey rock - granite to be specific.
The rock has a constant play of light with the sun, displaying different looks at different times of the day, making it an interesting subject for photography. Geologists heatedly deabte as to how the rock took its distinctive shape, but think the rock to be in the region of 500 million years old.
It is what is called an inselberg
, a crop of country rock that is harder to erode than the surrounding rock. As with other large rock formations in the state a retaining wall has been built on the upper edge for the purpose of gathering rainwater. Close by Wave Rock are other natural attractions, such as Mulka's Cave, The Humps and Hippo's Yawn.
Other town attractions include:
Wave Rock Wildlife Park - a 7 acre park, with koalas, wombats, possums, lizards, galahs, emus, kangaroos, including a rare breed of white kangaroo, and more.
Stargate Observatory - the clear, dark skies of Hyden provide excellent conditions for stargazing. Tours include guides, usage of various telescopes and binoculars and a light supper. Located 3 km east of Wave Rock.
Pioneer Town - 4 rooms of Australian memorabilia.
Hyden Family Festival - annual event, taking place in early April. Stalls, parades, wine tasting, vintage cars, carnival rides, sheep dog demonstrations and more.
The Lace Place - the largest collection of lace in the southern hemisphere, the collection ranging from the 16th century to present day.
Wildflowers - one of the wonders of WA is the breathtaking number and range of wildflowers. Travel here in the period September to December and see the carpets of flowers bloom.
Aboriginal Culture and Wave Rock tours - bushwalking tours, taking in rock formations and flora, aboriginal legends, geographical and local history.
Be careful driving in this area, particularly at dusk and in the evening, as emus and kangaroos can be found wandering on or crossing the road. If you do happen to encounter them do not swerve to avoid them, hold a straight line, especially when travelling on gravel roads.