Monday, September 20, 2010

Wave Rock

When we got to Hyden, we stopped in town for a bit to take some photos. They have a clever history display with statues made of old metal bits, with interesting information about the exploration and settlement of the area. For instance, Wave Rock was originally supposed to be "Hyde's Rock", named for an early settler here. But when the surveyors got back to the office, that became "Hyden Rock", whence comes the name of the town.

Wild colour Old points

In fact, Wave Rock proper is really only a small part (down near the ground on the north side) of a very large granite outcrop. At first I was a bit confused; I'm used to the grey granite of south-east Queensland (e.g. at Girraween National Park near Stanthorpe), but in keeping with the generally red soil of the area, Wave Rock is made of quite pink granite.

We arrived around 4pm, and checked in to the caravan park, which is right at the base of Wave Rock. After finding our cabin, we went for a walk to check out the wave. This rock became famous when a photo of it appeared in National Geographic in 1967.

Along the top is a low wall (actually a series of walls) that's part of the water supply catchment for the area. The water that runs down off the granite rock, which climbs up quite a long way above the wave feature at the base, is caught by the wall and directed into a dam at the north-western end.

Water catchment retaining walls. The one at the bottom (left in this photo) you can also see in the first photo of the rock above, if you look closely (click photo to enlarge).
Near the dam there are some stairs which go up onto the rock above the wave. So we went for a walk. The sun was dropping towards the horizon and the wind was very cold!
Boulders breaking off
View out to Lake Magic, a salt lake with water (!) and a resort
More boulders
Eventually we decided we were simply too cold, and so we climbed back down and returned to our cabin. But after warming up a little, just on sunset, I took my tripod back out for some low-light photos of the wave. Laetitia came with me, and a good thing too, because not only did she help me by working my camera on the tripod for a few arty shots with me in the frame, she also got to take some of her own, of the moon rising over the wave.

The person you can see down the bottom right of the photo on the left there is another photographer who was there that night. I saw him again several more times the next day.

At dawn the next day, we convinced each other to get up early for some more photos of and on the rock. The wind up there was bitterly cold! But so worth it.


After breakfast we packed up and put our things in our hire car (the front of which was by now completely covered in dead bugs, from the previous day's driving). We went first to check out Lake Magic.

You can see lumps of salt crystals forming on everything the water touches
The sand around the edge is literally carpeted with salt!
You can tell how cold the wind was by how much I'm wearing
Then nearby, at the eastern end of the granite outcrop, is a place known as Hippo's Yawn. You can see why!

Then it was time to head off to Kalgoorlie. We chose the unsealed route to Southern Cross because it was significantly shorter.

Not far along the road we stopped briefly to look into Mulka's Cave, which has old aboriginal hand-prints all over the walls.

No comments: