Best Things to Do at Wave Rock: The Ultimate Guide 2024

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As someone who has called Perth home for nearly three decades, I thought I’d explored every notable landmark relatively close to home.

Yet, Wave Rock had always lingered on my list of places to see. It wasn’t until recently that I ventured out to experience this iconic rock. It resembles a gigantic wave about to crash, and you have to see it up close to really appreciate its magnificence.

However, Wave Rock is more than just a striking geological formation; it is a gateway to understanding the region’s history. The nearby cave paintings vividly bring to life the Aboriginal heritage, while its popularity with visitors highlights its modern appeal.

Having finally visited, I’m eager to share all the amazing things to do at Wave Rock.

It’s well worth the drive, offering a blend of nature and culture that captures the imagination.

Wave Rock is just the starting point. The surrounding attractions, easily accessible and perfect for exploring, make this a top stop on any Western Australian road trip.

Shelley stood looking. at Wave Rock - a rock shaped like a huge wave
Taking in nature’s artistry at Wave Rock ©Lifejourney4two

Wave Rock In a Nutshell

Location: Wave Rock is a prehistoric-looking rock formation that rises 15 meters high and stretches 110 meters long, located near the town of Hyden in Western Australia.

Activities:

  • Exploring Wave Rock: Wander along its base or climb to the top for expansive views over the area. The main path is a manageable 10-minute walk, while the full Wave Rock Circuit takes about 40 minutes.
  • Wildlife and Museums: Visit the Wave Rock Wildlife Park to see various Australian and exotic animals, or explore local history at the Yesteryear Museum and intricate crafts at the Lace Museum.
  • Nearby Attractions: Discover Mulka’s Cave and the Humps within a short drive, offering more natural wonders and Aboriginal cultural sites.
  • Lake Magic: Just a kilometre away, enjoy the colours of Magic Lake and relax in a man-made salt pool reminiscent of the Dead Sea.

Accommodation: Stay at Wave Rock Caravan Park, Wave Rock Resort, or choose other local accommodations to enjoy a full experience of the area, including special access to park facilities.

Tours to Wave Rock: ⭐️ From Perth, Wave Rock and York Cultural Tour with a Guide ⭐️

Best Time to Visit: April to October, when the weather is more temperate, ideal for outdoor activities and photography.

🗺️ Travel Tip: Check out our Perth to Wave Rock road trip guide for a comprehensive journey experience from Perth to this iconic rock.

If you’re planning a broader adventure, consider our detailed route from Perth to Melbourne, which showcases more incredible Australian landscapes.

We found this little fellow warming itself on Wave Rock ©Lifejourney4two
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Things to do at Wave Rock Map

Introduction to Wave Rock

Upon our morning arrival at Wave Rock, having just explored the nearby intriguing Mulka Cave and Humps, we were greeted by a bustling crowd of visitors.

This prehistoric-looking wave stretches 110 meters long and stands 15 meters high, captivating everyone with its imminent ‘crash’.

Wave rock shaped like a wave with sun hitting part of it and a few people at its base
Sun lighting up the rock ©Lifejourney4two

Aboriginal Australians have inhabited the area for hundreds of years, with nearby Mulka Cave a significant historic site.

In 1922, white settlers began farming here as Sandalwood cutters, and some of their descendants still live in Hyden today.

However, it wasn’t until 1964 that Wave Rock became famous. A photographer who had visited the area won a competition in New York and the photo was then published in National Geographic.

Since then, the word has spread far and wide, and the rock has around 140,000 visitors a year.

Lars taking photo at Wave Rock
Lars capturing Wave Rock from all angles ©Lifejourney4two

Exploring Wave Rock

Wave Rock invites you to explore every crevice and corner. Stroll along its massive base or climb to the summit for sweeping views of the surrounding landscape.

At the entrance, informative signs provide insights into the formation’s history and geology. The area also features several walking trails, each offering a unique perspective of this Australian natural wonder.

In addition to the walking trails, there is also a small Bush Tucker Garden detailing local plants and their health and medicinal properties.

Wave Rock Dam
Wave Rock Dam and steps to the top of the rock ©Lifejourney4two

Accessibility at Wave Rock

While there’s no entry fee to visit Wave Rock, a parking fee of $12 per vehicle applies. Wave Rock Caravan Park guests enjoy complimentary parking, ensuring the area’s upkeep and preservation for future generations.

From the rock’s summit, the expansive views extend out to the serene Lake Magic, offering a moment of tranquillity atop this ancient natural structure.

The top of Wave Rock ©Lifejourney4two
Views from the top ©Lifejourney4two

Hippos Yawn

A shorter loop, 1.7 km, takes you to Hippos Yawn. A smaller rock formation that looks like its name alludes to – a hippo yawning!

Lars taking a photo of Hippos Yawn
Hippos Yawn ©Lifejourney4two

Besides its whimsical appearance, this rock has little to offer, but it’s worth the stroll to see.

If you want to explore further afield, we’d recommend Mulkas Cave and the Trails. They’re not nearly as busy as Wave Rock.

Wave Rock was okay for us, but we much preferred Mulka’s Cave and the two trails—they were much less busy and interesting.

Lake Magic and Salt Baths

About a kilometre from Wave Rock are the ever-changing colours of Lake Magic and the manmade salt pool where you can swim and float as if in the Dead Sea.

There isn’t any need to check in at the nearby Wave Rock Resort, but to use the swimming pool, you need to buy a $10 ticket ($5 kids) at the Wave Rock Caravan Park Kiosk.

Lake Magic ©Lifejourney4two
Perth to Wave Rock Lake-Magic-and-salt-pool,-resort-view
Wave Rock Salt Pool ©Lifejourney4two

Museums and Wildlife Park at Wave Rock

Wave Rock offers more than just its iconic natural formations.

Various attractions cater to different interests, and many can be found just across the road from the caravan park.

There, you’ll find the Wildflower Shoppe and Cafe, which also serve as the entrance to many of the attractions.

Wildflower shop and cafe
Wildflower Shop and Cafe across the road from the Caravan Park ©Lifejourney4two

You can buy tickets for the various small museums and the Wildlife Park individually or buy a gold pass:

Gold Pass Attractions

For $20, the Gold Pass offers comprehensive access to several attractions, making it a cost-effective option for those planning to visit several of the museums, or the wildlife centre and at least one other museum.

  • Wildlife Park ($15): Three hectares of bushland housing various wildlife.
  • Yesteryear Museum ($6): The Pioneer Museum has a collection of items dating back to the late 1800s.
  • Lace Museum ($6): Boasts what might be the world’s largest collection of lace. Perfect for enthusiasts, though others might prefer to skip.
  • Toy Soldier Museum ($6): This museum is ideal for model enthusiasts, though the display setup makes it hard to appreciate the intricate details.
  • Off-Road Car Museum: ($6) Appears closed but is accessible through the Wildflower Shoppe, which doubles as the tourist info and café.
lace headpiece with tassles and flowers
The Lace Place ©Lifejourney4two

Here’s a breakdown of what you can find and some personalised recommendations based on our experiences:

Wave Rock Wildlife Park: A Personal Encounter

Wave Rock Wildlife Park is a place with its own charm and a variety of resident animals – both Australian and the more exotic.

Val and Russel Mouritz, Hyden locals, started the park years ago. When we arrived, we had the pleasure of meeting Val, a sprightly 90-year-old busily tending to her parrots.

She encouraged us to explore the park and “Enjoy the surprises around each corner“.

True to her words, but not exactly what she meant, we later spotted her wielding a chainsaw and chopping a log! A testament to how passion can keep you spirited and active!

emu head
Up close and personal with the resident emu ©Lifejourney4two

Exploring the Grounds

Unfortunately, a sign on the entrance door informed us that the koalas had recently passed away, which was a sad note, especially since they were probably a big drawcard.

There was plenty to see, and we wandered around for a good few hours.

🐨 Interesting Fact: We don’t have koalas in the wild in WA, they are only found in the wild in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. 

You can expect to see an emu, camel, various kangaroos, a bush wallaby, many colourful birds and parrots, wombats, and more.

The wildlife park is known for its rare white kangaroos, and a particular highlight was spotting one with a joey peeking out from its pouch—a delightful and unexpected sight.

White kangaroo with a joey poking its head out its pouch.
Look who’s poking its cute little head out! ©Lifejourney4two

The park doesn’t have structured walkways, so it seemed a little higgledy-piggledy, but I guess that’s part of its charm. It is also decorated with wildlife statues of elephants, hippos, gorillas, and even dinosaurs.

Seeing them among the bushes felt incongruent with the predominantly Australian focus of the wildlife on display.

Again, maybe this peculiar mix added a whimsical touch; the jury is still out on that one. I think I’d have preferred the Australiana to be emphasised more.

Two pink and grey galahs on a branch with one hanging upside down
Even the local wildlife liked hanging around in the wildlife park! ©Lifejourney4two

If I’m honest, the park felt a bit worn, with some enclosures lacking proper signage, making it sometimes difficult to know what we were looking at.

But that’s often the charm of country town attractions—they are not as polished as their city counterparts but have a heart of their own.

George the cockatoo with Lars giving him a tickle
This cheeky, chatty resident is ‘George’ enjoying a tickle with Lars, the animal whisperer. When I tried, it just tried to take my finger off!
White parrot trying to reach a cap on lars's head
Tasty cap, no doubt! ©Lifejourney4two

So, Would I Recommend a Visit?

Despite these quirks, would I recommend the Wave Rock Wildlife Park?

Absolutely, especially if you love birds or have a soft spot for unique animal encounters like the white kangaroo. It’s also a fantastic spot for photographers looking to get up close with wildlife.

And interestingly, the flies, which were driving us crazy back at camp, were much less bothersome here, making our visit more enjoyable.

Two yellow and blue macaws in Wave rock Wildlife museum
Blue and yellow macaws in Wave Rock Wildlife Park ©Lifejourny4two

The Yesteryear Museum

The entrance to the Yesteryear Museum is within the Caravan Park office, ‘The Kiosk‘.

For a fee of $6, you can step back in time and browse a collection that evokes nostalgic memories.

A gramphoe with a big red speaker and a shelf with old bottles and momentoes on it
The Yesteryear Museum, Wave Rock ©Lifejourney4two

Most visitors wrote in the guest book said they relished the “reminders of times gone by,”. Visiting here might particularly appeal to those who enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

selection of pld articles that would have been found in a shop back in the 40/50s
General Store items in the Yesteryear Museum ©Lifejourney4two

The collection includes General Store items from the 1920s-1950s, household items used by pioneers, and a garage holding one of the smallest Austin cars from 1952.

Yellow car with grage memoriabillia
Early Austin model in Wave Rock’s Pioneer Town ©Lifejourney4two

The Lace Place

Venturing into this small room, the Hyden Lace Museum, housing Australia’s largest lace collection, I was initially sceptical about its appeal.

There is an impressive array of lace wedding dresses showcasing a range of designs and skills from various eras and drawers and drawers of lace designs.

Perth to Wave Rock Lace-Museum-with hanging dresses in a cabinet
The Lace Place, Wave Rock ©Lifejourney4two

If you are fond of all things crafty, this museum’s display of intricate craftsmanship is a must-visit.

It might not catch the eye of every traveller, but the Hyden Lace Museum offers an extensive and fascinating display for those who appreciate the finer details of traditional crafts.

wooden Display showing lace designs on blue felt
You’ll find drawer after drawer of lace designs at the Lace Place ©Lifejourney4two

The Toy Soldier Museum

The next museum we visited was the Miniature Soldier exhibition. The room felt a bit haphazardly arranged, but it featured an extensive array of miniature soldiers meticulously set up in various historical formations.

coronation set up of miniature soldiers
Impressive Coronation set of miniature figures (taken with a zoom lens) ©Lifejourney4two

The first scene to catch my eye was a recreation of the late Queen’s coronation. This impressive setup, unfortunately, didn’t allow visitors to get close enough to appreciate the intricate details of the miniatures.

Perth to Wave Rock Toy-soldier-museum with a central set up toy soldiers
Miniature Soldier Military Display ©Lifejourney4two

The exhibition extended into another room filled with various items, including old artifacts, such as ancient rocks from England, and a set of beautiful cross-stitch Australian wildflower pictures.

Cross stitch picture of yellow flowers
A cross stitch of Scrub Wattle, an Australian wildflower ©Lifejourney4two

Unfortunately, these pictures were somewhat hidden in a narrow section, overshadowed by boxes and other storage, making them easy to overlook.

I thought they might have been better displayed in the Lace Museum, where they could be appreciated in a more relevant context.

Large mural like painting of wave rock
Mural-like painting hidden away in the miniature soldier room ©Lifejourney4two

The back wall of that room held a huge painting of Wave Rock adorned with local flora and fauna. It’s a shame this isn’t somewhere everyone can enjoy.

Toy soldiers display
Miniature display ©Lifejourney4two

Despite the viewing challenges, the dedication required to set up this extensive display was evident and truly commendable.

For all its disorganization, enthusiasts of military history or miniature models would likely enjoy a visit here.

The WA Off Road HQ Exhibition

Adjacent to the more frequented Wave Rock attractions, the Offroad Car Museum initially appears to be closed. However, once you buy your ticket at the shop, you can gain access from around the back of the Wildlife Park.

Front facade of the off road museum
Off Road Museum (entry through the Wildflower Shop) ©Lifejourney4two

Once inside, the museum offers an intriguing glimpse into the world of off-road racing.

Lars, in particular, found the museum interesting. The collection of memorabilia and photographs from past racing events sparked his interest, showcasing a rich history of local racing adventures.

While perhaps not extensive, the displays provide a nostalgic look back at the thrills of off-road racing.

For those interested in automotive sports or historic racing events, the Offroad Car Museum offers a worthwhile detour. Though, it’s a specialized attraction that might not capture the attention of every visitor.

Racing car and dirt bike

Things to do Near Wave Rock 

Hyden

The town of Hyden is a few minutes’ drive, and it is worth stopping to look at the metalwork street art highlighting the lives of Hyden residents then and now.

There is also a local bakery, which is always worth a look in!

Hyden Street Scape Art ©Lifejourney4two
Hyden-figures made out of scrap metal art-on-main-street
Loved the little details in Hyden’s streetscape art ©Lifejourney4two

Mulka Cave and The Humps

We arrived at Mulka Cave and The Humps early in the morning, at about 8 AM, pleased to be the first arrivals.

Situated just 20 km from Wave Rock, this site is a 15-minute drive away. It features fascinating ancient Aboriginal rock art and stunning natural rock formations.

Mulka cave from the outside looks like a pale smooth rock with a walkway leading to the hole of the cave
Entrance to Mulka Cave ©Lifejourney4two

Inside Mulka Cave, handprints adorn the walls and roof of the cave. Aboriginal legends tell us this was Mulka’s cave, a cross-eyed giant born from a forbidden union.

His impaired vision made hunting impossible, and he instead resorted to eating children and killing his mother. He was eventually hunted down and killed and left to rot.

Traditional stories like these are passed down through the generations to discourage interrelational marriages and protect the community’s genetic health.

inside Mulka Cave with ancient handprints on the cave ceiling
Inside Mulka Cave with its ancient handprints on the cave ceiling ©Lifejourney4two

Leading from Mulkas Cave are two trails worth walking, the Kalari Trail and the Gnamma Trail.

The Kalari Trail

👣 1670 metre circuit

The Kalari Trail features a climb over the impressive granite formations called The Humps.

This 45-minute loop, guided by markers in the rocks, rewarded us with spectacular views and a rock formation that looks like a rugged Wave Rock.

It’s a steep climb but nothing too difficult, and if you’re relatively fit, it’ll be a breeze.

If you enjoy climbing granite rock formations with superb top views, don’t miss out on Frenchman Peak in Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperance. It was quite a climb, but so was it for the views of the Bay of Isles.

Perth to wave rock The Humps with a kangaroo in the distance against the granite  rocks
Spot the kangaroo blending in at the Humps! ©Lifejourney4two

While climbing along the start of the trail, we were delighted to watch a kangaroo effortlessly bound up the granite. Although kangaroos are common in the bush, I never get tired of seeing them.

Interpretive signs along the Kalari trail explain the area’s geology and the plants and animals that live there.

The rough version of WAve Rock - a rock shaped a little like a wave but not so clear as wave rock version
Wave Rock’s poorer cousin at The Humps- not quite as distinct, but still quite impressive ©Lifejourney4two
Perth to Wave Rock Kalari-Trail-1 shelley stood looking at a metal sign with view of granite hills and forest
At the top of the Kalari Trail ©Lifejourney4two

Gnamma Walk Trail

👣 1220 metre circuit

On the Gnamma Trail near Mulkas Cave and the Humps ©Lifejourney4two

The Gnamma Walk Trail is an easier, flatter path that winds past several natural gnamma ( water holes). When we were there, they were filled with tadpoles.

Shelley peering in to a gnamma hole - a natural well in rock
Watching the tadpoles feeding on the algae on the side of the gnamma hole ©Lifejourney4two

Arriving at the car park at about 9:30 am, other visitors arrived, so we were glad we arrived early to have the cave and trails to ourselves.

The car park has toilets and informative signs providing background information about the area.

Wave Rock Accommodation

There are several options for places to stay at Wave Rock:

Our camping spot at Wave Rock Caravan Park ©Lifejourney4two

Wave Rock Caravan Park

For those keen on camping, Wave Rock Caravan Park offers a prime location next to the iconic rock, making it ideal for capturing stunning sunrise, sunset, and night sky photographs.

It was great to be able to wander over to gaze at the rock whenever we wanted.

Benefits of staying here include complimentary parking at the Wave Rock car park and a key card for entry to Magic Lake and the Salt Baths, which would otherwise cost $10.

The park can get busy during peak season and school holidays, so booking in advance is wise.

For bookings, contact: 📞 +61 8 9880 5022 or 📧 [email protected]

swimming pool at Wave Rock caravan Park
Wave Rock Caravan Park swimming pool ©Lifejourney4two

Where to Head After Wave Rock

As your time at Wave Rock ends, the adventure doesn’t have to stop there. Western Australia is filled with stunning destinations that are perfect for extending your journey.

Discover more of WA: from the quirky places like nearby Kulin Tin Horse Highway and the whimsical Gnomesville, where the motto is “There’s gnome place like gnome“, or Esperance’s very own Stonehenge, to the many pristine beaches like Lucky Bay and Conspicuous Cliffs. Western Australia is filled with such a rich variety of experiences that you’ll want to stay a while longer.

Plan your next adventure with our Western Australia travel guide.

Interactive Map: West Australian Places to Visit

Use this interactive map to find other great places to visit in Western Australia.

Click on any of the places, and the link will take you to a guide about the place and our personal experiences there.

FAQS

1. What is the best time to see Wave Rock?

The best time to visit Wave Rock is during the cooler months, from April to October. The weather is more temperate during these months, making outdoor activities more comfortable. Early morning or late afternoon visits can also provide softer light for photography and less crowded experiences.

2. What is the closest town to Wave Rock, WA?

The closest town to Wave Rock is Hyden, located just a few kilometres away. Hyden offers essential services, accommodations, and dining options, making it a convenient base for exploring Wave Rock and the surrounding attractions.

3. How long is the walk around Wave Rock?

The main path around the rock itself is quite manageable, taking about 10 minutes to walk directly around. Still, the full Wave Rock Circuit, which extends around the area and nearby Lake Magic, is 3.6km long and takes about 40 minutes to complete.

Wedge tailed eagle
Wedgetail eagle spotted on our drive between Wave Rock and the Humps ©Lifejourney4two

Is Wave Rock Worth Visiting?

After exploring all that Wave Rock and its surroundings have to offer, the answer is a resounding yes.

From the iconic, photogenic curve of the rock itself, where you can witness a prehistoric wave frozen in time, to the diverse activities such as walking trails at the Humps, enchanting experiences at Mulka’s Cave, and engaging visits to the local museums and wildlife park, there is something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk, a deep dive into Aboriginal history, or a day spent learning about local flora and fauna, Wave Rock offers a comprehensive experience.

The proximity of attractions like Hippos Yawn and the tranquil Lake Magic and the unique opportunity to float in the salt baths add layers of adventure and relaxation to your visit.

Wave Rock captivates with its blend of nature and nurture, making every visit worthwhile.

Our favourite part of our visit was Mulka’s Cave and the two walking trails around the Humps.

Mulka’s Cave with ancient handprints ©Lifejourney4two

Best Things to Do at Wave Rock … That’s a Wrap

As we wrap up our exploration at Wave Rock, it’s evident that this iconic site offers more than its stunning natural arch.

Attractions like the Wildlife Park, Yesteryear Museum, and Lace Museum provide fascinating insights into the local culture and history, each adding a unique touch to the Wave Rock experience.

Lars and Shelley at Wave Rock

For travellers coming from Perth, make sure to check out my Perth to Wave Rock road trip post for tips on maximizing your journey to this captivating part of Western Australia.

Whether you’re a local rediscovering your surroundings or a visitor seeking new adventures, Wave Rock offers a gateway to the rich, vibrant spirit of the Golden Outback.

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Planning Your Travels?

These are the travel resources we recommend and use when planning our trips.

For a more thorough list, visit our Travel Resources page here.

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Shelley

Shelley, a former primary school teacher with a law degree, and her husband Lars co-own Lifejourney4two. Their adventure began in Perth, Australia, and has since taken them through Europe and Africa in motorhomes and bush campers. Shelley's travel guides combine practical advice with engaging stories, mirroring their shift from 'One Day' to 'Day One'. Together, they aim to inspire others to embark on their own travel dreams.

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