|Wave Rock, Hyden, Western Australia|
The last four days have reminded me that Australia is a really, really big country. Logically, of course, I knew this already - but there is nothing like driving the open expanses to bring the fact home.
We covered over 17,00km in roughly 18 hours of driving, and still covered just a small corner of Western Australia. When looking at Australia as a whole, that small corner becomes an even smaller component.
The trip was useful for more than just lessons on scale. It was, in fact, a wonderful four days. We have been really fortunate with travel in the last few years, and in may ways this trip felt like the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle. By that I mean that it took us to (relatively) local sights that we wanted to see before departing for England. Having driven the Australian outback, breathed its dust, and taken in its history, I feel content in moving overseas for the foreseeable future.
|Salmon gum trees|
We left Perth last Friday afternoon, setting out to cover the four hour drive east to Hyden. Hyden is a tiny place but it is the home of Wave Rock, a granite wave that is 110m long and 14m high. It's not the most dramatic of rock formations, but it is impressive nonetheless.
The rock is a granite "inselberg", which is a fancy term for a rock hill or other formation that rises from a generally flat plain. It formed by erosion being faster for softer rock beneath the upper edge, relative to the top and bottom sections.
On Friday, we arrived too late to visit the rock itself and instead checked straight into our accommodation. Hyden being a town of under 200 people (really!), there aren't many accommodation options to choose from. There is a motel along the main road, and then near Wave Rock itself is a caravan park with a handful of cabins, and a "resort" with self-catering cottages. We opted for the caravan park cabins, and found them to be just right for a one night stay.
Food options in Hyden are equally limited, and you really want to self-cater if you can manage to do so. We arrived prepared and made a basic pasta dish with many vegetables, a tomato-based sauce and, for Mr Bite, tuna. It's one of our standard holiday meals and has transportable ingredients that are easy to prepare.
In the morning, we walked along Wave Rock and up onto the top of the larger Hyden Rock formation. In contrast to the dramatic rock below, the top plateau is flat, hot and showcases the dry empty plains below. It is tough country.
There is a well set out walk around the upper surface, complete with information posts and signs. The only downside is that the end of the walk is not very well marked and, we thought, left us to descend a very steep rock slope or retrace our steps all the way back to the start! We weren't keen to do that, so ended our walk rather inelegantly and with a few moments of sliding on bottoms. It turns out there was a more gradual slope we should have used, but fortunately our method didn't result in injury and did add a burst of adrenalin to the morning.
|The slope we descended precariously at the end...|
From Wave Rock we drove on another four hours to Esperance - quite a different landscape with stunning beaches and coastal scenes. That, however, shall come in another post!
|Hellfire Bay, Esperance|
Have you had driving holidays that highlight how large your country or state really is?