Lake Magic Panorama

Lake Magic Panorama

Varley – Wave Rock – The Humps & Mulka Cave – Hyden – Kondinin – Kulin

As I drove out of Varley this morning, I was amazed at the size of the two wheat storage facilities in and near the town.  This would be an extremely busy place in wheat harvest season. The country is ever changing on my drive to Wave Rock – I read somewhere that it is like a mosaic – it changes from wheat fields to heath to salt pans to salmon gum stands to granite hill outcrops and back again through the lot within ten kilometres or so. I feel like it would be like a patchwork from the air – so many landforms rolled into one. The simple explanation for the changes is simply soil type – isn’t nature amazing.

Paula at Wave Rock

Paula at Wave Rock

I arrived at Wave Rock to a very overcast sky but within 15 minutes of arrival the sky cleared and the day was magical – a slight breeze for my walk – fabulous.  How to describe Wave Rock?  It was everything I expected and more – the shape and colours in the rock – amazing – so aptly named, although the real name is actually Hyden Rock.  The Hyden water supply (a dam) is caught on the top of this rock. Walls have been built to direct the water to the catchment – ingenious.  After being blown away by the sheer magnificence of the wave I head for the top of the rock – steps and a chain assist one to the fence surrounding the dam and then exploring the rock face is easy. The view from the top is spectacular and I can see Lake Magic in the distance.

After I descend and take another look at Wave Rock, I head to do the Hippo’s Yawn Loop.  The walk takes me around the base of the rock, through a semi rainforest environment with Rock She Oaks and dense understorey.  There are information plaques at intervals explaining Living on the Edge and I find these great. The Hippo’s Yawn is a tafone – an Italian word for window – to me it looks just like a Hippo Yawning – so well named.  The rock formations around here are certainly spectacular, and the surrounding country so varied.  There is the moist environment close to the rock, then, 10 metres or so from that are York Eucalypts and Quandong trees, then sparse salt pans with dead looking vegetation – mind boggling.

The loop walk takes me via an interesting scarred tree which serves as a reminder of the Aboriginal tribes who passed by here all those years ago – there is an information plaque noting the words they used for the seasons and how they correlate with our four seasons. I am treated to a very close encounter with a ring necked parrot in the Salmon Gum – even waited for a close up!!  I have seen many parrots on my trip today – very common, but they make me smile every time.

I make my way back to the car park and go check out the visitor centre, which comprises a Wildflower Shoppe, a Lace Place (Antique lace products), Pioneer Town and a Toy Soldier Museum before heading out to The Humps and Mulka’s Cave, 16 kilometres away.  The wheat fields on the way out are huge, and then these rocks loom large in front of me.  I have to drive over 1.5 kilometres of very, very corrugated gravel road to reach the carpark and then go to explore Mulka’s Cave.

Mulka’s Cave is very important in local “Noongar” Aboriginal culture. The myth or legend of Mulka is depicted on the story board from the entrance to the cave. The cave has a front chamber and a main chamber and the hands on the ceiling of both make this one of the best examples of cave art in WA. (There are over 450 separate hand prints!!)  The rock formations which make up The Hump, whilst not as impressive to me, as Wave Rock and Hippo’s Yawn, are interesting and the surrounding landscape is different.

I head back to the Wave Rock Resort to check out Lake Magic (My family’s nickname for my son is Magic – so special significance here).  The road to the resort is through salt pans with dying vegetation and I arrive at the lake and find it’s beautiful, and to top it off – there’s a catamaran and a boat on the water’s edge, which is white beach sand – just waiting for the perfect sunset photo!!  The clear water is salty and the lake base is made of gypsum. I’m so glad I came to find this spot!!

Hyden is only 3 kilometres from Wave Rock and I find the most unusual sculptures in the main street park – all made out of spare parts and iron – the light made it hard to do them justice with the camera but I thoroughly enjoyed them.  The old truck and the Hyden Taxi circa 1929-1930 (a pushbike!!) showed how clever some people are – all have plaques attached.

From Hyden, I head towards Kondinin. At Karlgarin I was going to go to Kulin via the Tin Horse Highway but decided to stick to the highway through Kondinin as planned. Planting is in full swing here, and I passed a huge planter being moved along the highway, and one on change of driver in the paddock (a female driver I’m pleased to report!)  Kondinin has a beautiful Memorial Garden and Rotunda with fabulous roses and green lush grass – and water lying on the street from the overnight rain. The row of shops in the street, take me back a year or two.

The road to Kulin takes me alongside a salt lake and water pipes for a distance, then the Salmon Gums and wheat fields.  I have been told that I’ve missed a treat on the Tin Man Highway – Well next time!! Kulin has a very wide front street and my camp for the night is opposite the row of shops and the Hotel in a parking spot near the skate bowl.

Varley Wheat Store

Varley Wheat Store

Wave Rock

Wave Rock

Wave Rock

Wave Rock

Catchment Walls

Catchment Walls

Hyden Rock Dam

Hyden Rock View

Hyden Rock View

Hippo's Yawn Loop Walk

Hippo’s Yawn Loop Walk

Hippo's Yawn

Hippo’s Yawn

Natural Orchard - Quandong Trees

Natural Orchard – Quandong Trees

Scarred Tree and Seasonal Information

Scarred Tree and Seasonal Information

Scarred Tree

Scarred Tree

The Humps Corrugated Road

The Humps Corrugated Road

Mulka's Cave Art Main Chamber

Mulka’s Cave Art Main Chamber

Mulka's Cave

Mulka’s Cave

Salt Pan on way to Wave Rock Resort

Salt Pan on way to Wave Rock Resort

Lake Magic

Lake Magic

Hyden Sculpture Taxi

Hyden Sculpture Taxi

Kondinin Welcome Sign

Kondinin Welcome Sign

Kondinin Memorial Garden

Kondinin Memorial Garden

Kulin Tin Horse

Kulin Tin Horse

Hyden Rock Dam
Hyden Rock Dam

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