In Australia, most natural wonders like Wave Rock tend to be located inside of national parks, making them strictly off limits for visiting with your dog. However, rather unusually Wave Rock is not located in a national park, meaning that you can visit Wave Rock with your dog.
Find out what it’s like to visit this attraction in the south of Western Australia, near the town of Hyden, including what to do with your dog and where to stay.
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing at Wave Rock
The majority of the sightseeing activities at Wave Rock are dog-friendly, except for visiting inside museums. Make sure you add these to your itinerary…
1. Visit Wave Rock
Top of your list for a visit to Wave Rock is actually visiting the rock. The impressive 15m-high and 110m-long granite cliff is shaped like a wave about to break, but surprisingly wasn’t created by water, instead forming from a combination of chemical weathering and subsequent erosion. It’s part of the larger Hyden Rock inselberg.
Wave Rock is less than a 5 minute walk from the Wave Rock Caravan Park, kiosk and carpark. There is an entry fee of $12 per vehicle to Wave Rock (plus Hippo’s Yawn) if you aren’t staying at the caravan park (or potentially other local accommodation options). If you are camping, I recommend checking in and picking up your pass before seeing any sights.
Make sure you keep your dog on a leash on the walking trail and at Wave Rock itself.
2. Return at Sunset or Sunrise
If you’re staying at the Wave Rock Caravan Park, it’s very easy to return to the rock at either sunset or sunrise (or both), to capture the changing colours of the rock in the different light. This was highly recommended to me by previous visitors, but unfortunately it was grey and cloudy during my visit. Fingers crossed you have better weather!
3. Visit the Hippo’s Yawn
Wave Rock isn’t the only intriguing rock formation in the area. Just a few hundred metres to the east is the Hippo’s Yawn, which really does look like the gaping mouth of a hippo!
There’s a second carpark at the Yawn. Make sure you only visit it after having first bought your entry ticket or booked into the caravan park. Alternatively, you can visit the Hippo’s Yawn on the Wave Rock Walk Circuit or the Hippo’s Yawn Loop trail starting at Wave Rock.
4. Take a Hike
There’s a number of walking trails at Wave Rock, in addition to the short walking track to the rock itself. Pick up the “Walk Trails at Wave Rock and The Humps” brochure at the kiosk.
Leashed dogs are fine to join you on all of the trails, except for the Hyden Rock Walk. This walk ascends up onto the inselberg and passes through the water catchment area for Hyden Dam.
A popular walk is the 1.7km loop trail to Hippo’s Yawn and back. Walk to the Yawn along the base of the outcrop, then return via the Wave Rock Walk Circuit. The walking track is well formed and flat, with interpretative panels along the way about “Life on the Fringe” and the formation of the Yawn.
For a longer walk, I recommend the Wave Rock Walk Circuit. As well as visiting the Hippo’s Yawn, this track also takes in the salt-lake landscape to the north, with multiple boardwalks passing over the swampy landscape. Largely flat, the walk is a 3.6km loop, with interpretive panels along the way. It’s a great walk with your dog on a leash during cooler weather.
5. Drive to Mulka’s Cave
About 16km north of Wave Rock is another granite outcrop, known as the Humps. The Humps are located in a separate reserve, without an entry fee, and there’s no prohibition against dogs in the reserve. The road to the Humps is largely sealed, although the final 1.5km stretch is unsealed.
A highlight of a visit to the Humps is Mulka’s Cave, one of the most significant Aboriginal rock art sites in southern Western Australia. Over 450 hand prints and images are dimly visible over the walls of two chambers. The Cave is almost adjacent to the carpark. We decided to leave our dog outside the cave while we took turns to visit this delicate environment.
While at the Humps, there’s also two walking trails. The Kalari Trail is a 1.7km circuit ascending to the top of the Humps. Alternatively, a relatively flat and easy walk is the 1.2km Gnamma Trail, which focuses on the local Aboriginal interpretation of the land.
6. View the Living Art Street Sculptures
While visiting the nearby town of Hyden, 5km to the west of Wave Rock, make sure you check out the Living Art Street Sculptures. Located alongside the main street, opposite the information centre and IGA, the junk sculptures have been created by locals from old motor parts, machinery and other metal parts. They tell the history of the town and its colourful characters.
Dog-Friendly Dining at Wave Rock
There’s a cafe at Wave Rock, opposite the caravan park, although I didn’t visit it. Presumably you can sit with a dog at the outside tables.
In Hyden, I recommend dropping into the Bush Bakehouse Cafe, open daily. We picked up some of their excellent sourdough bread, plus their baked goods, to enjoy on our drive departing Hyden. They also offer sandwiches, pies and burgers, with some outdoor tables, where dogs are likely permitted.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation at Wave Rock
The Wave Rock Caravan Park is pet-friendly and situated right next to Wave Rock, making it the logical place to camp with a dog when visiting Wave Rock. The site fees are on the high side, but cheap once you take into account the entry fee otherwise charged, if you are not camping at the caravan park.
Pets are permitted on both the powered and unpowered sites. There’s also at least one pet-friendly cabin – but make sure you book it well in advance! There’s an excellent camp kitchen area at the centre of the park, and it’s a short walk to Wave Rock itself and the start of the other walking tracks.
Another option is the Wave Rock Resort, 1km north of Wave Rock. With fourteen two-bedroom cottages, pets are allowed by prior arrangement in two cottages.