Wave Rock to Perth

After a beautiful few days in Esperance it was time to start the journey back to Perth.  We decided to break the long drive up by stopping at Wave Rock in Hyden for the night.  It was a four hour drive to Hyden, in the middle of the Wheatbelt - which means nothing around but fields of wheat -  and when we got there it was HOT.  And BORING.  With my already sunburned legs I decided to keep my jeans on, and between the heat and the pain that walking caused I was pretty unimpressed.

I have to give the Wave Rock Tourist Park credit for hyping up the few "activities" in the area.  We decided to drive a few minutes down the road to another rock formation, thinking at least we could be in the air conditioned car for a few more minutes.  Funny though, I haven't a clue what the place was called and even google doesn't seem to know what it's called.  We walked around briefly, but it was not very exciting and it was still very hot so we decided to return to the caravan park, sit in the shade, and watch the cricket match.
mystery rock "attraction" near Hyden
Finally it was dinner time and we drove into "town" to grab a bite to eat.  With a population of 281, this place had a bizarre grocery store/post office/scrapbooking/clothing store, a school, a small aussie hotel, and that was about it.  The only place you could really get dinner was the hotel - and when I say hotel it's not the typical American image of a hotel.  In Australia a hotel is typically a pub that may or may not have rooms to stay in.  The restaurant at the hotel sold pieces of meat that you could cook yourself on their grill.  After dinner it had finally cooled down a bit so we explored Wave Rock until the sun went down.
Wave Rock in the evening light
Wave Rock is a super strange place.  The rock formation is quite unique in itself, but added to that is the wall built on top of it to collect rain water in a nearby dam.  There were some steps that led up the rock and allowed us to explore up top.  The idea of letting a bunch of people stomp all over this place seemed a bit odd to me, but we enjoyed exploring.  At one point there was a sign leading us to a path down the other side of the rock.  We started following it, but it basically ended up pointing us to walk straight down the cliff and in the fading daylight this really didn't seem like a safe idea.
the wall on top of Wave Rock to capture rain water
The dam next to Wave Rock
The following morning we went back to the rock to take a look in different light.  I had heard the colours looked very different depending on the light, and that was definitely true.
Wave Rock in the morning light
 Finally it was time to finish the drive to Perth.  It was another 3.5 hours until we got to Feral Brewing Company in Swan Valley just outside of Perth.  Phil was in heaven with more than a dozen beers to taste straight out of the tap.   After lunch we went to visit our friends who have also moved to Australia with Solar.  After a brief drive through the Perth CBD we explored the botanic gardens for a bit and then headed down to Freemantle for dinner.
In front of the Perth skyline
 Phil was very excited to finally get to see the original Little Creatures Brewery in Freemantle.  Strangely, the waiters all seemed to look slightly pirate-esque which made for some excellent people watching while enjoying some pizzas and beers.  After dinner we took a stroll along the water with some Baskin Robbins ice cream and a pretty sunset.  With our early flight back to Melbourne the next morning, it was the perfect way to end a great vacation.
Sunset in Freemantle
Amber and Matt

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