From the city of Albany in Western Australia we really wanted to continue south and east to the town of Esperance. We had heard from several travelers that Esperance had some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But by early June, Winter is on its way to Australia, and the farther south you go, the colder it gets. Esperance was still a six-hour drive away and it was already too cool to truly enjoy the beaches. We decided instead that we would head north, ultimately to the Ningaloo Reef, but with a few stops along the way. One of those stops was a tiny town called Klondinin. We chose this town because of its proximity to a rock formation known as The Wave.
Klondinin is a tiny town. So small that there’s only one convenience store sized grocery store. So small that there was only one listing on AirBNB. So we booked that listing and drove six hours northeast and away from the coast through miles and miles of open, red-dirt farm country and to the town of Klondinin.
Since I (Jess) was the one who planned out the trip to The Wave rock formation, there wasn’t much actual planning involved. It turns out that it only takes about a twenty-minute visit to take in The Wave. And there’s pretty much nothing else within hours of Klondinin. Still, I thought it was fun to live in the rustic white house, staying warm with space heaters, and trying to find things to do in the area.
Here’s what we did during our three-night stay in Klondinin:
The Wave is a large natural rock formation in the shape of a cresting wave. For the aboriginal population, it was both a site of cultural importance as well as a source of fresh water in the small dished out areas where rain water would accumulated. For European settlers, it was also an importance source of fresh water. A low wall was constructed along the lip of the wave. During rains, the water that ran down the stone surface ran along the stone wall to a collecting reservoir. It was (and still is) a valuable resource in an arid land. For us, it was a neat thing to see and climb.
Hippo’s Yawn is another rock formation in the area. It looks like a wide open hippo mouth.
Mulka’s Cave is, according to local lore, the cave of a cross-eyed aboriginal man named Mulka. Although he was large and strong, his crossed eyes kept him from being a good hunter. So Mulka turned to killing and eating children. Mulka was eventually captured and killed (according to legend). Perhaps there is some truth to the legend. In any case, Mulka’s cave is a cave in which there are many (over 450) hand prints left by the aboriginal people.
The Tin Horse Highway is another main attraction in the region of The Wave. For many kilometers along the otherwise unremarkable two-lane shoulderless highway typical to Western Australia, the local community has erected sculptures of welded steel barrels and other metal scraps that are shaped and painted to become zany, anthropomorphic horses and cattle.