The Wheatbelt has a few big-name locations – think Wave Rock and the Pinnacles. And they are both awesome spots to visit. But there are also many other amazing rock formations to explore…some that are perhaps even more impressive.
Wheatbelt springtime rock tour
Spring is the perfect time to explore the Wheatbelt – mild temperatures, the weather is generally fine (although a few rainy days are appreciated by farmers to finish crops) and, if you’re out at the right time, there will be blankets of wildflowers. We took a few days in early September to explore some of the less travelled routes of the northeast Wheatlbet and a selection of rock formations.
Marshall Rock Reserve
First stop saw us pulling up at Marshall Rock Reserve, just outside of Bencubbin. Nestled in a bushland setting, the reserve has ample spots for caravans set up for free camping although we were lucky to be the only visitors there.
The outcrops are very accessible – we even traversed the larger rock with Gemma in her pram (admittedly it’s a pretty robust all-terrain model but it was still very achievable as there was a gravel road almost all the way to the top). We lamented not bringing a few beers and nibbles to be able to sit on the picnic table at the top for a sundowner. Surrounding the camping area, wildflowers were in abundance and we settled for some beer and nibbles around a campfire instead.
The ‘Wave Rock’ of the northeast, I’d go so far to suggest that Elachbutting is actually better than Wave Rock. Situated 60km northeast of Mukinbudin, you’ll need to travel mostly on unsealed roads to reach this spot but they are well maintained and a 2WD will get you there with no dramas (remember to drive safely and leave plenty of stopping distance, especially on still days when the road dust takes some time to clear).
We only visited three of the features of this rock formation as the area is now run by Parks and Wildlife and this means no dogs, unfortunately. We left the pooch in the caravan and explored the impressive wave, along with Monty’s Pass (a 40-metre rock slide that forms a pretty nifty cave you can walk right through) along with Kings Cave which has some cool acoustic properties. The camping area looked pretty good and we heard from other travellers that there is lots to explore at this huge outcrop. Hopefully, we can return another day without our dog, or the rules around dogs might get relaxed.
A short skip on from Elachbutting Rock, you’ll find the equally interesting Beringbooding Rock. Another granite outcrop, this time its water gathering potential has been harnessed through a project in the early 20th century. Encircling the rock are hand-built walls that channel the water into a huge tank designed to supply the local district. Still in operation today, the engineering feat is quite astounding. On our roam over the rock, we also saw large gnamma holes (depressions in the rocks that hold water), gravity-defying boulders and some cosy caves.
A much busy spot than our previous night’s stop, there were half a dozen other campers around and it was nice to chat to some in the central seating area and hear about their travels.
Eaglestone Rock and Lake Brown
Just outside Nungarin is another super rock experience. This time we enjoyed clambering over Eaglestone Rock to enjoy a panorama out over Lake Brown, a huge salt lake whose shore butts right up against the rock. Asides from some fun rock scrambling (always a challenge with a baby carrier strapped to you!) there were caves, wildflowers and views.
Plenty of camping spots at various locations around the rocks – we were the only people near our spot. Wildflowers were in bloom here too and we were even lucky enough to spot a few orchids.
Our last stop on our rock tour was Toapin Weir, just outside of Quairading. We had thought about camping the night but it was hot (well, 30 degrees which is hot for spring and in a caravan which is not much fun for a baby needing a nap). Anyway, it made a great spot for lunch with lots of shady trees and picnic tables.
And the rock – another engineering feature with a huge freshwater dam (crystal clear water) captured off the rock. It was a steep but easy clamber up the rock for views across the district, with rails to pull yourself along with if you are flagging part way up. I imagine it would be very impressive during a rain event but we were lucky to enjoy it under sunny skies.
Has our tripped piqued your interest? You can find all these spots and more on the Wheatbelt Way.