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Landforms and Geological Curiosities
In a country full of Big Rocks and geological wonders, Western Australia landforms are among some of the most fascinating and strikingly unusual. This page will give you a good overview of the more famous West Australian landforms, the most gorgeous gorges, and the oldest, biggest and most unusual rocks - plus one or two travel secrets off the beaten track.
Western Australia Landforms - the Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley region. Read a visitor's personal account of taking a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungle Range.
The landforms of Australia that travellers like to visit include some pretty spectacular outback gorges, many of which are to be found in Western Australia. The Kimberley region in particular has a great many gorges to visit including Windjana Gorge, Geikie Gorge and Cathedral Gorge.
The deep gorges of the Karijini National Park in the Pilbara are cool and shady in the hot dry desert, with creeks, waterfalls and rock pools hiding at the base of the red-walled gorges.
Some other areas with gorges include the Cape Range National Park near Exmouth and Kalbarri National Park.
Wave Rock near the small town of Hyden is a well-known Australian landform because it is so unusual - a breaking wave frozen in time in the middle of the Western Australian wheatbelt!
Many travellers choose to visit Hyden and Wave Rock on the journey between Perth and Esperance, or even as a detour from Albany or Kalgoorlie.
The Wheatbelt Granites - A Western Australia Travel Secret
Wave Rock may be the most famous stripey granite outcrop resembling a wave, but it sure isn't the only one! Elachbutting Rock, out near Mukinbudin on the north-eastern edge of the Wheatbelt where the desert begins, is just as striking - if not more so. Not many people seem to know about Elachbutting Rock, but in my opinion it's well worth a visit.
There are countless other huge granites in the wheatbelt. Some of my favourites (in addition to the two already mentioned) include the lonely and windswept Yorkrakine Rock near Wyalkatchem and Yanneymooning Hill, which is close to Elachbutting.
The Pinnacles Desert is hidden away in the sanddunes of WA's midwest coast, just south of Cervantes. It's a strange, barren landscape of sand and stone, with thousands of limestone pillars sticking out of the ground, resembling tombstones and castles.
The Pinnacles are the more erosion-resistant remnants of what was once a large bed of limestone underground.
Western Australia Landforms
and the Geological History of the Earth
Much of the Western Australian landmass is composed of some of the oldest rock in the world, formed over 3500 years ago during the early years of our planet's existence. Over the aeons, the rocks of the Western Australian landmass have been uplifted, folded, weathered and eroded into a brightly-coloured and mostly flat land, rich in the minerals that power Australia's economy, through the mining industry.
Most nutrients have long since leached out of these rocks, but a surprising diversity of tough, hardy plants and animals manage to flourish in spite of this. In fact, the unique evolutionary adaptations made by living things to Western Australia's harsh conditions helped form the south-western part of the state into one of the world's 25 Biodiversity Hotspots.
The Jack Hills Contain the Oldest Material of Terrestrial Origins Ever Found:
The oldest material of terrestrial origins on our planet has been found in the Jack Hills to the east of Shark Bay, on the border between the Shire of Murchison and the Shire of Meekatharra.
This material consists of small crystals of a Zircon mineral from a sedimentary gneiss that was dated at 4.4 billion years old, which means it's been around for 98% of the time that Planet Earth has existed.