The Hyden-Norseman road is an excellent alternative to travelling the Great Eastern Highway if you wish to travel between Norseman & Perth because you'll get off the tar and away from the trucks. In fact you may not encounter any other traffic, making this a relaxing drive indeed. There is plenty to please the senses along this route - infact it is a tourist route all unto itself, being marketed as "The Granite & Woodlands Discovery Trail".
The route is mostly gravel, wide and easy travelling at close to highway speeds so generally it is suitable for all vehicles, including those towing caravans. Wet weather
however can cause the road to be closed.
Travellers will find interpretive "sites" and stopping places
along the way, as part of the Granite & Woodlands Discovery Trail. These are signposted in numerical order from 1 to 16 from the Hyden end. It is worth picking up a copy of the free trail guide brochure at the Hyden Truck Stop or just download this trek note to know what to expect at each site.
We suggest this is a 2 day route if you are here to explore as it is still a 3-4 hour drive across without stopping.
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.
This route lies amongst temperate woodlands on the edge of the wheat belt, where 80 different varieties of eucalypts grow. Across the 300km of this trek you'll also see sandy heathlands, distinctive granite outcrops, salt lakes, & claypans.
Wave Rock in Hyden is the most visited of the granite outcrops in the area, however there are many other rocks noted in this trek that are worth exploring.
Amongst this diversity, are two massive nickel mines, Emily Ann and Maggie Hays and associated processing plants & infrastructure
. No doubt the reason the road is so well maintained is to cater for the mine trucks.
Birdlife in the area include mallee fowl, bush turkey, grey currawong, numerous parrot species, cockatoos, and lorikeets including the tiny purple crowned lorikeet.
Whilst both Hyden and Norseman have significant historical beginnings, the region of woodland between the two was very much ignored by both aboriginals and Europeans and remains an area of no agriculture or pastoralism today.
Sandalwood cutters are believed to have been the first white men in the area and early attempts at pastoralism were unsuccessful, mostly due to a lack of readily accessible underground water. 11 trial plots (10 acres) were established at Forrestonia in 1959 but did not lead to take up by permanent settlers and were abandoned in 1966.
The Wudjari and Ngadju people would only pass through the area if water and food permitted, and doggers would utilise the shed at Forrestania Plots whilst hunting feral dogs and dingos.
Of most significance was the discoveries of gold and nickel, with a few large mines in current operation.