Disappointment Rock – Norseman, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Disappointment Rock

Norseman, Australia

No one seems to know who suffered the disappointment at this particular place. 


There is a strong tradition of negative place names in Australia: Witness such places as “Useless Loop,” “Suicide Bay” and the four different hills designated as “Mount Hopeless.” There are also a total of 17 places which apparently didn’t live up to expectations and were given names that include variations of the word “Disappointed.” One of them is Disappointment Rock in Western Australia. 

No one seems to know who suffered the disappointment at this particular place. Given the location, they may have been disappointed by the lack of gold, or the lack of water.  

Nowadays, providing you bring your own water, you can take an interesting two-kilometer walk around and over the scorned rock.  You will see Aboriginal water holes (gnamma), one of the only higher order tuberous plants in Australia (Calothamnus tuberosus), the biggest A-tent rock formation in Australia (formed when compression breaks a slab of rock, forcing it upwards into an A-shape), and many, many lizards. There are 17 signposts along the walk explaining the geology, botany and history of the area. If you visit during springtime (September to October) you will also see an amazing display of wildflowers.

Know Before You Go

Disappointment Rock lies on the 300 kilometre Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail between Hyden and Norseman. The road is all weather and suitable for two-wheel drives, but is not tarred, so can get quite dusty. Download the brochure on the Trail from the Dundas Shire council website and stop at all the roadside stops to learn more and really appreciate this desolate part of the country. There are no facilities on the Trail and travelers should take water and food.

Be careful on the Disappointment Rock walk as not all the points are well marked and the brochure is a bit confusing especially around sign #16. Best to take a photo of the map at the start of the trail.
Actual coordinates of the rock are 32°7′53″S 120°55′30″E

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January 18, 2017

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