It’s been just over a month since Cyclone Seroja went through the town of Kalbarri and its surrounds, but in exciting news for the town, and West Australian tourists, this beautiful part of WA’s Coral Coast is ready to welcome visitors back with open arms. A very do-able 6-7 hour drive from Perth, Kalbarri is situated where the 820km long Murchison River meets the Indian Ocean, a town surrounded by awe-inspiring 400-million-year-old gorges to the east; and towering coastal cliffs plummeting into the sea to the west. As such it’s an adventurer’s paradise, offering stunning hikes through inland gorges, abseiling, surfing, snorkelling, fishing, kayaking, scenic flights and so much more.
Now’s the perfect time to start planning your next (or first) Kalbarri adventure, and given what happened in April, it’s important to really plan ahead and make sure you book accommodation and tours in advance. Also try to reserve restaurants and cafes where possible, and most importantly spend some time around town to help support the plethora of wonderful local businesses who’ll be stoked to see you.
With all of this in mind, let’s get into the good stuff and all the things to see and do in and around Kalbarri:
Peer through Nature’s Window
This has to be the most iconic (and photographed!) spot in Kalbarri. The natural rock window overlooks the Murchison River and is accessed by a short, easy 1km return walk. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous the Loop Trail will take a few hours (so pack water), while the Z Bend Trail along the Murchison River is a bit shorter and provides some spectacular vistas. For the really adventurous, you can book in experiences like abseiling, kayaking and stargazing TOURS.
An even more spectacular way to see them is on a scenic flight, with Kalbarri Scenic Flights your first port of call for a variety of different options, and of course the world class attraction, Kalbarri Skywalk – find all you need to know about it HERE.
Stop and smell the wildflowers
There are a thousand reasons to wander out yonder to Kalbarri during wildflower season (July to November). Literally, over a thousand different species burst into bloom and carpet the region – an incredible sight to see. Many of the flowers are unique to the region and start to bloom from late June onwards, depending on the weather. Keep an eye out for them in the Kalbarri National Park, as well as along the coastal cliffs. The visitor centre in Kalbarri can update you about what is flowering and where best to see them.
Hike coastal cliffs and walking trails…
South of Kalbarri you’ll find a number of great lookouts and trails to explore offering great views of the cliffs and coastline. One of these lookouts is Natural Bridge, which is also the start of the Bigurda Trail; from Natural Bridge you can follow a boardwalk to Island Rock. If you have time you should continue on the rest of the Bigurda Trail, about 8kms in total, taking you all the way to Eagle Gorge along the cliff’s edge.
Further along the coastline is the Mushroom Rock to Rainbow Valley Walking trail, Red Bluff Lookout and Pot Alley, where a walking trail winds its way down to a small secluded beach (swimming is not recommended here); it’s also a great spot to watch the sunset over the ocean. While you’re there, keep an eye out for humpback whales that migrate down the coastline – whale watching season runs between June and November.
See the Pink Lake
On your way to (or from) Kalbarri take a slight detour down Port Gregory Road or George Grey Drive and check out the Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon) at Port Gregory which has to be another of the most photographed spots in the region. The pink is caused by a carotenoid-producing algae and the colour of the lake changes depending on both the time of day and season. It’s best viewed from Port Gregory Road around midday, and one of the funnest ways to check it out is via a Pink Lake Buggy Tour.
Hit the water
Kalbarri is also well known for its great surf. Jacques (Jakes) Point, a 5-minute drive south of town, is a popular spot for experienced surfers and is a national surfing reserve, while closer to Kalbarri you’ll find the Blue Holes, where the protected waters and limestone reef system make it the perfect place for snorkelling and swimming. Another great spot for swimming is Chinaman’s Beach, where the Murchison River meets the sea and the sheltered waters means it’s safe for all ages. Pelican feeding also occurs daily along the foreshore opposite the caravan park at 8:45am by volunteers who run the program (a gold coin donation is appreciated).
You can also drop a line in for some fantastic fishing around the Murchison River mouth, or even better jump on a deep sea fishing charter and catch something to tell your friends about. And if you want to do a little more exploring of the river itself, there are canoe tours and wilderness cruises galore.
Explore the Rainbow Jungle
Did you know Kalbarri is home to an award-winning parrot breeding centre? Rainbow Jungle is a spectacular parrot aviary, with plenty to do including the epic Kalbarri Maze. There’s also a kids playground and the Flaming Galah Cafe for high tea, brunch and lunch. And speaking of lunch…
Eat & Drink
What Kalbarri lacks in size it more than makes up for in great places to eat and drink. There are a bunch of cute little cafes that’ll get you fuelled-up before a big day of adventuring ahead; restaurants and pubs for a hard-earned thirst/feed at the end of the day; and even a microbrewery, Finlay’s (pictured, below). Just make sure you check ahead for opening times and try to book where possible!
Over to you! Hit up the Kalbarri Visitor Centre to start planning your Kalbarri adventure today.