Kalbarri is less than a day’s drive from Perth (about 6-7 hours) and it’s the perfect spot for adventure – from exploring gorges to abseiling, surfing, quad-biking, kayaking and hiking.
Here are some of the best things to do while in Kalbarri:
See the view from 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 easily accessed by a short, easy 1km return walk. The layered sandstone window is fragile and people are asked not to climb above the window. The Loop Trail continues on into the ancient gorge for those who want a challenging hike to see the incredible red and white layered sandstone formations (and are well prepared!). From Nature’s Window, the loop trail is about 8km and takes about 3-4 hours; hikers should carry plenty of water.
Visit the new Skywalk
Set to open on Friday June 12th, the skywalk is located in a new spot in the National Park, called the West Loop (Inyaka Wookai Watju) not far from Nature’s Window. The skywalk’s two platforms extend 17m and 25m beyond the edge of the cliff face at one of the highest points of the Murchison River gorge. Accessible to all ages and abilities, the site will also include an environmentally friendly kiosk.
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 can 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 sun set 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.
Explore River Trails
The Murchison River snakes its way through Kalbarri National Park and there are a number of great lookouts and walking trails to explore. The Z-Bend Lookout has some of the best views of the park and you can continue down the Z-Bend River Trail (2.6km return) to access the river and see the impressive Tumblagooda sandstone formations but the hike can be challenging and involves descending down into the gorge by a series of ladders. Z-Bend Gorge is also one of the best spots in the state for abseiling and half-day abseiling tours are available. Another challenging but rewarding hike is the Four Ways Trail. The 6km rocky return trail makes its way down the gorge to the river’s edge. For those wanting something easier, stop past Hawks Head and Ross Graham lookouts, the two easily accessible spots are just a short walk from the car park.
Hit the water
Kalbarri is also well known for its great surf. Jakes Point, a short drive south of town, is a popular spot for experienced surfers and is a national surfing reserve. Closer to Kalbarri you’ll find 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 a safe swimming spot for all ages. Pelican feeding occurs daily along the foreshore opposite the caravan park at 8:45am by volunteers who run the program (a gold coin donation is appreciated).
See the Pink Lake
On your way to (or from) Kalbarri take a slight detour down Port Gregory Road or George Grey Driveand 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.
Stop and smell the wildflowers
Visiting Kalbarri during wildflower season (July through to November) is a must – around one thousand different species of wildflowers carpet the region and it’s 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 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.