As one of Western Australia’s best known parks, Kalbarri National Park is known for its dazzling wildflowers, soaring coastal cliffs and dramatic gorges of red and white-banded sandstone.
Kalbarri National Park covers an area of 1860km² (718mi²), with easy access to 14 different coastal and inland sites.
Northeast of Kalbarri sit inland river gorges with rock formations 400 million-years-old, while to the south of town lie cliffs that tower over secluded beaches and the Indian Ocean.
Located at the point where the Murchison River meets the Indian Ocean, Kalbarri offers soaring river and coastal gorges, superb walking trails, protected swimming bays and more than 1000 species of wildflowers.
Here you can go bush-walking, kayaking and drive to the park's many lookouts for some must-see vistas, including the famous Nature's Window, The Loop, Z Bend, Hawks Head and Ross Graham, Red Bluff and Pot Alley.
South of Kalbarri, the seaside towns of Port Gregory and Horrocks offer a laid-back beach getaway with great swimming, fishing, surfing and windsurfing. Inland, the town of Northampton features indigenous art and heritage buildings where you can learn more about the area’s fascinating history.
For wildflower season, visit between July and October. Over 1,100 varieties of wild-flowers to see, from Grevilleas to feather flowers.
Look out for wildlife – some of the most common animals you’ll encounter in Kalbarri National Park are kangaroos, emus, echidnas, thorny devil lizards. If you're really fortunate you may glimpse a black-flanked rock-wallaby (photo).
Kalbarri National Park is also home to abundant birdlife with as many as 170 species, including osprey, pelicans and sand pipers. Look out for wedge-tailed eagles and kestrels in the skies above, and fairy martins and swallows nesting in the cliff faces.
Kalbarri township is located around 155km (96mi) north of Geraldton and around 590km (366mi) north of Perth, a seven-hour drive or a 45-minute flight to Geraldton airport, and a 90-minute drive to Kalbarri.
The inland gorge sites of the National Park are open from 6am to 6pm daily (from sunrise to sunset), at a cost of AUD$15 per vehicle (carrying up to 12 passengers). A Holiday Park Pass, which entitles entry to as many parks as you wish for any four-week period is available for AUD$48/vehicle (up to eight people).
All coastal sites of the Kalbarri National Park are free to visit.
Drinking water is not available in the National Park, so be sure to bring your own supply. All inland sites can now be accessed with a 2WD car.
During the last 400 million years, the flow of the Murchison River has created deep red and white-banded gorges, which stretch 80km towards the ocean.
Access to these sites is on the Loop/Z-Bend Road, around 11km (6.8mi) from Kalbarri township along the Kalbarri-Ajana Road.
Roads into the inland gorge sites are fully sealed and accessible to all types of vehicles, with shade shelters, toilets and picnic facilities. Note: This is a day use park only and as such no camping is permitted.
The Murchison River is the second longest river in WA, at 820km (510mi) long and has a catchment area of 82,000km² (31,660mi²) – larger than Tasmania.
Beginning in the range lands near Meekatharra, the Murchison River winds its way across dry plains, hills, salt lakes and gorges, with numerous tributaries forming the massive catchment area.
The lower reaches of the Murchison River are home to an amazing array of birdlife including red-tailed cockatoos, carnabys, black cockatoos, egrets, kites, wood ducks and black swans.
In the township, swarms of pink and grey galahs, ringneck parrots, mudlarks and cuckoo shrikes can often be seen in the trees and grassy river foreshore.
This elevated vantage point provides panoramic views over the town of Kalbarri, the mouth of the Murchison River and inland across the park.
At 207m above sea level the limestone capped peak is visible from several different locations around Kalbarri.
Malleefowl Trail – For scenic views take the 1.5km (1mi) loop Malleefowl Trail. The track begins 100m along the walking path to the Meanarra Hill Lookout.
Meanarra Hill is located just 5km (3mi) east of Kalbarri township. There is a car park with toilet facilities and a concrete walkway leading to lookouts and a shade shelter. Take a picnic and enjoy the views from the sheltered seating area.
Enjoy breathtaking views from the Kalbarri Skywalk (Kaju Yatka).
Perched on the cliff-top, the Kalbarri Skywalk's twin – 25m and 17m – cantilevered platforms project beyond the rim of the Murchison Gorge offering breathtaking views of the gorge and the Murchison River.
Discover local fauna statues, fossils and geolocation information on the 400 million-year-old sandstone that forms these gorges. Learn about the traditional owners, the Aboriginal Nanda people, their heritage and culture through interpretive signage and artwork.
The 100-metre-high Skywalk is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Facilities include a kiosk serving food and drinks, walking trails, interpretative signage, undercover seating and toilets.
The Kalbarri Skywalk is located at Inyaka Wookai Watju (the West Loop), across the gorge from Nature’s Window.
This iconic natural attraction – a wind-eroded opening in the layered sandstone – perfectly frames the rugged upstream view of the Murchison River.
Natures Window is located just 500m from The Loop car park; allow 30-45 minutes. The 1km return walk on a sealed pathway offers views of the gorge.
There are excellent lookouts, shaded seating areas and trail options, close to the car park and further afield.
The geology of this area is fascinating: the thinly bedded, red and white-banded rocks seen through most of the river gorge were deposited millions of years ago on tidal flats.
Rippled surfaces can be seen around Nature’s Window. The ripples were formed during ancient times by waves moving over tidal flats in a shallow sea.
Some rock layers in overhangs at The Loop look as if they have been riddled by plant roots. These are actually fossilised burrows left by ancient worms that once sheltered in the sand. Tracks and trails on flat surfaces show where animals crawled across the damp sedimentary surface.
Nature’s Window marks the beginning and end of The Loop, an 8km (5mi) walking trail.
Note: Take care near edges and avoid climbing on the fragile rock in or above the window.
Loop Trail – Continue on from Natures Window into the gorge system on the 8km (5mi) return Loop Trail – a challenging but impressive hike over both rocky and sandy terrain.
Along the way, discover vantage points that provide different perspectives on the switchback course of the Murchison River.
Note: There is no drinking water and limited shade on the trail. It is recommended that you avoid this hike in hot weather but rather plan your hike for the cooler months (May to October). Temperatures in the river gorges can reach 50°C (122°F) in summer.
The Loop Trail is closed after 7am from November to March inclusive. Be prepared: carry and drink 3 to 4 litres of water per person per day, wear a hat, loose clothing and sturdy footwear. Hike with a companion and tell someone where you are going.
Z-Bend Lookout – This lookout is regarded by many to offer the most breathtaking view of the Murchison River gorge.
Below the lookout, the Murchison River gorge plunges 150m to where red river gums create a striking contrast against the earthy hues of the Tumblagooda sandstone.
Z-Bend Lookout is a moderately easy 600m walk from the car park.
Z Bend River Trail – This demanding 2.6km (1.6mi) return hike provides river access from the Z Bend Lookout path. You can expect loose rocks, steep descents and ladder climbs with spectacular scenery along this trail.
Four Ways Trail (Idinggada Yina) – Starting from the Z-Bend car park, this strenuous 6km (3.7mi) return hike descends to the river. The return journey is much more difficult.
You can expect steep descents and ladder climbs leading to the river, with spectacular scenery along the way. For those interested in geology and landforms this hike is a must-do.
Hawks Head – Hawk’s Head is aptly named after the shape of the rock structure seen from the lookout.
Enjoy the gorge views from a picnic area or wander down the short, 200m return sealed path to the lookout above the river for panoramic views over the Murchison River Gorge.
Toilet facilities with wheelchair access are available.
Providing easy access to edge of the Murchison River, the Ross Graham Lookout is the ideal location to picnic along the banks of the river, enjoy a walk or take in the excellent views of the Murchison River Gorge.
Ross Graham Lookout is named after Ross Graham, the first school teacher in Kalbarri and a devoted conservationist who aided in the exploration of the Murchison River.
The lookout is a short 600m return walk from the Ross Graham Lookout car park. Facilities include a picnic shelter and toilets.
River gorge hikes – While there are no marked trails and river crossings are necessary, the 38km (23mi) long hike through the gorge from Ross Graham Lookout to The Loop is worth the effort; allow four days.
There are also two day gorge hikes from Ross Graham Lookout to Z Bend or from Z Bend to The Loop.
Kalbarri’s coastal region features magnificent, towering cliffs, which plummet more than 100 metres to the ocean below.
Starting at Red Bluff, the dramatic coastal cliffs extend 13km (8mi) to the National Park’s southern boundary.
Numerous sign-posted pathways and lookouts provide safe access to explore this rugged coastline of decaying cliffs and amazing rock formations.
This lookout offers the highest elevated point on the coast, with great views south along the sandstone cliffs and north beyond the town of Kalbarri to the 200km (124mi) long expanse of the Zuytdorp Cliffs.
The lookout is a short 500m walk from the car park. Other features visible from here are Red Bluff Beach, Jakes Point, the mouth of the Murchison River and Meanarra Hill.
Just north of Red Bluff is Wittecarra Creek, believed to be the site of the first permanent landing of Europeans in Australia.
In 1629, the Dutch East India trading vessel Batavia was wrecked on the Abrolhos Islands, southwest of Kalbarri. Following the wreck a small group of mutineers massacred 125 of the surviving men, women and children.
While most of the ringleaders were executed, two of the conspirators, Wouter Loos and Jan Pelgromm, were landed on the mainland, near the mouth of Wittecarra Creek. Their ultimate fate is unknown.
Red Bluff Lookout is located 5.5km (3.4mi) south of Kalbarri town.
Red Bluff Beach – This beach is a popular location for fishing, snorkelling and swimming. The white-sand beach provides a striking contrast with the rust-red cliffs to create a spectacular backdrop at sunset.
Pederick Lookout – From Pederick Lookout you can see the sandy beaches below and the striking Zuytdorp Cliffs to the north. The Red Bluff to Beach Trail continues on from here. Interpretive signage located along the path reveals the intriguing history of this region.
Red Bluff to Beach Trail – Enjoy panoramic views across the Indian Ocean as you hike down from Pederick Lookout to Red Bluff Beach on this 1.3km return trail, also known as Gaba Gaba Yina. The track is steep with loose surfaces.
From the car park it's a 2km (1.2mi) return walk; allow 30-60 minutes for return walk.
The Kalbarri coast is defined by wind and wave erosion that have exposed the layered sandstone in cliffs that rise more than 100m above the ocean.
From Mushroom Rock viewpoint you can see how the natural forces of wind and water have created weird yet delicate formations in the sandstone.
Mushroom Rock Nature Trail – The 3km (1.8mi) loop trail links Mushroom Rock with the Rainbow Valley car park.
The walk through the valley and along cliff tops above the ocean can be taken as a complete loop or out and back (1.5km) along either the coastal path or through the more sheltered valley.
Along the way, discover a range of rock formations from worm tubes to round boulders and banded colours of sandstone layers.
Informative signage reveals botanical and geological features take you back 400 million years to a time when Australia was known as Gondwanaland and marine life ruled the planet.
At dawn or dusk look out for kangaroos feeding amid the coastal heath and rocky outcrops.
Note: Beware of loose or wet rocks and very steep sections; be especially careful in strong winds on exposed rocky sections.
Named by a local cray fishermen after losing many pots in this hazardous cove, Pot Alley offers spectacular ocean scenery amid expansive, rugged gorges.
Look south from the cliff top to view the rugged beauty of this coastline. A winding and rocky 200m long track leads from the car park down through the gorge to a small beach.
Note: Swimming is not recommended; the life buoy reveals the danger of this coastline.
Enjoy stunning coastal views from this lookout – a short 200m return walk from the car park. Be on the lookout for marine life, including whales and dolphins.
A 1.2km return coastal track links the Natural Bridge and Island Rock lookouts. You can walk all or part of this trail as it passes other popular lookout spots at Shellhouse and Grandstand Rock Gorge.
Located a short walk from the car park, the lookout offers stunning coastal views and across to Island Rock, which was once part of the shoreline, but now stands as a solitary 'sea stack'.
This raised boardwalk connects Island Rock to Natural Bridge, accessible from either car park. A shaded shelter along the way provides a place to sit, relax and enjoy the views over the horizon on this 1.2km return walk.
Bigurda Trail – Hugging the coastline between Natural Bridge and Eagle Gorge, this 8km (5mi) one-way (16km (10mi) return) sandy trail provides stunning coastal views. Allow 3 to 5 hours to walk one way.
Halfway along the trail, make sure to stop at the Grandstand to peer into Kalbarri’s deep cavernous cliffs from the walkway above.
This unique walk offers a vast array of wildflower species from July to November with dolphin pods a common sight, as well as humpback whales.
Some section of the Bigurda Trail (Indigenous name for a small kangaroo) are rocky with loose and uneven surfaces.
Discover stunning views from the Eagle Gorge Lookout, named after the wedge-tailed eagles that nest in the gorge. These magnificent birds can often be seen soaring through the sky searching for prey.
Watch for seasonal whales and sea birds while listening to the pound of the waves below.
A stepped rocky path leads down to a secluded beach. The Birgurda Trail also begins (or ends, depending on how you walk the trail) at Eagle Gorge.
Kalbarri has a wide choice of accommodation including Kalbarri Palm Resort, Kalbarri Beach Resort and Kalbarri Seafront Villas. Booking ahead is essential during the peak season of March to November.
Kalbarri Palm Resort
Location: 8 Porter Street, Kalbarri
Prices: from AUD99 per night
Description: Kalbarri Palm Resort is within walking distance of the beach and foreshore, pubs and restaurants and other facilities in Kalbarri town. The resort offers a choice of spacious air-conditioned motel rooms and family apartments which include a TV, fridge, microwave, toaster and kettle. Tea/coffee is provided. On-site facilities include two swimming pools, shaded BBQ area, restaurant, central playground, tennis, bowls and cricket.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about these and more accommodation options in Kalbarri at TripAdvisor.
Kalbarri experiences a warm Mediterranean climate with afternoon ocean breezes. Winters are mild with warm days and occasional heavy rainfall, while summers are hot and dry.
Summer, December to February, is hot and dry with an average daily high of 33°C (91°F) and a low of 19°C (66°F). However, summer maximums can reach 45°C (113°F).
Traditionally, this is peak season with swimming, canoeing, stand-up paddle boards and BBQ’s along the foreshore. As well as snorkelling, surfing and swimming along the coastal beaches.
Autumn, March to May, temperatures ease to an average high of 29°C (84°F).
Expect balmy days and little wind. Locals call this the best time to visit as it's ideal for swimming, boating, camping and stargazing.
Winter, June to August, brings clear skies with an average daily high of 22°C (71°F) and 10°C (50°F) overnight.
At this time of year, the Kalbarri heathland explodes into a kaleidoscope of colour with the onset of wildflower season. It's also a great time for hiking, caravanning and wildflower viewing.
Spring, September to November, enjoys average highs of 26°C (79°F). Humpback whale season is in full swing.
Kalbarri is located around 155km (96mi) north of Geraldton and around 590km (367mi) north of Perth, a six to seven-hour drive. The national park is located around 36km (22mi) east of Kalbarri township.
From Perth, the usual route north follows the Brand Highway and the North West Coastal Highway to Geraldton.
Continuing on after reaching Northampton, you can choose to take the coastal route via Port Gregory Road – though historic Port Gregory, Lucky Bay and Wagoe Beach – to Kalbarri; or take the inland route via the Ajana-Kalbarri Road to Kalbarri National Park and Kalbarri town.
From Carnarvon in the north, the route south follows the North West Coastal Highway via Shark Bay: Carnarvon to Shark Bay is around around 200km (124mi); Shark Bay to Kalbarri is around 245km (152mi).
Alternatively, you can fly to Kalbarri Airport (KAX) located around 10km (6.2mi) from the town centre; or to Geraldton airport – a 90 minute drive to Kalbarri township.
From all international destinations this requires first flying into Perth Airport (PER), followed by a connecting flight to Geraldton Airport (GET).
Latest update: Kalbarri National Park: 10 October, 2020
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