5 October 2023
Kalbarri is a renowned Western Australia Outdoor Holiday Playground for a reason….and here’s why!
So, you’ve discovered the small coastal town which ultimately has it all. Located only 6 hours’ drive (570km) north of Perth, Kalbarri is a family-favourite holiday destination filled with an abundance of experiences and otherworldly attractions, from the 400-million-year-old gorges of Kalbarri National Park, to the famous Nature’s Window, and Kalbarri Sky Walk (Kaju Yatka).
Whether you’re snorkelling the protected waters, discovering secluded beaches, hiking the ancient gorges, or enjoying local seafood, Kalbarri’s untamed landscape offers the perfect backdrop to fill your day with an array of activites. Traditionally, travellers will spend around 2 nights in this picturesque coastal town, this is a common misconception when planning your Coral Coast trip, so, if you’re embarking on a solo adventure, or planning a getaway with loved ones, we reccommend extendeding to stay in Kalbarri for 5 days and here are 10 reasons why.
For those itinerary planners, make sure Kalbarri National Park is on the top of your list! Filled with expansive gorges, breathtaking lookouts, and magnificent rock formations, Kalbarri National Park is considered a hot-spot to find ancient traces of first life on land. Set up camp at Kalbarri Tutor Holiday Park, a family friendly holiday park, and head towards the 400-million-year-old gorges. Covering an impressive 186,000 hectares, it’s easily accessible via sealed roads suitable for 2wd.
Stroll a 500m walk from The Loop Carpark and you’ll find yourself gazing through Nature’s Window, one of Western Australia’s most iconic natural attractions. Take some time to soak in the view from the picturesque rock formation framing views of the Murchison River. For those eager for a challenging hike, Nature’s Window marks the beginning and end of The Loop Trail, an 8km walking trail (class 4 hike). *Please note temperatures can be extreme in summer, so the Loop Trail is closed after 7am from November to March.
Don’t miss the Z-Bend Lookout, named after the impressive ‘Z’ shape carved by the river through the gorges, only a 600m stroll from the carpark. For the adventurous, continue a 2.6km (class 4) return hike descending ladder climbs and rocky terrain into the gorge. If you’re looking to unwind, pack a picnic for the banks of Murchison River, accessible from Ross Grahman Lookout, or experience the unique hawk-shaped rock formation and stunning landscapes of Hawk’s Head Lookout, both easily accessible with just a short walk from the carpark.
If you haven’t stopped in at Kalbarri Sky Walk (Kaju Yatka), have you really seen Kalbarri? The iconic Kalbarri Sky Walk (Kaju Yatka) consists of twin skywalks suspended 100 metres above the Murchison River, offering mesmerising views of the rust-red gorge cliffs and flowing river below (minus the strenuous hike!). Although you may have seen images of the famous sky walk, nothing prepares you for the spectacular views you experience in real life. Be sure to stop by the interpretative signage sharing the story and history of the Nhanda people. Featuring shade shelters, toilets, and an eco-friendly kiosk, this is the perfect place to have lunch and soak up the views after a morning of exploring.
If you’re looking for an evening activity, stay and experience the popular Stargazing Tour with D’Guy Charters, with minimal light pollution, and dark night skies, you’ll be able to soak in the views of the Milky Way and relax under a canopy of stars.
Pack your snorkel and head south to Blue Holes, a renowned snorkelling location. Here you will find protected waters, flourishing marine life, and an inshore limestone reef system featuring both permanently submerged sections, and sections exposed at low tide, giving it the iconic ‘Blue Holes’ name. Swim in an aquarium of marine life with over 70 species of finfish, along with 11 species of coral, and 10 types of sponge - be mindful that this is a fish habitat protection area, so no fishing is allowed!
Showcasing natural hues ranging from bubble-gum pink to lilac purple, the Instagram famous Hutt Lagoon (commonly known as Pink Lake) is located a short 45 minute drive south of town. Aim to reach the Pink Lake between 10am-2pm for the best viewing experience when the sun is high in the sky! Be sure to pack your camera, phone, or drone (and make sure they’re fully charged and you have all the right permits!), as there will be an abundance of photo opportunities!
The best spot to explore the dreamlike lake is from the dedicated, unsealed parking area located on Port Gregory Road. Alternatively, you can book a tour with Pink Lake Buggy Tours, an experience like no other, where you’ll climb the sand dunes to views overlooking the Pink Lake, and the magnificent Port Gregory coastline that runs parallel. If you’re an adventure seeker, take to the air with Kalbarri Scenic Flights, and experience the otherworldly contrasts of colour and texture of the Pink Lake from above.
The Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs hold a special place in our heart, ranking among one of our favourite places in Kalbarri. If you’re on the hunt for magical lookouts, secluded beaches, and magnificent towering cliffs, then this is the place to be. Spanning an impressive 13km from Red Bluff to the National Park, the Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs offers spectacular views of the rolling blue ocean contrasted against striking rust red rocks.
Admire the spectacular view of the rugged coastline from Eagle Gorge, dip your toes in the popular Red Bluff beach, or venture to the pancake shape rocks of Pot Alley. First-time visitors should not miss the opportunity to explore the Natural Bridge and Island Rock Lookouts, both easily accessible from the carpark, and perfect for viewing migrating whales between June and November. Stay and watch the sunset from Island Rock, a stand-alone ‘sea stack’ reminiscent of the Twelve Apostles, here you’ll be able to see the cliffs come alive and transform into a magical shade of burnt orange.
If you’re feeling adventurous, lace up your hiking boots for the Birgurda Trail - an 8km hike showcasing stunning coastal views as you wind your way from the Natural Bridge to Eagle Gorge. For a leisurely stroll, wander the Mushroom Rock Trail, a two-hour walk that guides you along the coastline, to the unique site of Mushroom Rock and Rainbow Valley Gorge. When it comes to accommodation, look no further than Kalbarri Red Bluff Tourist Park, an ideal haven located just outside of town, offering stunning views of the shoreline.
If you’re feeling adventurous, take to the skies with Kalbarri Scenic Flights offering exclusive views of Kalbarri, and an incredible way to see the inaccessible landscapes from above. Unwind in the comfort of your own personal window seat as you tick off bucket-list destinations. Depending on the tour you choose, you can either find yourself snorkelling the magical, crystal-clear waters of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands just off the shores of Geraldton, admire the Batavia Wreck, soaring over the unforgettable gorges of Murchison River, or soaking in the pink hues of the famous Hutt Lagoon. If you can’t decide where to go, or what to see, book a ‘Grand Tour’ covering a little bit of everything. Make sure you book early to avoid disappointment!
If you’re searching for a beach getaway, don’t forget to stop in at the quaint fishing town of Horrocks. Stretching 7kms of WA’s Coral Coast, Horrocks offers crystal clear waters and sandy shores perfect for a range of activities including (but not limited to) swimming, fishing, surfing, and diving. If you’re looking for some time ‘off-grid’, be sure to check out Little Bay, accessible only by 4wd. Little Bay has become a favoured destination for day trips and camping, due to its windswept sand dunes, sheltered waters, and abundant natural beauty.
For the fishing enthusiasts, head over to Bowes River Mouth and cast a line, let down your tyres, and cruise along the white sandy beach, or head to the jetty popular for catching squid and fishing. Keep an eye out for migrating humpback whales from the Whale Watching Lookout, located on the left-hand side as you enter the town. If you’re wanting to stay longer, Horrocks Beach Caravan Park has accommodation options for all travellers, from powered camping sites to chalets!
If you’re ready to hit the waves, Jacques Point (locally known as “Jakes”) is only a 6 minute drive south of town. Home to the iconic left-hand reef break, the point is a hot spot for experienced surfers, also recognised as a National Surfing Reserve, and one of WA’s most famous remote surfing breaks.
If you’re searching for sheltered waters, head over to Chinaman’s Beach, a perfect swimming spot with clear, tranquil waters suitable for all ages. Across the road you’ll find yourself at The Meanarra Hill Lookout, showcasing 360 views of Kalbarri and the Murchison River rolling into the Indian Ocean. Don’t miss out on meeting Kalbarri’s resident pelicans each morning at 08:45am on the foreshore near the intersections of Grey and Wood Streets.
When you’re heading back to Perth, round your trip out by stopping into the country town of Northampton, located an hour south of Kalbarri. Here, you have the opportunity to learn about the fascinating history of the town, one of Western Australia’s oldest settlements. It’s a great place to experience Indigenous art and admire heritage buildings. For the AFL lovers, it’s an opportunity to visit the home of footy stars Jamie and Patrick Cripps, Harry Taylor, Josh Kennedy, Tarkyn and Andrew Lockyer, Daniel Chick, Paul Hasleby, and Liam Anthony.
Head over to the Northampton Visitor Centre where you can pick up a brochure of The Hampton Road Heritage Walk, leading you to 37 historically significant buildings. Don’t forget to add Chiverton House Museum to the list, where you can step back in time and learn about the life of miners in the 1800s. For the nature lovers, head to The Northampton Botanic Line, a bush-garden walking trail with plantings of melaleuca, grevillea, acacia, verticordia, and everlasting wildflowers. Wrap up your day with a trip to The Storytellers – Keepers of Dreaming, an immersive art gallery where you’ll learn about the about the culture and history of the local Nhanda people.
Whether you’re fuelling up for a day of adventuring, or winding down, Kalbarri offers an array of cafés and restaurants to satisfy all tastebuds. Finlay’s is a must-visit on any Kalbarri trip! Renowned for its fresh and local seafood, it’s only a short walk from Kalbarri Edge Resort, or Kalbarri Murchison View Apartments, sit back and relax as you enjoy a locally brewed beer from their on-site microbrewery, and soak in the rustic outdoor atmosphere perfect for kids, and your furry friends too! Don’t miss out on live music every Sunday afternoon, and at the end of the night, you can even roast your own marshmallow over the campfire.