The Loop Walk
The challenging yet spectacular Loop Walk highlights the erosive power of the Murchison River, which has carved magnificent gorges through the landscape. The hike will take you along the edge of the cliff, with views across the river, before working its way down to the river bank. Here, you can find sandy beaches, river gums and possible swimming areas, before the trail loops around and climbs out of the gorge back to Nature's Window. Hikers should carry 3-4 litres of water per person per day, wear a hat, loose clothing and sturdy footwear - there is no drinking water and limited shade along the trail.
Distance: 8km (loop)
Gradient: Some steep sections and uneven surfaces.
Experience: Bushwalking Experience Recommended.
Time: minimum 3-4 hours
Best Time to Visit: May to October, when it is cooler. It is recommended to avoid this hike in hot weather. Note: due to heat, the Loop Trail is closed after 7am from November to March inclusive.
Getting There: Access to the hike is via Nature's Window Carpark
Inland Gorge Sites
Over the past 400 million years, the flow of the Murchison River has created magnificent deep red and white banded gorges through the landscape of Kalbarri National Park, which stretch 80km towards the ocean. Explore the depths and heights of the river gorges and admire the floral beauty of the vast, rolling sandplains.
Located just 500m from The Loop carpark is arguably one of Western Australia's most iconic natural attractions - Nature's Window. Walk down a picturesque trail to view the rock formation that perfectly frames the rugged upstream view of the Murchison River. Nature's Window marks the beginning and end of The Loop Walk, an 8km walking trail (Class 4 hike).
Note: temperatures in the river gorges can reach 50'C (122F) in summer. For this reason, The Loop Walk is closed after 7am from November to March (inclusive). Do not walk the trail in hot weather, and ensure that each person carries and drinks 3-4 litres of water each, per day, when hiking in the National Park.
Located across the gorge from Nature's Window is an innovative tourism precinct and the National Park's newest attraction, the Kalbarri Skywalk. The universally accessible precinct features twin skywalks which project 25m and 17m beyond the gorge rim and sit more than 100m above the Murchison River. The skywalk platforms are located 100m apart from each other, and other precinct facilities include a kiosk, walk trails, interpretive signage which share the stories and history of the local Nanda people, shade shelters and toilets.
Further south in Kalbarri National Park is the Z-Bend Lookout and walk trails. The Lookout is 600m walk from the carpark and boasts one of the most breathtaking views of the park. Below the Lookout, the Murchison River plunges 150m down to where red river gums create a striking contrast against the earthy hues of the Tumblagooda sandstone. The Z Bend River Trail features deep descents and ladder climbs down into the gorge, and hikers will enjoy the 6km Four Ways Trail (Idinggada Yina) which continues on and presents a more challenging option.
The Ross Graham Lookout is the easiest place in Kalbarri National Park to access the Murchison River's edge, and is a short walk from the Ross Graham Road carpark. It is an ideal location to enjoy a walk or picnic along its banks. Nearby, enjoy views from the Hawk's Head picnic area or wander down the path to the wheelchair accessible lookout. Keep your eyes peeled for rare black flanked rock wallabies among the rocks.
At 207m above sea level and only 5km from Kalbarri town, Meanarra Hill is the perfect vantage point for 360' views of Kalbarri and the Murchison River flowing into the Indian Ocean. It's an ideal spot for photos, especially at sunset!
Look out for wildlife around the inland gorges. Some of the most common animals you'll encounter are kangaroos, emus, echidnas, thorny devils and an abundant bird population including birds of prey like wedge-tailed eagles.
Coastal Cliff Sites
Kalbarri's Coastal Cliffs feature magnificent, towering cliffs which plummet down to the ocean waves 100 metres below. Starting at Red Bluff, just south of Kalbarri town, the dramatic coastal cliffs extend 13km to the National Park's southern boundary. These National Park sites are free to visit. Numerous sign-posted pathways and lookouts provide safe exploration of the ruggedly beautiful coastline. Migrating whales can often be seen from the Coastal Cliffs between June and November.
At the southern end of the coastal cliffs, visitors can enjoy the Natural Bridge and Island Rock. With stunning coastal views a short walk from their respective carparks, visitors can look out over the Natural Bridge in search of marine life, including whales and dolphins. The resilient Island Rock was once part of the shoreline and now stands as a solitary 'sea stack' against the forces of the ocean. Island Rock is reminiscent of the Twelve Apostles.
Take in 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 in search of prey. For anyone seeking a little extra adventure, follow the stepped rocky path to discover a secluded beach.
The Birgurda Trail (the Indigenous name for a small kangaroo, which can sometimes be sighted along the trail) in an 8km (one-way) trail connecting the Natural Bridge with Eagle Gorge. It provides stunning coastal views with great photo opportunities. 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 showcases a vast array of wildflower species from July to November, with pods of dolphins and migrating humpback whales also a common sight.
Pot Alley was named by local cray fishermen after losing many craypots to this hazardous cove. Enjoy the spectacular ocean scenery amidst the expansive rugged gorges, or walk the short track to the remote beach below. Slightly north of Pot Alley, informative signage takes you back 400 million years as you wander along the marked circuit that connects Rainbow Valley and Mushroom Rock. Allow between one and two hours for the walk, where you can marvel at the varied geological formations and see kangaroos feeding (best seen at dawn and dusk) amongst the coastal heath.
Red Bluff beach is a popular location for fishing and swimming. Featuring a picturesque white sandy beach, contrasted against striking rust red rocks, Red Bluff is particularly spectacular at sunset or for whale watching from the Red Bluff Lookout. Hike down from the Lookout to Red Bluff beach along the beach trail, also known as Gaba Gaba Yina, to see amazing views across the Indian Ocean and impressive rock formations, and reward yourself with a swim at the bottom. Please note: this track is steep with loose surfaces.