Be mesmerised by the views from the Z Bend Lookout, sitting 150 metres above the Murchison River gorge.
Kalbarri National Park's 'Z Bend' is a section of the Murchison River aptly named because of the enormous Z bend created as the river flows through the gorges. The Z Bend area consists of the Lookout and River Trail walk, carpark, toilet facilities and barbecue area. From the carpark, it is a 600m walk to the Lookout (1.2km return), and the Z Bend River Trail is 2.6km return (more information on these walks is outlined below). The Z Bend River trail will take you to Four Ways (Idiggada Yina), a great area to climb and hike in and out of a 25m high gorge.
Not surprisingly, Kalbarri National Park is recognised as one of the best national parks in Australia with attractions such as Nature's Window, the Kalbarri Skywalk, Natural Bridge and stunning coastal lookouts. Time your visit in with the wildflower season and you will be in awe of the exceptional offering. Look out for several species that can only be found within the park, including the Kalbarri spider orchid.
Z Bend is accessible all year via the Murchison Gorge Access Road off Loop-Z Bend Road. It's located 6 hours' drive north of Perth and a 30 minute drive inland from Kalbarri.
A moderately easy walk from the carpark to a spectacular rock lookout sitting 150m above the gorge, where visitors can admire breathtaking views of the Murchison River gorge. Picnic tables and BBQ facilities are available.
Distance: 1.2km return.
Gradient: There are steps between the carpark and the lookout area.
Experience: Class 3 hike. Suitable for most ages and fitness levels, but some bushwalking experience is recommended.
Time: 1.5 hours.
Steps: There are several formal and informal steps.
Best time to visit: Winter - Spring.
This is a demanding hike which provides river access from the Z Bend Lookout path (Z Bend Walking Trail), but provides spectacular scenery throughout the hike.
Distance: 2.6km return.
Gradient: Fairly even for the first 500 metres, then a steep descent down into the gorge. Some steep ladder climbs are required. The trail is relatively clear and straightforward, although much of it is along unmodified rocky surfaces. Some scrambling is required and hikers should recommend to encounter loose rocks.
Experience: Class 4 hike. Previous bushwalking experience recommended.
Time: Allow a minimum of 2 hours.
Steps: Several formal and informal steps, and several ladder climbs.
Best time to visit: Winter - Spring. It's best to avoid this trail during autumn, due to high river levels, and during summer, when temperatues can be dangerously hot