Ruggedly magnificent and relatively secluded, Kalbarri National Park covers a 186,000-hectare area. Located nearly 600 kilometres north of Perth (a 6- to 7-hour drive) and set between the cities of Carnarvon and Geraldton, the stunning Kalbarri National Park is certainly one of Western Australia’s most popular parks, attracting thousands of visitors every year.
The multi-faceted Kalbarri National Park and the township of Kalbarri itself are divided into two distinct types of landscapes. On the northeastern side are ancient rock formations and inland river gorges, whilst the southern section is marked with treacherous cliffs leading to the ocean.
If you’re planning to go camping in Kalbarri, it’s best to go around April or May when the weather is a bit cooler so you can enjoy all that the park offers. And if you are wondering about what sights and sounds await you and your company, here’s a list of four things to do in Kalbarri National Park.
1. Walk along Kalbarri’s many coastal cliffs
If you like walks by the sea (or love some beach fishing), then there’s plenty of walking for you to do from the many coastal cliffs of Kalbarri.
Here, you’ll have several opportunities to enjoy scenic views of ocean waves crashing against the rugged coastline, amazing rock formations and treacherous cliffs rising over 100 metres above the water.
- Natural Bridge: This Kalbarri wonder is located just a short distance from the carpark. Here, you’re sure to love views of the beach and the sea. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of whales and dolphins.
- Island Rock: Seemingly standing stubbornly against adversity, Island Rock used to be part of the shoreline, but is now a lone ‘sea stack’ braving the elements of wind and water. You can enjoy spectacular views of this geological wonder from one of the platforms located just a short walk from the carpark.
- Bigurda Boardwalk: The Bigurda Boardwalk is a raised boardwalk connecting Island Rock to Natural Bridge. Here, you’ll find a shaded shelter where you can sit and rest as you savour the magnificent views of the coastline.
- Bigurda Trail: The most challenging walk you’ll ever experience on this side of Kalbarri National Park, the Bigurda Trail is 8 kilometres one way, so you need to be prepared for a 16-kilometre walk all in all. The sandy trail connects Eagle Gorge to Natural Bridge and offers walking aficionados a unique experience of the beautiful coastline. But do watch out for loose stones and parts of the trail that get quite close to the clifftop.
- Pot Alley: The ruggedly beautiful landscape can mesmerise you, but don’t attempt to swim even as you get to walk down to the lovely beach. Pot Alley is a dangerous cove where local cray fishermen have lost many of their pots; hence, the name.
These are a few of the many walking and sightseeing sites Kalbarri National Park offers.
Others worth exploring include Shellhouse Grandstand, Eagle Gorge, Mushroom Rock Nature Trail, Red Bluff Lookout, Pederick Lookout, Red Bluff to Beach Trail (Gaba Gaba Yina).
Delight in the walks, but always be mindful of slippery rocks and sudden wave surges.
2. Revel in the spectacular views at Kalbarri Skywalk
To get the most spectacular views of Kalbarri National Park, venture up onto the newly opened Kalbarri Skywalk. This pair of 100-metre-high lookouts juts out by 25 metres and 17 metres respectively from the edge of Murchison Gorge.
Here, you can safely walk about and pick a vantage point you want, with the spectacular gorge and the beauty of nature all around you.
The flat and level way to the Skywalk makes the area highly accessible. Plus, there are toilets and shelters should you need to take a break from your adventures. If you’re short on water (something you need to avoid here) and the kiosk happens to be open, you can purchase drinking water, too.
3. Strike a pose at the iconic Nature’s Window
One of Western Australia’s most iconic natural sites, Nature’s Window is located about 500 metres away from The Loop (or Inyaka Wookai Watju) carpark. Made from layers of Tumblagooda sandstone, Nature’s Window is a natural arch that works as a perfect frame for your photo op, with the Murchison River as your backdrop.
This famous site also marks the start and end of the popular yet challenging The Loop - an 8-kilometre-long walking trail that is closed after 7 am during summer, from November to March.
4. Hike and picnic at Z Bend lookout and river trail
Planning a Kalbarri hiking adventure? Choose between the relatively easier Z Bend Lookout Trail and the more challenging Z Bend River Trail.
- Z Bend Lookout Trail: This 1.2-kilometre (return) walk from the car park leads to a magnificent rock lookout set about 150 metres above the Murchison River Gorge. Make sure to bring your picnic stuff - picnic tables and barbecue facilities are available here.
- Z Bend River Trail: A more demanding 2.6-kilometre-long (return) path for more experienced hikers, the Z Bend River Trail takes you to the river from the Z Bend Lookout path (Z Bend Walking Trail). It includes a steep descent into the gorge, ladder climbs and walks along natural, rocky routes and possibly some loose rocks as well.
Things to remember while at Kalbarri National Park
Whatever plans you may have during your visit to the Kalbarri National Park, consider the following for your safety and enjoyment:
- Time your trip around winter to spring to best enjoy the trails.
- Make sure you have mapped out your trip and made arrangements with a reputable caravan park for Kalbarri accommodation in advance.
- Always wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection, as well as covered, sturdy shoes.
- Bring adequate drinking water, as thirst can be a real problem along the trails. Ideally, each person should have 3 to 4 litres of water to drink.
- For your safety along the trails, stay on the track and be alert for loose stones and undercut cliff ledges.
- Always put your rubbish in the designated bins or take it with you out of the park.
Experience Kalbarri National Park with Summerstar
There’s more to see and enjoy in and around Kalbarri National Park. The ones we’ve included here are just some of the many Kalbarri places and experiences you shouldn’t miss.
If you’re planning for your trip to Kalbarri, you’re sure to find our Ultimate Guide to Kalbarri useful - jam-packed with travel information from West Australian locals who know the area.
You can also get in touch with Summerstar Tourist Parks to make camping and accommodation arrangements at the strategically located Kalbarri Red Bluff Tourist Park. This way, you'll have one less thing to worry about and you can focus on enjoying your Kalbarri National Park adventure.
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