About 600 kilometers north of Perth, the weathered red sandstone of the Western Australian outback meets the impossibly blue waters of the coral coast in a dramatic collision of earth and sea.
It is here that you can find the small coastal community of Kalbarri. By the mouth of the Murchison River, fringed by a national park and nestled between stunning coastal cliffs and ancient inland gorges Kalbarri is a special place.
Miles from anywhere this sparsely populated area of Western Australian outback and coastline is surrounded by impressive geological formations and significant natural wonders.
You won’t find five-star resorts and all-inclusive tours here. You will find a quiet and unassuming Australian coastal town, and surrounding it, a place to explore and discover.
This guide of all of the best things to do in Kalbarri will help you decide for yourself. Is Kalbarri worth visiting?
We think so, read on to find out the many reasons why!
What Is Kalbarri Known For?
The town of Kalbarri is most widely recognized for the national park that surrounds it. The expansive Kalbarri National Park features two unique environments. The coastline and the inland gorges.
The inland section of the Kalbarri National Park is home to the ancient Murchison River. Over millions of years, Western Australia’s second-longest river, the Murchison has carved deep gorges through the red sandstone rock of this stunning landscape on its endless march toward Kalbarri where it empties into the Indian Ocean.
The coastal section is home to estuaries, dramatic cliffs, windswept bluffs, and rugged headlands. Here sandstone cliffs hundreds of meters high have been molded by the relentless winds and constant waves of the Indian Ocean.
Best Things to Do in Kalbarri, Western Australia
#1 Step Out Over Kalbarri National Park on the Kalbarri Skywalk
Head inland to the Kalbarri National Park, to discover the Kalbarri Skywalk. Walkways hug the cliff’s edge, extending out over the precipice for expansive views over the Murchinson River making its way steadily through the national park.
Access to the Kalbarri Skywalk is included in the cost of entry into the Kalbarri National Park. A national park pass can be purchased in cash at the entrance or online with an annual or holiday pass.
#2 Hit the Trails to See Nature’s Window
One of the most iconic landmarks in Kalbarri National Park is Nature’s Window. An opening in the limestone resembling a window overlooking the Murchinson River and the land that surrounds it.
The walk to Nature’s Window is an easy 1-kilometer return journey and is paved for almost the entire track save for the last 100 meters. If you can make it, sunrise or sunset would be the best time to enjoy this incredibly photogenic location in Kalbarri National Park.
#3 Conquer the Loop Trail
The longest of all of the Kalbarri National Park inland hikes is the Loop Trail. The Loop Trail is a 9-kilometer hike through the Murchinson River Gorge.
The Loop Trail takes you past Nature’s Window and high along the ridge of the gorge walls before meandering to the banks of the river. The entire loop should take between two and three hours to complete.
The Loop Trail is best completed early in the morning to avoid exposure to sun and hot temperatures. As most of the hike is exposed, make sure to pack plenty of water for the journey.
#4 Visit Z-Bend for Views over Murchinson River Gorge
Another attraction in Kalbarri National Park not to miss is Z-Bend and offers more amazing vistas over Murchinson River Gorge, one of the best gorges anywhere in Australia. Named after the sharp turn carved by the flowing waters of the Murchinson River, Z-Bend is one of the top things to see in this national park.
At Z-Bend you can explore the upper trail, a 1.2-kilometer return trail that leads to a lookout with impressive views into the gorge. Alternatively, you can head towards the river on the 2.6-kilometer return trail to experience the heights of the gorge walls up close and personal.
#5 Go Abseiling with Kalbarri Abseil in Kalbarri National Park
Up for an adventure? Love a good thrill? Not too scared of heights?
If that sounds like you, then spend your morning hanging off Z-Bend Gorge with Kalbarri Abseil.
The Kalbarri Abseiling tour will give you the opportunity to view Z-Bend Gorge from a different perspective. The tour will have you rappelling down cliff walls up to 35 meters in height!
Book your tour now for an unforgettable experience!
#6 See Amazing Vistas from Hawks Head Lookout or Ross Graham Lookout
Those coming from the north, do not miss the opportunity to visit Hawks Head Lookout or Ross Graham Lookout.
If you can, visit at first light, the views over the Murchinson River from Hawks Head Lookout are simply stunning.
These two lookouts are both easily accessible with trails less than 400 meters round trip and paved the entire way.
#7 Feed Pelicans from the Shore
Back in town, pelican feeding is a great activity for the younger ones (and the young at heart), volunteers in Kalbarri run a Pelican feeding on the foreshore in front of the Murchinson Caravan Park every morning at 8:45 am. A gold coin donation is encouraged.
#8 Get Your Snorkel on at the Blue Holes Kalbarri
Snorkeling at the Blue Holes in Kalbarri is a popular attraction for visitors.
This protected limestone reef system is home to a countless number of fish and other marine life.
The protected waters of the Blue Holes are a great place for little ones to explore under the sea.
Snorkeling at the Blue Holes is also one of the best free things to do in Kalbarri.
#9 Grab Fish and Chips
No trip to the Australian coastline is complete without a feed of fresh fish and chips. Pop into the local fish and chips shop and head down to the beach for epic sunsets over the Indian Ocean.
#10 Head to Finlay’s the Local Microbrewery
A must on the list of the best things to do in Kalbarri is a trip to the local microbrewery. Established as a brewery in 2018, Finlay’s has been tantalizing everyone’s taste buds since.
Whether you like pale ales, stouts, kolschs, or even just a simple lager, Finlay’s brew range has something for everyone. Plus, Finlay’s is a great place to dine on local seafood such as the Western Australia rock lobster.
Finlay’s is only open Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00 pm and Friday to Sunday from 12:00 pm with live music beginning at 4:00 pm every Sunday!
#11 Watch the Surfers at Jake’s Point (Jacques Point)
This famous surf break, in remote Western Australia is renowned across the state and recognized as a National Surfing Reserve. The left-handed reef break is popular with experienced surfers.
Even if you don’t plan to don a wet suit, watching the surfers from Jake’s Point is a must on any Kalbarri itinerary.
#12 Sunbathe at One of the Kalbarri Beaches
No visitor to Kalbarri should pass up the opportunity to head down for a day at the beach.
Whether you choose Chinaman’s Beach near the town center, Siphon Beach near the Blue Holes, or Red Bluff Beach, you will not be disappointed with the beautiful beaches Kalbarri has to offer.
Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen as keeping an umbrella down at the windswept beaches of Kalbarri can be a bit tricky!
#13 Photograph Red Bluff from Jake’s Point
After watching the surfers at Jake’s Point continue around the headland for stunning views back over Red Bluff. This section of coastline is also great for those who love to explore rock pools like me.
#14 Admire the Sandstone Coastline from Red Bluff Lookout
Reminiscent of The Great Ocean Road on the coastal drive from Melbourne to Adelaide, the sandstone coastline stretching south beyond Red Bluff is a natural wonder to behold.
The only sandstone cliff along the coast between Shark Bay and Perth, these impressive geological formations are one of the scenes Kalbarri has become known for.
#15 Hit the Bigurda Trail Along the Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs
A great way to see all of the best things to do in Kalbarri on the coastline is to grab your sneakers and hit the Bigurda Trail.
This 8.5-kilometer trail (one-way) extends between Eagle Gorge and the Natural Bridge and covers many of the amazing coastal Kalbarri attractions and of course the stunning Kalbarri coastal cliffs. Stop in at Island Rock, Shellhouse, and Grandstand Rock Gorge, a few of the great things to see on this coastal hike.
#16 Watch the Waves Crash at Pot Alley
While you might have been expecting a local stoner’s hangout, Pot Alley is so named for the potholes on the sandstone walls of the alley.
Here impressive cliffs and caves have been eroded by the waves crashing against the shore for millions of years.
There is a small beach where you can spend a morning or afternoon listening to the crashing of the waves echoing through the alley.
Swimming is not advised here due to the dangerous current.
#17 Catch a Film at the Outdoor Cinema
A crowd favorite amongst locals and visitors alike is the outdoor cinema. Catching a film at the outdoor cinema by Rainbow Jungle is one of the best things to do in Kalbarri.
If you want to catch a film, timing your trip is important as the outdoor cinema is closed during winter.
Tickets cost $18 per adult and $10 per child (2-10). Tickets can be purchased in advance at Rainbow Jungle until 4:00 pm on the day of the movie screening or, in a limited supply, at the door.
#18 Spot Whales from the Kalbarri National Park Coastline
If you have traveled the Western Australian coastline for any period of time, it will come as no surprise to you that whales can frequently be spotted, breaching, flopping around, or waving their tales.
The best time to see whales in Kalbarri is from June to mid-November.
#19 Wet a Line
Whether you are a seasoned fisherman or looking to just pass the time with a cold one, Kalbarri is a great spot to wet a line.
Along the shores of the Murchinson River you can catch whiting, tailor, mulloway, mangrove jack, and bream.
Head to the beach between Wittecarra Creek and Red Bluff Beach for tailor, mulloway, and shark.
Fish the cliffs above Pot Alley for your chance at the local favorite snapper.
There is plenty to be had for the avid angler in Kalbarri!
#20 Appreciate the Beauty of the Wildflowers from July to September
Between the months of July and September, the fields surrounding Kalbarri come alive with blooms of wildflowers. Take to the trails along the coastline and the hinterland to see a colorful array of wildflowers.
#21 Drop by the Kalbarri Community Markets
One the best things to do in Kalbarri is to experience the locals market. But to do so, you need to time it just right.
On the foreshore of Kalbarri during school holidays, local vendors line up selling their homemade wares and local produce.
Make sure to check the local Kalbarri Comunity Market Facebook page for the most up-to-date information on dates (weather permitting).
Things to Do Near Kalbarri
#22 Camp at Lucky Bay
Some 45 kilometers south of Kalbarri you will find the stunning Lucky Bay. Where the farmland meets the ocean, the drive to Lucky Bay alone is worth the trip out here.
Camp on the white sand beaches by the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
Camping here is only $15 per vehicle each night, a bargain for this absolute paradise.
Camping facilities are limited to only a toilet so campers will need to be fully self-suffecient.
#23 Look (Don’t Swim) at the Kalbarri Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon)
Better for looking at and snapping a photo than for swimming in, the Pink Lake, known as Hutt Lagoon is a unique Kalbarri attraction that should not be missed.
The lake gets its shimmering pink color from the carotenoid-producing algae
It is important, however, to make sure you visit the pink lake between 10:00 am – 2:00 pm when the lake is shimmering its brightest pink. When we visited in the late afternoon, there was only a glimmer of pink compared to the photos we had seen before arriving.
#24 Step Back in Time at the Lynton Convict Hiring Depot
Take in the history and beauty of the Lynton Convict Hiring Depot located between Kalbarri and Northampton.
Despite being in operation for only a few short years, the Lynton Convict Hiring Depot is one of the best-preserved facilities of its kind.
#25 Visit One of the Oldest Settlements in Western Australia at Northampton
Northampton between Kalbarri and Geraldton holds the title as one of the oldest settlements in Western Australia.
If you love charming, sandstone buildings, then Northampton is the town for you.
Spend a few hours exploring the Hampton Road Heritage Walk which takes you past 37 historically significant buildings in Northampton. These preserved buildings account for some of the most stunning architecture along the northern coastline of Western Australia.
Where to Stay in Kalbarri
It is not possible to stay in the Kalbarri National Park. The Kalbarri National Park does not have any camping options. But, there are plenty of great places to choose from in town or along the stunning sandstone coastline south of the Kalbarri town center.
The Nautilus Retreat in Kalbarri is a studio apartment that is perfect for a weekend getaway for couples. The comfy room includes breakfast for two and there is even a pool to cool down in if visiting during the hot summer months. An easy walk to the beach and to the town center, you cannot go wrong with staying at Nautilus Retreat.
Kalbarri Red Bluff Tourist Park
The Kalbarri Red Bluff Tourist Park is a top-notch caravan park along Australia’s western seaboard. Beautiful cabins suited for the whole family, you will have everything you could ever need with a stay here. A full-size kitchen, room for the whole family, and views over the Pacific Ocean, what more could you want out of a stay in Kalbarri!
The Kalbarri Red Bluff Tourist Park also has ensuite-powered camping sites! Prices for camping start at $50 per night.
Kalbarri Tourist Tips
Have we convinced you visiting Kalbarri is worth it? If so, here are our top tips to make the most of our trip to Kalbarri!
- Visit Kalbarri from north to south for the best experience.
- The weather in Kalbarri is windy and unpredictable. The average wind speed never drops below 10/km per hour, so make sure to pack your windbreaker.
- Visit Kalbarri National Park in the early morning or late afternoon light for the best photos!
- Kalbarri is remote (6 hours north of Perth), but you can fly into Geraldton just 45 min south.
- Kalbarri can easily be explored in a weekend. If you are a keen fisherman, hiker, or surfer, you may want to extend your time by a few days.
- Consider visiting in the spring (September to November) when temperatures are coolerand wildflowers are blooming.
- Swimming is safe as you won’t find any crocodiles this far south.
- You don’t need a 4WD in Kalbarri to explore most of the attractions.
So, Is Kalbarri Worth Visiting?
There are plenty of things to keep you busy when visiting the small seaside town of Kalbarri.
The national park plays host to a number of things to do for those who enjoy being active.
The coastline beckons keen fishermen, hikers, snorkelers and surfers.
The town and surrounding area has plenty of dining, history, and activities to keep the whole family satisfied.
So, pack your bags and get moving to explore all of the best things to do in Kalbarri.
Where to Go After Kalbarri?
There are plenty of destinations worth exploring in Western Australia after checking out Kalbarri.
If you are headed north, we recommend heading up to Shark Bay, the town of Denham, and the spectacular Francois Peron National Park.
If you are on your way south, head for the port city of Geraldton.
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