The Ultimate Guide to the Best Things to do in Kalbarri

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Things to do in Kalbarri

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West Coast Australia is perfect for an adventurous road trip. Of course, there are plenty of places to visit in Perth and things to do in Fremantle. But if you head north, you will find Kalbarri, a small township on the coast, home to one of the most spectacular national parks in Australia. I recommend dedicating a few days to this wild and rugged stretch of coast. This is the ultimate guide to the best things to do in Kalbarri.

Kalbarri is on the West Australian Coast and a great place for a holiday
Kalbarri, Western Australia

The Best Things to do in Kalbarri, Australia

A few days in Kalbarri, WA will feel like an adventure. First, you have to drive along the coast, along a straight road with not many scenic distractions. When you travel Western Australia, this emptiness is a common occurrence…

The roads in Kalbarri National Park are very easy to drive
Kalbarri National Park

Kangaroos and other wildlife might appear suddenly and the harsh, West Australian sun is an ominous yet essential presence. Kalbarri National Park is a humbling experience, with striking and age-old scenic features. With an inhospitable reputation, the West Australian coast is a gem of rugged wilderness and preserved nature.

How to get to Kalbarri from Perth

The distance from Perth to Kalbarri is about 600km, which makes it a long six to seven-hour drive. The road is pretty straight and in good condition so it’s not a difficult drive. However, there are things to see along the way and I recommend stopping for the night. Geraldton or Jurien Bay are good places to stay and it’s worth seeing the Pinnacles and Nambung National Park along this iconic Australia road trip.

If you are going on an Australia road trip, I recommend having these road trip essentials with you.

Kalbarri Accommodation

There is plenty of holiday accommodation in Kalbarri and the Kalbarri Beach Resort is quite luxurious but we happy with something simpler. We found a great place on Airbnb, with friendly owners and nice views. The Two Tin Cow B&B is on the cliff, a short drive from Kalbarri, and you get a lovely view at breakfast.

This is the view from Two Tin Cows in Kalbarri
Two Tin Cows

There is no accommodation in Kalbarri National Park and camping is not permitted so your best bet is to stay in or around Kalbarri itself.

The breakfast at Two Tin Cows is huge and delicious
Two Tin Cows breakfast

Kalbarri History

Kalbarri and the Murchison River are places of importance to the Nanda people, the local Aboriginal tribe. A main historical fact of Kalbarri’s history happened in 1629 when the Dutch ship Batavia was shipwrecked on the Abrolhos Islands. This episode is probably one of the darkest in Australia’s colonial history. From Kalbarri to Perth and Fremantle, the shadow of the Batavia is ever-present…

The Murchison River is Kalbarri is where some crew members of the ill-fated Batavia were abandoned
Murchison River

Today, you can take a scenic flight to the Abrolhos Islands.

In the 1940’s, Kalbarri fishing became popular and the town is now a sought-after holiday spot on the West Australian Coast.

Best Time to visit Kalbarri, Western Australia

Kalbarri weather is similar to a Mediterranean climate: hot and dry in summer and milder in winter with some heavy rain at times. 

The majority of visitors head on a West Coast trip from December to May and the busiest months are in summer and coincide with school holidays. We visited in early January and it was very hot but not too busy in terms of tourist numbers.

Kalbarri has some 800 varieties of wildflowers
Wildflowers

If you are interested in wildflowers in full bloom or seeing whale migration off the coast, the best months are September and October.

The Kalbarri Visitor Centre will be able to advise if the flowers are in bloom. Don’t forget to pick up a map of Kalbarri as well…

Kalbarri National Park 

The National Park is the main attraction in Kalbarri and I thoroughly recommend you dedicate a couple of days to visit it on your West Coast Australia road trip. The gem of Western Australia’s Coral Coast is over 180,000 hectares of pristine wilderness, deep gorges and stunning photo opportunities. There are two sides to the park: the coastal park is where you will see the stunning Kalbarri cliffs and the Inland Park is the home of wildflowers, striking rock formations and dramatic gorges.

A visit to Kalbarri National Park will be a wonderful experience for your West Australian road trip
Kalbarri National Park

Kalbarri National Park has some excellent sealed roads and driving around is very easy. If the weather in Kalbarri is sunny, expect some of these views!

Park fees apply, they’re about $15 per vehicle.

Kalbarri Inland Park

This is the more famous part of Kalbarri National Park: a rugged, dry and red land, with some surprisingly green and diverse flora. The inland park is known for its deep gorges, delightful lookouts and wildflowers. There are some 800 species of wildflowers in the park. The best time of year to see them is around September and October. 

The Z-Bend is one of the sights in Kalbarri National Park
Z-Bend, Kalbarri

The extraordinary landscape of red rugged cliffs is 400,000 years old and the park covers some 180,000 hectares! The park is remarkably accessible, with some great sealed roads.

There are some 200 animal species roaming the park, including kangaroos, echidna and thorny devils… Usually the best time to see wildlife is at dawn and dusk, but the territory is so big, you’ll need a bit of luck!

Kalbarri National Park has a range of wild and rugged scenery
Kalbarri National Park

There is no water available in the park, so you will need to carry your own and have plenty of it. We were there in January and even with hats and plenty of water, the heat was punishing! Hiking early in the morning is highly recommended to avoid to hottest of the day… In fact, some trails even close after 7am…

Whatever the season, I strongly recommend wearing a hat, sunglasses and loose clothing. Sturdy footwear is also very important.

We dedicated a whole day to the inland park and we could have spent more time. It was hot and sunny so long walks were out but we visited the different lookouts and took the Z-bend River Trail.

Nature’s Window, Kalbarri

The most famous icon of the inland park is Nature’s Window and a Western Australia road trip wouldn’t be complete without a souvenir photo. The “window” overlooks the Z-bend gorge and is very popular so you may need to wait your turn.

Nature's Window is a famous feature of Kalbarri National Park
Nature’s Window

Carved by the elements over millions of years, the structure is actually a little fragile so climbing all over it is not recommended. The view from up there is terrific!

The Skywalk

We visited the park before the completion of the Kalbarri Skywalk but this promises some stunning views of the Kalbarri gorges.

Z-Bend, Kalbarri

The Z-Bend River Trail is a challenging hike. It’s only 2,6km but it is a class 4 and requires a good level of fitness. There are uneven rocks, ladders and some climbing is required. The trail goes down to the river and it’s a perfect occasion to experience the cool water…

The trail to the River Gorge in Kalbarri Inland Park is challenging but well worth the effort
Kalbarri River Gorge

We did find the hike challenging in the heat but found that even children were participating… It’s a very “Kalbarri” experience, rugged and wild, with beautiful scenery.

There are rock pools in the gorge, very refreshing!
Rockpool

Ross Graham Lookout

Apart from Nature’s Window, this is the most spectacular lookout in Kalbarri Inland Park.

There are several lookouts in Kalbarri National Park with dramatic views
Graham Ross Lookout

Meenarra Hill Lookout

This was our final stop at the end of the day and the light was dimming. From the lookout, you can admire the Murchison River mouth. After the Batavia shipwreck on the Abrolhos Islands, some of its crew elected to be dropped off nearby.

Meanarra Lookout offers a great viewpoint on the Murchison River
Meanarra Lookout

Kalbarri Coastal Park

We explored the coastal park at sunset and also during the day. It’s worth visiting several times if you can in order to get the different colours setting on the cliffs. The cliffs are rugged and spectacular, with colours ranging from dark red to golden in the evening sun.

The cliffs in Kalbarri are absolutely spectacular
Kalbarri Cliffs

There are several lookouts to visit and most of them are well signposted. There are boardwalks along the cliffs so it’s not a difficult walk. Some areas are very close to the edge though so you do need to be careful.

Natural Bridge

This is the southernmost viewpoint and the natural bridge is easily spotted off the cliffs. There is a boardwalk leading to Island Rock.

Natural Bridge is one of the icons in Kalbarri
Natural Bridge

Island Rock

We took the boardwalk from Natural Bridge and watched the sunset.

Island Rock is one of the best cliff formations in Kalbarri
Island Rock

Bigurda Trail

This coastal trail runs 8km from Natural Bridge to Eagle Gorge and the footpath is quite comfortable.

The Bigurda Trail is an 8km hike on the Kalbarri cliffs
Bigurda Trail

Shellhouse Grandstand

This is one of the more spectacular lookouts and one of the best to enjoy the sunset.

Shellhouse Grandstand is the perfect lookout to view the sunset in Kalbarri
Shellhouse Grandstand

Eagle Gorge

Eagle Gorge should be on your list of things to do in Kalbarri
Eagle Gorge

There are other lookouts along the coast. Don’t miss Pot Alley, Rainbow Valley and Mushroom Rock.

The colours of the cliffs at dusk are really beautiful
Kalbarri Cliffs

Red Bluff, Kalbarri

The cliffs at Red Bluff are incredibly rugged
Red Bluff

Other Things to do around Kalbarri

Of course, there are other Kalbarri things to do, it’s not just the national park. If you are on a trip around Australia, why not try the Kalbarri fishing charters? Here are few reasons why going to Kalbarri is one of the best road trips in Australia.

Blue Holes

This is a pool of water protected by an inshore reef. A Fish Habitat Protection Area, it is home to over 70 species of fish and the ideal spot for snorkelling. No West Coast road trip itinerary would be complete without a dip in the crystal clear waters.

Chinaman’s Beach

It’s not difficult to find a beautiful beach when you’re driving around Australia. Western Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and the Kalbarri coast is a great place to relax and enjoy the pristine waters… On this Kalbarri Beach, the water is sheltered so it is safe to swim and you are pretty much guaranteed some stunning sunset photos…

Take a break at a beautiful Kalbarri Beach: Chinaman's Beach
Chinaman’s Beach

Hutt Lagoon

Pink lakes are very popular these days but finding one within reasonably driving distance can be a challenge. Thankfully, Hutt Lagoon is the Kalbarri pink lake and is only 30 minutes south. If you can get some good colour, it’s worth including a visit in your Australia road trip itinerary.

Hutt Lagoon is pretty in pink!
Hutt Lagoon

First of all, the idea of a pink lake sounds like an artificial gimmick but the colour is perfectly natural. The lake contains a carotenoid-producing algae called dunaliella salina, which is used as a food colouring agent and a source of vitamin A. Carotene is commonly used in cosmetics and it is safe to dip your toes in the water. You’d have to walk on shards of salt though so we didn’t attempt it.

Pink Lake is spelled in salt!
Pink Lake

The best time to visit Hutt Lagoon is around noon, when the sun is at its peak. In order to capture the best pink colour, you need a sunny day. The view from George Grey Drive is a bit limited, so you need to drive all around the southern end of the lagoon, onto George Grey Road. The Pink Lake Lookout is a bit of a vantage point but it’s not very high and only gave a mild advantage.

A cool little detail is the sign “pink lake” covered in salt, you can see it from the road.

Hutt Lagoon Pink Lake Flight

A better guarantee to see the pink lake in its unique beauty is probably from the sky. There is a Hutt Lagoon Pink Lake flight departing from Kalbarri Airport that also covers the cliffs. A scenic flight is something to do on a road trip around Australia, so why not in Kalbarri?

Western Australia’s Coral Coast

A couple of days in Kalbarri is enough and not enough at the same time. We saw plenty when we were there but felt it was worth a few more days to explore deeper into the national park. On the long drive along the coast of Western Australia, Kalbarri is an ideal stopover, along with Coral Bay and Geraldton. We went back to continue with our Perth itinerary and even went to Albany and its historic whaling station. Hopefully, we will be back in the future. We discovered some great street art in Perth, which is also a great experience!

Watch the sunset from the Kalbarri Cliffs
Sunset in Kalbarri

Save these Kalbarri tips on Pinterest!

This is the ultimate to the best things to do in Kalbarri, WA
In Western Australia, Kalbarri is a great road trip destination
There are some great things to do in Kalbarri

Have you visited Kalbarri? Please share your experience in the comments below!

16 Comments

  1. samantha karen

    July 13, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    What a stunning, naturally beautiful place! I love the unique rock formations and stunning ocean views. I get such peaceful and serene vibes. So nice.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      July 14, 2020 at 9:31 am

      Kalbarri has some very beautiful cliff formations. It’s a harsh environment but certainly worth visiting for a few days…

  2. Nic

    July 15, 2020 at 1:20 am

    WA is somewhere we really need to see a lot more of. I think a road trip over that way is in order when we get the chance and Kalbarri will be right at the top of that list!

    1. Delphine Mignon

      July 15, 2020 at 11:42 am

      You would love Western Australia, it’s such a huge and wild country. It’s the best place for a road trip and Kalbarri is worth staying for a few days.

  3. Indrani

    July 17, 2020 at 12:11 am

    Wonderful list of things to do in Kalbarri. I am really amazed at the land forms in Red Bluff, wonder how it got its name. Chinaman’s beach looks like a dream place to me. Great pictures.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      July 17, 2020 at 11:54 am

      I agree that a walk on Chinaman’s Beach is the dream, especially with the sun going down! I can’t wait to get back there!

  4. Jeremy

    July 17, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Didn’t know about Kalbarri when I visited Perth. But now knowing it is 6-7 hours drive from Perth, definitely need to plan way ahead. Love the landscape it has to offer. The national park looks beautiful, although the trees and bushes are alot shorter than what I’m used to with shaded rainforest. Definitely need to bring lots of sunscreen! The rock pools and inlead sea are gorgeous, good to know we can have a dip in it ! =)

    1. Delphine Mignon

      July 18, 2020 at 9:01 am

      Hi Jeremy, the drive to Kalbarri is pretty straightforward but I agree that it’s good to break it up a bit. There are some good things to see and do along the way though, so it’s a good idea to take a few days to do this trip.

  5. Kevin

    July 18, 2020 at 3:10 am

    Delphine, your post about Perth was one of my inspirations for making my first journey out to WA last year, and this might be my inspiration to go back! I truly loved Perth and Fremantle and am dreaming about the day I’ll get to explore some of the more remote parts of the state. I really like that you include tips for doing the road trip up from Perth, and it’s really awesome that all these beautiful cliffs and rocky shorelines seem to be totally unaltered by human activity and development. The pink lake is an added bonus, too! You’ve basically just confirmed to me that a return trip to WA is non-negotiable 🙂

    1. Delphine Mignon

      July 18, 2020 at 9:03 am

      There is quite a lot to see and do in WA, I highly recommend that you go back when they open the borders, which might be a while yet. I would love to go back and spend more time up north, beyond Kalbarri.

  6. Nichole

    July 18, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Kalbarri National Park looks so beautiful!! Added it to my bucket list! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Delphine Mignon

      July 19, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      I still have a big bucket list for Australia, so many things to see and do!

  7. Kelsey

    July 18, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    This is a great location! Such a wonderful list of things to do for people of all ages! We will have to keep this in mind when we go back to Australia! Thanks for sharing : )

    1. Delphine Mignon

      July 19, 2020 at 2:39 pm

      I hope you get a chance to visit the west coast of Australia, it’s a wild and beautiful place with the most extraordinary beaches!

  8. Sharyn

    July 18, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    WA is a beautiful part of the world. I am looking forward to visiting.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      July 19, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      Western Australia is sooooo big, the distances are crazy! But it’s very beautiful, especially the coast! I look forward to going back when we can travel again…

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