Kalbarri is a coast side national park about 550 kms north of Perth where the ground is dry, rocky and for the most part, covered in rich red sand.
The Kalbarri National Park features a large ancient gorge that weaves and twists with large red and orange jagged rocks that have eroded throughout a lengthy course of time. Varying in depth, the Murchison River Gorge provides breathtaking views from several lookouts beside car parks or throughout hiking trails, some a short walk from the parking area, others are longer and can be challenging to complete due to extremely hot weather.
A visit to Kalbarri will feel as though you’ve gone back in time and arrived on a dry earth where the scrubby bush is yet to evolve into trees and that land has not yet been cultivated by humans as at many times you can look out as far as the eye can see and not spot another soul in sight.
Visiting Kalbarri National Park
A visit to the Kalbarri National Park can keep you busy for several days, although due to its size and the proximity of the main attractions, even a quick visit for a couple of hours or a full day will still be plenty to give you a great feel for the place and leave with some lasting memories, & plenty of incredible photos.
You can explore the entire national park for a full day fee of just $15 per car or $8 for eligible concession card holders.
Whether you eager to get out and take a look by foot or just a short walk from the car is preferred, here are some places that are worth considering having a look at:
Nature’s Window is one of the best known natural beauties at Kalbarri.
Over looking the Murchison River Gorge, a wall of sandstone has eroded, leaving a vertical gap in the centre, acting as natural window with exceptionally stunning views.
Climb inside the window and take a moment to look out across one of the most scenic parts of Kalbarri National Park or stand back, moving to different positions to get different views of the landscape through the window.
It’s a pretty short walk to get down to Nature’s Window from the car park. It’s around 500 metres along an easy track from the car park, then you’ll need to scale down a few rocks and an uneven surface at the end, to get up close.
For those that want to see a bit more, there’s an absolutely incredible trail called the Nature’s Window Loop Walk. The trail passes Nature’s Window and goes along the top of the gorge for several kilometres, then right down to the river and circling back around. Be careful on hot days as the heat can be excruciating and has claimed the lives of multiple hikers, but with plenty of water and on cooler days, this hike can’t be missed as it’s an amazing experience. Scroll down to see a video of when we hiked this trail.
The Kalbarri Skywalk extends out above the gorge from the top of the cliffs, giving views right across the Murchison River Gorge from 100 metres above.
Surrounding the Skywalk is Aboriginal art work that was created by local indigenous people.
There are two different platforms that will let you look out to the incredible scenery without having to walk far or go down any stairs or uneven surfaces from the car park. It’s a great place to soak in some stunning views of the Kalbarri National Park and experience the area, it’s a must-see for all visitors and perfect for a hot day when completing one of the longer walks or hiking trails isn’t ideal.
Z Bend is a sharp turn in the Murchison River Gorge that has flowing water at the base of large jagged cliffs that glow an orange-red colour when highlighted by the sun, dotted in dark green foliage providing an incredible contrast.
The walk to the Z Bend lookout is down a track that’s about 600 metres each way and will give you some of the best views from inside the entire Kalbarri National Park that require only a short walk. The viewing platform is above the sharp turn and then looks out to the bend in the near distance. The river goes out in two different directions from below the lookout.
There are also some other great places to take a look at in the Kalbarri National Park that are closer to the coast line, although the above are the main attractions and make for a great day trip. If you don’t complete the longer hike, it usually only takes about 2 hours to see all of the above.
Hiking at Kalbarri National Park
Hiking in Kalbarri is a way to get the full experience of the national park where you can get up close with the ancient rock formations and see the gorge from the base, where none of the lookouts will take you.
A great short walk to warm up the legs is down to the Z Bend Lookout, about 600 metres from the car park. You can go further from here down onto the River Walk, or from the same car park, head on the Four Ways Walk which is about 6 kilometres with the highlight being the Four Ways Lookout.
For an unforgettable hike, head on the Nature’s Window Walk, which is an 8km loop. It begins at Nature’s Window (about 500 metres from the car park) and goes along the top of the massive cliffs above the Murchison River Gorge, then down to the river and circles back around to a great swimming spot just below Nature’s Window. All up, the entire trail is about 9km.
See the video below or head here for further details and more pictures of the Nature’s Window Walk.
Camping at Kalbarri
The Kalbarri township is close to the national park entrance and provides a bunch of accommodation options. There’s a whole heap of holiday homes up for rent, small motels, budget accommodation and a caravan park.
For a good place to camp that’s in between Kalbarri and the national park is Murchison House Station, right on the Murchison River (the same river that flows through the main gorge of Kalbarri National Park, above Nature’s Window, the Skywalk and Z Bend).
You’ll find unpowered tent, caravan and RV sites with amenities and cooking facilities at a reasonable price.
Getting to the Kalbarri National Park from Perth
The Kalbarri National Park is right on the coast about 550 kms to the north of Perth.
Take any road out to the north of Perth that’s along the coast heading towards Geraldton. Both the Indian Ocean Highway and Brand Highway are a similar distance and amount of time. The Brand Highway is slightly quicker, but if you would like to take your time, there’s more to see on the Indian Ocean Highway.
Geraldton is roughly three quarters of the way there, you’ll then go slightly inland, still heading north as the coast goes a little bit out to the west.
You’ll need to take a left turn at Ajana-Kalbarri Road in the direction of the township of Kalbarri, right on the coastline. Half way to Kalbarri is the turn off (on your right) into the Kalbarri National Park. This is where you’ll find the main attractions: Nature’s Window, Kalbarri Skywalk & the Z Bend Lookout. There are some other entrances to the park closer to the town of Kalbarri, where you’ll see the coastal section of the national park.
After a few kilometres, you’ll need to pull over and pay the park entry fee.