Kalbarri National Park is one of the most spectacular parks in Western Australia.
Over 186,000 hectares in size, the park is located at the lower reaches of the Murchison River and is one of the best places in the world to find ancient traces of the first life on land. Winter is wildflower season, when you can delight in the myriad of unique wildflowers that grow around the National Park's inland gorges and coastal cliffs. All roads within the park are sealed and suitable for 2WD vehicles.
Kalbarri is a 6 hour drive (590km) north of Perth. Kalbarri National Park's inland gorges can be accessed from both the west and east. Western access is from Kalbarri town, via Ajana-Kalbarri Road. Eastern access is off of the North West Coastal Highway, via Ajana-Kalbarri Road. The National Park's coastal cliffs are accessible off George Grey Drive.
Inland Gorge Sites
Over the past 400 million years, the flow of the Murchison River has created magnificent deep red and white banded gorges through the landscape of Kalbarri National Park, which stretch 80km towards the ocean. Explore the depths and heights of the river gorges and admire the floral beauty of the vast, rolling sandplains.
Located just 500m from The Loop carpark is arguably one of Western Australia's most iconic natural attractions - Nature's Window. Walk down a picturesque trail to view the rock formation that perfectly frames the rugged upstream view of the Murchison River. Nature's Window marks the beginning and end of The Loop Walk, an 8km walking trail (Class 4 hike).
Note: temperatures in the river gorges can reach 50'C (122F) in summer. For this reason, The Loop Walk is closed after 7am from November to March (inclusive). Do not walk the trail in hot weather, and ensure that each person carries and drinks 3-4 litres of water each, per day, when hiking in the National Park.
Located across the gorge from Nature's Window is an innovative tourism precinct and the National Park's newest attraction, the Kalbarri Skywalk. The universally accessible precinct features twin skywalks which project 25m and 17m beyond the gorge rim and sit more than 100m above the Murchison River. The skywalk platforms are located 100m apart from each other, and other precinct facilities include a kiosk, walk trails, interpretive signage which share the stories and history of the local Nanda people, shade shelters and toilets.
Further south in Kalbarri National Park is the Z-Bend Lookout and walk trails. The Lookout is 600m walk from the carpark and boasts one of the most breathtaking views of the park. Below the Lookout, the Murchison River plunges 150m down to where red river gums create a striking contrast against the earthy hues of the Tumblagooda sandstone. The Z Bend River Trail features deep descents and ladder climbs down into the gorge, and hikers will enjoy the 6km Four Ways Trail (Idinggada Yina) which continues on and presents a more challenging option.
The Ross Graham Lookout is the easiest place in Kalbarri National Park to access the Murchison River's edge, and is a short walk from the Ross Graham Road carpark. It is an ideal location to enjoy a walk or picnic along its banks. Nearby, enjoy views from the Hawk's Head picnic area or wander down the path to the wheelchair accessible lookout. Keep your eyes peeled for rare black flanked rock wallabies among the rocks.
At 207m above sea level and only 5km from Kalbarri town, Meanarra Hill is the perfect vantage point for 360' views of Kalbarri and the Murchison River flowing into the Indian Ocean. It's an ideal spot for photos, especially at sunset!
Look out for wildlife around the inland gorges. Some of the most common animals you'll encounter are kangaroos, emus, echidnas, thorny devils and an abundant bird population including birds of prey like wedge-tailed eagles.
Coastal Cliff Sites
Kalbarri's Coastal Cliffs feature magnificent, towering cliffs which plummet down to the ocean waves 100 metres below. Starting at Red Bluff, just south of Kalbarri town, the dramatic coastal cliffs extend 13km to the National Park's southern boundary. These National Park sites are free to visit. Numerous sign-posted pathways and lookouts provide safe exploration of the ruggedly beautiful coastline. Migrating whales can often be seen from the Coastal Cliffs between June and November.
At the southern end of the coastal cliffs, visitors can enjoy the Natural Bridge and Island Rock. With stunning coastal views a short walk from their respective carparks, visitors can look out over the Natural Bridge in search of marine life, including whales and dolphins. The resilient Island Rock was once part of the shoreline and now stands as a solitary 'sea stack' against the forces of the ocean. Island Rock is reminiscent of the Twelve Apostles.
Take in views from the Eagle Gorge lookout, named after the wedge-tailed eagles that nest in the gorge. These magnificent birds can often be seen soaring through the sky in search of prey. For anyone seeking a little extra adventure, follow the stepped rocky path to discover a secluded beach.
The Birgurda Trail (the Indigenous name for a small kangaroo, which can sometimes be sighted along the trail) in an 8km (one-way) trail connecting the Natural Bridge with Eagle Gorge. It provides stunning coastal views with great photo opportunities. Halfway along the trail, make sure to stop at the Grandstand to peer into Kalbarri's deep cavernous cliffs from the walkway above. This unique walk showcases a vast array of wildflower species from July to November, with pods of dolphins and migrating humpback whales also a common sight.
Pot Alley was named by local cray fishermen after losing many craypots to this hazardous cove. Enjoy the spectacular ocean scenery amidst the expansive rugged gorges, or walk the short track to the remote beach below. Slightly north of Pot Alley, informative signage takes you back 400 million years as you wander along the marked circuit that connects Rainbow Valley and Mushroom Rock. Allow between one and two hours for the walk, where you can marvel at the varied geological formations and see kangaroos feeding (best seen at dawn and dusk) amongst the coastal heath.
Red Bluff beach is a popular location for fishing and swimming. Featuring a picturesque white sandy beach, contrasted against striking rust red rocks, Red Bluff is particularly spectacular at sunset or for whale watching from the Red Bluff Lookout. Hike down from the Lookout to Red Bluff beach along the beach trail, also known as Gaba Gaba Yina, to see amazing views across the Indian Ocean and impressive rock formations, and reward yourself with a swim at the bottom. Please note: this track is steep with loose surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the opening hours and entry costs?
The inland gorge sites of Kalbarri National Park are open from 6am - 6pm daily (from sunrise to sunset). National Park entry is $15.00 per vehicle, carrying up to 12 passengers.
All coastal sites of Kalbarri National Park are free to visit.
I have a two-wheel drive car (2WD), will I be able to access Kalbarri National Park?
Yes! All roads within Kalbarri National Park are sealed, meaning access is available for both two-wheel drive (2WD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles. If you are hiring a car upon arriving in Western Australia, please check with your hire car provider to ensure your insurance covers National Park access. As the roads are sealed, generally this should not be a problem, but please check at the time of pick up.
Can RVs or Campervans access Kalbarri National Park?
Yes! We know Kalbarri is an important destination for those travelling in RVs or campervans. Parking is available for these types of vehicles in Kalbarri National Park.
Can I go on a tour?
Absolutely! There are a number of tour operators who can show you the best locations in Kalbarri National Park. Browse tour operators here, or contact the Kalbarri Visitor Centre or call them on +61 8 9937 1104 for tour options into the National Park.
Is there any other essential information I need to know?
Yes. Camping in Kalbarri National Park is not permitted. Visitors are expected to have left Kalbarri National Park by closing time. The exception to this are people who are joining an after-dark tour or going on an overnight hike (refer to the information below).
Please bring ample drinking water with you. If you are planning on a walk or hike in Kalbarri National Park, it is recommended that each person carries 3 to 4 litres of water with them, per day.
I'm planning an extended hike in Kalbarri National Park, what do I need to do?
If you are planning an overnight hike in Kalbarri National Park, you must walk in a group of at least 5 experienced people, which is the smallest group size considered to be self-sufficient in an emergency. All overnight hikes must be registered in advance at the Kalbarri Park Headquarters or via email, so that the Department of Parks and Wildlife are aware of your plans, movements and group members.
Overnight hikes are not permitted from November to March (inclusive) due to heat.