AUSTRALIA,  WESTERN AUSTRALIA

KALBARRI NATIONAL PARK

Kalbarri National Park is one of the most popular travel destinations in Western Australia. It’s easily accessible, blessed with year round great weather, and perfect for all types of travellers. What can you expect here? The majestic coastline with dramatic cliffs, inland river gorges with numerous walking tracks, and beautiful sandy beaches with crystal clear water. This place is simply stunning, and remains a favourite West Aussie holiday spot. Find out more about one of the best places to visit in Western Australia.

HOW FAR IS KALBARRI FROM PERTH?

Kalbarri National Park is located in Western Australia, almost 600 km north of Perth. The national park has two sections, River Gorges and Coastal Cliffs, and Kalbarri town is situated just in the middle. The city itself has basically all you need, grocery shops, restaurants, cafes and petrol stations. Internet works very well here, no issues with reception either. However, this is not always the case outside the town. Internet and reception in the national park can be variable. Keep that in mind if you plan to go hiking in remote areas.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?

Good news is that Kalbarri National Park has great weather all year round. Nevertheless, Australia’s summer can be very hot with a daytime temperature average of 30°C, and the maximum as high as 45°C. Australia’s winter brings cooler weather with a maximum of 25°C daily. Undoubtedly, this is the best time to visit the park if you are keen to go hiking. It’s also worth to say that the wildflower season starts in June, and lasts until the end of August. This is an amazing opportunity to soak up the view of colourful landscape.

IS THERE AN ENTRY FEE?

Park visitor fees apply in Kalbarri National Park. A day entry fee is AUD 15 for a vehicle and needs to be paid at the entrance station. If you want to avoid paying entry fees for accessing national parks in Western Australia, a purchase of periodic pass is a smart choice. It will help you save some money if there are other national parks on your itinerary. Make sure to print the pass and keep it displayed on your dashboard at all times. Separate fees for camping in national parks in Western Australia apply regardless of having this pass.

WHERE TO SEEK INFORMATION?

Visitor Centre is located on the main street in Kalbarri town. They are open daily between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. However, opening times may differ over public holidays. You can get there a national park map, and ask some questions about the current conditions of walking tracks. Hiking in the river gorge is not recommended in summer as temperatures down there may be extremely high, reaching up to 50°C. Therefore, some hiking trails can be closed in summertime. Make sure to check this out before going hiking.

WHERE TO STAY OVERNIGHT?

Although no camping is permitted in Kalbarri National Park, a range of accommodation is available in the town. You can easily find there many caravan parks with all necessary facilities such as toilets, showers, camping kitchens and laundries. Are you looking for a standard room? No worries at all. You can make a booking in a hotel, guesthouse or B&B too. I would suggest to book a stay in advance if you are planning to visit the national park in high season. It gets busy sometimes, especially in winter and over school holidays.

Caravan Park in Kalbarri
Caravan park in Kalbarri

WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO?

Kalbarri National Park has two sections, River Gorges and Coastal Cliffs. The first one will stun you with picturesque gorges and spectacular viewpoints. The second one will blow your mind with the majestic coastline and dramatic cliffs. Good news is that you don’t need a 4WD vehicle to get here. Kalbarri National Park is easily accessible, and all roads are suitable for 2WD. How much time do you need to explore the park? I would say that a 3 – 4 day visit is enough to see the place, but it really depends on your preferences.

Kalbarri National Park map
Kalbarri National Park – map
BIGURDA TRAIL

This coastal walk offers stunning views and some great photo opportunities. The coastline of Kalbarri National Park reminds me of the iconic Great Ocean Road. Bigurda Trail has 8 km one way and connects Natural Bridge to Eagle Gorge. It’s well worth taking this walk as the views are absolutely amazing. If you don’t feel like doing the entire hike (as this is 16 km both ways), you can drive up to some lookouts to admire the views. Make sure to check out the following places, Natural Bridge, Island Rock, Shellhouse Grandstand, and Eagle Gorge. They are easily accessible by car with a short walk from the parking. Enjoy!

Natural Bridge – Island Rock – Shellhouse Grandstand – Eagle Gorge – Shellhouse Grandstand – Island Rock – Natural Bridge

Walking track: 8 km, 3 hours (return)
Trail difficulty: class 3
Trail access: 2WD (sealed road)

Kalbarri National Park Bigurda Trail
Kalbarri National Park Bigurda Trail
Bigurda Trail
NATURE’S WINDOW & LOOP HIKE

Nature’s Window is one of the most popular natural attractions in Kalbarri National Park. You can see people queuing to take a picture there all year round. This window-shaped rock is perfectly framing the river which makes it a photogenic and Instagram-worthy spot. A little bit of patience is needed if you want to get this one, amazing shot. The Loop Trail starts close to Nature’s Window, and it goes down through a picturesque gorge. It’s worth to say that hiking in this gorge is not recommended in summer due to very high temperatures. I visited the national park in December, and the Loop Trail was closed from 7:00 am.

Nature’s Window Carpark – Nature’s Window – The Loop – Nature’s Window – Nature’s Window Carpark

Walking track: 10 km, 4 hours (loop)
Trail difficulty: class 3, 4
Trail access: 2WD (sealed road)

Kalbarri National Park Nature’s Window
Kalbarri National Park Loop Hike
Nature’s Window & Loop Hike
SKYWALK

Two 100-metre-high lookouts perched on the cliff-top, and projecting 20 metres beyond the rim of the gorge. This is Skywalk, a thrilling attraction of Kalbarri National Park that offers breathtaking views of the Murchison River gorge and its surrounding landscape. The place is easily accessible, and located close to Nature’s Window, so you can do both once you get there. Take your time to soak up the views, and visit a kiosk to buy some refreshments or souvenirs. This is also a good opportunity to sit in the shade for a while.

Skywalk
Skywalk
Skywalk
Z BEND LOOKOUT

This is another amazing viewpoint in Kalbarri National Park. Z Bend Lookout offers a mind-blowing view from the top of the gorge that plunges 150 metres down. It’s located not too far from the Skywalk and Nature’s Window, and you will get there by taking a short walk from the carpark. It’s only 1 km both ways. Don’t miss out the River Trail too. It’s a very interesting walking track that goes down to the gorge, and starts next to Z Bend Lookout. Find out more about the River Trail in the below section. Don’t miss that one!

Z Bend Lookout Carpark – Z Bend Lookout – Z Bend Lookout Carpark

Walking track: 1,2 km, 0,5 hour (return)
Trail difficulty: class 3
Trail access: 2WD (sealed road)

Z Bend Lookout
Z Bend Lookout
Z Bend Lookout
Z BEND RIVER TRAIL

Z Bend River Trail is my favourite walking track in Kalbarri National Park. It’s a relatively short, but extremely interesting hike. Expect loose rocks, steep descends, and ladder climbs with spectacular scenery along the way. This walking track goes down to the gorge, provides access to the river, and it’s well worth doing. Surprisingly, I didn’t meet any people on the track, even though it was quite busy in other sections of the national park. I have no idea why this amazing hike is not popular. The trail starts next to Z Bend Lookout.

Z Bend Lookout Carpark – River Trail – Z Bend Lookout Carpark

Walking track: 2,6 km, 1,5 hours (return)
Trail difficulty: class 4
Trail access: 2WD (sealed road)

Kalbarri National Park Z Bend River Trail
Kalbarri National Park Z Bend River Trail
Z Bend River Trail
HAWKS HEAD LOOKOUT & ROSS GRAHAM LOOKOUT

Hawks Head Lookout and Ross Graham Lookout are located in another section of national park than the walking tracks and viewpoints described before. It takes only a couple of minutes to get to both viewing platforms from the carpark. If you are keen to see more, you can also take the River Trail that starts at Ross Graham Lookout and goes down to the river’s edge. It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The walking track that starts at Z Bend Lookout has the same name. However, this one is shorter. It has only 600 m both ways.

Ross Graham Carpark – River Trail – Ross Graham Carpark

Walking track: 600 m, 0,5 hour (return)
Trail difficulty: class 1, 3
Trail access: 2WD (sealed road)

Hawks Head Lookout and Ross Graham Lookout
Hawks Head Lookout and Ross Graham Lookout
Hawks Head Lookout & Ross Graham Lookout
HUTT LAGOON

Hutt Lagoon is an official name of Pink Lake located around 50 km from Kalbarri National Park. If you are going in this direction, make sure to pull over to see this unique, natural attraction. The colour of the lake results from the salt concentration and presence of the carotenoid-producing algae that grow in the high salinity water. Is the Pink Lake always that pink? Not really. The colour intensity depends on the season. It may not be as pink as in the below pictures. I drove by in December, and got lucky to see it that intense.

Kalbarri National Park Hutt Lagoon
Kalbarri National Park Hutt Lagoon
Hutt Lagoon
OTHER PLACES
  • Red Bluff Lookout & Beach Trail – 3 km, 1,5 hours (return), class 1, 2, 3, 2WD trail access (sealed road)
  • Mushroom Rock & Rainbow Valley Trail – 1,5 km, 1 hour (loop), class 3, 2WD trail access (sealed road)
  • Four Ways Trail – 6 km, 2,5 hours (return), class 4, 2WD trail access (sealed road)
  • Blue Holes

These are the best things to do in Kalbarri National Park. Which walking track do you like the most? Bigurda Trail or Z Bend River Trail? Let me know by leaving a comment below!