Kalbarri National Park
Kalbarri National Park is famous for its spectacular scenery, which features rugged coastal cliffs and towering river gorges, and its magniﬁcent springtime display of wildﬂowers. The 80-kilometre Murchison River, rising in the west, has cut a 170-metre deep canyon through the park on its way to the sea at Gantheaume Bay.
From north or south via North West Coastal Hwy to Ajana Kalbarri Rd, which runs through park
All seasons; spring for wildﬂowers and autumn, winter and spring for bushwalking
533 km north of Perth; 167 km north of Geraldton; 1 km east and south of Kalbarri
DEC Geraldton (08) 9921 5955
Ranger’s permission required for overnight camping
183 004 ha
Kalbarri (08) 9937 1104, 1800 639 468
Featured Activities in the National Park
Take a photo at the natural rock arch of Natures Window
Hold on tight at Z Bend lookout to see the steep drop of the gorge walls
Enjoy the magniﬁcent wildﬂower displays in spring
Look north from Red Bluff at Zuytdorp cliffs extending 200 kilometres to Shark Bay
- Kalbarri National Park, Eco-friendly activity
- Kalbarri National Park, Recreational Wildlife-watching, Recreational Wildlife-watching
- Western Australian wildflowers, Natural Wonders, Natural Wonders
A look at the past
This coastal region was the traditional home of the Nhanta people. The colonial period was marked by destruction of their way of life; some of them were massacred, others were captured and forced to work on pearling vessels, and virtually enslaved to labour in the pastoral industry – which depended on Indigenous workers until long after World War II.
‘Kalbarri’ is the name of an edible seed and also a man’s name from a tribe of the region. It was chosen as the town name in 1951, and then for the title of the national park when it was declared in 1963.
The park is located on the lower reaches of the Murchison River, which has carved a gorge through ancient sedimentary rock known as Tumblagooda sandstone, creating striking bands of stone in contrasting brownish reds, purples and whites. Lookouts offer breathtaking vistas and geological wonders, such as Natures Window, a natural rock arch that superbly frames the upstream view. Near the river mouth are spectacular coastal cliffs of soft limestone, which have been eroded by the Indian Ocean into unusual rock formations. Marvel at the aptly named Mushroom Rock, the Natural Bridge and the solitary Island Rock. Not far south of Kalbarri is Red Bluff, a rocky headland that overlooks a great swimming and surﬁng beach. Other delightful beaches can be found at Pot Alley and Eagle Gorge.
The spectacular ﬂoral displays for which Kalbarri is famous occur from July through to late October. During this time, the vast heathlands that dominate the park transform into a wildﬂower wonderland of green and red kangaroo paws, banksias, grevilleas, featherﬂowers, smokebushes, starﬂowers and many more. More than 40 orchid species appear in June and July. Twenty-one plant species are found only in the Kalbarri area, including the Kalbarri catspaw, the Kalbarri leschenaultia and the Murchison hammer orchid. Elsewhere in the park are acacia–melaleuca thickets and patches of mallee, while the river is lined with river red gums and swamp she-oaks.
The most noticeable animals are western grey kangaroos and emus, which roam the heathlands. Of the numerous reptiles, look out for black-headed monitors (racehorse goannas), shingleback lizards (known as bobtails) and thorny devils. Overhead, ospreys and wedge-tailed eagles soar, while closer to the ground are fairy-wrens, honeyeaters, willie wagtails and thornbills.
After heavy rains, the Murchison River is deep enough for rafting and canoeing, but this is a wilderness adventure for the experienced only. Park rangers should be advised in advance. Rock-climbers and abseilers can indulge their passion with a licensed tour operator at Z Bend and Hawks Head.
There are several walks and trails in and around the gorge, including some short walks of 400 metres or so to the best lookouts in the park. Longer walks include Loop Walk Trail (8-km circuit, 3–4 hours) from Natures Window. There are steep sections but the views of the winding gorge below are superb. Experienced hikers will enjoy the challenge of the unmarked route from Ross Graham Lookout to The Loop (38 km, 4 days), complete with river crossings (can be broken into shorter two-day hikes). This is hazardous terrain; long overnight hikes should only be undertaken by groups of at least ﬁve experienced people, and you must register with park staff. Along the coast, Rainbow Valley to Mushroom Rock circuit (3 km) has trailside signs explaining the botanical and geological features of the area. For magniﬁcent views from the cliff tops, the Coastal Trail (8 km one way) leads south from Eagle Gorge to Natural Bridge.
Do not miss Natures Window at The Loop, which overlooks the Murchison Gorge, and the breathtaking scenery at Z Bend lookout, where the gorge plunges 150 metres to the river below. Hawks Head Lookout is accessible by wheelchair, and from Ross Graham Lookout visitors can easily walk to the river’s edge. Lookouts such as Mushroom Rock, Pot Alley and Eagle Gorge offer ocean views and whale-watching sites.