Kalbarri was a very pleasant surprise to say the least. It was one of those trips that we weren’t 100% sure about before going but it ended up completely exceeding our expectations. I would definitely head back there – next time for a little longer – and would definitely recommend it to others. It had an incredibly laid back, small-town feel and is a great place to do as much or as little as you’d like.
When to visit Kalbarri
Located between Geraldton and Carnarvon – about 6.5 hours north of Perth – the area is known for being quite windy, especially in the Summer months. We visited in early October and we definitely experienced our fair share of windy conditions while we were there. I would suggest trying to avoid this time of year, maybe opting for Autumn instead. I would also recommend staying a few extra days in case you are hit with some windy days to try and leave enough time to see and do everything on your list.
Where to stay in Kalbarri
There are quite a few Air BNB’s to book in Kalbarri which is something we would consider for next time. If that’s not your preference then there are a few other options in town. We stayed at Kalbarri Murchison River Apartments. They were old and basic but in a great location at the mouth of the river. Plus, we had a river/ocean view apartment which was great for sitting outside and enjoying the view. The Pelican Shore Villas were located next to where we stayed and looked quite nice from the outside. There are also a couple of different caravan parks.
Where to eat in Kalbarri
The simple answer? Take your own food. This was the one let down on our trip to Kalbarri. We tried a few different places and were very disappointed. I’m generally not picky as long as it’s edible, but this was the first for me. There were two places that were okay: The Pickled Pelican Cafe and Red Bluff Bakery Cafe. If you have any recommendations for places to eat the next time we visit, please let me know in the comments!
What to take to Kalbarri
Due to all of the outdoors activities you will need a good pair of walking shoes, lots of sunscreen (i learnt that the hard way and am now sporting a nice red sunburn), a camera, and fly spray. And don’t forget your swimmers!
Getting to and around Kalbarri
There were loads of tourists on buses, however i would hands down recommend driving. Either take a road trip in your own car or rent a car from Perth or Geraldton. Without a car, getting to all of the attractions would be quite hard to do as they are very spread out. They’re not all within walking distance from town and there’s little in the way of public transport.
Places to visit in Kalbarri
Let me start by saying there is plenty to do in Kalbarri. You will definitely want a few days there. Three days for us still wasn’t enough. With a national park on it’s doorstep and both inland gorges and coastal attractions, there is something for everyone.
The Murchison River (river mouth)
While we were there the Murchison River was a popular place to spend time. Some people went fishing, some went stand up paddle-boarding or kayaking and some went kite-surfing when the wind was up. Others just hung out on the grass beside the river. It’s a great spot if you don’t feel like venturing too far away.
This was probably the best beach swimming location we found. Everywhere else we visited had quite big swell and wasn’t swimming friendly. If you’re a surfer though, there is plenty of places to go. Blue Holes is somewhat protected and full of rock pools making it a great place for snorkelling and very family friendly. We went to the main parking area on Blue Holes Road but it was packed so we drove a little further to the next turn off, i think it was Siphon Road and the car park was nearly empty. When you walk down to the beach you can just walk straight around the corner to Blue Holes.
Kalbarri National Park’s Inland Gorges
Go early. Nature’s Window is a beautiful spot with incredible views and walking trails but we visited in the middle of the day and it was packed. There was a line to get a photo in front of the window and there were stacks of people climbing down the track. It’s well worth visiting but be prepared for lots of tourists depending on when you visit. I would also recommend visiting Z Bend.
Kalbarri National Park’s Coastal Cliffs
Red Bluff, Pot Alley and Island Rock were our favourites. If you have time though, you could easily spend the day driving the coastal cliffs and stopping at each point along the way. I would also suggest visiting Red Bluff Beach for great views looking up at Red Bluff. You can either walk down from Red Bluff (not the easiest walk) or you can drive directly to it from the main road.
Other places to visit
If we’d had more time in Kalbarri we would have done a lot more of the walking trails and hikes, particularly the ones into some of the gorges and down to the Murchison River.
Also if you have time, you should visit Hutt Lagoon. It’s an incredible pink lake only 40 minutes south of Kalbarri. We stopped in on our way up from Perth. Apparently the shade of pink differs depending on the weather and the time of day. We were there in the early afternoon and it was a bubblegum pink!
If you’re heading to Kalbarri or have already been, leave a comment below.