Things to Do in Kalbarri National Park: Planning Guide

Tips 4 Trips

Kalbarri National Park located in Western Australia’s Coral Coast region spans a total area of 1830km2; with the town of Kalbarri sitting on the coast between the two sections of the park.  The Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs and the inland park that follows the Murchison River Gorge.  Both parks offer amazing scenery which are quite different from each other.

In this article, we will be focusing on the inland park and all the things to do in Kalbarri National Park to help you to create an itinerary to enjoy all the attractions.

Learn What You Need to Know when Visiting Kalbarri National Park, WA


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The Murchison River Gorge in Kalbarri National Park
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Before You Go

Before you go to the Kalbarri National Park plan your day.  The park is made up of lots of beautiful natural scenery but not much in the way of amenities (though there are toilets at each major stop).  There is no drinking water or fuel stations within the park.  So, get yourself organised before you go.

  • Fill up the car with fuel
  • Pack a picnic
  • Take lots of drinking water for all
  • Wear sensible walking shoes – you’ll be traversing lots of rocks
  • Possibly use a day pack to carry essential items
  • Take a hat and sunscreen
  • Don’t forget your camera and
  • Money for entry

Finally, we were pre-warned before we planned our day to Kalbarri National Park and I am now going to warn you.  The inland Kalbarri National Park weather can get extremely hot and become crowded by mid-morning.  Head out as early as you can to beat the heat and the crowds.

Plan you day out with the

Location

The inland Kalbarri National Park is about a 12-minute drive from Kalbarri town.  Just follow the signs from the main street – Grey Street onto Ajana Kalbarri Road.  Look out for the turnoff to the first part of the inland park.

Cost and Opening Hours

Kalbarri National Park is open in day light hours.

The ticket station is located at the entrance to the park.  The park entrance fee is $15/car (as at 2020) and you will also receive a map of the park, don’t forget to retain your pass to use it at the next section of the park.  About 10km further into the park you will reach a T junction.  To the left is the new Skywalk and Natures Window and to your right is the Z Bend lookout.

Top Trip Tip: Caravans and trailers are not allowed in the park, there is ample parking for you to leave them near the ticket office

The Kalbarri National Park Attractions

We head out early at 8:30am and choose to follow this Kalbarri National Park itinerary.  Each location is busy but not over-crowded on arrival.  All stops offer plenty of bitumen marked parking bays, drop bush toilets that are very clean with hand sanitizer, shaded picnic tables and information boards about each location.

Kalbarri National Park rest areas with picnic tables under shelter

Skywalk

This is the newest attraction in the national park opening in June 2020.  Locals say it has rejuvenated the tourism in their town.  Once you exit the car park it is a 150m wheelchair friendly walk to the Skywalk. 

Essentially it is two rust coloured metal arcs that extend out over the gorge.  Walking out to the tips provides a magnificent view of the extent of the 80km long Murchison River gorge, we are here in September and the river is extremely low and murky sea green colour.   If you visit earlier in the year after the northern cyclone season, then the river should be higher and flowing faster.

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Kalbarri National Park Skywalk hanging our over the gorge cliff
Kalbarri Skywalk

As we make our way along the two arcs, we read information boards explaining how the Murchison Gorge was formed.  We learn that the red coloured rocks are made up of iron and the cream colours are from sandstone.

Back on land there are more history boards about the local Nanda Aboriginals.  You can get a coffee and bite to eat at the new café and sit under the shade from this new structure to enjoy the vista.

Kalbarri Skywalk cafe

Now, remember how I mentioned you need to try and get here early.  As we leave there are cars circling the car park looking for a vacant car park.

Top Trip Tip: This is the only place where you can buy coffee and snacks

Natures Window and The Loop Trail

Our next stop is the Kalbarri National Park Nature’s Window.  There is a 1km return paved walkway from the car park to the rock formations of Nature’s Window.  But you will need to traverse over rocks to see the Instagram worthy attraction.  From hereon none of this area is wheelchair friendly and I would strongly suggest you wear quality walking/trekking shoes. 

There is a small patient queue waiting to take a photo of the various red hued striated rock that has a hole in the middle from a window to look through to more of the Murchison River gorge.

Kalbarri Natures Window straited red rocks
Natures Window

From here you can make your way to The Loop Walking Trail.  The full loop is a total of 9km and you should allow 3-5 hours to complete, there are signs along the way to keep you on track.  Alternatively, you can just hike the steep descent to the river that will take approximated 20 minutes.  Or do as we did and just clamber over some of the sheets of rock to enjoy the views of the gorge.

Top Trip Tip: The Loop Trail is closed from 7am from 1 November to 31 March each year due to the heat

Z Bend

The third stop in this section of the park is Z Bend.  Again, this stop is not wheelchair friendly.  The 1.2km return track to the lookout is gravel.  Along the trek we see lots of native wildflowers.  The lookout is situated at an elbow in the river and where the gorge narrows.  Whilst each of these stops is looking at the same gorge at no time does it feel repetitive.  The view of the red and cream rocks is always changing and at other times we see hundreds of kilometres of green natural bush.

The Murchison River at the Z Bend
View from Z Bend lookout

If you are keen for another hike, the river trail continues from here.  It is a total of 2.5km return to the carpark and includes narrow rocky chasms and ladders to negotiate your way down to the river.

Top Trip Tip: It gets hot in the Kalbarri National Park plan your itinerary according to the activities you want to do

More Kalbarri Gorges

If you want more Kalbarri gorges, then as you leave the main attractions turn left onto Ajana Kalbarri Road as you exit the first paid section.  About 15 minutes further along the road there will be a turn off to two more lookouts that also offer more hikes.

  • Hawkes Head – this one is a wheelchair friendly lookout of the Murchison River
  • Ross Graham Lookout – this includes a 700m return hike through dirt tracks to river pools

There will be another ticket counter if you visit in the same day your entrance fee for the first section should cover you for the second.

Top Trip Tip: If you are visiting a number of West Australian national parks during your trip consider a Parks and Wildlife Services park pass

Final Tips for Visiting Kalbarri National Park

This post by Tips 4 Trips contains affiliate links*.  This means I may receive a small commission if you click on these links, but at NO extra cost to you.

It is possible to see the entire park (inland and coastal) in one day.  Personally, I would start your day with this inland Kalbarri National Park attractions itinerary and then in the afternoon visit the Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs.

Kalbarri National Park map showing the location of all the attractions

Check out this Kalbarri National Park map to learn the location of all the attractions in both sections of the park.

Where to Stay

There is no camping or accommodation inside the inland Kalbarri National Park.  The closest you can get is at Murchison House Station where you can camp along the Murchison River at working farm from 1 April to 31 October each year.

Alternatively, the town of Kalbarri offers a plethora of accommodation choices from backpackers, caravan parks, apartment complexes and private rental homes.  We stayed at the excellent Kalbarri Ocean Blue Villas.

Check availability and prices for Kalbarri HERE*

What to Take

When visiting Kalbarri National Park it is essential to take:

  • Water
  • Hat
  • Wear good hiking shoes
  • Food

If you are visiting during the warmer months you may like to take swim wear to cool off in the river.

Plan Your Visit to Kalbarri

There are so many things to do in Kalbarri we comfortably filled a week’s stay with activities and relaxation time.

Find more information:

Check out more of our articles on Kalbarri and Western Australia

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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for your travel dream with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.
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