7 Fun Activities in Kalbarri to Do with Kids: and without

Located 570km north of Perth is the coastal town of Kalbarri, Western Australia.  Back in the day fishing was the main industry for Kalbarri, now it is all about tourism with its stunning backdrop of the Kalbarri National Park.

However, if you are travelling with kids you know that you will need more than just pretty rocks (albeit that they are awesome) to make the six-and-a-half-hour drive worthwhile.

So we are here to help with offering you a diverse selection of activities in Kalbarri that will keep the whole tribe (from young kids, tweens, teens, and parents through to grandparents) entertained during a family holiday to Kalbarri on West Australia’s Coral Coast.

7 Family-Friendly Kalbarri Activities

Here’s a quick sneak peek of what’s to come on things to do in Kalbarri, WA

families walking along beach in Kalbarri
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Family-Friendly Activities in Kalbarri

To easily find the location of all these activities to do in Kalbarri for families check out this Google Map.

1. Pelican Feeding

This could be one of the best ways to start your day.  It is one of the free Kalbarri attractions (great for your hip pocket) and what kid doesn’t love animals? 

Every morning at 8:45am a local volunteer heads to the designated pelican feeding area along the foreshore with a bucket of fish to feed the pelicans.  Our guide welcomes us all to Kalbarri and begins by reminding us that the pelicans are wild animals.

Whilst the guide waits for the pelicans to arrive she shares some great local information about Kalbarri.  The township consists of about 1600 local residents and adds there are three doctors, a medical centre and an airstrip to cater for the Royal Flying Doctor.  She also mentions several places of interest and activities for all ages including a senior’s morning at the town hall on Thursdays, the 18-hole golf course and the bowling green.   Then she offers tips for visiting Kalbarri National Park including taking lots of water, as water is not available in the park. 

Unfortunately, I can’t hear it all, as kids and some adults continue to chat amongst themselves as she speaks.

As we continue to wait for the pelicans she talks about how they are cared for by the local rangers and a vert from Geraldton (a two drive away) comes up once a month to check on the pelican’s health.

Alas, after a short time, the pelicans do not come up for food.  As our guide reminds us, they are wild animals and they often head to the jetty where the fisherman are cleaning their morning catch, the pelicans are therefore full and don’t need any further food.

So, my 12-year-old son and I decided to walk back towards the jetty to see if we can find pelicans.  And there they were just sitting on the calm water’s edge.

lots of pelicans on the beach

Top Trip Tip: Please ask your children to be quiet and respect the guide as she offers some great information about Kalbarri – if you can hear it

2. The Beach – Swim/Snorkel/Paddle

The foreshore of Kalbarri is actually situated at the mouth of the Murchison River and there is a reef just out to sea that shelters the crisp white sandy beachfront.  It is a wonderful calm beach for young kids to swim plus or enjoy other water-based activities.

At the centre of the waterfront is Kalbarri Boat Hire.  Where you can hire:

  • Small boats
  • Canoes
  • Kayaks
  • Paddle boats
  • Stand-up paddle boards
small motels, canoes and kayaks along white beach in Kalbarri

Another great place to go swimming and snorkelling is Blue Holes.  This white sandy beach situated a three-minute drive from town has beautiful turquoise water filled with coral creating one-meter diameter swimming holes.

white coral reefs and pale green waters
Blue Holes

If you like to surf Jakes Point (five minutes from town) is the place to go.  But be warned there are large hidden red rocks in the surf.  I recommend only very experienced surfers head out here.

Top Trip Tip: The sea breeze is strong in Kalbarri, plan your day to the weather forecast

3. Nature Playground

Just a little further south from the boat hire, along the extensive paved footpath (great for bikes and scooters) on the grassy foreshore is a huge nature playground.  My son would have loved the timber forts, climbing spider ropes, slides and mini rock-climbing walls when he was younger.

timber adventure playground in Kalbarri
Kalbarri Foreshore Playground

It is all set under the shade of native gum trees surrounded by green grass, sheltered picnic tables and BBQ’s.  I see so many parents of young children enjoying the facility.

Top Trip Tip: Even though it is under the shade of the trees don’t forget the sunscreen

4. Skatepark

But the big kids are not forgotten with a skatepark situated a little further into the southern part of the township.

Top Trip Tip: Don’t forget bike helmets when packing for your trip

5. Kalbarri Family Entertainment Centre

Also inland is a pirate-themed entertainment park unfortunately this one isn’t a free thing to do in Kalbarri.

In the family entertainment centre you’ll find:

  • Mini golf
  • Trampolines
  • Large spider climbing frame
  • Amusement park

Top Trip Tip: Prices vary depending on your activity

6. Canoe Safari

For a more adventurous day out we sign up for the Kalbarri Canoe Safari.  Unfortunately for us, the weather isn’t the best as it is a very windy day, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the excursion.

We meet at the Kalbarri Boat Hire where we are given a safety briefing before heading off.  Nine of us climb into the back of the older style four-wheel drive with the canoes stacked on the attached trailer.

One of the great things about this tour is that you get to head off-road on the dirt tracks that hug the Murchison River running north of town.  These tracks are not suitable for a normal two-wheel drive car and some spots are really soft and sandy, without knowing what you are doing you would end up bogged.  Luckily for us, our guide knows what he is doing, advising us to hold on tight as we vigorously bounce up the track.

Finally, we reach our destination and help the guide to offload the canoes.  Each canoe can carry two to three people.  As the day is so windy we can’t quite do the exact tour route.  So we start at our lunch location aiming to canoe downriver for 20 minutes and back up. 

three canoes on the banks of the Murchison River

My son Lewis hops into the canoe to sit at the helm, I follow to the middle and then my husband Steve pushes and pushes to get us off the murky sludgy edge of the river and then jumps in as we paddle off.  I have to admit it takes us a bit to get a rhythm as we often keep paddling towards the shore edges that are lined with native scrub.

Once we return lunch is ready.  A sausage sizzle, fresh bread from the Kalbarri Bakery, salad and icy cold soft drink.

man cooking BBQ

With our bellies full it is time to get back into the canoe and head further upstream.  We paddle past people fishing, see others camping on higher ground at the historic Murchison House Station and enjoy the natural beauty of the Murchison River.

Approximately 45 minutes later our guide is waiting on the shore further upriver at Gregory Rock.  The water is a little deeper here and my son Lewis happily falls into the river, has a swim and then we explore the picturesque setting before loading the canoes back onto the trailer.  Then it is back in the four-wheel drive to bounce our way back to town.

red rocky edge to the Murchison River
Gregory Rock

Top Trip Tip: Pack a beach towel in your day bag to dry off – I really like the compact Tesalate towels to take on tours

7. Beach Quad Bikes

For an adrenalin-filled day try the quad bikes or dune buggies. Kids can travel along on the back of your bike. Tours last two hours navigating through the dunes and along the beach.

We never got to do this during our week in Kalbarri as the tours were all booked out. So ensure to book before you arrive in town.

Find more Kalbarri Attractions

If you are visiting Kalbarri during the school holidays pop into the Kalbarri Visitors Centre for information on local events.  For example, we visited during the September/October school holidays which includes the annual kids’ fishing competition.  If the kids love to fish, they don’t have to rely on competition, the jetty makes a perfect place to cast off.

Depending on the age of your children Kalbarri also has some wonderful natural attractions to visit.  Here is a list of additional things we did during our week’s stay in Kalbarri. 

Finally, don’t forget to refer to the official tourism websites for the area.

Use this Google Map to find the location of each of the places listed in this article.

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