Fun Things to Do in Kalbarri with Kids

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 things to do in in Kalbarri with kids that will keep the whole tribe (from young kids, tweens, teens, parents through to grandparents) entertained during a family holiday to Kalbarri on West Australia’s Coral Coast.

7 Kalbarri Family-Friendly Things to Do


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families walking along beach in Kalbarri
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Kalbarri Family Activities

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

Pelican Feeding

This could be one of the best ways to start your day.  It is one of the free things to do in Kalbarri (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 that the pelicans are wild animals.

Whist 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 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 Thursday’s, the 18-hole golf course and bowling green.   Then she offers tips for visiting Kalbarri National Park including take 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 decide 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

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 beach front.  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 at Blue Holes.  This white sandy beach situated a three-minute drive 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.

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

Playgrounds

There are couple of playgrounds about town which will suit all age groups.

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

Skatepark

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

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

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

Rainbow Jungle

Just out of town, heading south on Red Bluff Road is the Rainbow Jungle and Maze.  We love a good maze, so it was on our list of things to do.  For the all-inclusive price of $16/adult and $8/child you can see the birds and find your way through the maze. 

Visiting the park mid-week just before lunch we hope to include a meal at the kiosk during our visit and support the local community.  Sadly, due to lack of staff (a common problem in all West Australian country towns during 2020) the kiosk is closed.  Apparently, it is only open Saturday through to Tuesday.

We start off at the maze made from large cream Colourbond fence, some of which is a little damaged.  No doubt due to how many twists, turns and backtracking you must make to find your way to one of two towers.  Once we reached the first tower it was easy to find the second.  You have a birds eye view of the entire maze and as the second tower isn’t that far from the first is is easy for my 12 year old to pre-navigate his way to the next tower and back out the maze.

cream fences forming a maze
The maze

Surprisingly, for us, what becomes the highlight of this activity is the bird park.  Rainbow Jungle is divided up into four parts and it is designed that you follow the numbers.

To begin we enter the kiosk area with lots of tables and chairs under cover.  Around the perimeter are lots of old photographs of Kalbarri’s early days as a fishing town.  The next section has large cages of parrots.  But section three is the best! 

This is a large walk through aviary.  With various coloured parrots flying around us, stopping at feeding trays dotted amongst the wattle trees.  Other smaller birds are nesting in the trees.  Brick paved paths wind you back and forth across the aviary to enjoy the larger parrots in large cages.  All the birds in this section are native to Western Australia.

colourful parrot

The fourth section to the jungle is the original bird park, it is a little more run down, but the gardens are tropical with a small waterfall making it feel very lush for the birds in these slightly smaller cages.

waterfall made of rocks with cane trees

In the evenings Rainbow Jungle has introduced an outdoor cinema with different family-friendly movies each day of the week.

Top Trip Tip: Pack a picnic to enjoy the park a little longer

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 very windy day, but that didn’t stop us 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 from 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 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 down river 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 lines 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
Lunch

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 45minutes later our guide is waiting on the shore further up river at Gregory Rock.  The water is a little deeper here and my son Lewis happily falls into he 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

Find more Things to Do in Kalbarri

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 a 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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DISCLOSURE:

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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