What to Do in Kalbarri: 7 Day Guide

When I started planning our trip to Kalbarri Western Australia, I originally only wanted to stay in Kalbarri for a few days, then move on to another location.  However, I also wanted to travel during school holidays, this meant that many accommodation providers insisted on a seven-day booking.

At the time, I wasn’t sure how we were going to find enough things to do in Kalbarri to fill a weeks’ stay.  But sure enough, we discovered so many attractions and activities to do during the seven days.

Now I’m here to guide and help you plan for your Kalbarri itinerary for a seven-day trip.

In this article Discover Kalbarri Attractions and Activities for a Week’s Holiday


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view of Kalbarri town and mouth of the river
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Kalbarri History

Kalbarri and its surrounds were original inhabited by the Aboriginal people known as Nanda.  They believed as part of their Dreamtime mythology that the mythical creatures sculptured the land, including a serpent named Beemarra that made its way down the Murchison River, however it got scared by the pounding waves and fled back inland creating tunnels in the red cliffs and holes for fresh drinking water.

In 1712, a Dutch ship named Zuytdorp shipwrecked on the limestone cliffs off the coast of Kalbarri.  It is believed the survivors were helped by the local Aboriginal people to find food and water as some of the large shipment of silver coins have been found at Aboriginal watering holes.

However, Western Australia was settled by the British until 1829 and it wasn’t until the 1940’s that Kalbarri became a popular fishing and tourist location.

Join me as I show you why Kalbarri has become a popular tourist location and all the things to do on a Kalbarri holiday.

What to Do in Kalbarri for Seven Days

1.      The Drive

Day one of your week trip will be driving to Kalbarri.  For many, this will mean the 570km drive from Perth.  To break up your journey there are several scenic places for rest stops.  We eat a picnic lunch at the beachside park in Jurien Bay, meander along Geraldton’s foreshore and check out recent sculptures, see leaning trees in Greenough and Hutt Lagoon’s Pink Lake.  What is supposed to be a six and half hour drive turns into eight, but it is relaxing and enjoyable.

large glass big marble on the beach foreshore in Geraldton
Geraldton Big Marble

Meanwhile, others could be driving into Kalbarri from north of Western Australia.  Again, there are sights to stop and enjoy like seeing the Stromatolites and the heritage Telegraph Station at Hamelin Pool.

Learn about all the stops we enjoyed with this

2.      The Beach and Foreshore

After settling during the first night at your accommodation it’s time to explore your new surroundings.  Get your walking shoes on, slap on a hat and head to the waterfront. 

At 8:45am every morning a Kalbarri Tourism Volunteer comes down to the designated Pelican Feeding Station.  As the pelicans are wild sometimes, they come and sometimes they don’t, but it is well worth going to listen to the great information that the guide has to offer about all the services available in Kalbarri.  You’ll learn about local facilities like the bowling club, tennis courts, golf club and the Town Hall’s seniors’ games day – all of which are available to tourists.

If, like us, pelicans don’t appear, because they have had a feed from the fisherman earlier in the morning, walk towards the jetty along the sand and you will find pelicans.

seven pelicans on the white sandy foreshore in Kalbarri

After the pelican feeding, pop into the Kalbarri Visitor Centre to get more information, maps and book tours for your stay.

Then it’s time to head back to the calm white beaches.  There are boats, kayaks, stand up paddle boards and canoes for hire.

If you are into surfing, head to Jakes Point just south of town.  Though I do warn you that it is for experienced surfers as the water breaks over the red sheets of rock.

If snorkelling is your thing, head to Blue Holes.  The calm coral rocks have an abundance of small deep blue holes of water.  If you are not a snorkeller wear some sturdy trekking sandals and walk out onto the coral.

Coral under the water and blue waTer in holes
Blue Holes

Top Trip Tip: Book your tours early as they fill up quick

3.      Kalbarri National Park (inland section)

There are two sections to the Kalbarri National Park the inland park and the coastal cliffs section.  There is a lot to see so I would suggest focusing on each section on separate days.

The inland Kalbarri National Park is located approximately 15km east of Kalbarri town.  Please be aware there is no freshwater or fuel station and only one small café at the Skywalk attraction within the park.  Take money with you as you will need to pay the $15/car (as of 2021) entrance fee

Kalbarri Skywalk

It gets very warm at the inland park so I would suggest heading out early.  We arrive at the park by 8:30am and there are already crowds at the newest attraction, the Skywalk.  Here you can walk out over the Murchison River Gorge edge on two enormous metal arcs that cantilever over the cliff.  Back on land there are lots of signs explaining the process that the gorge was formed and about the local Nandi Aboriginal population.

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large metal arc hanging out from cliff known as the Kalbarri Skywalk
Skywalk

Nature’s Window

The next stop is your Instagram moment.  A varied striated red iron and sandstone rock that is roughly 5m high and 10m long with a “window” in the middle.  Be prepared for a short wait to get your Instagram moment.  When we are there are about 10 groups in an orderly calm queue.  There is nobody monitoring this queue, it is just about being polite and waiting your turn.

Natures Window

Once you’ve taken your photo there is a 9km hiking loop over the gorge and down to the river.  Alternatively, you can take a shorter 20min hike straight down the steep descent to the river and back up.

More Hikes

The inland park offers several more locations for hikes with scenic lookouts including:

Plan your day trip with this

4.      Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs and Pink Lake

On another day visit the Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs section of the park that extends from south of the township for 12km along the coastline, this section is free.  To see each of the sights you will weave in and out from the main road to each scenic location that has bitumen marked car bays before making your way on foot to the various lookouts.

An island rock of Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs
Island Rock

Many of the more popular lookouts have concrete boardwalks to easily navigate to the lookouts and there is also lots of signage detailing how the straited cream sandstone cliffs were created along with some local history of shipwrecks in the area.  While other locations have loose gravel pathways, and you may need to traverse across large sheets of rock. 

red rocks at Red Bluff Kalbarri
Red Bluff

Some of the popular eleven sights include:

Top Trip Tip: Wear sturdy walking shoes

Once you have visited all the Coastal Cliffs continue further south for approximately 30 mins to view the Hutt Lagoon’s Pink Lake.  Whilst you may have seen the lake on your drive up to Kalbarri the pink hue in the lake changes according to the time of the day and the weather.  When we were there, we saw the lake three times and each time it was a different shade of pink.

bright pink lake at Hutt Lagoon
Hutt Lagoon Pink Lake
Learn all about the various 11 sights for

5.      Whale Watching or Fishing Boat Tours

The coastal cliffs are really stunning from land but seeing from the water really puts them into perspective.

waves crashing against the striated sandstone Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs

Depending on the time of the year you can combine this with a Whale Watching Tour.  From May to August the Humpback whales are migrating north, looking for warmer waters to breed.  Then from August to November they migrate back south for feeding.

We visit Kalbarri during late September and get to enjoy a mother and calf frolicking in the water.  Now my photos are aren’t the best.  A word of advice from our tour guide “just enjoy the experience and capture the moment in your mind, you’ll struggle to get the perfect photo.” 

hump of a whale diving under blue ocean
Whale watching

At first, I am trying to capture some magic moments of the whale jumping out of the water and breaching onto its back or  seeing its ruddy brown hump diving so close under our boat.  But I’m not having much success, so it’s all in my mind but not on film.

As we sail close to the cliffs, we also encounter four dolphins, the guides had hoped to find seals as well.  But no luck on our cruise.  You must remember the whales, dolphins and seals are all wild animals and there is no guarantee of animals, so I really liked that part of our cruise we chose included tracking along the stunning cliff line.

There are lots of options for boat tours out of Kalbarri including:

Top Trip Tip: Take seasick tablets before the tour

6.      Adventure Tours

One of the cool things about Kalbarri is it is not just a sedentary travel destination.  Yes, you can just sit back and soak up the sights.  But you can also get out there and immerse yourself in it completely.

Quad Bike Tours

Now earlier on I mentioned booking tours on your first day.  We tried to book Quad Bike Tours on our first day and they were fully booked out for the entire week.

The quad biking tours sound like so much fun as you zip over the crisp white sand dunes and along the coastline of Wagoe Beach.

Safari Canoe Tours

Instead, we opt for a Safari Canoe Tour.  This involves a 4wd journey on dirt and sandy tracks along the edge of the Murchison River.  We get to areas that only those who are experienced with four-wheel driving can access.

Then it’s into the canoes and we continue to paddle up the Murchison River.  We pass campers who are staying at Murchison House Station and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the river.

two canoes on the Murchison River bordered by red rocks

Kalbarri Scenic Flights

If you would prefer to view the gorges or Pink Lake from above, then there are scenic flights that depart from the small Kalbarri airstrip just outside of town.

7.      Theme Park Options

Then for something completely different there are a couple of theme parks.

Before I get into theme parks there are two other parks/playgrounds in town:

  • The Foreshore Nature Playground
  • The Skate Park

Rainbow Jungle and Maze

We are big fans of mazes, so we head here more for the maze than the Rainbow Jungle Bird Park.  But it turns out the bird park is the highlight.  Once we have paid our entrance fee ($16/adult $8/child) we head to the 1400sqm cream Colorbond maze.

After we have completed the maze and found the two towers, we head back to the bird park and follow the numerical guides through the four sections of the park.

Section One is at the café and includes lots of historical photos of Kalbarri.  Section Two has large cages containing clusters of smaller parrots.  Section Three is magical!  Enter through dual access doors to the largest free flight aviary in Australia.

There are native Australian Finches and green, red, yellow and white Cockatoos flying about the native shrubs and ponds.  We wander about on the brick paved pathways marvelling at the birds nesting in the shrubs and eating at food stations.  The aviary is lined with large cages that str home to larger lorikeets, parrots and macaws.

green and yellow lorikeets
Rainbow Jungle

The final section of the park looks to be the original older jungle with lush gardens and small waterfalls.

In the evenings at Rainbow Jungle, you can come back to the open-air Cinema Parritiso that shows a different family movie every night.

Family Entertainment Centre

For something a little more energetic the Kalbarri Family Entertainment Centre offers:

  • Mini golf
  • Trampolines
  • The Spider climbing tower
  • An Amusement Arcade

Prices vary according to which activity you partake.

If you would like more ideas to entertain the kids check out these

Final Tips for Planning Your Week in Kalbarri

Kalbarri is really worth a visit and as you can see there are a lot of things to do in Kalbarri for a week-long stay.  We thoroughly enjoyed our week in Kalbarri and found the location to be really relaxing and the locals helpful and friendly. 

Location

The town of Kalbarri is approximately 570km north of Perth and takes at least six and half hours’ drive or more with stops.  The town is located at the mouth of the Murchison River which provides a sheltered calm beach albeit a bit windy at times.

A map of the Perth to Kalbarri road trip choices
Perth to Kalbarri

Where to Stay

Whilst this town isn’t big it does off lots of options for places to stay.  We really enjoyed our seven nights at the Blue Ocean Kalbarri Villas (I have a review coming soon).  Alternately there are large apartment complexes, three caravan parks, backpackers and private homes to rent.

Check out the options and prices HERE*

Eating Out in Kalbarri

Many of the accommodation options include self-catering facilities.  If you haven’t packed an Eski full of food, there is a well-stocked IGA, Kalbarri bakery and butcher.

If you don’t feel like cooking, there are several takeaway restaurants.  We eat fish and chips from the Jetty Shack, pizza at Kalbarri Pizza and Pasta 555 and kebabs from Kalbarri Kebabs.  All the food is tasty, a little bit more expensive than Perth, but that’s to be expected when you are in a country town.

There are also a number of restaurants along the beachfront.  We are visiting Kalbarri during October 2020, many country towns including Kalbarri are facing staff shortages due to the lack backpackers being in Australia.  So, many of the restaurants are short staffed, resulting in reduced patrons being able to dine.  Bookings are essential!

What to Pack

With so many diverse Kalbarri activities to do you need to be prepared for all.  Not to mention the sudden changes in weather when the wind picks up.  It can go from hot and sunny to chilly quite quickly.

You will want:

  • Swim wear
  • Sun protection
  • Good quality walking shoes
  • Something to keep you warm
So you don’t forget a thing use the

As I have also mentioned many of the Kalbarri accommodations have cooking self-contained facilities.  To help keep costs down and avoid worries of restaurants being booked out pack, an Eski full of food.

To help you plan your meals and pack use the

More Kalbarri Information

As you can see there are so many things to do in Kalbarri you can easily fill in a week’s stay. Learn more about Kalbarri:

Check out all our articles on Kalbarri and we also have lots more information on other Western Australia destinations.

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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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