Kids in Kalbarri: Ideas for Holiday Fun

With the weather getting colder in Perth, and the school holidays here, it might be time to pack the kids into the car and head north.

But if the idea of driving all the way to Exmouth or Broome with the kids fighting in the back is too daunting, then Kalbarri is a much closer option. Located on the Coral Coast, it’s a pretty little town about 600 kilometres north of Perth. It’s a great place to take the kids, and there’s heaps for adults to do too. Here’s some ideas on how to spend a few days in Kalbarri.

IMG_2246Things to do:


If your idea of fun is jumping backwards off a cliff, Kalbarri Abseil can help you do it safely. They’ll come and pick you up from your accommodation and drive you out to the gorges, which are about half an hour out of town.

The tour starts with a hike down the gorge, taking in some stunning views along the way. Once you get to the Z bend gorge, you get your abseiling gear on and have a quick safety lesson and explanation. The staff are really professional and tell lots of (bad) jokes to try to help any nerves you might be feeling about stepping backwards off a cliff edge.

Safety briefing
Safety briefing

On our abseiling adventure, we started off on the easy four metre drop just to get used to the gear and gain some confidence that the person holding the rope below wasn’t going to let us plummet to our deaths. Then we were ready to graduate to the 25 metre cliff. Once we took a few tentative steps backwards over the lip of the cliff, it was just a few big bounds down to the bottom. It was a really exciting activity for the kids, and both miss 11 and master 13 managed to get past their fears and enjoy it (although only one of them decided to tackle the highest cliff).

Our last cliff was a 35 metre drop, which required a few metres of backward jumping followed by a whole lot of free fall. If you dared look around, the views from the top were really beautiful, and you could see down the gorge to the green pools below.


IMG_2183After the abseiling, we trekked down to the bottom of the gorge for a swim, which was a great way to cool off after all the hard work.

River cruise:

The Murchison is WA’s second longest river, at about 820 kilometres. It starts up at Meekatharra and is filled from the rainfall that comes with cyclones in WA’s north.

You can take a cruise up the river, setting off from Kalbarri’s main beach. We took a morning cruise and it was beautiful being out on the water while our friendly boat captain regaled us with stories of the history of the area while pointing out different points of interest.

IMG_2210Some of the rock formations of the area date back 500 million years, and the colours are striking. There was also a fair bit of wildlife hanging around on the banks, or flying overhead, and our guide was happy to tell us all about them.

Once we got up river, we had the chance to hop off and walk around (and take a quick selfie up a tree) before heading back to the main beach.

IMG_2211Rainbow jungle bird sanctuary:

Even if you’re not that excited by bird sanctuaries, you might find you’re impressed by this one. The owners have created the entire sanctuary themselves, and it’s amazing how much work they’ve put in. The sanctuary has hundreds birds from all over the world, including parrots, macaws, cockatoos, finches and quails.

IMG_2223The sanctuary claims to be home to the largest parrot free flight aviary in Australia, and it was really fun to watch them flying in and out of their nests, feeding, fighting and squawking. The aviaries are surrounded by extensive tropical gardens, with huge palm trees, waterfalls, ponds and bridges, which make you feel like you could be in the middle of a tropical rainforest.

There’s also a whale watching tower, which gives sweeping views down the coast and the sanctuary also shows nightly family movies on an outdoor movie screen.

IMG_2243Hiking the gorge

The gorge in the Kalbarri National Park about 30 minutes out of town offers some awesome hiking opportunities. The land is ancient, and you can see some prints in the rocks that were made by giant scorpions and worms millions of years ago.

IMG_2134While the entrance to the gorge has graded pathways, further down you have to crawl through crevasses and over boulders, which was a real adventure for the kids (although might not be as fun if you have little kids). The water at the bottom of the gorge is swimmable, although some parts are quite green (depending on the season).

We hiked along near the bottom of the gorge until we came to a deeper swimming hole. We were told the water is 50 metres deep in some parts, and we all took a jump off a ledge about 6 metres above the water, which was a lot further (and scarier) than it looked!

IMG_2187Water activities:

Given it’s on the coast, a lot of Kalbarri’s activities centre around the water. Whether it’s the river or the ocean, there’s heaps of things to do including fishing charters, canoeing, sail boating, pedal boating and stand up paddling, most of which you can hire on the main shore.

But be warned: the channel out to sea is considered one of Australia’s most dangerous for recreational fishermen.

IMG_2131Pink lake:

Otherwise known as Hutt Lagoon, the lake is a salt lake that’s been turned pink by a certain type of algae. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Kalbarri, and definitely worth a look.

IMG_2249Where to stay:

We stayed at Blue Ocean villas, which were a brilliant choice. The villas are only a 5 minute walk from the beach and a 5-10 minute walk from town.

Our villa was two bedroom two bathroom, with an upstairs lounge room and bathroom for the kids. The villa also had a spa bath, which I would’ve loved to have the time to make use of! The villa also had a full kitchen and big fridge, which is especially handy when you’re travelling with the family.

IMG_2237The complex also had a below ground pool which, even though the weather wasn’t that great, the kids still made good use of.


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