Worth the sweat and well worn sneakers.
If you like to keep things rugged on holiday, let Kalbarri be your place. There’s no time to sit around, Kalbarri will get your leg muscles pumping as there are many adventures to be had – so be well prepared to wear in those sneakers! It’s like a roll call of spectacular natural landscapes that will leave your mind gobsmacked with how fortunate you are to be in Australia’s Coral Coast. Think gorgeous, burnt red gorges, towering coastal cliffs, and protected bays where you can treat your body to what’s cool (its bluest of blue waters, naturally).
Here we give you the low-down on why Kalbarri, a six-hour drive (590km) north of Perth, is worth the drive up.
Where to bask in nature in Kalbarri
You would be right to assume that a place where the (Murchison) river meets the (Indian) ocean is going to make for one stunning setting – and you are. Along the coast of this wilderness setting is what many people head to Kalbarri to see: its soaring, red-jagged cliffs ribboning the shoreline. But it’s a shore bet its inland is just as captivating.
Drive 25 minutes northeast towards the lower catchment of the Murchison River to discover many other natural eye candies at Kalbarri National Park. It is known as one of Western Australia’s most spectacular parks with its many distinct landscapes, flora and fauna found across its whopping 186,000 hectares. See the world in deep red and white with the Park’s banded gorges which stretch for 80km. The Murchison River gorges can be explored both at height and in the depths, making it one fascinating place to let be.
The Park’s iconic attraction is undoubtedly Nature’s Window. To arrive at this perfectly framed window of the Park, take The Loop walking trail (8km) to see the most natural masterpiece captured with a jagged upstream view of the Murchison River. A natural art gallery experience in itself.
It’s not just about the big sites as the Park heightens the senses with its 800 wildflower species, beautiful in bloom from July to October.
The Ross Graham Lookout and Hawk’s Head Lookout both give excellent vantage views of the Park. The Park’s newest attraction, the Skywalk, opens mid-year and will project 25m and 17m beyond the rim and towering 100m above the Murchison River. If seeing the Park from a bird’s eye view is your thing, take a scenic flight to grasp the areas’ multiple landmark hues. The trip will give you enormous scope and scale of Pink Lake, Abrolhos Islands and Kalbarri National Park.
The Park can also be explored by foot along its many walking trails. Or to traverse it at a greater pace, hop on a quad bike (along Wagoe Beach) or partake in a tranquil river cruise.
On the way to Kalbarri, head to Instagram favourite Hutt Lagoon or known famously as Pink Lake, at Port Gregory. The lake’s unusual bubble gum pink hues are as a result of carotenoid-producing algae Dunaliella salina. A visit here is a colourful sight to behold and a fun way to take in this unique lake is via buggy from Port Gregory Caravan Park.
Where to swim in Kalbarri
Kalbarri isn’t exactly one of the coldest places and cooling off is a way of life – but where?
Head to Red Bluff Road/George Grey Drive, and you will arrive down a hole into the world below. Blue Holes is a natural aquarium for marine life as its protected waters and rock pools make for world-class snorkelling. Safe for the kids to swim too! Its inshore coastal limestone reef system gives the area the name, with some sections permanently submerged while others change according to the tide.
Get Lucky by swimming in the waters of Lucky Bay. Yes, Kalbarri too is just as lucky as Esperance with its picturesque coast and is an untainted paradise only 30 minutes’ drive south of Kalbarri.
To see where the locals like to chill out, splash into Pot Alley located in Kalbarri National Park or head to Chinaman’s Beach on the Murchison River. This is the water playground with Kalbarri residents, with its calm waters a fan favourite with families.
If wanting to discover more incredible places to splash around, head an hour drive south to Horrocks Beach, awarded one of Australia’s best beaches according to Tourism Australia’s Best Australian Beaches for 2018.
Where to eat and drink in Kalbarri
If you haven’t burnt many kilojoules in Kalbarri, you are doing it all wrong. But if you are doing Kalbarri right and have worked up a mighty appetite, you shall be rewarded with good tucker.
Finlay’s Kalbarri is one of a kind, with the seafood restaurant serving up the freshest catches of the day right under the shade of large eucalyptus trees and plastic seating along the dirt floors. A microbrewery is also onsite, providing a well earned cold brew after an epic day of sightseeing.
High-end, The Upstairs Restaurant, is a local gem. Self-described as plating up contemporary Kalbarri Cuisine which in essence means, a menu worth drooling over. If you want the best of all worlds, the tapas menu featuring Kalbarri fish wings and Shark Bay prawn brioche burgers is a great start or treat yourself to a main instead. It’s a top spot to eat and drink with its world-class views of the Indian Ocean sweeter than any dessert.
For something more low key, head to Shawney’s Country Kitchen. This hole-in-the-wall local fast food outlet proclaims its meals are made with love, with its home-cooked pies and meals something of local legend.
Are you wanting to savour the last taste of the region before heading due south? Located 1.5 hours’ south of Kalbarri is Oakabella Homestead. It’s famous bushtucker scones are worth the dine-in, especially to enjoy in its heritage-listed building – no sweetener required.
Feature image: Via @maxandfaye.ps
This is a sponsored post for Australia’s Coral Coast– endorsed by So Perth. We value your feedback so please contact us with any thoughts in regards to our partners.