Kalbarri National Park is one of the absolute highlights on the Australian west coast. It is located about 500 kilometers north of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, and is one of the most exciting national parks in the whole state.
The park is cut in half by the spectacular Murchison River Gorge, which is nearly 80 kilometers long. Closer to the coast you will find great beaches, breathtaking cliffs and the mouth of the Near the river’s mouth lies the town of Kalbarri, an excellent base to explore the area.
The Coastal Wilderness of Kalbarri National Park
The Murchison River Gorge is the national park’s main feature, created after millions of years of erosion and clearly showing the alternating red and white sandstone bands in the cliffs. Some of the cliffs rise up, or rather drop down, 100 meters.
The gorge is protected by Kalbarri National Park, as are the surrounding desert areas and a stretch of coastline. Those desert areas consist mostly of rocks and red sands. In spring, however, these areas burst into life. It is then that the landscapes are painted in all kinds of colors by more than 800 species of blooming wildflowers. This almost unimaginable abundance of wildflowers is in fact the largest variety of wildflowers on the planet. Not only Kalbarri National Park gets covered in a carpet of flowers in spring, but the entire Mid West Coast. The park is home to 21 endemic species though, species that only grow on these coastal cliffs and in these gorges. In addition to flora, the park is also home to a large number of animals, such as grey kangaroos, echidnas, thorny devils, numerous snake species and many, many more. Emus and peregrine falcons are just two examples of the 150 native bird species.
Kalbarri National Park’s wilderness can be explored on fantastic hiking trails and on road trips. There are several excellent hikes and scenic lookouts in the park. Examples of such lookouts are Nature’s Window, Hawk’s Head, Ross Graham Lookout and the magnificent Z-Bend, all of them reached on easy walking trails. Coastal vistas can be enjoyed at spots such as Red Bluff, Natural Bridge, Rainbow Valley and Meanarra Hill.
Besides hiking, there are many other outdoor activities that can be done in the park: kayaking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, sailing, surfing, snorkeling, picnicking, camping and abseiling.
The best way to get to is by renting a car in Perth and road tripping up the coast, past other highlights like the Pinnacles Desert.