International travel is off the cards, so chasing the northern hemisphere sun is no longer an option this winter—but what if we told you that you can enjoy sunshine and highs of 23 degrees by heading north to Kalbarri?
June marks the start of northern WA’s wildflower season so Kalbarri’s landscape is about to transform into a kaleidoscope of colour that simply can’t be missed. With clear skies, comfortable temperatures and refreshing afternoon ocean breezes, we suggest you pack the car and head north to Kalbarri ASAP.
Stop One: Get Caffeinated At The Gorges Cafe
The drive to Kalbarri is just over six hours long, so there’s no doubt that when you arrive you’re going to need a coffee to fuel the rest of your day. If you follow the coast north past Chinaman’s Beach, you’ll find yourself right on the doorstep of The Gorges Cafe—a chilled little cafe with a stunning view of the marina. These guys are the masters of breakfast, lunch and everything in between so be sure to try their poached eggs on toast or the squid salad when you’re grabbing your top-notch coffee.
Stop Two: Snap A Quick Pic At Nature’s Window
Cameras at the ready, it’s time to head inland towards Kalbarri National Park for an amazing photo opportunity at Nature’s Window. This iconic attraction is formed by an opening in the wind-eroded layers of sandstone and provides a framed view of the river below. Nature’s Window is only 500 metres from the lookout at the nearest parking lot, making it the ideal walking trail for beginners. Be careful near the fragile rock edges while you snap your picture, then head back towards the lookout or continue further on the loop trail.
Stop Three: Take The Scenic Route And Explore The Loop And Z Bend Lookout
Keen bushwalkers should stay a little longer at Kalbarri National Park to take in the stunning rocky landscape along The Loop and Z Bend sections of the Murchison river. Named after the boundless loops and Z-shaped bend formed through the gorges, these two walks will have you spellbound as you take in the spectacular scenery while carefully navigating your way across rocks and down ladders. The Z Bend river trail is a relatively straightforward walk, spanning roughly 2.6km return and will take around 1.5 hours, where the loop trail is a 9km walk expected to take 3 to 4 hours. For next-level views of Kalbarri National Park, you need to check out the new Skywalk—two 100m high walkways jut out from one of the highest points of the Murchison River Gorge rim, providing sweeping views of the natural rocky scenery below.
Stop Four: Set Up Camp On The Beach At Lucky Bay
Despite being half an hour south of Kalbarri’s town centre, the pristine beaches at Lucky Bay serve as the perfect place to set up camp. Once you’ve pitched your tent or set up your camper trailer among the dunes, you can spend your days swimming and fishing in the crystal clear waters at the beach. Adrenaline junkies can take their trip to the next level with a 2.5 hour long guided quad bike tour thanks to the team at Wagoe Beach Quad Bike Tours.
Stop Five: Watch The Sunset From The Rocks At Red Bluff
Pack the picnic supplies and watch as the sun sets over the rusty-hued rocks at Red Bluff. These delicate coastal rock formations are believed to be 400 million years old, and stand 100 metres tall over the ocean providing unmatchable panoramic views of the coast. If you’re heading here between June and November, you might be lucky enough to witness some majestic humpback whales migrating between their summer breeding grounds and winter feeding grounds—something you can’t quite get anywhere else.
Stop Six: Grab A Feed At Finlay’s Kalbarri Brewery
Go for a drive off the beaten track and you might find yourself under the eucalyptus trees at Finlay’s Kalbarri Brewery enjoying some mighty fine West Australian seafood washed down with micro-brewed craft beers. This outdoor venue is also dog-friendly so if you’re travelling with your four-legged friend, feel free to bring them along.
Stop Seven: Go For A Snorkel In The Crystal Clear Waters At The Blue Holes
No matter the season, the protected waters at Kalbarri’s Blue Holes are perfect for swimming and snorkelling. This fish habitat protection area is formed by rock pools and irregular depressions in the reef, creating a natural aquarium for more than 70 species of marine life to swim around freely. If it’s too cold for a swim, you can still examine the rock pools as you walk along the sandy shore.
Stop Eight: Prepare To Be Amazed By The Hues At Hutt Lagoon
Just when you think Kalbarri’s scenery couldn’t be any more unreal, the bubblegum pink waters at Hutt Lagoon will make your jaw drop. The abnormally high level of salinity gives the lagoon its unique hue, and the brightness of the water changes with the time of day—the best time to visit is around mid-morning or sunset on a clear day. The scenery is even more beautiful between July and September when the countryside becomes blanketed in wildflowers, making for an extraordinary photo opportunity.
Want to go south instead? Here are the best things to do in Dwellingup.
Image credit: Tourism WA