Kalbarri National Park: The Grand Canyon of Australia

Nature's window and the loop trail

Kalbarri National Park is a grand place that took my breath away – it felt surreal standing in the middle of this huge canyon. It was my second favorite place along the West coast of Australia, only beaten by the Ningaloo Reef in Cape Range National Park in the very north-western corner of WA.

I visited Kalbarri National Park in late November 2022, when I was traveling the North-west Coastal Highway. We traveled by our rented autocamper from Perth to Exmouth along the famous Western Australia’s Coral Coast.

Kalbarri National Park was our third stop on our journey. Having just stayed overnight in Port Gregory (Pink Lake) we arrived midday in Kalbarri and started exploring the area.

Kalbarri National Park in spring was blooming full of wildflowers of striking pink, yellow and orange colors. The vegetation was still green, birds were singing and emus, kangaroos and echidnas were plentiful.

This is my guide to explore the national park on your own.

If you read the full post you will be prepared for your visit in Kalbarri National Park:

  • Why you should visit Kalbarri National Park
  • What is Kalbarri National Park known for
  • How to access Kalbarri National Park with a vehicle
  • When is the best time to visit the Park
  • What wildlife can be found in the park
  • How much does it cost to visit the Park (and why you should get a park pass!)
  • Where to camp near the Park (no camping with vehicles is allowed inside the national park!)

Why you should visit Kalbarri National Park

If you are looking for the spectacular geological scenaries with similarities to the Grand Canyon, look no further. Kalbarri National Park got you covered!

There was plenty of good parking facilities close to all the major viewpoints and scenaries that you read about online.

There were good hiking routes for every level and I think the accessibility was amazing, even disabled people would be able to view these amazing places such as the Skywalk as seen in the photo below!

What is Kalbarri National Park known for

Kalbarri National Park is known for its stunning views and gorges along the Murchison River. It is also known for the coastal views with red cliffs contrasting to the dramatic coastline of Western Australia. Along the coast it is free to access Kalbarri National Park, and here you can hike the 8 km long moderately easy Bigurda trail with beautiful views of the coastline.

Kalbarri National Park also runs along the coastline with several viewpoints such as Rainbow Valley (picture) or the Eagle Gorge Lookout

Kalbarri National Park is also extremely biodiverse. It is described as being as diverse as a rain forest! The poor soils that lack nutrients needed for fast growth provide a niche for slow growing plants. The stable environment is needed for species to adapt, which over time causes endemic (unique species only found in a limited geographic region) species to develop. In fact, more than 1,000 plant species are recorded in Kalbarri National Park!

If you visit during spring, where all the wildflowers of Kalbarri bloom you will have the best chances of seeing this rich and colorful biodiversity with your own eyes.

Wildflowers experienced during late spring 2022

How to access Kalbarri National Park with a vehicle

All of the roads inside the park are sealed gravel roads. That means the park is very accessible for 2WD vehicles, 4WD, motorhomes, autocamper, caravans. Driving a rented car sure felt safe inside Kalbarri National Park on the sealed roads.

However if you bring a caravan you will have to park it close to the entrance. There are lots of signs in the park and it is easy to navigate around on the roads.

There is no form of public transportation, so you rely on having a vehicle. You do not need 4WD to access Kalbarri National Park.

When is the best time to visit Kalbarri National Park

The climate in Kalbarri is generally pleasant. However, there are a few things you should be aware of as dangerous weather occurs in Kalbarri National Park.

These are the seasons in Australia:

Spring: September – November

The best time to visit Kalbarri National Park is in spring season. Kalbarri National Park is famous for it’s glorious wildflower season, which occur during spring season in September through November.

Note that in late spring the temperatures start to rise and some limitations occur (see more below).

Summer: December – February

During summer the temperature is in the range of 18-34 degrees, but extremely high temperatures of maximum 47 degrees have also been recorded in the summer months.

Higher temperatures in summer between December and February means you cannot start hikes past 7 am in the morning on certain trails! Look out for the road signs if you are unsure whether this applies to your hike.

This is true if you embark on longer hikes, for example if you continue on The Loop Trail just following the iconic ‘Nature’s Window’. Fines apply if you do not oblige by these warnings!

The famous Nature’s window in Kalbarri National Park 🏞️

What is extremely important when you do longer hikes in Kalbarri National Park during summer, is that you bring at least 3-4 liters of water per person. This is recommended by the National Park Authorities.

Furthermore, it is not possible to buy or collect water inside the National park. The last place you can collect water is in Kalbarri (the town) if you travel via the coast coming from Port Gregory (Pink Lake)

Autumn: March – May

In March temperatures are still quite high with mean temperatures ranging from 19 to 33 degrees Celsius. In April and May temperatures decrease and range from 13 to 30 degrees.

Despite the climate being more pleasant, the highest record rainfall has been recorded in May (27th May 1999) with a staggering 145 mm in one day.

Winter: June – August

Not surprisingly the lowest temperatures occur in winter and the mean temperatures in June to August range from 10 to 23 degrees Celsius. These months are also where most of the rainfall occurs in Kalbarri and the monthly number of rainy days average 10-11 days per month.

Z-bend hike

How much does it cost to visit Kalbarri National Park

A single entry for one vehicle (up to 12 passengers) costs 15 AUD.

If you however plan to visit three or more National Parks in Western Australia with the same vehicle, I recommend buying a park pass adjusted to your length of stay in the Western Australia.

We bought a Holiday pass for 14 days and used it in Cervantes National Park (The Pinnacles), Kalbarri National Park, Cape Range National Park and lastly for Yanchep National Park. You cannot use your Holiday pass to access Monkey Mia however. We placed the park pass in the drivers mirror in the wind screen when we were inside the national parks, but took it down otherwise because it obstructs the view for the driver (and you potentially get a ticket for it!).

What wildlife can you see in Kalbarri National Park

In Kalbarri National Park you can be lucky to see different famous animals of the Australian bush.

We saw many different animals during our short visit of one and a half days in Kalbarri. The best time to see wildlife in the park is around 1 hour before sunset and in the early morning before the temperature rises.

We saw a flock of emus consisting of 1 male emu with his 8 juvenile chicks. Emus are precocial, meaning they are able to walk and feed from the moment they hatch from the egg. The male is responsible for chick rearing.

Mammals of Kalbarri National Park

A young red kangaroo
Red kangaroo (joey) in Western Australia

Of kangaroos we saw red kangaroo (picture) and western gray kangaroos.

Another famous Australian mammal we saw was this cute echidna. Having just crossed the road, it climbed to reach the safe bushland. The four species of echidnas and the platypus are the only living monotremes, and they are the only mammals that lay eggs!

The park managers are fighting to protect the native wildlife by eradicating feral animals (not native to Australia) like goats and foxes. This is especially important since the malleefowl and blackflanked rock-wallaby unfortunately had become very rare.

Birds of Kalbarri National Park

Although it is not famous for it’s birds, it is possible to spot a variety of birds in Kalbarri National Park. I spotted nankeen kestrel, Australian ringneck (28-parrot), rainbow beeeaters, fairywrens and different pigeons.

Australian ringneck parrot
Australian ringneck aka 28-parrot can be spotted within the park
Budgerigars are native to Australia. Although this photo was not taken inside the park but another location in Western Australia, you may find it at Kalbarri National Park!

Camping grounds close to Kalbarri National Park

There is no free camping available inside Kalbarri National Park. The closest camping ground is Murchison House Station, but it is only open from april to October and it is best accessible with a 4WD vehicle.

I recommend staying in the closest town Kalbarri, situated right at the coast. There are several campgrounds in Kalbarri, and we stayed at Murchison River Caravan Park and loved it there. It was very close to the public pelican feeding on the beach just in front of the campsite, which we saw in the morning on our second day. Murchison River Caravan Park costs from 44 AUD per night for a powered site and access to water to fill your freshwater tank.

Autocamper parked at a campsite
Our autocamper setup at the campsite

Other campgrounds in Kalbarri are Anchorage Caravan Park and Kalbarri Tudor Holiday Park. All are great options for your next adventure to Kalbarri!

Last but not least there’s the Big River Ranch which is a farm stay for 25 AUD per adult per night. A powered site is 20 AUD per adult per night and un-powered 15 AUD.

If you want to read more about my first time experience with the rented autocamper have a read of my post by following this link!

© All photos are my own unless stated and may not be used without permission.

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