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Kalbarri in the outback of Western Australia- Natures Ocean Playground
Whale watching, fishing and surfing
Kalbarri is a coastal fishing and tourist town about 700 kilometres from Perth. It is the home of world famous free surfer Rye Craike and if you are lucky you can bump into him, I have many times. You can get a direct flight to Perth from most countries or you can fly from Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide.
This town is a coastal ocean playground and features top fishing, whale watching, surfing, and hiking in the Muchison Gorge
Once you get to Perth drive north through Lancelin, Cervantes, Jurien Bay and Dongara to Geraldton which is 450 kilometres away. You can catch a bus direct to Kalbarri. Look up TransWA on the internet for a timetable and cost.
Petrol stations and food shops are in all of the towns mentioned as well as backpacker hostels and motels and caravan parks.
From Geraldton which has a population of 30,000 and is a city, drive North 50 kilometres to the little historic hamlet of Northamptom.
Note that if you are purchasing your own food and petrol, it might pay to buy food and fuel up in Geraldton as Northampton and Kalbarri food prices are about an extra 50% and petrol is about 10 cents a litre extra!
Northampton has a horrible sparse caravan park, 2 garages and an IGA shopping centre. It has three historic pubs worth looking at and also a fantastic museum, well worth a look and admission is minimal. It has a small police station. Backpackers can get work at the pubs.
From Northampton take the turn-off to Kalbarri which is 100 kilometres away. Note that you are now in the outback and quite isolated, there are no mechanical services in Kalbarri so make sure your vehicle is in top shape and you have spare parts and tools.
In summer the temperatures can get up to 50 degrees celcius or 110 degrees farenheit. It is a temperate area so it is quite warm in winter but it can rain and it gets cold at night so be prepared. Make sure you take plenty of water in case of a break-down. You cannot get mobile service from here until Kalbarri, cars regularly travel this road, so don’t worry.
There is a possibility of seeing wildlife on the flat plains as you drive such as Kangaroos, Emus, Camels, Ppiny Anteaters, Dingoes, Foxes, and in summer Snakes and Lizards. Never put yourself in danger by swerving to miss animals on the road. Keep well away from snakes, although lizards are safe, but do not attempt to pick them up.
About 30 kilometres up the road after a few big hills and bends you will come to an 1850’s convict station at the foot of the hills on the right. This is an historical site well worth the look, it was an old lead mine using convict labour. Now it is abandoned. It is free as nothing is there but old buildings and a kilometre away on a road leading from this site is an active farm where you can stay or get help.
Most of the land on either side of you as you drive, is wheat farms interspersed with flat sparse plains.
Another five kilometres up the road is the right hand turn to Kalbarri, after about 5 kilometres you will come to a massive salt mine. The views of this flat expanse of salt can be magnificent, especially at sunset as the entire thing shines bright pink. A great photo opportunity.
The road is in good condition all the way and as you drive into Kalbarri it starts to get hilly and you can see the coast on the left hand side, there are several lookouts along this section. If you drive down them you will find cliffs and ravines fronting the ocean waterline. There are plenty of magnificent views, caves and cliffs to explore and good places for fishing and surfing.
Once you drive into Kalbarri you will find that the town is a single main street of about 700 metres fronting the ocean on the left, where the Murchison river flows into the Indian Ocean. Along the waterfront you will see the fishing boats tied up to the small wharfs. They fish for prawns, crayfish and fish.
There is a backpacker’s in the town that is cheap, three caravan parks with onsite vans, cabins and camping sites for hire. There is also two large resort style motels and plenty of homes for short term holiday rent. Note that in the school holiday season, Kalbarri accommodation is generally booked out so it pays to check holiday times on the net and to phone ahead and book. Kalbarri has a floating population. About one thousand people live there and in the holiday season this swells to 3000.
There are 2 hotels in Kalbarri. Both have meals but the best one is in the Main Street and fronts the sea, you can sit outside and they have a TAB and in-house satellite TV and pool tables plus good cold beer and a bottleshop.
You can fish or swim from the beachfront in the main street of Kalbarri. The view out to see is magnificent as is the weather from September through to May. From June until August is cyclone season and it can rain, so keep that in mind.
You can hire large fishing boats or go on a fishing charter from Kalbarri. There are also whale-watching tours both by boat and light plane. You can also hire canoes. There is sailboard and yacht hire as well as quad biking and sand boarding. Try a bit of scuba or skin diving too! There is a good tackle shop in the main street and ask there for great fishing and surfing spots or ask the friendly locals.
The Black Duck café in the main street is the best place to get a fair priced gourmet meal, there is also a pizza shop which is hugely expensive. There are three fish and chip shops, a pie shop and two small supermarkets which are also hugely expensive. There are two petrol stations and a small police station. There are public toilets in the main street on the Beach. There is also a public library and an excellent mannned tourist centre.
The police are red hot here on drink driving so take that into account when partying. You can walk to anywhere in Kalbarri so get some exercise and check the place out by walking. There is a good sports oval and a skate board rink in town. There is no museum but you will find a second hand book shop/ internet café, an antique shop, a butchers, a pharmacy, a laundromat and a surf shop which is expensive.
That just about covers what is in the town. If you drive on the only road out of the town north for about 30 kilometres, you will come to a left hand turn that takes you to the Murchison River Gorge and walking track which features natures window.
The river is about 100 metres wide and is sided by cliff walls about 50 metres high, the view is magnificent. On the walking tack which is about eight kilometres you will come to Nature’s Window which is a naturally formed large hole in a cliff face, when you look through it, it frames the gorge and the surrounding bush, it is a great photo opportunity.
If you do this walk please note that you are totally isolated and must take plenty of food and water, the walk will take at least four hours and can get rough, it is hilly and difficult, there is no phone communication and you must let people know where you are and when you are expected back.
If you are not fit or have a heart condition then do not attempt this walk. It the temperature is above 35 degrees celcius then you must take at least five litres of water per person, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses as well as insect repellent. You are likely to come across any type of wildlife including birds and snakes. If you come across a snake steer well clear of them, they will avoid you.
Well thrillseekers save up your dollars pack your gear and come to Kalbarri you’ll simply love it!!!