Kalbarri is one of those amazing places where there is an abundance of natural beauty concentrated in a relatively small area. It’s easily accessible from Perth, just half a day’s drive up a well maintained highway, and the drive itself is by no means unpleasant.
The trip is far enough that you might not want to attempt the trip over a long weekend, but if you can wrangle 5 days to a week off then this is the perfect holiday destination. If you are visiting Perth from overseas and have some spare time then you should definitely add this to the list.
Driving from Perth to Kalbarri is one of the classic Western Australian road trips and something that everyone living in Perth should do at least once as well as a great destination for those lucky enough to be visiting W.A. on a longer trip.
►If you’re planning on road tripping anywhere in Australia then make sure to read this detailed list of Australian road trip tips that will help you pull it off without a hitch.
Perth to Kalbarri Road Trip Highlights
- Kalbarri National Park with its ancient rock formations and epic gorges
- Beautiful rugged coastline with sea cliffs and turquoise waters
- A huge and almost unbelievable pink coloured lake
- Amazing and tranquil wilderness camping opportunities
- The otherworldly landscape of The Pinnacles Desert
Where to Hire a Car in Perth
Before you set off, you’ll need to arrange car hire (if you don’t already have your own!) The easiest way to do that is head over to Rentalcars.com and browse from a wide selection of providers for reasonable prices. We always use this website no matter where in the world we road trip! Use the form below or click here to browse car rental options.
It’s worth noting that you don’t require a 4 wheel drive to complete this Perth to Kalbarri road trip, all the highlights listed on this itinerary are accessible via paved roads and highways with the exception of wild camp sites.
Table of Contents
Perth to Kalbarri Road Trip – An Epic 5 Day Itinerary
Perth to Kalbarri (Via Hutt Lagoon)
Your first day is a pretty solid driving day; Kalbarri is about 6 hours’ drive from Perth so you want to try and leave as early as possible. The drive hugs the coastline and along the way you will pass through farmland, gentle rolling hills, coastal vistas and more.
The grand finale of the beautiful sights along the route is arriving at Hutt Lagoon, which you must drive right past on your final approach to Kalbarri. If you have left early enough then you can spend some time here finding the best viewpoints and getting some great photos.
Hutt Lagoon – Pink Lake
The Pink Lake is truly an amazing sight and really has to be seen to be believed. The photos are not enhanced or edited to increase the colour, this lake is the real deal and does not disappoint! The colour does change with the time of day however, with midday being the best time to view. Sunset can also transform the colours and make for some spectacular vistas.
There are a number of spots to stop along Port Gregory Road as well as an official viewpoint which offers a great perspective. We stopped at a pullover along the main road from Perth to Kalbarri, which offered access to the other side of the lake.
Kalbarri town is about 30 minutes more from Hutt Lagoon so depending on whether you are camping or staying in accommodation, make sure you plan your departure if you want to take advantage of the daylight hours to set up camp.
►Hoping to get a bird’s eye view? Why not book a scenic flight over Hutt Lagoon for a memorable experience! Scenic flights depart from Kalbarri and also include a flight over the coastal cliffs near the town. Click here for more info about flight prices and availability.
Where to stay in Kalbarri
Camping / Holiday Park
Murchison House Station – Located right next to the national park, this old station offers camping both with facilities and completely wild. If you stay near the homestead then you can pick from sites stretching along the beautiful Murchison River, here you will have toilets, hot showers and a basic camp kitchen.
If you want to wild camp you will need a proper 4wd as the tracks are tough. You can cross the river and there is a huge area available to explore with dozens of camp sites to choose from. You will need to be fully self-sufficient. Book a camp site here.
Kalbarri Tudor Holiday Park – If you want to stay right in town with the added amenities and convenience of a proper caravan park then this is a good pick. You can get an unpowered site at the cheaper end or splash out on a villa.
The park has all the amenities you could want, including wi-fi, a swimming pool, and a bunch of facilities for entertaining kids. The park is only a short distance from the beautiful beaches of Kalbarri. Book a camp site here or book a villa here.
Kalbarri Beach Resort – Fully equipped apartments near Murchison River with a large pool area including hot tubs. Free parking is available, and Kalbarri National Park is only a 25 minute drive away. Book an apartment here.
Kalbarri Edge Resort – A centrally located hotel featuring clean and well-kept rooms, a heated swimming pool, BBQ facilities and a restaurant/bar. Free parking is also available on site. Book your stay here.
Days 2 to 4
In and around Kalbarri
You will have 3 full days to enjoy all the beautiful sights around Kalbarri. Below you will find all the best stuff to see and do, which will allow you to plan your days to fit it all in with plenty of time to relax and unwind when it suits you.
The following is arranged in two sections, starting with things to do in and around Kalbarri followed by a separate section dedicated to Kalbarri National Park.
What to see and do in Kalbarri
Coastal Cliffs – Pot Alley and Red Bluff
Just a short drive south of Kalbarri town centre you will find a whole string of turn offs to various look-out points over the stunning coastal cliffs. Whilst there are many to choose from we have found that Pot Alley and Red Bluff are our favourites.
Pot Alley allows a perfect view of the unique crumbling sandstone cliffs, protruding out into the ocean one after another like perfect copies. At the Red Bluff lookout you can hike out some small distance along the ridge line of the peninsula for an amazing view from the highest point.
Both these lookouts are a great place to come for sunset, it is often windy but if you’re lucky you can also pack a picnic to take even better advantage of the amazing views.
The local beach, right in the town centre of Kalbarri, offers perfect white sand and a really interesting location where the Murchison River meets the ocean. There is a shop close by, BBQs and picnic areas and places to hire kayaks and other water-sports equipment.
You can easily spend a day here soaking up the sun and exploring along the river with a kayak, possibly finding that perfect spot to relax with no one else around.
The Murchison Experience
If you want more of an organised experience on the river and a bit of a cultural adventure then check out the Murchison Experience. You’ll get to explore the river by canoe before enjoying a beautiful fresh lunch of local produce and Australian classics.
You’ll also get lessons on some bush skills and cooking Aussie damper. A great experience for both adults and kids. Find more info about booking this experience here.
Kalbarri Wagoe Beach Quad Bike Tours
Check out this company if you want to see some lesser visited areas around the Kalbarri coast. They will take you to some awesome sand dunes where you can have a lot of fun on quad bikes or dune buggies.
If you’ve never ridden a quad bike before then this is a great place to do it! They offer quad bike tours in a lot of places nowadays but some a better than others and this is a really nice location to experience it for the first time.
If you have had enough of relaxing and lazing in the sun then check out Kalbarri Abseil. They’ll take you out to Kalbarri national park where you can get a unique view of the cliffs.
If you haven’t abseiled before then it’s a great confidence building experience and a lot of fun. Why just look at the cliffs when you could climb all over them? Click here for more info about booking abseil tours.
Rainbow Jungle Bird Park
Take a wander through this colourful bird park to see many of Australia’s native birds. You’ll see black cockatoos, pink and grey galahs, eclectus parrots, South American Macaws and many more!
There’s a large free flight aviary where you can walk around a lovely garden setting as flocks of beautiful parrots fly around the trees.
Opening Hours: 9-4pm daily
Tickets: Adult $16/Child $8
What to see and do in Kalbarri National Park
There are two entrances to the national park, one more westerly (closer to town) which leads to the main sites and another a little further away which leads to a couple of additional sites.
Camping is not allowed in the national park and neither are pets so make sure to plan accordingly. If you are going to hike then you need to bring all supplies with you as there is no drinking water inside the park.
►Admire the incredible river gorges from a different perspective by going on a 45 minute scenic flight. Your pilot will take you around the national park and provide a commentary as you marvel at the breath taking scenery. Find more info and book your scenic flight from this website.
Kalbarri National Park Entry: $15 per vehicle / free for National Park Pass holders
*Insider’s Tip* Depending on the time of year that you’re visiting the national park, you might encounter a lot of flies. These are the annoying type of flies that swarm around your head and don’t want to leave you alone.
You should definitely consider bringing a fly net with you if you’re planning to go walking or hiking in the park. This is something we wished we had brought with us on our last trip to Kalbarri in September.
Nature’s Window – This unmissable natural landmark of Western Australia has become a top spot for photographers and it does not disappoint. Not only is the window itself a great site but the surrounding rock formations and valleys are also magnificent.
The platform on which the window sits is an amazing viewpoint to take in the sweeping river valleys with the huge walls they have carved into the land. The viewpoint is an easy 1km return walk from the Nature’s Window car park.
Z Bend Lookout – This is one of the most picturesque spots in the park with the look-out perfectly positioned at the apex of a dramatic hairpin bend in the river. This is a great place for photography and you have a lot of room to move around and get different angles around the lookout.
There’s a 1.2km return trail from the carpark to the lookout and you can also start some longer hikes from here; see the following section for details.
Kalbarri Skywalk – Only just recently opened are these twin skywalks, jutting impressively out from the edge of a massive cliff. The views are spectacular and take in a large portion of the national park.
Being designed in an inverted V shape, there is a great sense of floating above the canyon, with space all around you. It is very solid underfoot however so even those with a sensitivity to heights will enjoy it. There is a kiosk here serving coffees and snacks which is open from 0730 to 1400 daily.
The lookout is accessible to all via the nearby carpark so this is the best stop for those with mobility issues.
Ross Graham Lookout – This lookout and trail gives you a different perspective of the gorges as it takes you right down to the river’s edge. The tree lined walk is a nice one and only an easy 700m return trail from the car-park.
Hawks Head Lookout – This gives a view over the top of the gorge you may have just hiked into to access the other lookout. This is quite a pretty view with some great photo opportunities of the verdant gorge filled with vegetation and some interesting rock features at the top.
Hikes in Kalbarri National Park
Z Bend River Trail – Starting from the lookout at the Z-bend, this hike is 2.7km return and will take you down to the river through some beautiful scenery. The hike is fairly demanding and steep so plan accordingly and make sure to bring plenty of water.
The Loop Trail – This is a truly stunning hike and a highlight of the national park. Starting at the nature’s window lookout, you follow a ridgeline high above the gorge before winding down to and along the Murchison River.
You eventually loop back up to nature’s window to end the hike. The scenery is amazing and best done early morning or late in the day however leave enough time to get back before dark as the terrain is steep and uneven.
The hike is about 8km and will take about 3-4 hours to complete.
Kalbarri to Perth (via Pinnacles Desert)
The final day of the road trip means of course that you must return to Perth, but do not despair, there is still one more highlight left! Just off the highway about two thirds of the way back to Perth you will find Nambung National Park, otherwise known as the Pinnacles Desert.
This otherworldly landscape is a great final stop on the trip and is a highlight in itself rather than just a sideshow. The desert features a driving track suitable for all normal vehicles from which you can admire the landscape, with plenty of places to pull over and have a walk around if you wish.
If you leave early enough from Kalbarri then this makes a great stop for lunch, with a café inside the visitors centre to get coffee and snacks. The visitors centre itself makes for an interesting visit and doesn’t take long to wander through. You’ll find well put together displays showcasing the history of this beautiful national park and the wildlife that call it home.
Remember that as with most national parks in Western Australia, there is a $15 fee per vehicle unless you have the yearly national parks pass.
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