Carnarvon to Kalabarri
Where the Gorge Meets the Ocean
It is 443 kms from Carnarvon to Kalbarri – 4 and a half hours. We get off early and broke the journey at the Billabong Roadhouse – familiar ground from earlier in the trip, but this time, I stopped to take a quick photo of the funny flier for kangaroo burgers and a joke you can get hard copies of for free on request – you just have to love the great Aussie sense of humour.
The temperature had dropped a bit today and the wind had picked up, but they told us it often reaches 49 degrees on Christmas Day here and tops out at around 53 degrees in January – definitely a place to avoid in our winter then.
Kalbarri National Park
We saw several feral goats on the road in – they are such a nuisance here that they round them up and kill them to prevent damage to the bush.
We arrived at Kalbarri National Park by early afternoon, allowing just enough time to explore some of the lookouts/easy walking trails through the tawny-red tumblagooda sandstone.
Driving 11 kms east of town brings you to the first park turn off. At the T intersection, turn left to reach West Loop Lookout and the Loop Lookout, which leads to “Nature’s Window” – a natural arch perfectly framing a stunning view over a gorge.
Flora and Fauna
The roads and paths surrounding the Murchison River gorges are clothed with a wide variety of pretty wildflowers. It is getting late in the season now, but we still saw carpets of everlasting and smoke bush flowers as well as gold banksia.
To see the show at its absolute best, visit between June and September.
Tips for Future Travellers
Bring lots of water if you want to walk the Loop Trail (9kms return) though and start really early. Summer temperatures reach over 40 degrees here and people have actually died trying to walk this trail (they started out at 9.30 am).
A skywalk offering spectacular views is not yet open – it was supposed to open in the second half of 2019, but was promised in 2017 – everyone is still waiting. I am sure it will be a great attraction when it is finished.
Kalbarri Foreshore - Pelican Feeding
Look for the compact wooden viewing area on the grassed area on the foreshore at the intersection of Grey and Wood Streets and wait for the hungry birds to rock up. Be there at 8.45 – 9.15. The cheerful volunteers who feed the birds on a daily rota joke that you can easily distinguish between the males and females because the males are black & white and the female (slightly smaller) are white & black (!). The birds don’t how up every day – sometimes they get enough fish from the sea and don’t. other. This daily tradition began with a local fisherman cleaning his catch and throwing the scraps to the pelicans.
Photo I wished I had taken:
The pelicans actually picked up seagulls in their huge beaks several times in their eagerness to grab a fish, ut I didn’t quite press the shutter in time to capture this rather gruesome scene – maybe just as well?!
Natural Bridge, Island Rock, Eagle Gorge and Pot Alley
There are a variety of trails through the inland gorges (10 degrees hotter than on the coast) and all along the coast. We opted for the coastal route and spent a very happy day exploring Natural Bridge, Island Rock, Eagle Gorge and Pot Alley. The red cliffs are really spectacular here – full of intricate details when you get close up to them and glistening in the sun. The contrast with the roaring Indian Ocean is spectacular.
Kayaking might have been a good option here – there are several places where you can hire the gear – but there isn’t very much water left in the river at this time of year, so we gave it a miss and used our feet to explore instead.
I was bitten by an angry ant 1cm long when photographing an everlasting flower – I hope you enjoy the photo and it was worth it!
There are issues with feral bees here – something else to be scared of?!
We saw a carpet python snake snake slithering off into the bush just in from of us on one of the walks. There was a snake about 6ft long on the road in front of us driving into Kalbarri too – they are very definitely all out there!