Sandstone canyon with a photogenic hole
Lets write a bit about Kalbarri National Park, where the Murchison River meets the Indian Ocean. 577 km from Perth, the perfect stop over on the way further north. For us it was an excellent place to discover and to break up the long drive to shark bay. We stayed two nights and thus could spend a whole day in the area:
What to do?
Compulsory start of the day is the daily pelican feeding in town. The pelican originally got attracted to the bay by the by catch that fisherman tossed from their boats, now it´s a tradition and heaps of tourists plus pelicans assemble for the daily routine. How big those birds are …
Then it´s time to head into the national park, yet worth stopping over at Meanarra Hill, an ancient coral reef with a 360deg view of the area and perfectly suited for Titanic posing…
The National park offers a couple of jaw dropping views into the Murchison river canyon, carved through red/white banded sandstone over the last 400 million years. If it´s not too hot and you don´t drag three kids with you, you can even go on a hike along the river. Must be awesome!
When you are done digesting these impressive views and the contrasts in colour and material you take the 500 m stroll down to Nature´s Window, yes that stroll even works with a protesting 4-year old. And it´s worth it! As long as you can stand the flies, that is ..
Tataa, Kalberri´s photogenic hole:
and yes, there is still more to come, it´s really worth to head down the sand track to the other lookout, the Z-Bend. As rivers tend to do, the gorge cuts along major fault zones, that happen to be aligned almost at a right angle in this case. Thus, the gorge makes some awesome, sharp corners a number of times. At Z-Bend you stand on one of these corners and can enjoy gorge and gorge whether you look East or South. Nice!
Where to stay?
There are plenty of options directly in Kalbarri, we found a quite nice, more secluded camp site, directly on the river. Murchison House Station
is a working pastoral station and offers basic camping both close to the station as well as on the other side of the river for 4WD only. If you want to do the latter, make sure to arrive early in the afternoon as they don´t allow you to cross the river when you arrive to late. Yes, that is based on personal experience.