Kalbarri is another coastal town located north of Perth. It’s just over 500 kilometres, which can be driven in about 6 hours if you keep a good average speed and don’t stop too regularly. If you want to take a few breaks and take it slower, expect it to take around 7 hours. I have been to Kalbarri quite a number of times and loved it every time. The fishing is simply incredible, with huge fish caught each day. Snorkelling and surfing is also brilliant at Kalbarri, if you pick the right day and time. Each year, over 200,000 tourists visit Kalbarri, because it’s a great place to visit! If you are going to Travel Western Australia, make sure you stop at Kalbarri!
How do I get to Kalbarri?
You can either drive your car or fly in a plane up to Kalbarri. I always prefer to drive up there, because car hire is limited and I love the freedom of being able to drive around. I’ve driven up their a few times in one go, and it’s really not that bad. Just remember to stop every now and again and have a stretch! The best way to get there is up the Brand Hwy, and then onto the North West Coastal Hwy. You then turn onto Port Gregory Road, which takes you all the way up to Kalbarri. For a map, take a look at the Route to Kalbarri.
What can I do in Kalbarri?
There are quite a large number of things to do at Kalbarri, including an awesome Bird Park, a big Outdoor Cinema, an Ocean Aquarium, Boat Hire (including catamarans and paddle boats), River tours, fishing charters, four wheel driving, surfing, sand boarding, fishing from the shore, walking the gorges and seeing the national park, swimming in the Kalbarri River, canoeing, horse riding and quad bike tours and finally visiting a few of the many spectacular places. There is enough to do to keep you busy for several weeks, which is why we rarely go up for less than a week at a time. If you want to really make it a holiday then a week is a good starting point.
Wagoe is a small place located about 30 kilometres out of Kalbarri. It is known mainly for the beach. There is a small sign where you can turn into a farm on the main road out of Kalbarri. Make sure you close the gate, as there are cattle wandering around. If you follow the track along you get to a small house where the owners live. Further along they have a smaller house used for booking. You can choose to camp or stay in their homes. I am unsure if you can get access to the beach for the day. The accommodation is basically a large older portable home that has room for quite a few people (there are 2 different sized homes). It’s quite cheap if you go with a lot of people and with beach access only a few minutes away we found it brilliant.
Less than 5 minutes drive and you are on the beach, which turns into a huge reef further out. Some massive fish are caught from here quite regularly, but you need very heavy tackle and a bit of persistence. On calm days you can snorkel along the reef and see a huge number of fish. If you drive further south you come to Lucky Bay, where a large number of people camp behind the first dune. This is a protected area (by a reef) where many fish swim around and it’s quite safe to swim. A lot of people bring smaller boats and launch off the beach where it’s calm, then venture out a little more depending on the swell and wind. There are some massive dunes located off the beach, which are great fun to drive motorbikes and 4x4 on.
Where are the best fishing spots in Kalbarri?
This varies from year to year and the season, but there are some consistent places to fish in Kalbarri. One of the most popular is where the River meets the ocean. A lot of nutrients swirl around here and as a result the fish gather regularly. If you are patient you can get some big mulloway and tailor, as well as various other species. Another great spot for fishing is Pot Alley Gorge in the afternoon and at sunset. We have caught a huge number of tailor off the rocks. Be very, very careful about the swell and waves though. They can be very unpredictable and a lot of tourists have been swept into the water by a big wave. If you have a boat, you can venture outside of the river mouth and get good Snapper and reef fish.
Kalbarri has several Caravan Parks where you can stay if you enjoy Camping. These are located around the corner overlooking the river, across the road from the beach and one a bit further back. If you prefer a bit more luxury, there are cabins you can rent out in the parks, or houses you can rent in the town. If you want a level up again, you can stay at the resort, which is very comfortable and enjoyable (but you sure pay for it too!). There are a number of motels and units along the river, and you will see them as you drive into Kalbarri. If you have a family going you are probably best to try and find a house to rent.
What is the weather like?
The weather in Kalbarri can be brilliant some days, and terrible others. Something which plays a huge influence in what you can do outside is the wind, which has a habit of getting very strong in the afternoon. This basically means that you need to do any outdoor activities in the morning. It’s nice to relax for a bit during the afternoon and go out again in the evening, but it’s entirely up to what you want to do! It can get up to just over 35 degrees Celsius in summer and it drops off down to a minimum of about 10 degrees in winter at night, meaning it’s comfortable throughout the year. It’s a good idea to find out about the flies before you go up though; in summer they can be a real pest.
Every morning a local guide comes down to the beach on the river with some fish and feeds the Pelicans. These are large, local birds that eat fish in their natural diet. This is well worth the look, but make sure you are on time because it happens fast. It’s free to watch and on most days of the week. You can find them on the grass just opposite the grocery store.
Kalbarri National Park
I’d highly recommend that you visit the Kalbarri National Park. It costs a few dollars for each person to visit or a bit more for a car load, but there are some amazing sights that you can’t see anywhere else in the world. There are a number of wildflowers which take over the country during the right season, and the famous ‘Natural Window’. Driving along the coast of Kalbarri also has a number of places to visit, like Pot Alley Gorge, Eagle Gorge, Red Bluff and Rainbow Valley. Pick a good day and go for a walk around the gorges too (remember to take good walking shoes, your bathers and your camera). The Loop, Z bend and Hawk’s head are all impressive places to see.
Kalbarri is a great place to spend a few weeks, and it’s not hugely expensive (unless you take the luxurious pathways!). If you love fishing, relaxing on the beach and having fun in the water then it’s a place you will love! Much like the rest of the Western Australian Coast, there is a lot to see and even more to do.