Monday, 15 March 2010

Why Visit Kalbarri in Western Australia

Many people dream of travelling to Australia and having a holiday there.  Usually the famous destinations, such as Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru, the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef are chosen, as these are the images that people have seen all their lives and have dreamt about.  But there is more to Australia than these iconic tourist spots, and beautiful Kalbarri is one of the lesser known destinations that have just as much to offer as well as some of the better known resorts.

Kalbarri at Sunset

Western Australia has several thousand kilometres of stunning coastline along the Indian Ocean, and offers miles and miles of silver sand beaches and days of endless sunshine and blue sky.  Kalbarri is 590kms north of Perth on the Coral Coast and is about a seven hour drive away.  If you prefer to use public transport, Skywest offers flights from Perth and Carnarvon and Greyhound and TransWA offer coach services from Perth.

Kalbarri is named after the aboriginal word for ‘edible seed’.  The first Europeans in the area were two mutinous ship’s crew who were put ashore in 1629.  There were many shipwrecks in the following centuries off the cliffs and Kalbarri officially became a town in the early 1950’s and has developed from a sleepy fishing town into a thriving tourist resort.

Nature's Window, Kalbarri

There is a wide range of accommodation available in Kalbarri.  Choose from self catering units, basic backpacker accommodation or beach resorts with pools. There is also a few camping/caravan parks.  There is a range of cafes and restaurants offering Australian, Oriental and European food and a pub. For your shopping needs there are a couple of supermarkets, petrol stations, a pharmacy and a bakery.  There is also a Visitor Information Centre where you can book tours and accommodation.

The resort and town of Kalbarri hugs the shores of the Murchison River where it meets the Indian Ocean at Gantheume Bay.  A natural reef has formed at the channel entrance and on the river side there are gentle sandy beaches with safe swimming. Around the headland it gets a bit wilder with surf, rock pools and miles of sand.  Located right at the river mouth, Chinaman’s Beach is one of the most popular swimming spots in the area.  Situated around the shore in Kalbarri are BBQs, picnic areas, and public toilets.


For those who are looking for an active holiday, there is swimming, snorkelling, water skiing, crabbing, horse riding, camel rides, fishing, kayaking, hiking and cycling on offer.  The path that runs along the top of the cliffs is especially good for cycling and walking and passes the precipitous coastal cliffs, Eagle Gorge, Natural Bridge, Pot Alley, Rainbow Valley and Red Bluff.  You can also try windsurfing or hire a dinghy or paddleboat. For the very adventurous try an Extreme Jet Boat ride, sand boarding or Quad Biking.

If you are a fishing enthusiast you have the choice of river fishing, sea fishing from the beach or going on a deep sea fishing charter.  There are also several cruises that you can take, either inland up the river to spot the wildlife or around the coast watching the whales and dolphins.  Kalbarri is on the annual migration route for several species of whales and their calves from June to December. The sunsets are especially beautiful in Kalbarri, so take a sunset cruise and watch the sun set slowly over the sea.

Kalbarri is surrounded by the Kalbarri National Park, which offers a stunning landscape of red gorges cut out by the Murchison River.   There are many stunning natural rock formations such as Nature’s Window, Z Bend and The Loop.  Great lookouts over the gorges are Hawkes Head Lookout and Ross Graham Lookout.  Kalbarri National Park is rich in wildlife, though much of it is nocturnal, and kangaroos, emus and birds can be seen.  The Park is also famous for its wildflowers that form a colourful carpet of kangaroo paws, grevillias, featherflowers and banksias in the spring (July to October).

Kalbarri also has a range of tourist attractions to visit.  One of the most famous is the feeding of the pelicans on the beach every morning at 8.45am.  The pelican feeding was started in 1970 by a local called Cliff Ross, who would feed the birds on the scraps left over from cleaning the fish he had caught.  Other local people had to join in and help and so the tradition still carries on today. If you like parrots a visit to the Rainbow Jungle is a must.  It is a unique parrot habitat and features the largest free-flight parrot aviary in Australia.  There are many rare species of parrot on display and the Rainbow Jungle plays an important part in parrot conservation.  The Rainbow Jungle is also home to Kalbarri’s cinema – ‘Cinema Parrotiso’ – an open air cinema where you can combine watching a film with pizza and a beer!


If you prefer marine life take a trip to the Seahorse Sanctuary and find out all about the fascinating world of seahorses.  One of only a few seahorse breeding facilities in the world, the Seahorse Sanctuary takes you through the entire lifecycle of the seahorse and shows how they are adapting seahorses so that they can successfully be kept in home aquariums.  The tiny newborns are especially cute!  At the Kalbarri Marine Centre you can see the local denizens of the sea in the Oceanarium and interact with fish, sponges and anemones in the touch pool.

To see stunning wildflowers, go to The Kalbarri WildflowerCentre where there is a 30 minute nature trail.  Over 200 species of flowers can be seen in this beautiful botanical garden setting.  If you have children to amuse, you can take them to the Kalbarri Family Entertainment Centre which has Mini Putt Putt, trampolines, The ‘Spider’ climbing tower and a 4 in 1 Bungy Trampoline.

So unless your idea of a holiday is upmarket shopping and wild nights clubbing, Kalbarri has everything that you could wish for in a holiday destination.  What more could you want than wonderful scenery, hot sunny weather, gorgeous beaches, plenty of activities and a good choice of eateries!

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