Our visit to Kalbarri National Park, and its namesake town, was another unplanned seize-the-moment decision (as was Point Quobba recently). Seems this might become a more frequent occurrence, now that we are heading into completely unknown territory (for us)!
There is no camping allowed in Kalbarri National Park itself, and given the corrugated dirt roads into the main walking/trails area, it was definitely going to be a one day only visit! However, we did spend the night in Kalbarri township (in someones yard, but I’ll get to that!!!), so had the opportunity to check this pretty holiday town out.
First though, it was late Tuesday (30/9) morning when we entered Kalbarri NP, paid the $12 entry fee, and arrived at Hawks Head. We did the walk here and at the nearby Ross Granham lookouts. These are simple short walks, but there is an extension to the Ross Graham lookout that takes the track down to the river. The views from both lookouts are pretty, as was the river walk.
Also of note, heading into those locations, is the wildflowers. Ok, not masses of colours across the whole landscape, but some pretty plants none-the-less.
Then it was over to the other area, accessed by bitumen and then 13km’s of no-so-good corrugated dirt road. The Z-bend was first, and the view from this lookout is quite good! The walk down to the river was even better here – not quite up to Karijini in terms of fun, but very good nonetheless (Karijini has set a very high standard!). The rocks and rock patterns down there were awesome!
There was a bit of wind at the lookout, and Nicoles hair was playing around. So I just took a number of photos fairly quickly expecting one of them to work out. This is what I got….
The fun walk down…
Interestingly, there were a number of people walking around with abseiling equipment, doing it privately. Seems Kalbarri does not have the strict requirements that Karijini has on these activities (probably because a rescuer lost there life at Karijini, in a flash flood, when attending to someone who had injured themselves).
Next it was over to another area (more dirt driving…), where ‘Natures Window’ and the Loop Trail are located. The view from the nearby lookout here is great – gives an awesome birds eye view of this part of the NP.
We didn’t have time to the the Loop Trail, which is about 9km in length. However we did the shorter walk to Natures Window and back.
Having completed the inland walks, we headed into the township of Kalbarri. This is a pretty little town on the coast that reminds me a bit of Currumbin on the Gold Coast – with the beach and the river – but a bit bigger (more shops & houses). However, we were told by the info centre (just prior to closing time) that the caravan parks were probably full! In this situation we’d normally just drive out of town a little and find a spot to spend the night. We had a little look around, however Kalbarri is surrounded by Kalbarri NP for quite a long distance on both roads out of the town. We didn’t want to camp illegally in a NP, and in a little holiday town like this they can be real strict on random camping. That didn’t leave us with many options, so I figured the best thing to do was to stay the night in someones yard…. With their permission of course….
So after going down a few streets I noticed an old bloke talking to some people about to drive off. Big side yard that wasn’t particularly well cared for (OK, it was a bit of a dump!). I figured our best bet was with someone like him, rather than an expensive/fancy place, so went and said hello and asked if we could stay the night in his yard for a small fee (offered $20). Turns out Ron was very happy to help, and was a lovely bloke – telling use where to go and what there is to do in the area. His wife had passed away couple years ago when they lived in Geraldton, so he moved to this town. When we arrived was about to deliver some meals to other old people – that he’d cooked! When we were driving off in the morning, he came out and seemed disappointed we were only staying the one night, and genuinely wished us a safe trip. So that idea was successful, though I don’t think I’ll make a habit of doing it (it seems weird and is a bit nerve wracking!)!
We spent Wed on the coastline, most of which is in the Kalbarri NP. These next two pics are from the shore near the township:
A walk around one of the headlands resulted in these pics:
Then it was on to a different area, the ‘mushroom rock – rainbow valley trail’.
Anyone have a messy room, car, house, shed….? Well take some solace from nature… as you can see below it can be an absolute mess at times too!
Just make sure everything in your life isn’t a mess! Nature also has the neat and regular – got to be some balance!
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone all naturalistic! That’s as far as I’ll go, and I still shave, cut my hair and wear clothes!!!
These pipe rocks are pretty cool! Apparently fossilised burrows of an ancient worm like thing called a Skolithos.
Then we were off to the walks at Eagle Gorge, also the Natural Bridge, and The Island (sorry this post is getting way too long…).
Having seen the attractions, and not wanting to find another camp in Kalbarri, we headed south through Northhampton. This is a lovely scenic farming area – cropping, mostly wheat I think. A little further south we took a side road heading up a hill. Turned out to be a beautiful spot to spend the night – extremely quiet (3 vehicles passed the whole time) and lovely rural views. A pity there aren’t places like this to stay every night.