the wa now and thenttravel blog


Kalbarri Trip 2023

Day 1

We left home at 7:45am and apart from a couple of toilet breaks and a stop for lunch at Knobby Head and refuelling at Geraldton, we were just driving but it still took us 8 hours to get to Kalbarri.


Leaving for Kalbarri
Leaving for Kalbarri


Being a Sunday the real estate office was closed but there was no problem getting the keys to the property we had booked from the locked box outside.

Then is was just a matter of back tracking a bit to where the house (Hillside Retreat) is situated about three kilometres south of town.

It is a nice modern place with an excellent kitchen and all the facilities we needed.

Microwave, cooktop and oven, large fridge, TV in the lounge area and one in a bedroom, laundry facilities, air-conditioning and just about everything else needed for a pleasant stay.

The rooms are large and everything was nice and clean and tidy.

Towels and bedding is supplied but we like our own pillows so we brought those along plus things like soap and tea and coffee that are not supplied.

There is a covered verandah all around the building plus tables and seats and a BBQ.

The only odd thing about the house is the outside dunny. Almost as if the designer forgot about it and it was added at the last minute. It is still under the main roof so it isnít like having to walk down to the end of the back garden as most people did back in the 1950s and 60s. In fact I am old enough to remember doing that in a place I lived for a while in South Perth.

There is also an under cover car port and plenty of room for the boat.


Hillside Retreat
Hillside Retreat


We saw a lot of kangaroos and some emus around the property on the way in so that would certainly be an added attraction for some people.

After weeks of rain in Perth the weather had cleared up nicely for our departure and Kalbarri certainly was a few degrees warmer.

The forecast was for a few fine days and a few with a couple of showers and as the following day was forecast to be a good one, we got everything prepared to go fishing.

Day 2

We woke to a beautiful sunny day and it wasnít long before we launched the boat and were out fishing.

Sometimes expectations outshine reality but try as we might we just couldnít get on to the fish.

Belle caught a couple of undersized bream but most of the time small fish were pinching our bait and making things rather frustrating.


Fishing in the Murchison River
Fishing in the Murchison River


By lunch time we had given up and gone back to the house for lunch.

Once lunch was over we took a run down in to town to see what changes there had been and after that went up to the Red Bluff lookout. This wasnít there last time we were here and it was worth going to have a look at.

By this time it was already late afternoon so we retired to our accommodation for the day.


Red Bluff Lookout
Red Bluff Lookout


Day 3

The forecast was for 0-1mm of rain and as there were only scattered clouds around we decided to head out to the National Park and check out the Skywalk as it hadnít been there when we were last in Kalbarri.

On the way we went up to the town lookout as that was also a new attraction the area and on the way to the National Park.

The lookout gives really splendid views back to the town and out across the Murchison River.

The facilities at the lookout were also very nice with toilets, shelter and plenty of seating.

The lookout was only about 5 kilometres from town and it was another 25 out to the atttractions at the National Park.


Kalbarri Lookout
Kalbarri Lookout


As the weather was likely to get worse we went to check out the Skywalk first so that we could film it with the best light.

The Skywalk was really worth visiting and it is an impressive installation. There are two structures jutting out of the clifftop, one much larger than the other.

There is also a cafe and a lot of under cover seating and of course a toilet.

The views are stunning and we were very glad we made the decision to go here first as we could see solid banks of cloud barrelling in from the sea.




By the time we had finished filming, the first spots of rain began to fall and any hopes of walking to get some up to date pictures of Natureís Window had to be abandoned.

We did drive to the other areas to see what we could but by the time we got to Z Bend it was pouring with rain. So much for 0-1mm!

We gave up and turned back to town and then back to our accommodation to await the end of the rain.

Day 4

Well after the nice weather on Monday the rain rolled in and then didnít stop.

It continued on and off with such regularity that it was impossible to get out fishing in the boat, although we did go down and came close to launching before another big band of clouds rolled in and it rained yet again.

The whole day was a complete write off so it was just a matter of hoping for improvement the following day.

About all we did of any interest was to visit the local bakery and get a couple of sweet treats for morning tea.

Day 5

The rain finally stopped overnight but the clouds hung around so we decided to head south along the coast and have a look at the tourist spots in the National Park.

There are some interesting rock formations and we went to Natural Bridge first as it was the most southerly spot and then worked our way back along the coast.

For those who are fitter than we are and have the inclination, there is an 8 kilometre walk along the cliffs (16 kilometres return) but it will be a very cold day in hell before I ever walk that far.


8 kilometre walk
8 kilometre walk


By the time we reached Mushroom Rock we were almost back at our accommodation and it was lunch time so it was back to the house to have lunch and get ready to take the boat out again.

This time we did manage to get out into the river again but our bait was continually ripped to shreds by hordes of small bream. We got no decent bites at all and after trying in several places along the river, a nasty big bank of dark grey cloud came in accompanied by some strong wind.

That was enough for us and we called it a day and dragged the boat out of the water.

River fishing at Kalbarri has never been that great in any case, so we werenít expecting to catch much. In the end, we caught nothing worth keeping but still had some fun out on the water.


Launching the boat
Launching the boat


With just one full day left before heading home, we decided to head up along the river with the 4x4 and see what we could find.

Day 6

We woke to overcast skies and rain but not long after breakfast the weather cleared a little so we headed for town.

Along the way we stopped off to have to look at Red Bluff from the beach side and then went along to Wittacarra Creek to see the memorial to the Dutch Seafarers Loos and Pelgram.


Red Bluff
Red Bluff


They were involved in the Batavia mutiny and were implicated in some of the murders but due to their youth they were spared the hangman's noose and were marooned on the coast with some supplies.

They became the first known Europeans to Ďsettleí in Western Australia and it is thought they came ashore near the mouth of the Murchison River.

This has never been substantiated and their fate will never be known. They could simply have died of starvation, been killed by local Aboriginal tribes or they may have even been accepted into a tribe and lived out the rest of their lives here.

It is highly likely that some shipwrecked Europeans did survive for some time on the West Australian coast and also likely that they intermarried with local Abrorigines.

Some local Aboriginal words seem to have had Dutch origins, certain types of plant foot used by local tribes did not originate in W.A. and a tendency of aboriginal children to have hair colour not seen in other areas are all pointers to Europeans living here well before official colonisation by the British.

After taking some footage we continued in to town to check out the Book Nook (Opens Tuesday, Friday and Saturday) where I found an interesting book on the white divers of Broome.

Then to was time to follow the tracks along the river and see what we could find.

There are more tracks than you can poke a stick at along the Murchison and it is a great area to explore with a 4 wheel drive.


4x4 areas along the Murchison River
4x4 areas along the Murchison River


Years ago we explored this area with our little Suzuki Carry van that was not a 4 wheel drive. I remember being bogged a number of times before we finally found our way out of the maze of tracks but I donít recommend that others follow my foolish example as it wasnít much fun.

With the Prado it was a doddle and although some of the tracks were quite boggy, we had no problems at all even with 40psi in the tyres.

As we explored, the clouds vanished and we were left with a beautiful sunny day.

All too soon it was time to head back to town, pick up a few items we needed from the IGA store and then go back to our accommodation to start packing and tidying up.

The trip home the following day was a little damp but otherwise uneventful. Just the way we like it.


Video Series comaing later in 2023


Updated June 2023

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