Kalbarri National Park is a favorite place for many to visit, with a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. The town of Kalbarri is set on the shores of the Murchison River, with lovely swaying palms, good fishing and plenty of fun water activities. Unfortunately, when we visited Kalbarri the Murchison River was flooded, and there was no canoeing, kayaking, etc. allowed on the river, removing a big chunk of our plans for our visit.
However, there are plenty of other things to see and do around Kalbarri. Numerous gorgeous red cliffs populate the area, all with fantastic views. There are tons of opportunities for hiking and exploring, and many people choose to do a 4WD tour through the more rugged areas of the park.
One of our favorite things to do in Kalbarri we did only by chance because we couldn’t go out on the river. Australia has converted me to a bird lover, at least when it comes to beautiful and exotic birds (which are pretty common, and sometimes even viewed as pests, in Australia). I wasn’t sure if Rainbow Jungle, a parrot park, would be worth the price though ($13.50). Well, I was wrong!
The little park was awesome, and took over an hour to go through. There are a number of different areas, most of them with the birds in cages, but all of the birds were gorgeous — many we had never seen before. A few of them had big personalities, and talked (or danced, sang, swung and much more) or came around to check us out.
One of the best parts was the open area where there were tons of parrots flying about freely. It was a huge area with tons of trees, bird feeders, ponds and more, so it was fun to walk through and try to spot different birds. Some sat boldly in the feeders eating without a care, others hid in the trees or rafters.
We had a blast checking out all the different birds and wandering the beautiful grounds of the park. There was also a viewing tower with great views around the area, from which you can supposedly spot whales in season. You can even buy a bird there yourself (mostly cockatoos) if they’ve won you over and you can’t leave without one. It’s pretty amazing to think about how old many of these birds get and to see how smart (and beautiful) they are as well.
On a different bird-related note, one of the other more popular activities in Kalbarri is the pelican feeding. Every morning around 8:45, a volunteer comes with a bucket of fish to feed the pelicans and a large group of tourists gathers. Having already seen plenty of pelicans around Australia, we didn’t really care that much but decided to drop by and see it since it was free. The pelicans themselves weren’t terribly interesting, but it was fascinating to hear some of the facts the volunteer had to share, as there were a number of things I never knew, such as that the darker yellow the circles around the pelican’s eyes, the older she is.
From rugged red rock gorges to relaxing beaches, Kalbarri has something to offer everyone. It’s a great destination within a relatively reasonable drive from Perth (about 6 hours — which is nothing in Western Australia!) and a worthwhile addition to any Northwest Australia road trip.
Murchison River Caravan Park ($28 with Top Tourist discount) – Decent park, right in center of town and across from the river. Best bathrooms I’ve ever seen in a caravan park!