The Kalbarri Skywalk provides breathtaking views of the Murchison River Gorge. The Skywalk’s cantilever design gives visitors an exhilarating experience. The bird’s eye view will literally be a highlight of your trip to Kalbarri National Park. Despite the parks rugged landscape, all the park’s most popular attractions are accessible on sealed roads.
Kalbarri is 600 kilometres from Perth on the Coral Coast. Kalbarri National Park takes in the lower reaches of Murchison Gorge and extends from the North West Coastal Highway to the Indian Ocean. As well as the Kalbarri Skywalk, the park comes alive with colour in wildflower season. From June, the park has over 1000 wildflower species that start to bloom. It also has spectacular inland and coastal rock formations.
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Do you need to pay to see the Kalbarri Skywalk?
National Park fees apply to the inland area of Kalbarri National Park but there is no extra cost to go to the Skywalk. There is a day rate per car when you enter; the price is around $15. Valid multiday or annual park passes will also get you in. A National Park pass is not required for the coastal section of Kalbarri National Park.
Can you to take Caravans to the Skywalk Kalbarri?
There are a small number of parking spots for caravans at the Kalbarri Skywalk. Caravans can also go to Hawks Head and Ross Graham Lookouts. However, there is no van parking at other attractions such as Natures Window and Z Bend. There is an unhitching area just after the entrance to the park.
Completed in 2020, the Kalbarri Skywalk is part of a major effort to enhance the visitor experience in Kalbarri National Park – and it has paid off! Gone are the rough, corrugated dirt roads and exposed lookouts. At what used to be the West Loop Lookout, you now get an immersive experience in the area’s natural history and indigenous culture.
The Kalbarri Skywalk is in fact Skywalks. As if one cantilevered metal platform sticking out of a sandstone cliff isn’t enough, you get the choice of two platforms to take in the views. One extends 17 metres and the other 25 metres from the cliff face over the gorge. The twin platforms are so eye catching they threaten to distract you from the impressive panoramas they provide.
How high are the Kalbarri Skywalks?
One of the features of the Kalbarri Skywalk is its design. Made of steel, the oval shaped platforms red-brown colour blends in well with the surrounding cliffs. The two platforms are 100 metres above the Murchison River. The Skywalks have no visible support structures – they seem to stick straight out of the cliff face.
If the gravity-defying look of the platforms isn’t off putting, their long doughnut-type shape means you can look straight down into the gorge below. To top off the experience, you also walk on a semi see-through mesh. The Skywalk provides an amazing sense of walking out over nothing. Depending on your point of view, it is an exhilarating or somewhat uneasy sensation.
The viewing platforms are only one part of the Kalbarri Skywalk precinct. It also features a lot of information on the traditional owners of the land, the Nanda People. Their words Kaju (sky) yatka (to walk) welcome visitors to the Skywalk. Interpretive signage and artwork describe their association with the land here.
There is also signage around the Skywalk about the areas geological and biological history. Keep an eye out for the sculptures of prehistoric arthropods whose fossilised tracks are in the park. The giant Eurypterid – part centipede, part scorpion – is definitely one creature you don’t want crawling across your picnic blanket. There are sculptures of the park’s modern animals too. You’ll also find shelters, toilets and a kiosk at the Skywalk.
The view from the Skywalk is stunning. You could spend an hour or more here taking in Murchison Gorge, the river and marvelling at the twin platforms themselves. But there is a lot more to this park that stretches from semi-arid land to the coast. Make sure you check out these other attractions in Kalbarri National Park.
This feature is only 5 minutes from the Kalbarri Skywalk. From the carpark, it is a one kilometre return walk to see it. And what do you see? This must be one of the more photographed sights in Western Australia. The window is a hole in the rock that frames a view of the Murchison River below.
In spring the walk to the window is almost as good as the window itself, there are wildflowers everywhere. At the window, you can sit in the gap and a get a picture of yourself blocking the view or get a nice picture through the window of the gorge. It is an interesting feature, there are no toilets or facilities here.
The Loop Walk
If you want to see more of the park than a rock framed portrait, the 9km Loop Walk is the way to go. It is not for the fainthearted. This is a level 4 walk that takes you over uneven, rocky and sandy surfaces. The undulating walk takes you down to the river then you follow its meandering course back up to Natures Window.
Temperatures in the gorge can reach 50 degrees in summer so it is best to do the hike from May to October when it is cooler. You will still need plenty of water. Your reward though is some great scenery. You’ll see the layers of coloured sandstone and get some up close views of the river. Allow 3-5 hours to complete the walk.
The Z Bend area consists of the Lookout and River Trail walk, carpark, toilet facilities and barbecue area. From the carpark, it is a 600m walk to the Lookout where you’ll see the river at its winding best as it snakes its way through the sandstone gorge. If you want a closer look, there is the demanding Z Bend River Trail.
The 2.6km level 4 return Z Bend River trail is short but demanding. It includes ladder climbs and scrambling over rocks and as you can imagine, the climb back out isn’t any easier! If you are up for the adventure, you’ll be rewarded with a swim at the bottom and the chance to spot wildflowers. This is another hike best done in cooler months or early in the day.
If you want an even more strenuous challenge, the Four Ways (Idiggada Yina) track also starts at Z Bend. It is a grade 4 6km return hike/climb to the bottom of the gorge.
Fabulous lookout this. Located near the entrance of the park, the short drive to the top of Meanarra Hill will give you panoramic views of the Murchison River and Kalbarri. There is lots of parking and the walk to the main lookout is on a paved path. It is only a couple of hundred metres from the car park. Between the path and the lookout is the start of the 1.5km Mallefowl trail loop. It is a fairly easy walk through the bush. Keep an eye out for birds and in spring there are plenty of wildflowers to see.
Hawks Head Lookout + Ross Graham Lookout
Located in the south east corner of the park, these two lookouts are only a few minutes from one another. They are both accessible by 2WD and offer more great views of the gorge and river. The Hawks Head lookout is only a short distance from the carpark and is wheelchair friendly. There are great views of the gorge at the viewing platform.
There are more views at the Ross Graham lookout and here you can also do the Ross Graham River walk. The 700 metre, level 3 hike gives you access to the water for a swim or launching a kayak. If 700m is about 37 kilometres too short for you, the lookout is also the start of difficult, multi day 38 kilometre River Gorge hike. The trail goes from the lookout to the Loop near Natures Window.
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Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs
A unique aspect of Kalbarri National Park is that it has rugged inland and coastal attractions. The southwest corner of the park forms the Kalbarri Coast section. It is an area of 100 meter high sea cliffs, colourful layered rock, eagles and marine life. It is quite a contrast to the river gorges further in the park. Unlike the inland gorge sites, there are no park entry fees needed to visit the coastal section.
There are half a dozen stops you can make on the scenic drive along the Kalbarri Coast. Sites include the rust red rocks at Red Bluff and nearby Red Bluff Beach to the prehistoric walking trail at Rainbow Valley and Mushroom Rock. You can drive and do easy walks to all the sites along the coast. But, if you want to be a bit more active, try the Birgurda Trail.
- Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs Sunset Cruise – Head out through the Murchison River mouth & cruise along the Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs and get up close to Jacques Point, Red Bluff, Mushroom Rock, Rainbow Valley, Pot Alley and Eagle Gorge. Watch the sun dip into the ocean and the rocks take on the colour of fire
- Kalbarri Whale Watching Cruise – Humpback Whale & Southern Right Whale migrate past the Kalbarri cliffs. These majestic creatures play, frolic & bask in the pristine waters of Gantheaume Bay on their migratory route along the West Australian coastline. Get close to these gentle giants along the coast
The 8 kilometre one way trail runs between Eagle Gorge and Natural Bridge and past Shellhouse Grandstand and Island Rock. If you walk the trail at dawn or dusk, you might spot the euros or ‘small kangaroos’ in the heathland that the track is named after in the local Nanda language.
Some of the path is on a constructed boardwalk. The rest on a dirt path. It undulates a bit, but the views of the cliffs and water and wildlife are more than enough to distract you from any effort required. There are lookouts at all the major attractions. They provide stunning views of the Great Ocean Road-like features at Natural Bridge and Island Rock.
They’re also good for spotting wildlife. Keep an eye out for the wedge tail eagles that nest at Eagle Gorge. If you like whale watching, the Birgurda Trail offers lots of spectacular vantage points. We spotted a humpback tail slapping from the lookout at Natural Bridge.
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