Paddle through gorges, surf deserted coastlines, and hike to your heart’s content at Wurdimarlu / Kalbarri National Park – a Western Australian icon (just like Sea to Summit).

We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Nanda-Saltwater people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Western Australia, Sea to Summit, and Me

My partner Anthony and I were hanging out for a road trip, so with Perth winter cooling our heels, we set off for Wurdimarlu / Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia – six hours north of Perth – to seek some northern rays. 

Comfort and warmth are high on my list of car camping must-haves. With a few years of camping under my belt, I’ve worked my way through more mattresses than that fairy tale princess. Not to mention sleeping bags!

Knowing how cold we’d be overnight (yes, even in WA!), we opted for the highest-quality lightweight Western Australia-born and bred Sea to Summit sleep systems (try saying that three times fast). 

Sea to Summit is built for all adventures, in fact, the name was born out of one of the toughest adventures you can imagine – a sea-to-summit ascent of Mt Everest, for which founder Roland Tyson made the gear! But it always feels extra special when you get to run the wide range of gear through its paces on West Aussie soil (or rock, as it may be).

Like all West Aussies, the team at Sea to Summit are outdoors people and in love with the showstopping natural places we get to call home – Kalbarri National Park being one of them!

This is why they’re truly committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Sea to Summit innovates and creates products that last – adventure after adventure – and the team is constantly searching for new ways to lower the company’s footprint and reduce the impact of their products – without skimping on quality.

It’s this quality and innovation that have won Sea to Summit myriad awards, so it’s little wonder they’re an Aussie icon and our go-to when it comes to getting outside! So, let’s get out there.

Quick Overview

Wurdimarlu / Kalbarri, home to the Nanda-Saltwater People, is a small coastal town and gateway to the iconic Murchison River Gorge and Kalbarri National Park. Situated 575km north of Perth, a Coral Coast road trip is one well worth ticking off the list.

About Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia

Kalbarri National Park will surprise you. Originally built around fishing, like many coastal towns in Western Australia, Kalbarri now relies more on tourism than crayfish.

The town was hit by rogue Cyclone Seroja in April 2022, and the town is still recovering, so go gently!

As you approach Kalbarri, the towering Zuytdorp Cliffs along the coast offer a taste of what’s to come, but nothing really prepares you for the magnificence of the Murchison River Gorge. People come to hike, kayak, climb, abseil, fish, swim, surf, and explore. There’s no shortage of things to do here.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace

History of Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia

The Nanda-Saltwater people have inhabited the land from Wurdimarlu / Kalbarri, west to Willa Gulli and the mouth of the Bowes River, east to Northampton, and north to Tamala for over 60,000 years. There are 209 registered significant sites in Kalbarri National Park, and the local Nanda community work together to keep culture and heritage alive in the region.   

Lobster fishing was once the main source of employment in the area, however, numbers have halved with changes to fishing regulations and industry changes. Today 100,000 tourists visit Kalbarri every year.

Things to Do in Kalbarri National Park

  • Hike Murchison Gorge
  • Hike the coastal cliffs
  • Rock climb and boulder – steep sport and trad climbing. All rock climbers must register with the Climbers Association of Western Australia
  • Kayak or canoe Murchison Gorge – organised or self-guided
  • Visit the Skywalk and Nature’s Window – national park fees apply
  • Relax on the beach or surf
  • Visit the Pink Lake – a short drive to Port Gregory

Exploring Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia

Day 1 – Hiking and Canoeing Four Ways – Murchison River Gorge

Distance: 11km
Duration: 4.5 hours

Our first full day started early with a hiking/canoeing trek up the Murchison River from the marked Four Ways Hiking Trail with Kalbarri Adventure Tours. Four Ways is one of the most enticing parts of the gorge and is popular with rock climbers due to its challenging rock formations.



The sun was shining and the sky a perfect blue as our intrepid guide Helen swung the 4WD bus we were travelling in into a shrub-covered track for some serious 4WDing! On arrival, the five of us piled out and made quick intros.

A steep track into Four Ways took us down to the green river and into the cathedral of candy-striped cliff faces and trees clinging to surfaces like rock climbers. From there, we hiked another 2km upstream to the canoes.

Helen’s lived in Kalbarri for 20 years and knows the park intimately. She pointed out wildflowers and bush tucker plants and told us tales of feral pigs and goats.

Once in our canoes, we pushed off into the cool green water, reflections so perfect I wanted to dive into that other world below.



Then we were surprised by rocks emerging like whales beneath us, scraping the bottom of our craft. We were thankful for the Sea to Summit dry bags that kept our camera equipment safe when we almost tipped ourselves out!



It was so peaceful, with the occasional sounds of birds and our paddles dipping. We paddled 2km upstream before turning around and meandering back to base for lunch and a swim. After lunch, we made like goats and scaled the rock face to the bus and back to camp.


Mushroom Rock

Distance: 3km
Duration: 1 hour

That evening, we decided on a coastal sunset hike. Mushroom Rock Walk, a 3km loop, is a geologist’s dream, with rock formations on steroids. There are rocks with spots, rocks with stripes, rocks with pipes and sandy surfaces. Plus, the sunset was magnificent – shame we forgot our beers!

Basecamp: Murchison House Station – Setting Up Our Sea to Summit Home

We were lucky to nab a campsite at Murchison House Station, a short drive out of Kalbarri. Being school holidays, camping was at a premium. Murchison House Station is a private station where sheep and cattle used to roam. The owners now make their living by rounding up the feral goats and providing camping for tourists.



Our multi-award-winning Sea to Summit Telos TR2 Lightweight Tent was a breeze to put up. The Tension Ridge pole system is ingenious and gave us ample space and headroom across the whole tent, not confined to the centre. It also allows for a range of camping configurations, adaptable to whatever combination of weather and location you’re juggling. Pretty clever!

Plus, the freestanding structure meant we could move it around the campsite to find the most picturesque outlook before tapping in the pegs and peering out through the extra tall doors – riverside views, here we come!

We rolled out our Comfort Plus Self-Inflating sleeping mats, which offer juuust the right balance of thickness (8cm!), warmth (all season!), and packability (970g!) for car camping. Plus the incredibly useful self-inflating multi-valve system means the mats started blowing up themselves while we kicked back on the river bank. 

A few full breaths were all it took to inflate our matching Aeros Premium Pillows, which made all the difference between an OK and a great night’s sleep (meaning more energy for adventures tomorrow!). Especially when we secured them into place with Sea to Summit’s unique pillow lock system which secured the pillows on the mats and prevented us from chasing them around all night. *Chefs kiss*

Finally, we fluffed up our 650+ loft ultra-dry down Trek and Journey (made specifically for the ladies) sleeping bags. Both bags offer more wiggle room than a slim mummy-shaped bag but hold the warmth more than a standard rectangular bag (especially with the added draft tube at the neck that helps keep out cold winds on winter trips like this). If you really needed to keep snug, you could even zip the two together using the seamless zip coupling feature. Did someone say sleepover?

When it came time to call it a night, we were chuffed to zip ourselves up in our spacious and well-ventilated Telos TR tent, pull our toasty warm sleeping bags up to our chins, and settle in for a well-supported snooze on our mats. Is there anything better than drifting off to the sounds of the bush?

Day 2 – Hiking The Loop, Nature’s Window, & The Skywalk

Distance: 10km
Duration: 3.5 hours

Rising at 7:30am to make a quick espresso, we thought we might be late to the Skywalk and Nature’s Window, as we wanted to beat the tour buses. Forcing our heads off those Aeros Premium Pillows took longer than anticipated! Luckily, our Sea to Summit sleep systems ensured we were well-rested for another day of adventures!



Despite our late rising, we surprisingly had the Skywalk to ourselves for 20 minutes. The Kalbarri Skywalk juts out an impressive 25m past the cliff edge, providing you with a view 100m above the incredible reds and greens of the gorge. Definitely worth a visit – just get there early!

We then drove across to the beginning of The Loop, a 9km Grade 4 hike. Once again, hardly anyone at ‘Insta Heaven’ AKA Nature’s Window, an iconic shot that everyone wants. We snapped our pics before heading onto the track.

The weather gods had smiled upon us. Sun, blue sky, and 20°C – perfect. We’d walked this hike before and knew what to expect – a well-marked path with a steep decline, areas of river sand, and some rocky cliffs to shimmy along. Water crossings may be necessary when water is high. Our wildlife sightings included Black swans, Eurasian coots, and a heap of parrots – no mammals unfortunately besides an imaginary goat.

We arrived back at Nature’s Window three hours later to find queues of tourists posing in a range of cheesy poses for photos. I wanted to stay and document this, but lunch was calling.



We drove straight into town and had a late seafood lunch at Finlay’s – a Kalbarri institution. Casual dining in a rustic setting, and they even brew their own beer. We stuffed ourselves so full of seafood we didn’t need to eat dinner that night, so headed back to camp to light the fire, brew up some tea, and kick back.

Day 3 – Exploring Ross Graham River Trail, Z-Bend River Trail & Malleefowl Trail

Distance: 5.5km
Duration: 2 hours

This day, we decided to take on several short trails as the previous two days were big energy expenders.

Ross Graham River Trail is where the epic 38km Murchison River Gorge multi-day hike starts. Rangers recommend walking in groups of five experienced hikers to complete this hike safely, in which steep cliffs and river crossings are a given and food and water drops are needed.

The Ross Graham River Trail is the closest track to the river.



The water was running faster here, so we stopped for a while before heading to Z-Bend River Trail for another steep descent into the gorge. This 2.6km return Grade 4 hike comes with loose rocks and a ladder climb but is well worth the effort.

Next stop, a gentle circuit – Malleefowl Walk – to check out the panoramic views. We finally saw a herd of real goats down below, which I love as we had them when I was growing up, but I know how destructive they can be in delicate ecosystems.

After just enough exploring, we returned to camp to fry up some steaks in the non-stick AlphaPan and cook potatoes and greens using our Sea to Summit X SET31 cook and dine system. Anthony (a bit of a MasterChef around camp) declared himself a fan of the AlphaPan and the 2.8L X-Pot.

The lightweight design of the pan and collapsible nature of the pot would be just as handy on a lightweight adventure in the backcountry as they were for use while car camping.

Day 4 – Blue Holes Beach & Home

We rose with the sun to find everything covered in dew. We had breakfast and a brew before packing up all our Sea to Summit lightweight gear and doing a quick wash of our dishes in the freestanding 10L kitchen sink – this is coming with me on every trip from now on! I must say I was impressed that everything actually went back into its bags – even the kitchen sink!

Then we headed through town to visit Blue Holes Beach. The surf was pumping, and surfers stood gazing out to sea as two-metre waves dumped onto the reef – only the brave paddled out.



We grabbed another coffee for the road and settled in for the six-hour drive back to Perth.

Here’s cheers to an unforgettable Western Australian adventure and the sustainably-made and innovative Sea to Summit gear that took our experience to the next level!

How to Get to Kalbarri National Park

If you plan a trip to Kalbarri from anywhere else in Australia, you’ll most likely fly into Perth, although regional airlines also fly into Geraldton, 160km south of Kalbarri.

By Car

From Perth, the drive is 575km and six hours long, however, driving it’s probably your best option – especially if you prefer to be self-sufficient. It’s possible to hire a car from Perth or Geraldton.

By Bus

The Transwa bus departs from the East Perth terminal at 8:30am and gets into Kalbarri late afternoon.

There are organised tour buses to take you to Murchison River Gorge (35km from town).

By Air

There are no commercial flights into Kalbarri, but you can charter a small plane (max seven passengers) from Jandakot in Perth.

Where to Stay at Kalbarri National Park

Kalbarri town is spoilt for accommodation choices – from self-contained holiday homes to bush camping. However, there’s no camping permitted within Kalbarri National Park, unless you’re planning a multi-day hike and have informed the rangers beforehand.

Instead, Murchison House Station offers riverbank camping at the homestead, or you can head out onto the 350,000 acres and camp freestyle – but this requires a 4WD and a compressor to reinflate your tyres.

Read more: How To 4WD For Beginners



Firewood can be purchased from the homestead, and there’s a rustic camp kitchen as well as a shower/toilet block for riverside campers. If you’re going bush, you must take everything with you and leave no trace.

The town of Kalbarri also has several campgrounds if you’d prefer to camp closer to town.

Where to Eat at Kalbarri National Park

The Pelican Cafe does a fine latte, and the Kalbarri Motor Hotel is the place for a good pub feed. If it’s seafood you’re after, Finlay’s is the place. 

If you’re camping bush, you can buy up big from the town’s small but well-stocked IGA supermarket.

Essential Gear for a Camping Trip to Kalbarri National Park

Tips for Visiting Kalbarri National Park

  • Always carry water – the river is tidal and salty
  • Temperature can be extreme – start your hikes early in summer as entry to the Loop Trail closes at 7am
  • Book campsites and accommodation in advance, especially during school holidays
  • Register any climbs with Climbers Association of WA or off-track hikes with the Kalbarri Park Headquarters
  • Carry a compressor if you’re 4WDing
  • Watch out for wildlife on the roadside – echidnas, emus, goats, and kangaroos are present
  • Kalbarri National Park has visitor fees that are payable on entry. Don’t forget to display your ticket on your dash

FAQs Kalbarri National Park

Where is Kalbarri National Park located?

The Kalbarri National Park is 575km north of Perth and extends from the Zuytdorp Cliffs by the ocean to the Murchison Gorge in Kalbarri.

How do I get to Kalbarri National Park?

To reach Kalbarri National Park, driving is probably your best option, but you can also catch the Transwa bus from Perth or hire a charter flight.

Is Kalbarri National Park free?

There are park fees to enter Kalbarri National Park. Day passes and longer can be purchased from the Rangers Headquarters upon entry

What time of the year is best for visiting Kalbarri National Park?

Kalbarri is subject to extreme temperatures in summer. If you plan to hike, you’ll get the most out of your trip in the cooler months from June to November. Summer’s not ideal for hiking, but it can be amazing on the beach. From March to May the weather begins to cool again.

How many days should I spend in Kalbarri?

As long as you wish! Many people visit Kalbarri anywhere from two days to a week.

Can you swim at Kalbarri National Park?

Yes – there are swimming beaches (the inlet and Blue Holes), and you can swim in Murchison Gorge.

Do you need a 4WD at Kalbarri National Park?

Not in the park itself, but if you’re bush camping at Murchison House Station, you’ll need a 4WD to go off-road.