Tucked away in Western Australia’s Kalbarri National Park, Z Bend is fittingly named after the tight bends carved into the sandstone gorge, making way for Murchison River. Grab your swimmers and bushwalking gear and enjoy the gorgeous landscape.
We acknowledge that this adventure is located on Nhanta Nation, the traditional Country of the Nhanta people who have occupied and cared for this land for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
- Breathtaking views from Z Bend lookout
- Swimming in a freshwater river surrounded by cliffs
- Hiking through a sandstone gorge
Where’s Z Bend anyway?
We hiked through Z Bend on a recent road trip from Perth up to Exmouth, and honestly, I was gobsmacked at how amazing the scenery is out here. The sheer sandstone cliffs have you in awe and really make you wonder how on earth the landscape ever formed like this.
You can find Z Bend nestled in Kalbarri National Park, around 6.5 hours north of Perth. It’s a perfect spot to explore if you’ve only got a few hours to kill.
Z Bend Lookout
This easy 1.2km return walk will lead you to a spectacular lookout of the gorge from above. It’s a great spot to take photos, and if you look down, you might see hikers down at the Murchison River on the Z Bend River Trail.
Please Note! WA Parks and Wildlife Service warns that temperatures in Kalbarri can be extreme in the summer months. They recommended tackling these hikes in the cooler months (May to October).
Read more: How To Hike in Hot Weather
Z Bend River Trail
For those wanting a little bit more out of their Kalbarri adventure (sweats included), you can continue onto the Z Bend River Trail from the Z Bend Lookout. This 2.6km moderately steep return trail takes you down into the gorge.
Wearing shoes with good grip is recommended for this one, as a lot of the time you’ll be climbing down large rocks and stairs to get down to the river.
The fresh flowing Murchison River provides a choice spot for a refreshing dip and don’t forget to look up to the top of the cliffs to spy the lookout you were just standing at.
The rocks by the river also made a great spot for a picnic, so why not pair your swim with a bite to eat?
Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes
The climb back to the car park will have you working up a sweat, so be sure to stop, rest and look up at the surrounding trees to spot the area’s wild birds.
- Sturdy shoes
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
Park Entry Fees
As with a lot of the national parks in Western Australia, the park entry fee for Kalbarri National Park is $15 per vehicle.
How To Get There
6.5 hour’s drive from Perth.
From Kalbarri Road, follow the signs for Z Bend, which are clearly marked and will take you to the Z Bend car park which has toilet facilities and plenty of spaces for your vehicle.
The Z Bend River Trail can get a little strenuous, especially on the steep climb down and back up the rocks. When preparing for a swim in the Murchison River, be aware that the rocks can get a little slippery when getting in and out of the water.
Duration / Distance Covered
Around 2.5 hours, including swim time and sitting by the river for lunch / Lookout: 1.2km return / Gorge: 2.6km return