Kalbarri is a gem of the West, but it does have one small issue… it’s a 6-hour drive north of Perth.
So, it’s not a good choice for a full-day trip… But it’s perfect for a road trip!
There’s so much to see between Perth and Kalbarri, that it’s easy for FOMO to creep in when choosing where to stop. But that’s what this itinerary is for! We have your back showing the BEST spots to visit.
With this 5-day road trip plan, you’ll hit all the major spots between Perth and Kalbarri, including:
- Lancelin Sand Dunes
- The Pinnacles
- Jurien Bay
- Hutt Lagoon (Pink Lake)
- Coastal Cliffs of Kalbarri
- The Skywalk, Nature’s Window, and the Z Bend
We included 3 suggestions on where to stay for each day, too. You’ll also have an interactive map you can download to make planning much easier!
Yet, if it sounds like too much effort, don’t worry. We left a few recommendations of top-notch tours that will take you road-tripping to some of these places and beyond.
Table of Contents
First of all – when are you going to visit Kalbarri?
This is the first thing you have to consider before planning your Perth to Kalbarri road trip, as some activities may be restricted during certain times of the year.
There’s no bad time to explore the diverse landscapes of Kalbarri, but the period from April to October often takes the cake.
Temperatures are excellent during this time, ranging from 20-30 °C. It’s the perfect weather for hiking, sightseeing, and soaking in the panoramic views of the outback!
Wildflower season is from July to October, adding an explosion of colour to this beautiful place.
The downside is that the best time to visit Kalbarri is also around school holidays, which often means tonnes of crowds. If you visit during those months, make sure to book any accommodation and tours ahead of time.
That said, if you want to visit during summer (December to February), bring extra water and be very careful. Kalbarri is famous for its dangerously high temperatures and some hikes may not be accessible.
How will you get there – by self-driving or by bus?
The road from Perth to Kalbarri is stunning, as you drive through the Brand Highway and the Indian Ocean Drive. The latter is a coastal highway with mindblowing views of the ocean on one side, and Aussie landscapes on the other!
Driving from Perth to Kalbarri generally takes about 6-7 hours, and there’s plenty to see along the way. No wonder it makes for the perfect road trip.
We prefer self-driving, as it gives you the flexibility to set your itinerary and pace. You can easily rent a car in Perth for the journey.
Renting a motorhome is one of the best ways to get to and stay in Kalbarri. There are plenty of Caravan Parks for good prices in Kalbarri. Use the link below for an exclusive Star RV discount for Salt and Charcoal readers.
Use the link below to search for the cheapest car rentals in Perth:
You don’t need a 4WD for Kalbarri unless you want to go camping in remote areas. You can’t bring your caravan into the National Park viewing areas as some roads are tight. You can leave them in town.
For those who prefer public transportation, check out Transwa.
At the moment of writing, each trip costs around $90 (AUD) and takes 8-9 hours to go from Perth to Kalbarri. You can purchase the tickets online.
A road trip from Perth to Kalbarri via coach is a great choice for those on a budget who don’t want to drive or spend money on fuel. The downside is having to plan your trip carefully to not miss any bus.
The most direct route is the N1 route. It goes from Perth to Kalbarri on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The return to Perth is on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Check the current timetables of Transwa here.
That said… If your budget allows, the best way to live the road trip experience without driving yourself is by booking a multi-day tour.
Most include transportation, accommodation, tours, and a few meals. We included our favourite road-trip tours from Perth to Kalbarri further down!
You can also fly from Perth to Kalbarri (sort of)
If the idea of sitting in a car for +6 hours makes your bum hurt, you can always fly there.
The nearest airport is in Geraldton, with daily flights from Perth. Flights take 1 hour, and driving from Geraldton to Kalbarri is 2 hours. You can either rent a car at the airport or hire a taxi.
Now that you know when you want to visit and how you’re going to get to Kalbarri, it’s time for the good stuff – your road trip itinerary!
Interactive map for this Perth to Kalbarri Road Trip itinerary
This map has the exact route per day, the restaurant recommendations mentioned below, and spots to check out!
If you want to see the stops on any given day, just toggle it on/off:
Note: Star the map to add it to your Google Maps! Here’s how
Day 1: Perth to Jurien Bay via Lancelin and Cervantes
- Distance covered: 247km
- Total driving time: 3 hours
Wake up early and start your journey from Perth, driving north along the Indian Ocean Drive.
After driving for about 1 hour, make your first pitstop in the serene town of Lancelin to check out its sand dunes!
Lancelin Sand Dunes
Lancelin is renowned for its vast, ivory sand dunes – the largest in Western Australia. Winds change their shapes constantly, it’s hypnotising.
And, it’s the best spot to start your trip. Fuel up with adrenaline by renting a sandboard in town and hitting the dunes.
Sandboarding is extremely fun, plus falling from the board is half the fun! The sand provides the softest landing.
That’s not the only thing to do here, though. If adrenaline sports aren’t your thing, you can explore the dunes on foot, check out the jetty, or catch an early lunch at Endeavour Tavern.
Your next stop is 50 minutes north – the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park.
This place feels like walking in a sci-fi movie. The landscape is filled with thousands of limestone pillars of varying sizes (up to 3.5 metres!) as if they’re trying to pierce the sky!
There’s a 4.5km driving trail you can do to explore the area comfortably. Or if you’re up for it, try one of the walking trails. For more info, check out our full guide to the Pinnacles Desert.
After exploring this otherworldly spot, it’s time for the final drive of the day.
Just 30 minutes north of The Pinnacles sits this beautiful coastal town. Jurien Bay is famous for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and is home to the endangered Australian sea lions.
It’s the perfect place to unwind after your day of adventure. Treat yourself to a seafood dinner (the crayfish here is legendary), settle into your accommodation, and recharge for your next day!
- Jurien Bay Tourist Park. This caravan park is right next to the beach and at the heart of Jurien Bay. It has powered and unpowered sites, as well as cabins.
- Jurien Bay Hotel. Also near the beach, this hotel has a great value for money. They have room options for 2, 3, and 4 people.
- Ocean Beach Chalet. This 3-star chalet sleeps up to 4 people, includes all amenities, and it’s within a short walking distance to all the good spots of Jurien Bay.
Day 2: Jurien Bay to Geraldton
- Distance covered: 196km
- Total driving time: 2 hours
There are many things to do in Jurien Bay, but if you have a few extra hours, book a tour to swim with the local seals! It’s a beautiful experience for children and adults alike.
Continue your trip by driving 1.5-2 hours north, to Dongara.
We recommend exploring this town in two ways – walking the Dongara Heritage Trail and indulging in its seafood scene.
The Dongara Heritage Trail takes you through different spots in town to learn about its history. It showcases 28 sites including the old mill, Moreton Terrace and Port Jackson Figs. Here’s the map.
As for their seafood scene… Dongara is also referred to as the “Rock Lobster capital of Australia”.
It would be a sin not to grab lunch here! Southerly’s Harbour View is famous for serving the local lobster, but their menu has options for every taste.
Post lunch, continue your journey driving 45 minutes north to Geraldton.
If you visit during wildflower season, be prepared – this place is excellent for wildflower spotting! But if not, don’t worry, there’s plenty to do in Geraldton.
Apart from the beaches, try to check out some of these spots before settling in your accommodation:
- The HMAS Sydney II Memorial, a beautiful monument dedicated to the sailors who lost their lives during World War II.
- The Point Moore Lighthouse. This iconic red-and-white-striped lighthouse has been guiding mariners since 1878. It’s a 10-minute drive from the memorial.
- The Esplanade for a 360° view of the bay and a mindblowing sunset.
- Belair Gardens Caravan Park. This caravan park has a privileged location, practically next to Point Moore Lighthouse. It has something for everyone – campsites, powered and unpowered sites, and cabins that sleep up to 7 people.
- Hospitality Geraldton. If you want to stay within walking distance from the city centre, look no further. This family-friendly, 3-star hotel offers rooms for 2, 3, and 4 people.
- BIG4 Sunset Beach Holiday Park. This beachfront caravan park is in the Sunset Beach suburb of Geraldton, a 10-minute drive north from the centre of town. It has camping sites, caravan sites, and cabins!
Day 3: Geraldton to Kalbarri
- Distance covered: 170km
- Total driving time: 2 hours
Start your day at one of Geraldton’s excellent cafés for breakfast (we recommend Dôme Café). Get some fulfilling snacks too – if you follow this itinerary, you’ll arrive at Kalbarri town well after lunchtime.
Once that’s done, continue your journey to the unique Hutt Lagoon!
Note: The drive will take you through Northampton. This town is included on day 5 of the itinerary, as you return from Kalbarri to Perth, but you can check it out during this day if you want.
Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon)
After driving for 1 hour via George Grey Drive and Port Gregory Road, you’ll arrive at Hutt Lagoon, commonly known as Pink Lake.
The extraordinary pink hue of the lake is caused by a natural (and harmless) algae rich in beta-carotene, giving a unique colour to these hypersaline waters.
Practically any photo you take will look as if it was photoshopped right off the bat!
Note: The pink hues range from salmon to bubblegum to lavender, and change according to the time of day and the season of your visit. There are also a few things to know before getting in the water – we discuss all that in this guide to the Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon).
Coastal Cliffs of Kalbarri
Your Kalbarri adventure officially begins! After a 30-minute drive north, you’ll get to the spectacular Coastal Cliffs of Kalbarri.
These are a series of dramatic sea cliffs with lookouts that plunge more than 100 meters into the ocean below. The views are breathtaking, with tonnes of opportunities for walking, wildlife spotting, and photography.
As you’ll arrive from the south, we recommend checking the lookouts in this order:
- Island Rock and Natural Bridge
- Eagle Gorge lookout
- Pot Alley
- Rainbow Valley
- Mushroom Rock
- Red Bluff
All these spots have walking trails for further exploration, so open up your snacks to fuel up while you check them!
It’s a 10-minute drive to Kalbarri town, where you can get a nice meal – Finlay’s Kalbarri is a great option. Then, check into your accommodation, and explore the town (if you have energy left!).
There are many things to do in Kalbarri, but we’d recommend spending the rest of your evening exploring the town – like visiting Chinaman’s Beach or checking out Blue Holes
For a truly unique perspective of the coastal cliffs, we recommend this sunset cruise tour. It’s a rare opportunity to enjoy the views from the sea, and the price is a bargain. Plus, if you visit during whale season, you may see them!
Where to stay in Kalbarri?
There’s no shortage of accommodation options in Kalbarri – from caravan parks to luxury stays and everything in between.
There are so many, we reviewed 15 Kalbarri accommodations in this article. There, we share a few things to consider before choosing your stay, our favourite stays for families, big groups, and even free camping options nearby.
Here’s a summary of our top choices:
- Best overall – Kalbarri Seafront Villas. These villas are in the heart of town, a 5-minute walk from Kalbarri Visitor Centre, and practically in front of the pelican feeding point.
- Best value for money – Riverview Holiday Apartments. Also called “Kalbarri Beach Resort”, this is a blend between an apartment complex and a hotel. It’s the best option if you’re on a budget.
- Best caravan park – Kalbarri Red Bluff Tourist Park. It’s a 5-minute drive from town and you’ll be right on the coastal cliffs… Can’t beat that location!
Can I camp in Kalbarri National Park?
No, you can’t camp in Kalbarri National Park. But there are several campgrounds in town and a few free campsites near Kalbarri if you don’t mind the drive.
Day 4: Kalbarri National Park
Today, you’ll see all that Kalbarri is famous for!
Kalbarri National Park is a short 25-minute drive inland from Kalbarri town. You have to pay a small fee to enter.
Bring comfortable shoes, pack a lunch, and plenty of water, as there is quite a bit to see:
Start your day by visiting Nature’s Window, an iconic rock formation framing a breathtaking view of the Murchison River.
This is the starting point of the famous Loop Trail, a 9-km, class 4 hike that takes you through the gorges. The average hiker takes about 2.5 hours to finish it.
Rangers close access to this hike after 7 am on hot days, so most people can finish it around 10 am (before it gets too hot).
Next, make your way to the Z Bend, an approximately 15-minute drive from Nature’s Window. Here, you’ll look at a rare geological feature of the Murchison River, where it curves like a Z shape… it’s truly impressive.
And if you’re up for an adventure, go down the Z Bend River Trail. This is a 2.6km return hike where you descend into the heart of the gorge, experiencing its majesty up close.
Be prepared, though – the trail can be challenging with rocks, steep ladder climbs and tight passages.
Finally, head to the Kalbarri Skywalk. The twin cantilevered platforms are 100 metres above the Murchison River Gorge, offering mindblowing views of the area.
Sit by the picnic areas and enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in Western Australia.
This is truly one of the gems of Western Australia. With two huge hanging platforms over the Murchison River. It is a mesmerising view.
For an experience you will never forget. Go to the sky bridge during sunset and stay long enough for the stars to come out.
Day 5: Kalbarri to Perth via Inland Route
- Distance covered: 564km
- Total driving time: 6 hours
After grabbing a nice breakfast, wave goodbye to Kalbarri and head south on the North West Coastal Highway, or State Highway 1.
This road will give you a different perspective of Western Australia’s landscapes, compared to the coastal journey.
If you visit between June to November, you’ll be in for a treat. The landscape will burst into colour as wildflowers bloom!
We recommend stopping in these towns to break your trip and enjoy another side of Western Australia:
After driving south for a bit over 1 hour, you’ll arrive at your first stop, the historical town of Northampton.
This is one of the oldest settlements in Western Australia. Stroll around the charming town centre and check out the beautiful Church of Our Lady in Ara Coeli.
Next, you’ll drive south, through the region of Coorow. If it’s wildflower season, it’s worth stopping to see the Coorow Farm.
It’s just 1 kilometre from Coorow’s town centre and is one of the best places in WA to enjoy the colours of that season!
1 hour south of Coorow sits Moora, an idyllic town surrounded by rolling hills and scenic pastures. It’s the perfect place for a lunch break, Jeanne d’Moore is a good option.
Bindoon and Chittering
Your final stretch of the journey takes you through the towns of Bindoon and Chittering. The landscape is dotted with vineyards and citrus orchards, making it an ideal place for a refreshing pit stop before arriving in Perth. It is also a very popular spot during the wildflower season.
FREE Perth to Kalbarri road trip map
As you can see, the itinerary above is jam-packed with many stops and activities. So, to make things easier, we created a “My Map” you can copy into your Google Maps.
It has the exact route per day, the restaurant recommendations mentioned, and spots to check out!
Just click the image below to see it. Once it opens, tap on the star to automatically save it to your own Google Maps:
What to pack for a Perth to Kalbarri road trip?
For a Perth to Kalbarri road trip, you should at least:
- Pack according to the weather. Western Australia and Kalbarri in particular can be extremely hot, especially during summer. Bring plenty of water, a good hat, sunblock, sturdy shoes for hiking, and swimwear.
- Bring food. Pack enough food for a few meals in case you can’t find a restaurant or a store.
- Carry a rubbish bag. Respect the environment and leave no trace!
Also, keep in mind that petrol stations can be few and far between in remote areas of Western Australia. Make sure to top up your fuel at every available opportunity.
Have more days? Add these spots to your road trip
For those with a few extra days, it’s 100% worth staying in Kalbarri for another day or two. This gives you plenty of time to explore the town, do a few hikes, and snorkel without rushing.
We created a list of +10 awesome tours in Kalbarri you can book during your visit! The stargazing tour from the Kalbarri Skywalk was life-changing.
Another option is adding a detour to any of these incredible spots:
- Shark Bay, a World Heritage Area with famous spots like Hamelin Pool and Monkey Mia. Depending on the places you visit, you’d have to drive 2-4 hours north of Kalbarri.
- Carnarvon, a beautiful coastal town that marks the beginning of the Ningaloo Reef. It’s 4.5 hours north of Kalbarri.
- Coral Bay, a small touristy town famous for its top-notch snorkelling and friendly manta rays. It’s a 7-hour drive north of Kalbarri.
- Exmouth, one of our favourite spots in Australia. There’s world-class surfing, snorkelling, and hikes. It’s 8 hours north of Kalbarri.
Tours for a hassle-free road trip from Perth to Kalbarri (and beyond)
For those who want the road trip experience without any of the planning and the hassle, dozens of 5-star tours take you on a road trip from Perth to Kalbarri.
These are the ones we recommend:
Best overall: 2-day Pink Lake and Kalbarri Tour
This intensive 2-day trip starts and ends in Perth. It will take you through most of the famous spots included in our itinerary:
- Lancelin sand dunes
- Pink Lake (twice!)
- Natural Bridge
- Nature’s Window
- Kalbarri Skywalk
- The Pinnacles
It includes accommodation, lunch, water, and entry fees for the national parks.
Best week trip: 7-day Round Trip
This tour will take you to the main spots of the itinerary and beyond! It’s perfect to enjoy this side of Western Australia without worrying about planning.
The itinerary includes spots such as:
- The Pinnacles Desert
- The Z Bend, Nature’s Window, the Skywalk
- Monkey Mia, Hamelin Pool
- Coral Bay
- Exmouth, Cape Range National Park, Turquoise Bay
Most meals are included, as well as transport and all accommodations. Plus optional activities like abseiling, snorkelling, and even whale shark tours!
Best one-way tour: 6-Day Trip From Perth To Exmouth
This tour starts in Perth and ends in Exmouth. It’s ideal if you want to stay a few more days in Exmouth, or even rent a car and drive your way back to Perth, checking out the spots at your own pace.
The itinerary includes:
- The Pinnacles, Geraldton, Pink Lake
- Kalbarri (Z Bend, Nature’s Window, the Skywalk)
- Monkey Mia, stromatolites at Hamelin Pool
- Coral Bay
- Exmouth, Cape Range National Park, Turquoise Bay
It includes all accommodations and most meals!
We can’t stress this enough – bring plenty of water! Kalbarri is a hot place, particularly during summer. Also, book any tours you’d like to do ahead of time.
Make sure that your vehicle is in top-notch condition before you set off on your journey. Pack all the necessary spare parts, like an extra tire and a jack.
Finally, keep in mind that some areas have poor signal coverage. Be safe and download the map to check it offline.
Did you know?
Western Australia is often described as the world’s largest wildflower showroom. With over 12,000 species, more than 60% of which are found nowhere else on Earth, the wildflower season is a truly remarkable spectacle.
Wildflower season is usually between late July and October. But depending on the rainfall, it could start as early as June.
Where should I stop between Perth and Kalbarri?
Between Perth and Kalbarri, you should stop at least in these places:
-Lancelin Sand Dunes
-Hutt Lagoon (Pink Lake)
These spots are excellent not only to stretch your legs but to explore some of the landscapes Western Australia is famous for!
How many days should you spend in Kalbarri?
You should spend at least 2 days in Kalbarri, as we show in the itinerary. You can hit the most famous places within that timeframe.
But if you can, we recommend spending 4-5 days just in Kalbarri. You’ll be able to fully enjoy the town, its beaches, and surroundings at a more leisurely pace.
How much does the Kalbarri Skywalk cost?
Kalbarri Skywalk is free to visit. However, it’s within Kalbarri National Park, which has an entry fee of $15 per car. This fee gives you access to the entire park, including the Skywalk, Nature’s Window, Z Bend and more.
The bottom line
This Perth to Kalbarri road trip itinerary takes you through an adventure along this corner of Western Australia. It’s jam-packed with tonnes of things to do and yet, there’s so much more to see!
We didn’t include the Kalbarri gorges, for example. They are within the national park and have many lookouts and hikes to explore them. It’s a must-do if you can spend an extra day in town!
Finally, there are a few incredible tours in Kalbarri to make your visit even more unforgettable. There are options for any taste, activity, and budget, check them out here!
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