From the dazzling area of Shark Bay and Denham we continue on to the red earth of Kalbarri National Park. It takes about four hours and we base ourselves at Murchison Station. The sight of the wildflowers and mountains as we drive in gives us a taste of what’s to come.
Best of both Worlds
The mountains or the Sea. Which do you prefer? In Kalbarri, West Australia, you have the best of both worlds at your doorstep. There’s spectacular coastal cliffs to the south towering above the ridiculously blue Indian ocean and the Murchison River Gorge to the east, with red earth rock formations as old as 400 million years.
With the sun shining we hit the coast. But first we drive into town and buy lunch at the local bakery. We’re keen to spend a few dollars and support this small friendly community that was severely impacted by Cyclone Seroja earlier this year.
In April 2021 Cyclone Seroja tore through Kalbarri and around town there’s still plenty of evidence of the destruction. But there’s also a real sense of resilience.
Out of town are lookouts and trails which seem barely affected by the winds of the past. There are stunningly high boardwalks and spectacular views over the ocean and we look out over towering cliffs that plummet down to the waves 100 metres below.
You can walk as little as one kilometre to the Red Bluff lookout, or to the popular Mushroom Rock or as far as the 16km return Bigurda Trail.
My favourite trail was the 1.2km boardwalk linking the Natural Bridge to Island Rock. Once part of the shoreline, Island Rock now stands as a solitary sea stack against the pounding ocean waves.
The drive to the inland gorges is almost as colourful as the walks themselves. It’s late Spring and wildflowers are everywhere. I feel as though we’re driving through a garden oasis. Poor Doug got used to me calling out suddenly “stop the car” so I could jump out and take “another flower pic”! But more on that in another post.
We start our early morning exploration with a visit to the Skywalk. And wow, it’s thrilling as we walk along two cantilevered viewing platforms that hang in mid air 100 metres above the gorge.
“Walk to Sky”
On the Skywalk we’re literally floating on air.
My teensy fear of heights kicks in momentarily as I look waaay down and see fallen hats blown away by the wind. I hold mine on tight and the wonkiness eventually passes as the awe sets in. The views are breathtaking and supersede any nerves.
Around the Skywalk Experience several local indigenous artists have created interpretative artwork, including the Beemarra serpent, central to the dreaming story of the Nanda people, sandblasted into the walk path to guide visitors.
The whole Skywalk is an incredible construction which is made of 117 tonnes of weathering steel. This is a colossal lookout that not even Mother Nature could bend in her fury. Over 1000 tonnes of sandstone was excavated during construction and then reused to create the surrounding tiered landscape. And what a landscape it is!
Not far away is Nature’s Window. How’s this for a natural looking frame for a photograph? The picturesque walking trail which follows high above the river leads to one of Kalbarri’s most iconic natural attractions. It’s a place that everyone stops at. I’m sure you can see why.
Nature’s Window marks the beginning and end of The Loop, an 8km walking trail. After all our walking in Karijini we opt to give this big walk a miss but the views from Nature’s ultimate frame are still awe inspiring.
We walk to the Z lookout and marvel at the breath taking views below. Nature has an incredible ability to carve landscapes into a coloured palette and it’s a joy, even on a cloudy day, to walk amongst it. The next day we leave the red earth behind and continue towards Geraldton. But the colours are only getting bolder. Along the way we visit one of the most surreal sights in the area.
Hutt Lagoon is like something out of a children’s fairy tale book. It’s the colour of bubble gum, fairy floss or strawberry ice cream, depending on the time of day and the sky above … it looks like someone’s picked up a pink crayon and gone a bit colour crazy!
Why is it pink?
“Hutt Lagoon boasts a pink hue created by the presence of carotenoid-producing algae, Dunaliella salina, which is a source of beta-carotene; a food-colouring agent; and a source of Vitamin A.”
Maybe it’s also tinged with a little bit of magic.
The closest town is Port Gregory with a caravan park located close by. It’s tempting to stay a night but being school holidays it’s still busy and we’re keen to get to Geraldton so we continue. But not before we stop again. We simply can’t go past without a couple more photos and mucking around like big kids in a pink playground.
So now we’re in Geraldton, where we’ve settled in for the past week and beyond. We’ve been both simultaneously busy and done very little. We’re still there now. And big changes are afoot.
Hope this post brings some joy into your day. Wherever you are in the world, I hope your heart is at peace. Let nature guide you and show you her true colours, love, healing, inner strength and freedom.
Sending you all love and light as our road trip and journey continues.