Kalbarri is yet another place we had never heard of before leaving home. It’s a nice little holiday beach town on the coast about 6 hours north of Perth. The town itself isn’t anything particularly special but we were attracted there by an ad we saw for an abseiling tour in the nearby Kalbarri NP.
Our kids have always quite liked rock climbing and we had a great day rock climbing on real rock (as opposed to in a gym) when we were in Canada so I had promised them we’d find somewhere to go climbing on our trip. We tried a company in Karijini but they wouldn’t take young kids so when we saw the ad for Kalbarri Abseil I gave them a call and they were happy to take us. It wasn’t climbing but the kids hadn’t been abseiling much so we decided to give it a go.
We drove into Kalbarri through the national park stopping at a couple of look outs over the Murchison River Gorge. We have seen a lot of gorges on this trip and it’s fair to say the view of the gorge from Hawk’s Head and Ross Graham Lookouts is not high on our list of best gorges. We are getting very spoiled though.
We found a caravan park to stay in town and got to bed early in anticipation for abseiling at 7.30am the next morning. Col, our guide, picked us up in the morning and we were joined by two French travellers for the morning. We drove up to Z Bend Lookout in the national park which is anther lookout over the Murchison River Gorge.
After admiring the view Col led us down to the abseiling site, set up the ropes and gave us a quick introductory spiel before we could get into it.
I must admit I was a little nervous about how the kids would go when it came to actually having to walk backwards off the cliff. Col offered us a very short 4m cliff but after seeing Col demonstrate on the 25m cliff all Matthew said was ‘No, I’m doing that one!’.
And the kids were great. They were nice and steady on the first jump but soon got the hang of it and got more and more confident each time. All up they got 4 jumps on a 25m cliff and then we moved up to the 35m cliff where they had 2 jumps each.
After the abseiling we walked down to the river for a swim. Even after so many gorges, I had to admit we were in a pretty special place!
As we walked back to the carpark, Izzy assured me it was 45˚. Apparently that was the reading from a thermometer in Col’s watch so I’m not sure how accurate it was but it was certainly very hot. Col then told us that a visitor had died in the park a couple of weeks earlier from dehydration and heat exhaustion.
The following day we first visited Rainbow Jungle in Kalbarri. That’s basically a large aviary with an amazing collection of parrots. The parrots are mostly Australian but there were also a few beautiful macaws from South America and they seemed to be doing a good job of breeding a number of endangered species. I didn’t take any photos which was a bit of an oversight but it was very impressive and the kids loved it.
That afternoon we drove back into the park to visit Nature’s Window which is near where we had gone abseiling. It was a short walk (about 500m) from the carpark to the actual window and absolutely spectacular views over the river. From there, we could see a walk called the Loop Walk which looked very tempting but it was hot and everyone was a bit tired from the previous day so we had already decided to leave that for next time.