Kalbarri Birding Sites

Key Species : Emu, Malleefowl (small chance), Stubble Quail (chance), Eastern Reef Egret, Emu, Osprey, Black-tailed Native-hen (chance), Sooty Oystercatcher, Rock Parrot (chance), Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, White-winged Fairy-wren, Redthroat, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, White-fronted Honeyeater, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Black Honeyeater (chance), Pied Honeyeater (chance), Crimson Chat (chance), Western Yellow Robin, Southern Scrub-robin. Reptiles : Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) (chance).

Kalbarri (Post Office S27 42 40" E114 09 50") is at the mouth of the Murchison River located about 590km from Perth off the North West Coastal Highway.  From Perth, head north to Geraldton, Northampton and turn left to Kalbarri.  The Kalbarri National Park is very well known for the wildflowers from July to November, plus the river gorges along the Murchison River.  The wildflower season is by far the best time of the year for birding.

Also see the Birds Australia WA series of bird guide brochures including Kalbarri.


1. Murchison River Bridge (old bridge S27 49 38" E114 41 28")

This is an excellent place to stop for lunch or to camp overnight.  Heading north there is a track on the right just before you get to the bridge that leads over the old bridge.  I usually stop on the south side in the camping / picnic area and walk up the river until a side creek.  Look for Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Black-tailed Native-hen, possible Banded Lapwing, possible Buff-banded Rail, Mistletoebird, Pallid Cuckoo, a few waterbirds, etc.  The north side has also been recommended to me.  The track along the river is supposed to follow the river for quite a distance but I have not explored this.


2. Kalbarri National Park

The national park is a sensational mass of flowers in the wildflower season and at this time there are usually large numbers of honeyeaters such as Brown Honeyeater, White-fronted Honeyeater, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Singing Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Little Wattlebird, possible Black Honeyeater and Pied Honeyeater.  Other birds such as Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, etc can usually be found.  At other times of the year, especially when it is hot in summer, it can be difficult to find any birds at all.  You can find birds along the main road to Kalbarri, but I recommend the track to the Z Bend and The Loop.  There is a park entry fee.  Drive along until you see some activity.  Stop in a number of places, making certain that at least one site includes some banksias.

The turnoff to the Z Bend and The Loop is nearly 10km from Kalbarri (6km past the turnoff to Meanarra Hill).  Stop and pay the daily park entry fee unless you have an annual parks permit from CALM.  The road goes almost 20km to a T junction with The Loop a further 7km to the left and the Z Bend 5.5km to the right.  This road can be corrugated so take it easy.

The Loop (car park S27 33 26" E114 26 40") - There is an 800 metre return walk from the car park on the Nature's Window walk.  You can also walk right around the loop, but they recommend allowing 6 hours to complete this walk.

Z Bend (car park S27 38 58" E114 27 20") - There is a 1km return walk from the car park, plus there is access to the bottom of the gorge where you can spend more time exploring.

The turnoff to Hawk's Head and the Ross Graham Lookout is about 35km from Kalbarri (25km past the turnoff to the Z Bend and The Loop).  Again, you need to pay the daily park fee, although the fee for The Loop and the Z Bend is valid for all the park.  The road goes about 700 metres to a T junction with the Hawks Head Lookout a further 3.3km to the left and the Ross Graham Lookout 1.3km to the right.

Hawks Head (car park S27 47 20" E114 28 06") - This site is recommended for Peregrine Falcon which hunts along the cliffs.

Ross Graham Lookout (car park S27 48 41" E114 28 22") -


3. Kalbarri Town

Meanarra Hill (car park S27 41 45" E114 12 52") - This is well worth visiting.  Heading from Kalbarri the turnoff is 4.3km on the right.  The road is fairly corrugated and leads for 1.7km to a car park.  The mallee acacia scrub is difficult for birding especially if there is any wind.  Look for White-browed Babbler, Redthroat, Southern Scrub-robin.  I am fairly certain that I heard a Chestnut Quail-thrush in January 2000.  Follow up any calls, walk back along the road, walk to the top of the hill, or work your way quietly through the mallee where possible.

River Road - This road leads from the Anchorage Caravan Park along the river and eventually back up to the main road.  There are a lot of side tracks to the river.  The main track is fair, but most of the side tracks require a 4WD.  There is a grove of eucalypt trees 2.2km (S27 41 07" E114 10 51") from the start that is worth a look.  Look for Western Yellow Robin, Golden Whistler, Mistletoebird, etc.

Oyster Reef - This is the reef across the river at the river mouth.  It is a popular roost for Osprey, Silver Gull, Pacific Gull, Crested Tern, a few waders including Sooty Oystercatcher, etc.  You can hire a boat to cross the river.  However, you can get sufficient views with a spotting scope from the next two sites.  A Franklin's Gull was reported here in January 2000.

Chinaman's Beach Sand Spit (end of spit S27 42 29" E114 09 42") -

Chinaman's Rock Lookout (S27 42 29" E114 09 30") -


4. Red Bluff & Coast

Red Bluff Caravan Park (boat ramp S27 44 42" E114 08 37") - This is a very good site for White-winged Fairy-wren.

Airstrip Road - This area was formerly farmland but it is now being subdivided.  The stubble was a good chance for Stubble Quail, etc.

Av-er-rest Holiday Units, Mortimer Street (08 9937 1101) 0.8km NE of PO

Anchorage Caravan Park, Anchorage Lane & River Road (08 9937 1181) 1.4km N of PO

Kalbarri Backpackers & Bunks, Mortimer Street (08 9937 1430) 1km NE of PO

Kalbarri Tudor Caravan Park, Porter Street (08 9937 1077) 0.4km E of PO

Red Bluff Caravan Park, Red Bluff Road (08 9937 1080) 4km S of PO

Riverfront Budget Units, Grey Street (08 9937 1144) 0.3km W of PO

Wagoe Farm, Grey Road (08 9936 6060) 25km South of PO

Kalbarri Tourist Bureau, Grey Street (08 9937 1104)


Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002