The brand new Kalbarri Skywalk made headlines even before it opened. Here’s what to expect of the Coral Coast’s popular attraction. Hint: it’s amazing.
It took the removal of 1,000 tonnes of sandstone, 150 local workers, design ingenuity and $24 million to install Kalbarri’s latest marvel, ‘Kaju Yatka’ – also known as the Kalbarri Skywalk. Opened June 12, two 100m-high cantilevered structures at the Inyaka Wookai Watju site (the West Loop) in Kalbarri National Park give visitors a unique perspective of the 400 million-year-old, dusty red Murchison Gorges below.
So, does the Skywalk live up to all the hype? Take it from someone who’s been, it definitely lives up to the hype.
Here’s everything you need to know about WA’s newest attraction before you visit.
What to expect when you get there
If you’ve ever paid the Kalbarri National Park a visit, you’ll know just how magical the never-ending expanse of scrub-spattered, red landscape is. Nothing feels more Australian. If you haven’t ever visited, you’re in for a treat.
The flat and straight 30-minute drive out to the Skywalk comes with a rolling vista of quintessential Australiana. There may not be any homes among the gumtrees or clotheslines out the back to see en route, but there’s absolutely no denying that Aussie aesthetic. By the time you reach the attraction’s car park, you’d have already spotted the ‘forests’ of grass trees, patches of flowering banksia trees, and more bright yellow wattle trees than you can count: and that’s just the lead-up to the main event.
From the car park, the Skywalk is a short, paved 2-minute walk. Follow the path to the first of the cantilevered lookouts, keeping an eye out for the cute wildlife sculptures hiding in the bush, and stop to read at the information points along the way. As you round the corner and near the first lookout, a view of the protruding structure emerges. Even against the sheer beauty of the gorges, these structures hold their own.
As you step out onto the Skywalk, the paved footpath makes way for a grated walkway, allowing you to see right through to the snaking Murchison River some 100m below. The cleverly placed cut-out in the middle of the structure frames the captivating scenery. The unobstructed views of the gorges and river, the headland that Nature’s Window sits on, and the second walkway come from over the outside edge.
No photo can do the view from this elevation point justice; it’s something that, to get the true scale and beauty of, you have to experience for yourself.
Despite the Skywalk being Kalbarri’s most popular tourist attraction of late, there’s a sense of peace and calm as you stand out over Nanda barna (the land of the Nanda people). The excited chatter, clicking of shutters, and sounds of children running up the walkway slip away as the true beauty of the land makes itself known. More than just a visual experience, you’ll take some of the land’s energy with you when you leave the Kalbarri Skywalk.
How to get there
Kalbarri is a coastal town along Australia’s Coral Coast, a 6-hour drive north of Perth. The Skywalk is located within the Kalbarri National Park, another 30-minute drive from the centre of town. Yes, you will need to pack all the road trip snacks.
After paying a park fee ($15 at the entrance of the park), follow the main road for roughly 20-minutes until you hit the T-junction. At the T-junction, do as the sign says and take a left towards Nature’s Window and the Skywalk. The two major park attractions are within minutes of each other by car.
If you’re heading to the park with a caravan or trailer in tow, you will be asked to unhitch just after you’ve passed the park office. There are only a few bays reserved for caravans and trailers here so, where possible, it’s best to leave them behind. If you’re driving in with a motorhome or camper van, you’re fine to drive on through to the car parks at the attractions, where you will find allotted bays for larger vehicles.
What to take with you
Being all-access, the Kalbarri Skywalk is the easiest way to afford yourself the experience of seeing the Murchison Gorge. The nearby attractions at Nature’s Window and the Z-Bend lookout require a bit of scrambling and navigating of uneven ground to get to, so sturdy walking shoes are advised. The walk down to the Skywalk is the only walk in the area that’s fully paved, so any comfortable footwear will make the grade, bar your finest stilettos.
The only other things you will need to bring with you to make the most of your visit are a water bottle, some sun protection, and your camera.
To find out more information, head to: Australia’s Coral Coast
Feature image: Monique Ceccato
Read more: Western Australia