In spring, when wildflowers flood it with colour, Kalbarri National Park, a headline act of bushwalking Western Australia, is a vision splendid. So too is the gorge the Murchison River has sliced into the thick, banded coastal sandstone beneath the thick carpet of grevilleas, smoke bush and coneflowers.
A few sensuous curves inland from where the Murchison meets the Indian Ocean, The Loop walk takes a spectacular 9.4km turn out along the vertiginous gorge rim and back along the river’s edge. Early on you get to look through the iconic Nature’s Window rock formation and later stand at the foot of spectacular striated cliffs.
Access into the gorge is steep. The water level can leave you no alternative but to navigate a short stretch of toe hold-narrow rock shelving soon after reaching the sandy gorge floor; and flooding can close the gorge to pedestrians. So this walk’s not for everyone. But people with robust knees and a head for heights can anticipate vistas that leave you breathless and, if your timing’s right, a spectacle of massed colourful blooms that will have you snapping photographs.