Author: Mrs A
Distance cycled: 17 km
Mr A woke up early and full of beans so set about cleaning the van, car and mountain bikes all before 7am! Of course I couldn’t really just stay in bed, so before long all the washing was on also, and Mr A heading off to the nearest bakery in town for freshly baked bread.
So by 9am, we were breakfasted and all tasks done, so we leaped on the bikes for an explore. First impressions are impressive. Kalbarri is a very small sleepy village, with about 6 places to eat out, either small cafes or pubs other than one, a single souvenir shop, two tiny privately owned local supermarkets (extremely expensive of course), and little else. There is a fishing fleet at the marina, and a fabulous coastal cycleway all along a stunning coastline. Kalbarri is where the Murchison River meets the ocean – the very same river we camped and hiked beside in Wooleen Station winds its merry way down to here. Hard to imagine!
The town reminds us of a smaller and quieter version of Coffs Harbour in NSW, probably as it would have been about 20 years ago. It sits in the midst of a national park – with walks along the coast as well as along the Murchison River gorge.
There is even an ice creamery here – Mr A was excited to try a couple of flavours (Nutella and caramel ice cream), but I am sorry to say their sorbet choice extended to a single orange variety which was extremely sickly and tasted like it had been in the display unit a few too many months. Straight to the bin.
We cycled along a lovely shared pathway which follows the coast to Red Bluff, where the stunning turquoise waters meet the iron filled rock of the cliffs.
We were recommended a new eatery to dine at, ‘Upstairs Restaurant’, which had only opened in early July. We checked it out for dinner tonight. The chef is Spanish, trained in a Michelin Star restaurant in France, and the owner a young Iranian lady who has moved up here from Perth. She has brought a lot of class, with tablecloths (I know! in WA!), an excellent menu and wine list, and incredibly cooked food. Having skipped lunch, we were hungry and booked an early meal to watch the sunset over the sea. The owner had some time to chat about the challenges of starting a new business in a small town. Apparently she was told ‘It’s all too much for Kalbarri‘ – but being booked out for weeks on end and getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor suggests otherwise. We told her to stick with it.
The food was brilliant, and the Clare Valley Shiraz-Tempernillo blend we had with it was ideal. We shared some tapas for entree (hummus, baba ganoush, olives, olive oil and balsamic served with delicious bread from a Perth bakery plus fresh local king prawn skewers) and had separate mains (a half rack of glazed pork ribs with salad and crispy potatoes for me, and a whole crayfish tail for Mr A with salad) – exquisitely cooked.
Need to burn all this food and drink off tomorrow – we are planning to head into the National Park for some hopefully tough hiking!