The Murchison River


The Murchison River is the second longest river in WA, at 820 kilometres long and has a catchment area of 82,000km2 (larger than Tasmania!)

The river starts its journey in the range lands near Meekatharra, traveling across dry plains, hills, salt lakes and gorges with many tributaries forming this massive catchment area. Heavy rainfall from the movement of decaying tropical cyclones can often result in floodwaters reaching Kalbarri up to three weeks later.

In extreme flood events, muddy brown water can be seen emptying into the ocean creating a stark contrast between blue water and brown. Predatory fish lay in wait for the river inhabitants to be flushed out for a feast. These floodwaters carry an amazing array of nutrients that nourishes and restores the river system; within a month the river is teeming with life again.

 

Kalbarri has an abundant bird population with as many as 170 species. Osprey and the ever popular pelicans and sand pipers are always keeping watch over their territory. Whilst  wedge-tailed eagles and kestrels are often spied patrolling the deep gorges, while fairy martins and swallows nest in the cliff faces. The lower reaches of the Murchison River is home to an amazing array of birdlife with the red-tailed cockatoos, carnabys black cockatoos, egrets, kites, wood ducks and black swans. In the town site, swarms of pink and grey galahs, ringneck parrots, mudlarks and cuckoo shrikes can often be seen in the trees and grassy river foreshore.

 

Meanarra Hill Lookout

 

 

This should be your first stop in the morning on the way out to the River Gorges.  Just a few kilometres out of town this limestone capped peak is visible from several different locations around Kalbarri.  Take the short walk to learn how this area was once part of an ancient coral reef system. At 207m above sea level this is the perfect vantage point for 360° views of Kalbarri and the Murchison River flowing into the Indian Ocean.

 

 

The Murchison River is one of the only rivers in Western Australia which has no introduced fish species.

 

fishing - crabbing - canoeing - swimming - boating

Kalbarri Murchison River