Friday, August 30, 2013
K is for KALBARRI
Wikipedia tells us that KALBARRI is a coastal town in the Mid West region of Western Australia located 592 km (368 miles) north of Perth. The town is found at the mouth of the Murchison River and has an elevation of 6 metres (20 ft). It is connected by public transport to Perth via Transwa coach services N1 and N2. MOH and I used our free bus passes about 12 years ago go to Kalbarri and it was a most enjoyable holiday for us both. We had a comfortable unit at the Kalbarri Beach Resort.
The local Aboriginal people inhabited the area for thousands of years and have a 'dreaming' story about the Rainbow Serpent forming the Murchison River as she came from inland to the coast. The Murchison River in flood:
The first European people to visit the area were the crew of the trading ship belonging to the Dutch East India Company, the "Batavia", who put two mutinous crew members ashore at Witeecarra Creek near Bluff Point just south of the town. They are believed to have been the first permanent European settlers to this country.
The cliffs near the river mouth were named after another trading ship. the Zuytdorp" that was wrecked there in 1712. The area became a popular fishing and tourist spot in the 1940s and by 1948 the State Government declared it a townsite. Lots were soon surveyed and the town was gazetted in 1952. The name Kalbarri comes from the aboriginal word for 'edible seed' and also they say from one of the locl aboriginal tribesmen. The Murchison River is name after Sir Frederick Murchison by Lt George Gray who was shipwrecked along the coast. This is the Zuytdorp lookout:
Kalbarri is geared towards tourism and fishing, with attraction including the daily pelican feeding. the Kalbarri National Park, Murchison River Gorge and the Murchison River itself. There are charter boats that can be hired to go on to view the River. The town attracts 200,000 tourists each year with the population of the town swelling to 8,000 during holiday seasons.
The Kalbarri National Park is home to a phenomenon of geography and geology known as the Z Bend
and "Nature's Window", a rock formation overlooking hundreds of kilometres of Murchison River.
Pelican feeding in Kalbarri started in 1970 when every morning local Cliff Ross would feed the pelicans the scraps left over after he had cleaned his morning's catch of fish. This would happen at about 8.45 every morning before Cliff went and opened his shop 'Fantasyland' which was just across the road. On the odd occasion Cliff would be out of town and not go fishing in the morning but the pelicans knew where he went with that bucket of fish each morning so if he wasn't there to feed them they would walk or fly over the road and wait outside his house/shop. This became a bit of a traffic hazard so eventually other locals would go feed the pelicans to keep them on the safe side of the road (when Cliff was not there). As Cliff got older, he was there less and less to feed the pelicans and sadly, Cliff passed away recently. The tradition of feeding the pelicans in Kalbarri continues at 8.45 each morning, rain, hail or shine. Run by 4 volunteers who take turns each doing a week every month, the pelican feeding has become one of Kalbarri's main tourist attractions. If you manage to get to the Kalbarri riverfront at 8.45 each morning you will not only get the chance to feed the pelicans but also learn about how it all started and some interesting facts about the birds. The pelican feeding is of course free but the volunteers do appreciate any loose change that be spared to help buy the fish.
We saw the pelicans being fed when we were in Kalbarri although I hadn't realised it was quite so early in the morning. Perhaps I used to get up earlier back then.
The Rainbow Jungle (The Australian Parrot Breeding Centre), located a few kilometres south of the town centre, features hundred of exotic species of birds in their native habitat plus a walk-in cage allowing humans to interact with the birds.
Red Bluff and other coastal cliffs and formation are located south of the town.
Kalbarri was featured at the end of the film Wolf Creek when character Ben Mitchell was airlifted to hospital from Kalbarri Airport.