Flinders Chase National Park, on Kangaroo Island, is the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA Park of the Month for October 2017.
Experience the rugged wilderness with its iconic landmarks such as the world-famous Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. Enjoy the park and its diverse wildlife on the network of walking trails. Trek the five day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail on assisted day walks or camping out along the way.
Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area connects the two sections of Flinders Chase National Park. Below we’ve outlined 19 hikes and trails in the two parks.
19 Great Hikes and Trails in Flinders Chase National Park
Easy walk, 400m, 10 mins return
This short walk will take you from the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre to the Walking Trail Information Shelter overlooking Black Swamp. Interpretive signs along the way will help hone your wildlife observation skills. Signs at the Black Swamp Lookout shelter give information about other hikes and walks accessed from here.
Easy walk, 1.5km, 30 mins return
With interpretive signs along the trail, learn about the life of the early settlers at Rocky River and the formation of the park as South Australia’s second national park as an island sanctuary for threatened species. A great walk for viewing koalas and other wildlife. The trail includes the Walking Trail Information Shelter overlooking Black Swamp.
Easy walk, 1.9km, 20 mins return
This is a sheltered stroll through sugar gum woodlands and acacia thickets. Listen for woodland birds along the way. The trail includes the Walking Trail Information Shelter overlooking Black Swamp.
Platypus Waterholes Walk
Easy walk, 4.7km, 2 hours return
Platypus are rare in South Australia, but with some patience you might be in with a chance of seeing some on this walk. Birdlife, kangaroos, wallabies, geese, echidnas and goannas are regularly seen on this walk.
A shorter walk, suitable for prams and those with mobility issues including wheelchair use, can be accessed from the trailhead off Shackle Road.
Remarkable Rocks Walk
Easy walk, 1km, 15 mins return
A short wheelchair accessible walk along a boardwalk to the stunning geological feature of Remarkable Rocks. The granite boulders appear as seemingly artistic sculptures scattered across a larger granite dome. Interpretive signs explain the formation of the granite boulders.
The trail is wheelchair accessible along the path and boardwalk, until it reaches the rocky outcrop of the Remarkable Rocks.
Admirals Arch Walk
Easy walk, 800m, 15 mins return
A short stroll from the carpark down the headland to reveal Admirals Arch, a significant geological formation. View the pounding waves of the Southern Ocean. As you walk down, watch out for long nosed fur seals basking in the sun on the rocks. The boardwalk descends stairs down into a bay before emerging in Admirals Arch, where viewing platforms allow you to watch the seals closer.
Lighthouse Heritage Walk
Easy walk, 550m, 10 mins return
While checking out the nearby Admirals Arch Walk, take a stroll around the Cape du Couedic Lightstation and immerse yourself in history with the many interpretive signs. Marvel at the magnificence of the tower and the endurance of the lightkeepers and their families.
Black Swamp Hike
Moderate hike, 7.9km, 3 hours return
Linked with the Platypus Waterholes Walk, this half-day hike takes you through the diverse habitats of Rocky River. The trail meanders through forest and woodland, providing picturesque views of the river and opportunities to watch for Platypus. Listen for honeyeaters in the forest canopy, and look for delicate orchids in winter and spring.
Rocky River Hike
Moderate hike, 13km, 3-4 hours one-way
Follow the shady paths along the pristine Rocky River through to Snake Lagoon. Experience the river bank communities, low woodlands and open forests. Even in the drier months spring-fed pools provide life giving water to birds, reptiles, insects and mammals. This trail is also the first day’s hike of the five day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail.
Snake Lagoon Hike
Moderate hike, 4.2km, 2 hours return
This popular trail winds through Sugar Gums and mallee before descending into the Rocky River valley. The trail crosses Rocky River and meanders along its bank to the mouth, providing spectacular views through the valley and across the Southern Ocean.
Weirs Cove Hike
Moderate hike, 2.8km, 1 hour return
While checking out the nearby Admirals Arch Walk, hike to Weirs Cove to where fresh supplies were offloaded by boat for the lighthouse keepers and their families, and explore the ruins and flying fox that brought supplies up the 90 metre steep cliff.
Cape du Couedic Hike
Moderate hike, 1.9km, 40 mins return
While checking out the nearby Admirals Arch Walk, explore the area around the lighthouse further on this Cape du Couedic Hike loop trail. The trail meanders along away from the crowds, with viewing lookouts over the ocean and on the hilltop. Interpretive signs along the way describe plants and the way of life for lighthouse keepers and their families that tended this remote outpost.
Sandy Creek Hike
Moderate hike, 3km, 1h 30 mins return
Follow the banks of Sandy Creek across the creek bed and dunes to a remote beach. Be aware of powerful seas, freak waves and rips. Creek crossing required in wetter months.
The trailhead is accessible by 4WD track.
Moderate hike, 900m, 30 mins return
A short walk from the lighthouse to the clifftop. Look for seals, whales and dolphins. An alternative is to start the hike from the vehicle entrance gate, where there is a small carpark and connecting walking trail to the end of the Return Road Hike.
Return Road Hike
Moderate hike, 9km, 3 hours return
Follow the lightkeepers’ old cart track. Shorter option to return after 800m to the Lightkeepers Cemetery, or 3.4km to Scotts Cove Lookout.
Ravine des Casoars Hike
Moderate hike, 7.4km, 3 hours return
This trail follows the ravine valley to the coast, passing along the creek bank and high above the valley floor, providing spectacular views.
Harveys Return Hike
Hard hike, 1km, 31 hour return
A short hike down to Harveys Return (the bay) following the original route used by the Cape Borda lightkeepers. Keen walkers can continue down the old trackway, which is steep and a rock scramble, down to the bay.
Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail (5 days)
Trek, 73km, 5 days
Spend 5 days hiking the spectacular coastline of south-west Kangaroo Island. Follow the Rocky River, walk along the wild west coast, take a side trip to Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks, and walk to Hanson Bay.
Day 1, Rocky River Section, Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail
Moderate hike, 12.4km, 4 hours
Anyone can walk Day 1 of the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, as it is the Rocky River Hike.
Follow the Platypus Waterholes Walk over Black Swamp and catch a glimpse of the shy platypus. Turning west, the trail follows the Rocky River.