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Flinders Chase National Park and Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area

About

Flinders Chase National Park is now open following the devastating 2019-20 summer bushfires, which burnt 96 per cent of the park (and the Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area).

The park is open for self-drive visitors to share in the bushfire recovery journey from 9am until 5pm daily, with last entry at 3pm. Park gates are locked at 5pm, please allow 25 minutes' travel time from Remarkable Rocks/Admirals Arch to the gate.

Entry fees now apply, book online before you go.

On your visit, you can stop at the iconic tourist drawcards of Remarkable Rocks, Weirs Cove, Cape du Couedic lighthouse and Admirals Arch.

You’ll have access to drive a safe road of Cape du Couedic Road – including the part which has become one of the most insta-famous roads in South Australia. Once at the sites you can browse around them on-foot.

Remember to pack enough water and snacks for your visit, and to leave no trace. This will give our bushland the best chance of recovery.

The park has limited toilets, there is no food or drink available for purchase throughout the park and alcohol is not permitted.

Pets, including dogs, are not permitted in the park.

Download the reopening map for further information. 

Join a tour

If you’re looking for a park guide, you can join a tour of the park. The following operators are authorised to run tours in Flinders Chase:

Please contact the tour operators directly for further information. 

Bushfire recovery

The 2019-20 summer bushfires on Kangaroo Island were the largest in the island’s recorded history. More than 200,000 hectares of the 440,500-hectare island was burnt – that’s almost half the island. Hundreds of firefighters were involved, supported by other agencies, private industry and the local community.

The west end of the island, home to the internationally renowned Flinders Chase National Park was heavily affected by the bushfires – with 96 per cent of the park (and adjoining Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area) burnt.

Bushfire damage to Flinders Chase

Much of the park was burnt in the bushfires, with the visitor centre, walking trails including the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, boardwalks and visitor facilities destroyed, and heritage-listed buildings damaged. 

Luckily, the tourism drawcard of Remarkable Rocks is still intact and the iconic sites of Admirals Arch, Cape du Couedic lighthouse and cottages, and Weirs Cove, as well as Cape Borda lighthouse and cottages were untouched by the bushfires.

Recovery journey of Flinders Chase

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia (NPWSSA) is working hard to support the bushfire recovery of Kangaroo Island’s parks including supporting wildlife recovery, rebuilding essential infrastructure and reimagining visitor experiences in parks.

Work is underway in partnership with other organisations to support native animal recovery, particularly for the endangered Kangaroo Island dunnart and glossy black-cockatoo. Our wildlife recovery efforts include immediate food and water drops, monitoring with motion-sensing cameras, population counts, feral cat and pig control, plantings as well as providing the environment time and space for natural recovery.

The good news is that there are native animal sightings like goannas, koalas, eagles, kangaroos and echidnas. 

Plant life is already bouncing back at Flinders Chase. Many native plant species are adapted to survive, regenerate and thrive after fire. Native sedges, ghanias, yaccas, hakeas and mallees are re-sprouting and turning the landscape green again. Following winter rains, some plants are growing a few centimetres a day! It won’t be long until the bush is back.

Visit our bushfire recovery webpage for more information.

Frequently asked questions

1.     Why has Flinders Chase reopened?

The limited reopening of Flinders Chase National Park is to support the tourism industry, while still allowing the fragile environment time and space to recover following the 2019-20 bushfires.

2.     When can I browse around the park as normal?  

Park access will expand in stages, pending natural recovery and visitor facility rebuilds.

3.     How long should I plan to spend in Flinders Chase?

We recommend you allow around two hours to see and enjoy the iconic sites of Remarkable Rocks, Weirs Cove, Cape du Couedic lighthouse and Admirals Arch.

Please note that the park has limited toilets, and there is no food or drink available for purchase.

Hot tip: Vivonne Bay General Store is the closest supplier of food, drinks and fuel.

4.     Can I say overnight in the park?

No. The bushfires destroyed and damaged park infrastructure and facilities, including campgrounds and some heritage accommodation. Only day-visits will be possible from Saturday, 4 July 2020 until further notice.

5.     Why can’t I stay overnight in the park?

There are minimal facilities available in the park to accommodate overnight stays.

Also, the limited reopening of Flinders Chase National Park is to support tourism to the island, while still allowing the fragile environment time and space to recover following the 2019-20 bushfires.

6.     Can I hike and walk around the park?

The only walking path available is the boardwalk to Admirals Arch. At Admirals Arch, you will see the beautiful natural rock arch shaped by the powerful Southern Ocean and spot playful long-nosed fur seals.

Both Admirals Arch and Cape du Couedic lighthouse were not affected by the bushfires.

The rest of the park’s walking trails were destroyed in the bushfires and are yet to be rebuilt.

Must-have rebuild works are being fast-tracked in Flinders Chase National Park, including $17m for road resurfacing and rebuilding the boardwalk to Remarkable Rocks, as well as the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. Read more in this Environment SA News story.

7.     Can I access Cape du Couedic lighthouse and Cape Borda lighthouse?

No. Cape du Coudeic lighthouse is still operational and not safe for visitors. Cape Borda lighthouse remains closed following the bushfires to allow for essential safety rebuild works.

8.     Can I bring my dog?

No. Dogs are not permitted in this park.

9.     When will Flinders Chase National Park be rebuilt?

Must-have rebuild works are being fast-tracked in Flinders Chase National Park, including $17m for road resurfacing and rebuilding the boardwalk to Remarkable Rocks, as well as the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. Read more in this Environment SA News story.

The rest of the park’s visitor experiences are being reimagined. You can share your ideas to reimagine visitor experiences in Flinders Chase National Park, as well as Kelly Hill Conservation Park (including Ravine des Casoars and Cape Bouguer wilderness protection areas and Cape Borda) and Seal Bay Conservation Park. For more information go to: www.parks.sa.gov.au/reimagine-ki/    

10.  Are there any COVID-19 restrictions in the park?

We urge visitors to be COVID-safe by maintaining good hygiene and social distancing, particularly at the boardwalk to Admirals Arch.

For more information, read our COVID-19 frequently asked questions

 

Opening hours

Daily from 9:00am until 5:00pm, with last entry at 3pm.

 

Contact details

Visitor information, bookings and park management:

Kingscote Natural Resources Centre
Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4444
Email: FlindersChase@sa.gov.au

Accommodation enquiries
Email: KIParksAccom@sa.gov.au

Emergency contacts:

Medical, fire (including bushfire) and police emergency situations
Phone: Triple Zero - 000

Police Assistance
Phone: 131 444 for non-urgent police assistance

National Parks and Wildlife Service SA – After-hours duty officer
Phone: 0477 334 898

Injured wildlife:

Within the park
Please contact Kingscote Natural Resource Centre on (08) 8553 4444 or the after-hours duty officer on 0477 334 898.

Outside of the park
Please contact a local wildlife rescue group.

Marine mammals
If you find a sick or stranded marine mammal (including whales, seals, sea lions and dolphins), please contact Kingscote Natural Resource Centre on (08) 8553 4444 or the after-hours duty officer on 0477 334 898.

Traditional owners

Aboriginal peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations.  At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.

In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia. 

European history

Following many decades of lobbying by the Royal Society of South Australia (Fauna and Flora Protection Committee), legislation was passed in 1919 to set aside the area known as Flinders Chase for the “Protection, Preservation and Propagation of Australian Fauna and Flora”. Later declared a National Park, Flinders Chase bears its name from the British explorer Matthew Flinders, one of the first European explorers to make landfall and officially name Kangaroo Island.

Prior to its preservation as a Flora and Fauna Reserve, various tracts of Flinders Chase were farmed by pastoralists including the May family who worked the Rocky River Pastoral Lease (surrounding the current day Visitor Centre) between 1893 until 1914. Evidence of the Mays’ hard work and toil can be observed through their hand-constructed dwellings in May’s Homestead and Postman’s Cottage.

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