Ranger tips: Flinders Chase National Park

Ranger tips: Flinders Chase National Park

Get insid­er tips on the best places to vis­it and must do’ activ­i­ties from park ranger Reece Boulden.

Locat­ed on the west­ern end of Kan­ga­roo Island, Flinders Chase Nation­al Park is the jew­el in the crown of South Australia’s nation­al parks.

It’s home to the icon­ic Remark­able Rocks and Admi­rals Arch, along with spec­tac­u­lar coast­line, pris­tine beach­es, two his­toric light­hous­es and vast wilder­ness that’s a haven for wildlife.

There’s so much to see and do in the park, so we’ve asked local park ranger Reece Boulden for his insid­er tips for explor­ing this wilder­ness won­der­land. Here’s what he had to say:

When is the best time of the year to vis­it the park?

Flinders Chase is teem­ing with wild­flow­ers and new life in spring. Rare and elu­sive orchids begin to show their unique beau­ty around this time of year, young Cape Bar­ren geese are busy explor­ing the grassy areas, and baby wal­la­bies and kan­ga­roos can be seen pok­ing their heads out of pouch­es as well.

Ranger tips: Flinders Chase National Park

How much time will I need to spend in the park?

I feel like that ques­tion is lim­it­less! I’ve been liv­ing and work­ing in Flinders Chase for the past 3 years and still haven’t explored all the nooks and cran­nies of this vast wilderness.

To take in the icon­ic sites of Admi­rals Arch and Remark­able Rocks at a relaxed pace it will take about 2 hours from the Flinders Chase Vis­i­tor Cen­tre. But keep in mind, trav­el from the big­ger towns such as Kingscote and Pen­neshaw may take more than an hour each way.

Try and plan ahead and stay down the west­ern end of Kan­ga­roo Island for a night or two to real­ly explore the area and walk some of the many hikes that the park offers. 

Admi­rals Arch

What are your tips for any­one con­sid­er­ing the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail?

My tip for any­one con­sid­er­ing the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail is to just give it a crack! There are so many options for being able to walk the trail, either as an inde­pen­dent walk­er with full gear or through one of the great tour com­pa­nies offer­ing trans­port and accommodation.

The Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail cov­ers such a wide diver­si­ty of land­scapes and dis­cov­er­ing the remote beau­ty of the trail is a once-in-a-life­time opportunity.

Spot­ting hood­ed plovers on Mau­per­tu­is Beach, white-bel­lied sea eagles at Weirs Cov­er, platy­pus along the Rocky Riv­er, long-nosed fur seals at Admi­rals Arch, and water­birds at Grass­dale Lagoon are just some exam­ples of the diver­si­ty of wildlife that you might see on the trail.

Ranger tips: Flinders Chase National Park

Where can I see a platypus?

The best spot to see a platy­pus is along the apt­ly named Platy­pus Water­holes Walk. This walk will take about 2 hours to com­plete at a fair­ly leisure­ly pace and vis­i­tors will also have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see Cape Bar­ren geese, kan­ga­roos and wallabies.

The trail sur­face has been re-laid recent­ly and is wheel­chair acces­si­ble and per­fect for fam­i­lies want­i­ng to take their prams along the walk.

The best time to view a platy­pus is around the twi­light hours of sun­set and sun­rise. Anoth­er spot, known to the locals as The Cas­cades’, offers a more seclud­ed and inti­mate platy­pus-view­ing expe­ri­ence and can be found along the Rocky Riv­er Hike.

This hike can be accessed either from the Flinders Chase Vis­i­tor Cen­tre or from the Rocky Riv­er Bridge.

Ranger tips: Flinders Chase National Park

Where can I see a koala?

The best spots to see a koala are in the carpark as you arrive at Flinders Chase and along the Her­itage Walk. These areas con­tain the koala’s favourite food, the man­na gum (Euca­lyp­tus vim­i­nalis).

Make sure you look high up in the trees as koalas will look for new growth on the tree, which is always at the very tips of the branches.

The Her­itage Walk is a great walk for fam­i­lies and first-time vis­i­tors to the park as it offers pic­turesque wildlife oppor­tu­ni­ties and is only a short dis­tance from the Vis­i­tor Centre.

Ranger tips: Flinders Chase National Park

What is your favourite walk­ing trail?

My favourite walk­ing trail is Day 5 of the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail.

This sec­tion of trail, also known as the Han­son Bay Hike, cov­ers such a wide diver­si­ty of land­scapes from coastal dunes to mallee wood­lands, and vis­i­tors also have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see rare and threat­ened water­birds such as Latham’s snipe and the Aus­tralasian shov­el­er at the stun­ning Grass­dale Lagoon.

Walk­ers can also view some of the island’s rich pio­neer­ing his­to­ry, as the walk includes some cleared areas of land from the Edward’s fam­i­ly prop­er­ty, which has now become prime habi­tat for the Kan­ga­roo Island kan­ga­roo and the tam­mar wallaby.

Kan­ga­roo Island kangaroo

What time of the day is best to pho­to­graph Remark­able Rocks?

Remark­able Rocks is tru­ly remark­able at sun­set. There is no greater feel­ing of peace and relax­ation than sit­ting among the gran­ite boul­ders and lis­ten­ing to the wind whis­tle through the gaps while watch­ing the nat­ur­al beau­ty and pow­er of the South­ern Ocean roll onto the coast.

Top tip: Check out our tips for tak­ing great pho­tographs on Kan­ga­roo Island.

Ranger tips: Flinders Chase National Park

What’s the park’s best kept secret?

The park’s best kept secret is the West Bay camp­ground. This camp­ground is on the seclud­ed west coast of Kan­ga­roo Island and is only acces­si­ble by 4WD.

Fea­tur­ing shel­tered camp­grounds and ide­al for camper trail­ers, this camp­ground hosts a total of only 8 sites and can book out quick­ly in busy periods.

In the warmer months, res­i­dent Rosenberg’s goan­nas can fre­quent­ly be seen as vis­i­tors make their way to the remote and pri­vate beach that the camp­ground is named after – West Bay.

West Bay Beach

Park of the Month

Through­out Octo­ber, along with being Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Australia’s Park of the Month, Flinders Chase Nation­al Park is also mark­ing its 100th birth­day – so there’s plen­ty to cel­e­brate! There’s lots of events and activ­i­ties to get involved in – check the web­site for all the details.

Main image: Ranger Reece Boulden

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living