(This is part 3 of a 5 part series on Kangaroo Island. Click here to read the rest of the posts)
As we entered the Flinders Chase National Park, a giant wedge tailed eagle flew right past the car, showing off his gorgeous brown, white and black features. He and his friends are all 4-5 feet wide and lining up to eat roadkill. As impressive as this was, the first thing that strikes you is the smell of eucalyptus. It hits you, quite strong at first, but then becomes quite soothing, almost addictive. Take a few deep breaths and look up. Chances are, hidden amongst the gum leaves is a koala, lounging away. Our KI wildlife bonanza didn’t stop there. An echnidna was walking down the street nearby, and a bit further on a family of Kangaroos crossed the road just infront of us.
The whole western side of Kangaroo Island is made up of Flinders Chase National Park. After 30 years of lobbying, politicians finally agreed to preserve this region of the island in 1919, an area that makes up around 17% of the island.
One could spend days just exploring the park, which is what many do. You can also choose to base yourself here as there are many campsites, and also the unique option of staying in an old lighthouse at Cape Borda (there are actually a few lighthouses that have been converted to accommodation available across the island).
Before you enter the park you need to pass by the visitor center to buy a pass. We then drove to visit the two most photographed attractions; Admirals Arch and the Remarkable Rocks. Admirals Arch is a stunning area along a cliff top, perfect for some short, easy walks. The area is covered in red, yellow and green mosses and has views in all directions as far as the eye can see. At first you don’t notice but then you see one seal, then another, and another down in the water along the cliffs. There are seals everywhere, 20,000 of them, swimming, drying on the rocks, or just playing. Mothers with their babies, young ones playing in pools of water. Walk around and enjoy the wind and sun and the vast and wild coastline. This is truly a magical place. When you are done, take the short drive along the coast to the truly Remarkable Rocks, a series of huge bolders balancing on top of a massive granite dome.
We returned back to the Visitor Center to enjoy lunch and…yes..a hot chocolate. Behind the center there are some easy walking trails and a great play area for kids. The hot chocolate was a sweet creation, good if you need some extra sugar in your system to help you with your hikes. A wallaby hopped by and took a smell of my hot chocolate from under the table, but wasn’t impressed as he kept going on his search for crumbs.
If you have time take the Platypus Waterholes walk just down the road for a chance to see one of these mystical but real creatures. If you have even more time, the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is a 5 day, 66km trek across the most beautiful and remote coastline of the Southern Ocean.
Verdict: Kangaroo Island is full of must visits but this is at the top of the list. A paradise for sure and the visitor center makes a great stop. Flinders Chase Visitor Center and Café, Kangaroo Island, Australia.