Flinders Chase National Park is a complex of protected areas on the western end of Kangaroo Island. The park is made up of the main coastal area to the south west, the Gosse Lands to the north east and Cape Borda Lightstation on the north west tip of the Island.
Flinders Chase National Park was declared a in 1919 for the protection of native flora and fauna, and was used as a sanctuary for threatened fauna from the mainland. Twenty three species of animals were released in the park during the subsequent forty years, including Koalas in 1923 and Platypus in 1928. Many of those species thrived in the park and can be seen today.
Flinders Chase is famous for its spectacular rugged coastlines and remarkable geological formations. Admirals Arch is a spectacular natural rock arch, carved out by weathering and erosion from the sea over thousands of years. There is a viewing platform and boardwalk around a cliff face leading to the arch. Here you can see a colony of New Zealand Fur-seals as they feed, swim and rest on the shore. Admirals Arch can be easily reached along a boardwalk at Cape du Couedic.
The naturally sculptured Remarkable Rocks formation is a major attraction. Huge weather sculptured granite boulders are perched on a large bare granite dome high above the sea (see satellite map below). This amazing work of nature has been by erosion over the millennia. Some of the rocks are covered with orange lichen. This is a fabulous spot for photography especially at dawn and in the late afternoon sun. Signs explain the story of how these rocks were formed. A viewing platform provides easy access to see the rocks.
Other interesting geological features in the area include the limestone caves at Kelly Hill Caves (east of Flinders Chase National Park). The west coast of Kangaroo Island is edged by imposing tall limestone cliffs.
At the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre you can obtain information about the park, pay entry fees, book accommodation and obtain camping permits. The Centre is staffed by Information Officers at the information counter. The Centre offers interpretive displays featuring the latest in interactive displays, and showcases artwork by local artists.
The Chase Café in the Visitor Centre serves local Kangaroo Island food and wines. Light refreshments are available at Cape Borda Lightstation. Gas barbecues and picnic facilities are available near the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre. A picnic shelter is also available at Cape Borda .
The Park has a network of walking trails for walkers to enjoy the park and its wildlife.
Accommodation is available in Mays Homestead at Rocky River. Backpacker accommodation is available in Postmans Cottage near the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre and Woodward Hut at Cape Borda Lightstation. Bookings are essential. You can also stay in the historic lightkeepers’ cottages at Cape du Couedic and at Cape Borda Lightstation.
Rocky River Campground near the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre has water, showers, gas barbeques and a public telephone.
Bush camping sites are available at Snake Lagoon, West Bay and Harveys Return. These campgrounds have basic toilet facilities and water is seasonally available. Water should be treated prior to use. Again, bookings are required and camping fees apply.
There are several mammal species often seen by park visitors. Kangaroo Island Kangaroos are easily seen around the Visitor Centre, on the open grass areas at Black Swamp and Cape Borda Lightstation. The Tammar Wallaby lives in thick bushland during daylight and comes out at night to feed. It is common on Kangaroo Island. There are some large colonies of New Zealand Fur-seals around the Admirals Arch and they can be easily seen from special viewing platforms. Breeding takes place in summer and in the breeding season, seal pups can frequently be spotted in the pools found under the Arch. Koalas were first introduced into Flinders Chase National Park back in the 1920s and are now common across the Island. They are often seen in the Manna Gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) trees around the Black Swamp area.
Other native mammals that may be seen on or around Kangaroo Island include Australian Fur-seal, Australian Sea-lion, Gould’s Wattled Bat, Chocolate Wattled Bat, Little Mastiff-bat, Lesser Long-eared Bat, Little Red Flying-fox , White-striped Mastiff-bat, Western Pygmy-possum, Little Pygmy-possum, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Bush Rat, Swamp Rat, Kangaroo Island Dunnart, Short-beaked Echidna, Common Brushtail Possum. In addition, some introduced native species thrive on the island including Platypus, Koala, Common Ringtail Possum. There are several Introduced Exotic Species around such as Goats, Fallow Deer, Cats and Pigs, as well as the House Mouse and Black Rat.
Flinders Chase is home to many species of birds. Cape Barren Geese are seen around the Visitor Centre during the breeding season from April to September. Ground nesting birds such as the Bush Stone Curlew are common on the island. Around the river systems you will see Crescent Honeyeaters, Scarlet Robins, and around the coast Pacific Gulls, Hooded Plovers, White-bellied Sea-eagles and various other coastal birds are regularly seen.
There are twenty species of wild reptiles on Kangaroo Island, the most prominent is the Heath Goanna (Varanus rosenbergii) which is often seen basking on the road or searching the bush for food. Heath Goanna lay their eggs in a chamber under termite mounds. They are rare on mainland southern Australia. There are only two species of snakes on Kangaroo Island – The Tiger Snake (Notechis ater) which is usually black rather than striped like the mainland population. The Pygmy Copperhead (Austrelaps labialis) also inhabits the island but is not often seen.
Flinders Chase National Park is approximately 110 km west of Kingscote, and can be accessed via the Playford Highway or South Coast Road. Park information is available at the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre open from 9am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day. Park information is also available at Cape Borda Lightstation.
There is an entry fee for access to Flinders Chase National Park and this can be paid at the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre. Additional fees are charged for guided tours at Cape Borda Lightstation and for camping.