Cape Borda Lightstation

  • Information Office
  • Accomm
  • Picnic Areas
  • Kiosk
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Guided Tours
  • Camping
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
PDF Park Brochure
Photo by Quentin Chester Writer
Photo by Quentin Chester Writer
Photo by Quentin Chester Writer
Photo by Quentin Chester Writer
Photo by Quentin Chester Writer
Cape Borda - SA Map

Tour the square lighthouse, enjoy a clifftop walk, take a self-guided nature drive and spend the night in a historic light keeper's cottage at Cape Borda Lightstation in Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island!

Cape Borda - SA Map

Tour the square lighthouse, enjoy a clifftop walk, take a self-guided nature drive and spend the night in a historic light keeper's cottage at Cape Borda Lightstation in Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island!

About

Set within Flinders Chase National Park, Cape Borda Lighthouse is perched on cliffs overlooking Investigator Strait. Located on the north western corner of Kangaroo Island, this unique square lighthouse was built in 1858 and is steeped in European history.

To discover the maritime history of the area you can take a tour of the lightstation. The lighthouse area features a restored signal cannon, a museum and kiosk where refreshments and souvenirs are available. Don't miss the daily cannon firing on the 12.30 pm tour.

After exploring the lighthouse, enjoy a stroll along one of the walking trails around the park including the Cliff Top Hike. This short trail through a picturesque rock garden takes you to a stone lookout that provides an ideal vantage point for spotting whales and dolphins.

There is also a self-guided nature drive along Shackle Road between Cape Borda Lightstation and Flinders Chase Visitor Centre where you can explore the rugged western end of the island.

Opening hours

This park is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset (except Christmas Day).

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Cape Borda Visitor Centre

Open Friday to Tuesday.
Open daily during the spring, summer and autumn school holidays.

South Australian school holiday dates

Autumn: 16 April 2016 - 1 May 2016
Spring: 1 October 2016 - 16 October 2016
Summer: 17 December 2016 - 29 January 2017

Lightstation tours

Friday - Tuesday: 11.00 am, 12.30 pm*, 2.00 pm
Daily during school holidays: 11.00 am, 12.30 pm*, 2.00 pm, 3.15 pm and 4.00 pm

Tours run for approximately 45 minutes.

*Cannon firing is conducted on the 12.30 pm tour

Self-guided tour

A self-guided walk is also available.

Contact details

Cape Borda Lightstation

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4465
Email: CapeBorda@sa.gov.au

Accommodation bookings and enquiries

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4410
Email: KIParksAccom@sa.gov.au

When to visit

Flinders Chase is a paradise all year round. The mood of the park changes with the seasons. In winter, you’ll see the diverse colours and shapes of fungi, and orchids begin to bloom. The rivers and creeks are flowing and it’s a great time for staying in the park’s heritage-listed accommodation. Imagine a winter getaway staying in a light keeper's cottage in front of a warming wood fire, listening to the Southern Ocean pounding on the rocks below.

Spring brings prolific wildflowers, the frogs call and the birds and animals are breeding. Spring and summer are a wonderful time for camping, picnicking and exploring the many walking trails throughout the park. Summer is a busy time with mostly mild weather perfect for beach going.

Getting there

Cape Borda Lighstation is located in Flinders Chase National Park, 110km west of Kingscote, on the north western tip of Kangaroo Island.

You can get to Kangaroo Island from mainland South Australia on the SeaLink ferry. This vehicle and passenger ferry operates daily (except Christmas Day) between Cape Jervis (two hours south of Adelaide) and Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island. The journey takes 45 minutes for the 16km crossing.

Visit the SeaLink website for more information and bookings.

Pets in parks

Pets are not permitted within this park. There are however, a number of South Australian National Parks where you can take your dog on a lead. 

Facilities

There is an information office, heritage accommodation, picnic areas, kiosk, BBQ facilities, toilets and disabled toilets located at Cape Borda Lightstation.

Camping facilities are available at Harvey's Return just east of Cape Borda.

Pests and diseases

Phytophthora (fy-TOFF-thora), otherwise known as root-rot fungus, is killing our native plants and threatens the survival of animals depending on plants for food and shelter.

This introduced fungus can be found in plant roots, soil and water. Help stop the spread by using hygiene stations, staying on tracks and trails and by complying with all Phytophthora management signs.

Traditional owners

Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, 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. 

Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.

History

The Cape Borda lighthouse was built in 1858, and is the third oldest remaining in South Australia. It’s also the only square stone lighthouse in South Australia and only one three lighthouses in Australia to retain a Deville lantern room.

It was built to guide sailing ships arriving off the Roaring Forty trade-winds and into the Investigator Straits.

Apart from warning ships of danger, the lightstation at Cape Borda was also a lookout for Russian ships. A small cannon was installed there – it was used to signal ships of danger before radio was available and to appear as if there was a military presence.

The light was converted to automatic operation in 1989.

See and do

Rangers recommend

We have picked the brains of our park rangers to find out what they would recommend you see and do whilst visiting this park.

  • Getting up early and witness spectacular sunrises.
  • Staying in the lightkeepers cottages is a must.
  • Explore the surrounding park, keep an eye out for the local wildlife.

Bushwalking

Bushwalking is a fantastic way to connect with nature, keep fit and spend time with family and friends. 

South Australia's national parks feature a range of trails that let you experience a diversity of landscapes. Our trails cater for all levels of fitness and adventure and our classification system makes it easy to select an experience suitable for you.

Moderate hikes

  • Clifftop Hike (30 mins return, 1km)

    This short trail is the perfect complement to a guided tour at Cape Borda Lightstation. Meander through the picturesque rock gardens, and observe how the vegetation shortens and changes as you near the cliff top. A stone lookout provides an ideal vantage point for spotting whales and dolphins.

    Access: this trail starts at Cape Borda Lightstation.

    More information and maps can be found in the Parks of Kangaroo Island guide.

  • Return Road Hike (3 hrs return, 9km)

    Starting at Harveys Return this hike wanders through low Sugar Gum woodland, passing groves of native pine near the Lightkeepers Cemetery. Take a side trip when you cross the road to view the spectacular coastline at Scott Cove. The hike follows the lightkeepers’ old cart track used for transporting supplies between Harveys Return and Cape Borda, which they called ‘The Return Road’. Look for cobblestones which indicate the alignment of the original track.

    Access: this hike can begin at either Harveys Return or Cape Borda Lightstation.

    More information and maps can be found in the Parks of Kangaroo Island guide.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Camp in the park

Bush camping is available at nearby Harvey's Return.

Stay in light keeper accommodation

Explore the remote area of Cape Borda during the day then spend the night in heritage accommodation beside the Cape Borda Lightstation. Choose from the gracious stone Flinders Light Lodge, one bedroom Hartley Hut or cute Woodward Hut, and experience life by the rugged cliff tops.

Stay for five nights in the park's heritage accommodation and receive a free Kangaroo Island Tour Pass.

Flinders Light Lodge

A spacious, comfortable limestone cottage that once housed the lighthouse keeper and his family. Ideally situated with glorious sea views, the lodge features three bedrooms that sleep up to seven people (linen included) and a large fully equipped kitchen with separate dining and lounge room. An outdoor setting and barbeque facilities are also available.

Hartley Hut

A self-contained cabin which originally served as the relieving keeper's quarters. The cosy hut offers fantastic opportunities to see abundant wildlife from your doorstep. The hut sleeps three people and features one double bedroom and the option of a trundle bed in the central lounge, fully equipped kitchen and dining area. Linen is included.

Woodward Hut

A quaint small single room stone hut that sleeps two people. It provides a roof over your head, and the toilet facilities are just a short walk away. (There is no shower in Woodward Hut.) Facilities include two single beds, a small fridge, microwave, electric cook top, toaster, kettle, and heating. Linen is available for hire or bring your sleeping bag.

Accommodation bookings and enquiries

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4410
Email: KIParksAccom@sa.gov.au

Lightstation tours

Step back in time and learn about what it was like to be a lightstation keeper at Cape Borda. The local guide will transport you as they narrate the history of this iconic and rugged site.

Guided tours

Friday - Tuesday: 11.00 am, 12.30 pm*, 2.00 pm
Daily during school holidays: 11.00 am, 12.30 pm*, 2.00 pm, 3.15 pm, 4.00 pm

South Australian school holiday dates

Autumn: 16 April 2016 - 1 May 2016
Spring: 1 October 2016 - 16 October 2016
Summer: 17 December 2016 - 29 January 2017

Tours run for approximately 45 minutes.

*Cannon firing is conducted on the 12.30 pm tour

Fauna

In Flinders Chase you can see a range of wildlife including tammar wallabies, Kangaroo Island kangaroos, cape barren geese, Rosenberg’s goannas or short-beaked echidnas. The park is also a haven for a diversity of woodland birds, many of which are declining on the mainland. Look for the bold colours of scarlet robins and golden whistlers. Listen for the rare western whipbird and fan-tailed cuckoo. Scan the coast during Winter and Spring for migrating whales or observe the resident Fur Seals all year round from an easy vantage point at Cape du Couedic.

Remember, all native animals in national parks are wild. They should be observed and photographed from a distance. This minimises disturbance to the animal and allows you to see their natural behaviour in the wild. Move slowly and quietly and use binoculars for that close-up look. Please put the animals’ welfare first and do not feed wildlife.

Volunteering

Become a Campground Host

Combine your love of camping with doing a good deed by becoming a volunteer campground host in this park.

A campground host is a volunteer who stays at the park either for a specific peak period, like the Easter break or a long weekend, or an extended period of time (up to a few months) to support park rangers. 

If you are passionate about the environment, a keen camper, like to meet people from all around the world, and are a happy to help, then hosting could be right up your alley. 

The Friends of Parks, KI Western Districts

A community-based group of volunteers who assist park staff to protect the natural and cultural features of the park.

To get involved, contact the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre or Natural Resources Kangaroo Island.

Safety

Bushwalking

The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Fire

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Fire restrictions

  • Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Gas fires are permitted, other than on days of total fire ban.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • leave your pets at home
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Fees

Entry fees

 It is free to visit Cape Borda, however fees apply for tours.

Cape Borda Lightstation tour fees

Adult - $16.00
Concession - $13.00
Child - $10.00
Family (2 adults & 2 children OR 1 adult and 3 children) - $42.00
School group (per person) - $9.00
Adult group (per adult, min 10 people) - $14.00

Self-guided tour, per person - $3.00

Kangaroo Island Tour Pass

Experience some of Kangaroo Islands most iconic sights at a discounted price by purchasing a Kangaroo Island Tour Pass.

Park pass

Purchase a Kangaroo Island Tour Pass which offers you 12 months access to Flinders Chase National Park and Seal Bay boardwalk/lookout, as well as admission to the following Kangaroo Island tours:

The Kangaroo Island Tour Pass can only be purchased at selected Parks Pass Outlets.

Camping and accommodation

Heritage Accommodation

Flinders Light Lodge

Price per night (up to 2 people) - $225.00
Additional adult per night - $30.00
Additional child per night - $15.00
This cottage sleeps 7 people

Hartley Hut

Price per night (up to 2 people) - $150.00
Additional person per night - $30.00
This cottage sleeps 3 people

Woodward Hut

Price per night (per person) - $25
Linen hire fee (per person): $11.00 per stay
This cottage sleeps 2 people

Accommodation bookings and enquiries

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4410
Email: KIParksAccom@sa.gov.au

Stay for five nights in the park's heritage accommodation and receive a complimentary Kangaroo Island Tour Pass!

Other fees and permits

There are no other fees or permits associated with this park.