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Flinders Chase National Park and Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area

  • Information Office
  • Showers
  • Accomm
  • Picnic Areas
  • Kiosk
  • Caravan Sites
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Camping
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching

About

The park’s coastal scenery includes Admirals Arch, a beautiful natural rock arch shaped by the powerful Southern Ocean, and the sculptured granite boulders known as Remarkable Rocks. Other attractions include wild beaches, the unspoilt Rocky River, vast wilderness areas and cultural heritage sites – including two lighthouses.

Discover some of Kangaroo Island’s secrets at the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre where our natural and cultural heritage are showcased with interactive screens, a touch table and a fossil dig pit for kids. It’s a great place for families, with coffee, lunch and souvenirs available from the Chase Café.

Set deep in Flinders Chase National Park, you will find three roomy lighthouse keeper’s cottages built in 1907 from local limestone. Now fully restored and heritage listed, a stay in one of these cottages is a unique experience. You will find them on the south west tip of KI at Cape Du Couedic.

The majority of the park is accessible by 2WD, so it’s perfect for day visits and an ideal place to view wildlife in its natural habitat.

Western Kangaroo Island Marine Park borders Flinders Chase National Park.

Opening hours

This park is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.

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. 

Flinders Chase Visitor Centre 

Open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day (except Christmas Day).

Contact details

Flinders Chase National Park Information Office

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4470
Email: FlindersChase@sa.gov.au
After Hours Regional Duty Officer: 0477 334 898

Accommodation bookings and enquiries

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

Camping booking and enquiries

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4471
Email: FlindersChase@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, picnicing and exploring the many walking trails throughout the park. Summer is a busy time with mostly mild weather perfect for beach going.

Getting there

Flinders Chase National Park is located 110km west of Kingscote, on Kangaroo Island. Follow the Playford and West End Highways or the South Coast Road.

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.

Accessibility

Parks are for all to enjoy, we would love to hear from you about your experience in nature. You can share your comments, pictures and videos with us and others by tagging @NationalParksSA on Facebook,  Instagram or email us.

Sea and do

Trails
Remarkable Rocks Walk (1km)

A short wheelchair accessible walk along a boardwalk to the stunning geological feature of Remarkable Rocks.

The trail is wheelchair accessible until it reaches the rocky outcrop of the Remarkable Rocks.

Check out Push Adventures blog – The family getaway, Kangaroo Island which features a description of Remarkable Rocks.

Dogs not allowed

Dogs are not permitted in this park.

Discover which parks you can walk your dog in on our find a park tool or read 12 dog-friendly walks in Adelaide Parks by Good Living for inspiration.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves. Assistance dogs must be appropriately restrained on a lead and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.

As per the dogs in parks and reserves policy, if the dog is not an accredited assistance dog, they must be trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate that disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a dog in a public place. However, refusal may be given if the person with the disability is unable to produce evidence the dog is an assistance dog with the appropriate training.

Before taking your assistance dog into a park that does not normally allow dogs, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. Please contact the park via the contact details provided under the contact tab or call the information line on (+61 8) 8204 1910.

Facilities

There are picnic facilities, gas BBQs and walking trails which surround the Visitor Centre.

Toilet facilities are available all campgrounds. Hot showers and water (non-potable) are also available at the Rocky River campground.

Bins are not provided within the park and it is your responsibility to take your rubbish with you.

Generators are not permitted in the park.

Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year. Gas fires are permitted, other than on days of total fire ban.

Take a virtual tour

Take a virtual tour of this park and get a taste for the iconic sites of Remarkable Rock, Cape de Couedic and Admiral's Arch.

Useful information

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

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 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, which are available for bookings as heritage visitor accommodation.

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.

  • Taking the plunge and experiencing the 5 day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail hike. 
  • Watching the colony of long-nosed fur-seals surfing the Southern Ocean, playing or sunning themselves on the rocks around Admirals Arch.
  • Relaxing at one of the quiet spaces around the platypus waterholes. With luck you’ll spot an elusive platypus.
  • Seeing the amazing shapes and bright colours of the more than 300 species of fungi that flourish during winter.
  • Taking the Ravine Hike along the river to a spectacular beach with many secrets.
  • Sleeping in a light keeper's cottage, with nothing between you and Antarctica but your blankets and a well-stoked wood stove.
  • Spending some time with the kids at the Visitor Centre, digging through the fossil dig pit and learning about the landscape where megafauna once roamed.
  • Taking the Discovery Walk to the Black Swamp Lookout. The kids may get a big surprise.
  • Check out Nature Play SA's 40 things to do in Flinders Chase National Park.

Camp in the park

Revel in the wilderness of Flinders Chase by camping under the stars at one of four secluded campgrounds available.

Campsites need to be booked prior to arrival.

Book online to reserve your campsite up to 12 months in advance.

If you are doing the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, you will be able to camp within the exclusive campsites provided for Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail users only.

Rocky River campground (22 sites)

Suitable for: tents, camper trailers, camper vans, caravans and motorhomes

Facilities: toilets, hot showers, water (non-potable), gas barbecues and picnic shelters

A great base from which to explore the highlights at the western end of Kangaroo Island. Set up camp among the eucalypt saplings, just a short walk from the Visitor Centre. 

Harvey's Return campground (8 sites)

Suitable for: tents, camper trailers and camper vans

Facilities: toilets and picnic area

This campground is the old landing site for the light station and is near the historic light keepers' cemetery. Cape Borda Lighthouse is within walking distance.

Snake Lagoon campground (8 sites)

Suitable for: tents, camper trailers and camper vans

Facilities: toilets and picnic area

This campground is located 9km from the Visitor Centre and is the starting point for the Snake Lagoon Hike. The hike leads to the river mouth where you can enjoy impressive views of the Southern Ocean. The campground is set on the banks of a now-dry lagoon and is also the end point of the Rocky River Hike, which starts at the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre and explores the many riparian (river bank) communities.

West Bay (8 sites) - 4WD vehicles only

Suitable for: tents, camper trailers and camper vans

Facilities: toilets and picnic area

Located at the western end of the park, this secluded campground set within a stunning coastal landscape is a short walk from a tranquil bay. Picnic tables are available. This campsite is only accessible by 4WD.

Stay in light keeper's accommodation

Enjoy a spectacular sunset and the peaceful seclusion of a heritage listed light keeper's cottage at Cape Borda or Cape du Couedic and be mesmerised by the continuous flash from the lighthouse beacon, warning mariners of the land ahead. Alternatively, there are rustic huts and other heritage cottages available in the park.

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

Cape Borda Lightstation

There are three types of accommodation available here. Flinders Light Lodge is a spacious, comfortable limestone cottage that once housed the light keeper and his family. Ideally situated with extensive sea views, the lodge sleeps up to seven people.

Hartley Hut is a cabin that sleeps three people. The hut originally served as the relieving keeper’s quarters. It’s cosy with sea views and abundant wildlife nearby.

Woodward Hut is a quaint, single room stone cottage that sleeps two people. It is Kangaroo Island’s most affordable heritage accommodation. The toilet is a short walk away and there are no shower facilities included. Discounted rates are available during off-peak between 1st May - 31st August.

Cape du Couedic light keeper's cottages

Parndana, Karatta and Troubridge lodges are classic light keeper's cottages, large and roomy, built in 1907 from local limestone laboriously carved into solid building blocks. Magnificently restored, featuring slate roofs and polished pine floors, these three-bedroom cottages are heritage listed and can comfortably sleep six people. Tea and coffee making facilities are included in the roomy fully functional kitchen. Discounted rates are available during off-peak between 1st May - 31st August.

Rocky River - May's Homestead

May’s Homestead is a heritage-listed, four-roomed stone cottage, built in the early 1890s. During its early history, the occupants were the nearest source of help whenever a ship was wrecked along the rugged coastline. Discounted rates are available during off-peak between 1st May - 31st August.

Rocky River - Postman’s Cottage

A one-roomed stone hut built for the mailman who would call and stay overnight once a fortnight. The cottage is located next to May’s Homestead, near the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre. Discounted rates are available during off-peak between 1st May - 31st August.

Accommodation bookings and enquiries

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

Bushwalking

Kangaroo Island's rugged coastline offers keen bushwalkers spectacular coastal scenery, pristine rivers, tracts of undisturbed native vegetation and opportunities to observe abundant and diverse wildlife. Most of the coast is very isolated and provides trekkers with a true wilderness experience. Our trails cater for all levels of fitness and adventure and our classification system makes it easy to select an experience suitable for you.

Easy walks

  • Discovery Walk (5 mins, 200m)

    This short walk will take you from the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre to the Black Swamp lookout. Interpretive signs along the way may help you develop your wildlife observation skills.

    Access: this trail starts at the Visitor Centre.

  • Heritage Walk (30 min loop, 1.5km)

    Learn about the park’s cultural heritage from the life of early settlers at Rocky River to the park’s role as an island sanctuary for threatened species.

    Access: this trail starts at the Visitor Centre.

  • Woodland Walk (20 min loop, 1km)

    This is a sheltered stroll through sugar gum woodlands and acacia thickets. The trail connects the Visitor Centre to the Rocky River Campground and day visitor facilities.

    Access: this trail starts at the Visitor Centre.

  • Platypus Waterholes Walk (2 hrs return, 4.5km)

    An easy walk for all the family. Take a journey across Black Swamp where ancient megafauna once roamed. Learn about the impact of bushfires and their important role in maintaining bushland. Keep quiet around the waterholes – you may see a platypus.

    Access: this trail starts at either the Visitor Centre or Shackle Road car park.

  • Remarkable Rocks Walk (15 mins return, 1km)

    Experience the changing moods of these ancient granite boulders. Stunning views across to Cape du Couedic and the Southern Ocean. Warning, strong winds.

    Access: this boardwalk trail starts from the Remarkable Rocks car park.

  • Admirals Arch Walk (15 mins return, 1km)

    See the colony of long nosed fur seals in their natural habitat. Witness the mighty Southern Ocean pounding through Admirals Arch, a significant geological formation. Warning: strong winds.

    Access: this boardwalk trail starts from the Admirals Arch car park.

  • Lighthouse Heritage Walk (10 min loop, 600m)

    Explore the Cape du Couedic lightstation and immerse yourself in the history of the lightkeepers.

    Access: this trail starts from the Cape du Couedic day visitor area.

Moderate hikes

  • Black Swamp Hike (3 hrs loop, 9km)

    This hike incorporates parts of the Platypus Waterholes Walk. The trail meanders through forest and woodland, with picturesque views and the opportunity to watch for wallabies and echidnas. Look for delicate orchids and colourful fungi in winter and spring.

    Access: this trail starts at the Visitor Centre.

  • Rocky River Hike (3 hrs one way, 9.5km)

    Follow the pristine Rocky River through to Snake Lagoon. Experience the riparian (river bank) communities, low woodlands and open forests. Even in the drier months spring-fed pools provide life-giving water to birds, reptiles, insects and mammals.

    Access: this trail starts at the Visitor Centre and is the first stage of the 5 day KI Wilderness Trail.

  • Snake Lagoon Hike (2 hrs return, 4km)

    This popular trail winds through sugar gums and mallee before descending into Rocky River valley. The trail crosses the river and meanders along its rocky bank through to the river mouth. Be aware of powerful seas, freak waves and rips. Enjoy spectacular views through the valley and witness the power of the Southern Ocean.

    Access: this trail starts at Snake Lagoon.

  • Weirs Cove Hike (1 hour, 3km)

    Experience the park’s maritime heritage and the challenges faced to deliver supplies to this remote location.

    Access: this trail starts at the Cape du Couedic day visitor area, or at Weirs Cove.

  • Cape du Couedic Hike (40 min loop, 2km)

    Spectacular coastal cliff top views and interpretive signs. Learn about the park’s coastal vegetation and maritime history.

    Access: this trail starts at the Cape du Couedic day visitor area.

  • Sandy Creek Hike (1 hour 30 mins return, 3km)

    4WD access only - Follow the banks of Sandy Creek across the creek bed and dunes to a remote beach. Be aware of powerful seas, freak waves and rips. Creek crossing required in wetter months.

    Access: this trail starts from the Sandy Creek car park on West Bay Road.

  • Cliff Top Hike (30 mins return, 1km)

    Dramatic cliff top views across Investigator Strait from the lookout.

    Access: This trail starts at the Cape Borda Lighthouse.

  • Return Road Hike (3 hrs, 9km)

    Experience our maritime heritage. Follow the track used to transport supplies and visit the lightkeepers’ cemetery.

    Access: this trail starts at the Cape Borda Lighthouse or Harvey’s Return Campground and day visitor area.

  • Ravine Hike (3 hrs, 7km)

    Explore the Valley of the Cassowaries, named after the now extinct dwarf emu. Take a shaded walk into the valley, then follow the river to a remote sandy beach.

    Access: this trail starts from the car park on Ravine Road, in the Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area.

Hard hikes

  • Harvey's Return Hike (1 hour, 1.5km)

    Follow the route used by the lightkeepers to haul supplies up the cliff and see significant geological formations of zebra schist rock.

    Access: this trail starts from Harvey’s Return Campground and day visitor area.

Treks

  • Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail (5 days, 61km)

    Nature's secrets are waiting to be discovered at every step of the 61 kilometre five-day trek, with the trail weaving its way through the most botanically unique area in all of South Australia before reaching the rugged, remote and spectacular coastline of the Southern Ocean.

    The unimaginable beauty of this part of the world has to be seen to be believed. Come and discover the magic for yourself.

Whale watching

Between mid-May and late October whales migrate from sub-Antarctic water to the comparatively warmer waters of the South Australian coast to calve and mate.  While our whale visitors are mostly southern right whales, we also have sightings of sperm whales, humpbacks, blue whales and the occasional orca. 

Flinders Chase National Park and Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area offer ideal vantage points to see these majestic creatures.  If you are visiting during whale season, keep an extra keen eye on the ocean at these following places

  • Cape du Couedic Lookout, Flinders Chase National Park

  • Weirs Cove Lookout, Flinders Chase National Park

  • Admirals Arch Lookout, Flinders Chase National Park

  • Cape Borda Lightstation, Flinders Chase National Park

  • Scott Cove Lookout, Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

Nature's secrets are waiting to be discovered at every step of the 61 kilometre five-day trek, with the trail weaving its way through the most botanically unique area in all of South Australia before reaching the rugged, remote and spectacular coastline of the Southern Ocean.

The unimaginable beauty of this part of the world has to be seen to be believed. Come and discover the magic for yourself.

Attractions

Flinders Chase Visitor Centre

Flinders Chase National Park Visitor Centre is an innovative information centre with an informative interpretive display where you can learn more about Kangaroo Island's diverse flora and fauna. Located at Rocky River, the building's design has been influenced by the area's landscape.

The friendly staff can provide you with extensive information about Flinders Chase National Park. You can also pay your park entry fees, book accommodation and obtain camping permits here. Sample some of the local food and wine at the Chase Café before exploring the visitor centre's interactive displays and informative panels featuring artwork by local artists.

Picnic facilities, gas BBQs and walking trails surround the Visitor Centre.

The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

Nature's secrets are waiting to be discovered at every step of the 61 kilometre five-day trek, with the trail weaving its way through the most botanically unique area in all of South Australia before reaching the rugged, remote and spectacular coastline of the Southern Ocean.

Visit the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail website for more information.

Remarkable Rocks

Visit the exquisite naturally sculptured Remarkable Rocks whose formation lies atop a remnant granite outcrop.

Admirals Arch

Located at Cape du Couedic, Admirals Arch is a beautiful natural rock arch that displays the power of the ocean and weathering which has shaped the coastline. This area is also home to a large breeding colony of long-nosed fur seals.

Cape Borda Lightstation

Take the Shackle Road self-guided drive from the Visitor Centre to Cape Borda. Once there, you can explore the Cape Borda Light station that sits upon towering cliffs overlooking Investigator Strait. To discover the maritime history of the area you can take a 45-minute tour of the lighthouse and museum. Don’t miss the cannon firing on the 12.30pm tour. Fees apply for guided tours and the self-guided walk around the site.

Mountain biking

You can ride your bike on roads open to the public. All walking trails within the park are for pedestrians only.

Flora

Fauna

In Flinders Chase National Park you can see a range of wildlife.   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.

Here are some of the animals you may encounter:

Kangaroo Island kangaroo
This kangaroo is smaller, darker and longer furred than its closest mainland relative. During the day they often rest under vegetation, coming out to graze in the early morning and late afternoon. Spot one in this park or at these alternative locations:

  • At Black Swamp at Flinders Chase National Park
  • At Grassdale in Kelly Hill Conservation Park. Park at the gate on the South Coast Road and follow the 2 km track to an open area near an old cottage.
  • Lathami Conservation Park and surrounding paddocks. Enter the park through the double gates around 3 km south east of the Stokes Bay Café along the North Coast Road.
  • On the Hog Bay Road from Prospect Hill to Baudin Beach. Take care when parking. Ensure your car is completely off the road when parked.

Tammar wallaby
These wallabies are nocturnal and are best seen at dawn and dusk. During the day Tammar wallabies rest in dense, low vegetation. They move through tunnels in the vegetation from their daytime shelters to grassed areas to feed in the evening. Spot one in this park or at these alternative locations:

  • At Grassdale in Kelly Hill Conservation Park. Park at the gate on the South Coast Road and follow the 2 km track to an open area near an old cottage.
  • Around the campsites and down towards the jetty at Vivonne Bay.
  • Along the D’Estrees Bay Road up to Wheatons Beach in Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park.
  • In the township at Nepean Bay, via Western Cove Road.
  • In Baudin Conservation Park. Access to the carpark is along Frenchmans Terrace and south along Binneys Track.

Short-beaked echidna
Echidnas are found across Kangaroo Island in all types of habitat.  Short-beaked echidnas are generally solitary, but during the breeding season from May–September male echidnas form trains behind females. Echidnas can be seen throughout Kangaroo Island, across all types of habitat.

Platypus
Kangaroo Island contains the only wild population of platypus in South Australia.  In the 1920s concerned conservationists recognised platypus were becoming endangered on the mainland of South Australia and consequently introduced them to Flinders Chase National Park.  Watch for platypus from the look outs located over the Rocky River along the Platypus Waterholes Walk in Flinders Chase National Park.

Australian sea-lion
The Australian sea-lion is one of the rarest seals in the world. Seal Bay Conservation Park is home to the world’s third largest breeding colony. 
Spot one in this park or at these alternative locations: Seal Bay Conservation Park on a guided tour.

Long-nosed fur seals
Long-nosed fur seals live along rocky shores around Kangaroo Island where they rest and breed in colonies. 
Spot them at Admirals Arch in Flinders Chase National Park.

Glossy black-cockatoo
Glossy black-cockatoos feed during the day returning to their nests at dusk. Spot one in this park or at these alternative locations:

Koala
Koalas were not on Kangaroo Island at the time of European settlement. In the 1920s conservationists released 18 koalas in Flinders Chase National Park to save their declining mainland population.  The population quickly established and their numbers rapidly increased and koalas moved across the island.  Koalas spends most of the day resting in a tree fork, usually climbing into the canopy around dusk to feed. Look for their ball-shape high in the canopy, or as they move between branches. Spot one in this park or at these alternative locations:

  • Grassdale in Kelly Hill Conservation Park. Park at the gate on the South Coast Road and follow the 2 km track to an open area near an old cottage.
  • The Heritage Walk that starts at the Flinders Chase National Park Visitor Centre.
  • The scenic walking trail along Cygnet River at Duck Lagoon, accessed via Kookaburra Road.

Heath goanna
Heath goannas are active during the day and are often seen basking in the sun. Spot one here or at these alternative locations

  • Along any walk in Flinders Chase National Park. Park staff at the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre can help select the right walk for you.
  • On the Hanson Bay Hike in Kelly Hill Conservation Park. This 18 km return hike passes through Grassdale Lagoon to Hanson Bay.
  • At Bales Bay in Seal Bay Conservation Park.

Cape Barren goose
Cape Barren geese can be seen on Kangaroo Island from autumn through to early spring. Spot one in this park or at these alternative locations:

  • The grassy areas near the entrance of Flinders Chase National Park, where they breed.

Whales

There has been 29 different types of whales recorded in South Australia. The most common are the southern right whale, humpback whale, sperm whale, blue whale and orca whale (killer whale).  Of these you are most likely to spot a southern right whale along the South Australian coast.

Southern right whale
Every year, between May to October, southern right whales gather along the southern coastline of Australia to mate and calve, before returning to sub-Antarctic waters to feed.

The southern right whale is a large whale which can grow up to 17.5 metres and weigh over 80 tons.  The vast majority of southern right whales are black in colour with distinctive white patterns on their heads that are calluses formed by small crustaceans known as 'whale lice'.  The patterns are visible at birth and are unique to each whale allowing researchers to identify individual whales. 

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. 

Safety

Bushwalking

Kangaroo Island's rugged coastline offers keen bushwalkers spectacular coastal scenery, pristine rivers, tracts of undisturbed native vegetation and opportunities to observe abundant and diverse wildlife. Most of the coast is very isolated and provides trekkers with a true wilderness experience. However, this isolation also means that good planning is essential to ensure that your trek is as enjoyable and safe as possible. Some parks are closed seasonally to protect threatened species during their breeding season. We recommend discussing any trekking plans with a Park Ranger. 

Essential trip preparation includes:

  • Sufficient water for the conditions
  • Protective clothing and footwear suitable for the activity and the season
  • Sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat
  • Food for the duration of the trip PLUS emergency rations and snacks
  • Nominating an emergency contact person
  • First-aid kit
  • Map, compass, torch, mirror

Be sure to familiarise yourself with any fire restrictions or park closures.

Remember to establish a point of contact. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. In the case of longer walks, write down your route and leave it with a responsible contact person. 

Provide as much information as possible to your designated responsible contact person. This includes:

  • List of participants
  • Dates
  • Daily trip log (start & finish points)
  • Planned route
  • Vehicle make, model, colour, registration
  • Knowledge of any pre-existing medical conditions of the participants
  • Communication / safety plan. Nominate how best they can contact you (mobile/satellite phone, radio, GPS, EPERB) and who they contact in case of your not returning.

Your responsible contact person can raise the alarm if you have not returned and/or contacted them by the time specified by you.

Camping

When camping in a National Park, it's important to remember the following:

  • Always let someone responsible know your travel plans, especially when travelling in remote areas. It's a good idea to let them know when you expect to return.
  • Check the weather forecast before you leave, including overnight temperatures on the Bureau of Meteorology. Even during very mild weather, the nights can get very cold. 
  • The quality and quantity of water cannot be guaranteed within parks. Please bring plenty of water and food to be self-sufficient.
  • Always camp in designated sites (where applicable) - do not camp beneath trees with overhanging branches, as they can drop without warning. It's also a good idea to check that there no insect nests nearby.
  • Check to make sure you're not camping in a natural waterway, flash floods can happen anytime.
  • If camp fires are permitted, you must bring your own firewood, as the collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Extinguish your camp fire with water (not sand or dirt) until the hissing sound stops.
  • Ensure that you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

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.

Whale watching

Maintaining the legal distance from marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and seals is important, both for our safety and that of the animals.

The animals may be seriously injured if they are struck by a vessel or frightened young may become separated from their mothers. Even if there is no contact, coming too close can disrupt feeding, breeding and migratory behaviours.

Regular water users should make themselves familiar with all the rules for interacting with marine mammals by viewing the National Parks and Wildlife (Protected Animals – Marine Mammals) Regulations 2010.

In the Water

  • Prescribed vessels (high-powered craft such as jet-skis, hydrofoils and boats used for water skiing or paragliding): Never closer than 300m.
  • Other vessels (for example, cabin cruisers, yachts, ‘tinnies’, inflatables, kayaks, wind surfers and kite surfers): No closer than 100m.
  • Other vessels within 300m of a whale: No anchoring; maximum speed 4 knots; maximum time 60 minutes.
  • Swimmers (including surfers and boogie boarders): No closer than 30m.

On Land

  • No closer than 30m (or 50m if the whale is distressed, stranded or entangled)

In the air

  • Planes and remotely piloted aircrafts (drones) must be at least 300m from any whale or other marine mammal (additional Civil Aviation Safety Authority restrictions apply).
  • Helicopters and gyrocopters must be at least 500m from any whale or other marine mammal.

 Special rules exist for:

  • whale calves: all vessels and swimmers – no closer than 300m
  • distressed, stranded or entangled whales: all vessels and swimmers – no closer than 300m

Water

Beware of freak waves.

Strong currents and rips can make swimming dangerous in this area.

Do not climb on, or fish from slippery rocks. 

4WD

West Bay Road between Snake Lagoon Track and West Bay Campground is 4WD access only.

When 4WDriving in the park, it is important to be aware of the following:

  • Standard road rules apply when driving anywhere in the park, including the laws for speed limits, drink driving, vehicle registration and seat belts.
  • Take extreme care when driving in the park – be aware of blind corners, crests and narrow two-way tracks.
  • Observe all track and safety signs, especially 'No public access' signs.
  • Do not take your vehicle off the designated tracks. Wildlife can be threatened and precious habitat and indigenous sites can be damaged by off track driving.
  • Make sure you know what to do in the event of getting bogged and always carry a shovel.
  • When driving on sand, deflate your tyres as appropriate for your vehicle. Don’t forget to reinflate your tyres to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure before leaving the park. Take care when lowering tyre pressure as there is risk you could roll the tyre off its rim. Also, remember that lower tyre pressure can mean a change in how the vehicle handles.

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, 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.

Fauna

Follow these tips to optimise the experience for yourself and our precious wildlife.

Observe don’t interact

  • Always put the animals’ welfare first.
  • Move slowly and quietly and keep at least 20 m away.
  • Turn off your mobile phone.
  • Use binoculars for that close-up view.
  • Observe the animals without interacting; do not try to touch them, play with them or pursue them.
  • If the animal’ change their behaviour while you are watching them you are probably too close; retreat slowly and give them more space.
  • When photographing wildlife turn your flash off and use natural light instead to protect their eyes.

Drive safely
Wildlife is active at night. Animals are blinded by bright lights, so slow down, dip your lights and take time to observe the wildlife. During the day watch out for goannas and snakes basking on warm roads and birds and echidnas foraging along road edges.

Keep wildlife wild
Human foods can cause illness and death to wildlife so please do not feed them. Feeding wildlife also interrupts their natural patterns of behaviour, which are essential for their survival in the bush.

Snake safety
Snakes live all over South Australia and many of the world's most venomous snakes are found in Australia.  If you see a snake in the wild, always assume it is venomous and leave it alone. Snakes are not likely to chase you, so it’s best to leave them be.  When walking in national parks and reserves, stick to the trails and make a bit of noise when you walk.  For more information, visit our blog ‘What to do if you see a snake in the wild’.

Injured wildlife
To report injured wildlife phone Natural Resources Kangaroo Island on (08) 8553 4444 or notify parks staff.

Maps

Park maps

Maps on your mobile

If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza PDF Map app and have interactive national park maps on hand when you need them.

The app uses your device's built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos and drop placemark pins. 

How to get it working on your device:

1. Download the Avenza PDF maps app from the app store whilst you are still in range (its free!).
2. Open up the app and click the shopping cart icon.
3. Click ‘Find’ and type the name of the national park or reserve you are looking for.
4. Click on the map you are after and install it (all our maps are free).
5. You will now find a list of your installed maps on the home page of the Avenza app.
6. Use our maps through the Avenza PDF map app while in the park and never take a wrong turn again.

Fees

Entry fees

Fees apply for individual entry and camping in this park. Please book and pay for entry fees online before arrival.

If you are planning a trip for a school group or other large group, please ensure you let the park know of your intentions.

Where can I book and pay in person?

If you are unable to book and pay online you can do so, in person, at these booking agents across the state.

Kangaroo Island Tour Pass

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

Camping

Campsites need to be booked prior to arrival.

Click through to the online booking page for more details about individual campgrounds and fees.

Book online

Book online to reserve your campsite up to 12 months in advance.

FAQs about booking online

Book and pay in person

If you are unable to book and pay online you can do so, in person, at these booking agents across the state.

School groups and large Groups 

If you are planning a trip for a school group or other large group, please ensure you let the park know of your intentions.

For camping and booking enquiries please contact: 

Phone: (+61 8) 8553 4471
Email: FlindersChase@sa.gov.au

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

Please visit the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail website for fee and booking information. 

Accommodation

Rocky River - Mays Homestead (sleeps 6, includes linen)

Price, per night, up to 2 people: $176.50
Additional adult per night: $30.50
Additional child per night: $15.00
(Discount available during off-peak, between 1st May - 31st August)

Minimum stay during peak periods: 2 nights

Rocky River - Postman's Cottage (sleeps 4, includes linen)

Price, per night, up to 2 people: $76.50
Additional person per night: $26.50
(Discount available during off-peak, between 1st May - 31st August)

Minimum stay during peak periods: 2 nights

Cape du Couedic - Karatta, Parndana, Troubridge Lodges (each sleeps 7, includes linen)

Price, per night, up to 2 people: $225.00
Additional adult per night: $30.00
Additional child per night: $15.00
(Discount available during off-peak, between 1st May - 31st August)

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

Accommodation bookings and enquiries

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

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.

PDF Park Brochure