Monday, September 12, 2011

Flinders Chase National Park

Flashing back 24 hours we take you to one of two posts on our further adventures on Kangaroo Island. This is the lighthouse at the western end of the island, built to help sailors navigate the rather treacherous waters. It was built after several catastrophic accidents, although judging from the dates of some accidents we aren't sure how much the lighthouse helped. There seemed to be just as many after it was constructed as there were before, but maybe that's just because there was more ship traffic? Anyway, this was constructed in 1909 and its lights could be seen 27 miles out to sea.

About the western twenty percent of Kangaroo Island is set aside for conservation as Flinder's Chase National Park. It is beautiful, and full of great views, camp sites, walking trails, etc. The two main attractions for people just looking to do a day trip (i.e. us) are the Admiral's Arch and the Remarkable Rocks. Much like the Remarkable Cave in Tasmania, the Australians seem to favor very literal names for things. "Well, gee, Carl, those are some remarkable looking rocks over there. What do you think we should call 'em?"

This picture was taken on the walk down to Admiral's Arch which is on a small little outskirt of rock on the far southwestern end of the island.

And here are the rocks below. No wonder they needed a lighthouse.

Behold! Admiral's Arch! This picture does not do it justice at all. It's a giant limestone arch that's been carved out of the rock by the wind and sea. Based on the gale force winds we walked through trying to get there we were not suprised at all. Also, it seemed to be THE hangout for seals, as they were lounging on rocks all over the place. Admiral's Arch- beautiful, but thanks to all of the seals, not the best smelling place we've ever been.

After leaving the Arch it was only a short drive to the Remarkable Rocks. Here they are on the approach.

We were in for a totally unexpected surprise. You can actually walk up and touch them! This would never happen in the States. There is just a sign that says, "Hey, have fun, these rocks are awesome, but just so you know there is a sheer cliff on the other side, so you probably shouldn't walk past certain points." Then to drive the point home, they tell the story of how three people died trying to save a guy who walked too far out and fell off a few years ago. Australians are not a people to sugar-coat things.

Duly warned and observant of how far to walk it was time for silly pictures!
Greg trapped underneath a rock. It's not looking good for him.  He should have stayed farther away.

This is Laurel's alter ego, the Rock Gremlin, popping up out of nowhere to say, "Hello!"

These rocks were formed by volcanic action pushing some granite and rock up through the Earth's surface. At first it would have been just a smooth dome, but all that wind and water and salt over the last thousands of years have eroded it into these fantastic rock shapes.

Good thing Greg was here or this rock might have tipped over. They have a very cool display based on a photograph of this particular rock that demonstrates the continual erosion happening here. They have a photo of some English couple from 1920ish standing in front of this overhang, and you can tell that since that time a foot or so of rock is gone. They estimate that in another couple hundred years, these rocks will be all gone.

Laurel and the Great Southern Ocean behind.  Brr...

More cool rocks.

So, yeah, this was amazingly beautiful, and it was really fun to be able to walk in and amongst the rocks. A really pleasant surprise that may have been the highlight of the whole trip. We highly recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. I just typed a long comment, and then wiped it out accidentally when I hit the backspace. Crap. Never mind what I was thinking. It wasn't important enough to do over. :-(