The western end of Kangaroo Island was heavily affected by the bushfires. 96 per cent of Flinders Chase National Park and the adjoining Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area was burnt, and 98 per cent of Kelly Hill Conservation Park was burnt.
Before the bushfires, Flinders Chase attracted over 120,000 visitors each year – at peak times up to 1000 visitors a day.The iconic Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch and Cape de Couedic are open for park visitors to enjoy. The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail has reopened to day walkers via tour operators as a special Fire Recovery Experience. For more information on things to see and do in Flinders Chase visit the Parks SA Website.
Reimagine Engagement Program
This once in a lifetime planning opportunity to reimagine the visitor experience for KI Parks involved community and stakeholders in a wide-reaching and collaborative process the outcomes of which became a vision, key themes, guiding principles and opportunities for the connected parks and wilderness areas at the Western end of Kangaroo Island.
The first phase of engagement involved focus group session. These were about big picture, visionary ideas and guiding principles – not decision-making. We wanted to gather insights about what park users, stakeholders and visitors would potentially like to see in future, identify parameters and issues for consideration and understand likely benefits and interrelationships with the local community, economy and environment. Representatives from stakeholder groups including, but not limited to, Friends of Parks, tourism operators, primary producers, local businesses, park visitors, local parks staff and more have participated in a series of focus group sessions to reimagine the visitor experience across both the western Kangaroo Island parks and Seal Bay. We have also held one on one and small group meetings and held drop-in sessions.
Following the focus group sessions, two Community Reference Groups were established(one for the western Kangaroo Island parks, one for Seal Bay) with membership comprising a representative cross-section of focus group participants. These Community Reference Groups worked through and refined the ideas raised and the key themes heard from almost 600 community members and stakeholders through our engagement activities. The end product was two documents – one for the Western end Kangaroo Island parks and one for Seal Bay - that summarise a vision, key themes, guiding principles, opportunities and ideas.
With phase one and two of the engagement program now complete, careful consideration is being given to the community input and final framework documents from the reference groups as we develop the master plan for a reimagined visitor experience for KI parks.
Upcoming construction activity
In the first quarter of 2021, visitors to Flinders Chase National Park will see the following construction activity:
- The rebuild of the Remarkable Rocks boardwalk, commencing 11 January – May 2021. The boardwalk will be rebuilt with updated materials that are non-slip and more durablefor the harsh weather conditions. During the construction, the Rocks will continue to be accessible to visitors via the temporary path.
- The surface of the main road through Flinders Chase was impacted by the 2020 bushfire and requires resealing. Roadwork will commence on 25 January 2021 and will be completed by March. There may be some delays when driving through the park, staff will be able to provide advice on entry.