Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch of Kangaroo Island

Remarkable Rocks
"Famous Rocks of Australia"... Now, there's a tour you don't often hear about. The morning after we left Uluru (Ayers Rock) and flew to Kangaroo Island, the kids wanted to know what we had planned for the day. "We're visiting another rock," we told them. Tops on our list was Flinders Chase National Park on the western side of the island which is a good place to see wildlife and geological formations such as Remarkable Rocks.

"Oh boy! Geological formations! Tell us more! Take us there immediately!" the kids exclaimed... in my imagination. Their actual response was more like, "But we did something yesterday. How about we just lie around the cabin and annoy each other?" to paraphrase the conversation.  Despite their protests, we headed off for the park, and I'm going to have to say that it turned out to be an excellent (and relatively complaint-free) visit.

After stopping by the Visitors Centre for a quick overview of the area's natural history, we first started down the road to Admirals Arch. The Cape de Couedic lighthouse, 25 meters (75 feet) tall and first lit in 1909, looms over the waters. The lighthouse is not open to the public, but you can book a room at one of the three cottages originally built as lodging for the lighthouse keepers. For many of its early years, this lighthouse was inaccessible by land. Supplies were brought in by boat and hauled up the cliffside with a flying fox.

Cape de Couedic Lighthouse

As we hiked down the boardwalk leading from the parking lot, I had no idea that we were actually walking over the arch to the get to the viewing platform. The sound of the crashing waves and the clear turquoise waters beaten to a frothy white by the churning surf was the first thing that caught my senses. This area is home to a colony of New Zealand fur seals, and we were delighted to see them resting on the rocks and frolicking in the water. They held everyone's attention for longer than I expected.

Gazing down through the clear turquoise waters at the rocky bottom
How many New Zealand fur seals can you spot? 

There were 4 fur seals. Did you get all of them?

There must have been over 100 New Zealand fur seals in this area.

Circling down around the cliff face, we finally came to the famous Admirals Arch. Part of me wishes we had come at sunset when the rocks are bathed in a golden glow, but that would have meant a long drive back to our cabin dodging wild kangaroos in the dark.

Admirals Arch is carved out of volcanic rock and has stalactites across its ceiling.
More fur seals rest on the other side.

Vegetation adapted to the salty air holds tight to the rocky earth.

Back on the main road, it was 4 km east over rolling hills to reach Remarkable Rocks. At the crests, you could see them off in the distance.

Remarkable Rocks on the granite dome rising 75 meters up from the ocean.

Remarkable Rocks are granite boulders made up of bluish quartz, black mica and pinkish feldspar. Rainwater worked its way down through the rocks and carved them into pieces. From there, more rain and wind eroded bits and pieces as the years went by.

Remarkable Rocks - Doesn't it look like Modern Art?

As far as my kids were concerned, this was one giant playground perfect for climbing and a game of hide-and-seek. It seemed that lots of other children had the same idea. So, you can go right ahead and attribute the erosion to both the forces of nature as well as youngsters' feet.

Relaxing in a rock cave

We headed back up the boardwalk to the car and returned to the Visitors Centre for lunch at The Chase Cafe. I was expecting something akin to a mere snack bar, but they have an extensive menu and offer local wines. More importantly, they are one of the few dining options on this side of the island. A dinosaur fossil dig pit is next to the alfresco dining patio if you need to give your young ones a little time to unwind.

A tiny bird perched outside the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre

  • Flinders Chase National Park is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, but day visitors must leave at sunset.
  • The Visitors Centre is open 9AM-5PM daily. Closed on Christmas day.
  • For current entry prices, click here. Buy your pass at the Visitors Centre.
  • The Chase Cafe is open 9AM-3PM for breakfast and lunch. Coffee and cakes served until 5PM. Closed on Christmas Day.
  • Both Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks have parking lots with a wooden boardwalk leading to the main site. They are partially wheelchair accessible.
  • Toilets are available at the Visitors Centre and Remarkable Rocks. Admirals Arch does not have toilet facilities.
  • Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch are some of the most popular spots on Kangaroo Island, and many tours stop here. Go early or late in the day to avoid crowds.

Panoramic view of Remarkable Rocks

Related Posts:
Kangaroo Island Highlights (YouTube)
Kangaroo Island's Koala Walk
It's the Great Penguin, Charlie Brown
Major Fail: Sitting Together on the Airplane
The Allure of Uluru (Ayers Rock)

This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday on Budget Travelers Sandbox,"Oh, The Places I've Been!" on The Tablescaper and Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom? Check them out for more around the world travel inspiration.


  1. Wow, Rocks are looking like the great masterpieces! such a fabulous series of the amazing rocks. love its, specially 7th picture..
    Great post, Indeed.

  2. What a cool area and so full of wildlife, glad you circled those black spots I wouldn't have known those were seals. Looks like a fun place to hike around.

  3. Hi Michelle,
    The Remarkable Rocks certainly live up to their name. Look like modern abstract sculptures indeed. The rock cave looks like a lot of fun; no wonder it was big hit with the kids. I love the color of the vegetation; gives a nice contrast to the rugged surrounding. Glad to hear the kids enjoyed the trip. I really enjoyed your lovely photos.

  4. I think this is a day that we would enjoy. I enjoy watching seals and those rocks look remarkable :)

  5. Wildlife and plenty of rocks for climbing sounds like one great day with the kids. Admiral Arch and those Remarkable Rocks are amazing. They look like they came from Dali's paintings. Those are huge especially after seeing people next to them. Love that panoramic shot!

  6. I am fascinated by rocks, big and little, and how different they are. We just returned from Iceland which is made up largely of volcanic rocks that were amazing. Love your adventure.

  7. What a great way to spend a day - and it looked like your kids had fun though I can relate to your comments about we've seen rocks already. I love the rocks, the vegetation ,the wildlife - and a decent bit of food at the end sounds like the proverbial icing on the cake.

  8. How gorgeous! I always love a lighthouse shot, and those rocks formations really could pass for modern art!

  9. I'm a rock person - I like to paint them. These rocks - their forms and starkness they have about them - reminds me of the skulls Georgia O'Keefe painted. They're beautiful and intriguing!
    Thanks for visiting me earlier!

  10. Very interesting shapes in rocks.

  11. Those rocks really are remarkable, great photos... and really enjoyed this post, we've never been down to Kangaroo Island. It's great to get a real family travel insight.

  12. So many neat things to see here. Things you don't see everywhere. TFS!


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