Strzelecki National Park
Visit magnificent park sitting of the southern side of remote Flinders Island.
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Strzelecki National Park
RegionThis towering Park sits on the southern side of the remote Flinders Island and serves as a sanctuary for rare and endangered plant and animal species. It’s granite peaks and wild coasts are covered in Tasmanian blue gum, tea tree, sassafras-musk rain forests and orchids. Wombats, Bennett’s wallabies, Tasmanian pademelons, cute potoroos and more than 100 bird species make their homes in this remote stretch of land.
But wildlife spotting is just the beginning in the Strzelecki National Park. There are a number of walks carved into this thunderous landscape that vary from the easy and flat to the well-graded and difficult. Intrepid hikers can even challenge themselves to the Strzelecki Peaks where they’ll be rewarded with panoramic views from the 756-meter summit; the highest point on Flinders Island.
Getting ThereThis beautiful little National Park sits on the southern side of Flinders Island which is the main island of the Furneaux Group. The group consists of 54 islands in the Bass Strait and they all sit Northeast of mainland Tasmania. There is obviously no driving to Strzelecki National Park.
But getting to the park is half the fun. There are only two ways to Flinders Island from mainland Tasmania. The first is by boarding a flight on Sharp Airlines in the inland city of Launceston where the 35-minute flight will take you to Whitemark. Or you can choose to board a weekly barge on Furneaux Freight from the town of Bridport. The barge docs at the port of Lady Barron.
Cars are available for hire at the airport from two different companies. It is recommended that you reserve your vehicle before arriving on Flinders Island. The rental car company representatives will meet you at the airport, give you a map of the island and set you on your way. You can also freight your own bicycle to the island on Sharp Airlines or Furneaux Freight. The island is the perfect size for someone with a lot of biking experience. The drive from the airport in Whitemark to the park takes about 25 minutes spanning 21 kilometres along the West Coast of Flinders Island.
SizeStrzelecki National Park is about 42 km² and consumes most of the southernmost tip of Flinders Island.
Attractions and ActivitiesHiking trails are abundant in the park. The most famous of which is the Strzelecki Peaks Track. This six-kilometre return hike ascends steep grades to the highest point on Flinders Island. You’ll traverse through forested slopes and giant fern gullies on your way to a panoramic vantage point. Always carry wet gear as the island’s weather can change quickly and rain is always a threat. The weather becomes even more unpredictable near the summit.
Beach walks can take you down to the pristine waters off of Flinders Island. A well-marked track at Trousers Point camping ground takes you through woodland and coastal heathland before bringing you to a breathtaking beach. Another track north of Trousers Points takes you to the beautiful Fotheringate Bay. Or you can choose to walk along the beach across the entire southern reaches of the park and Flinders Island, but it would likely require an overnight stay on the sand.
With over 114 recorded species of bird on Flinders Island, birdwatching is incredibly popular at Strzelecki National Park. After renting your car at the Flinders Island Airport, headed to the Emita Museum where you can pick up a booklet entitled The Birds of Flinders Island. And bring your binoculars.
Sea kayaking can take experienced boaters to untouched beaches, through pristine inlets and too many smaller offshore islands. Just remember that the Bass Strait is unforgiving and has a well-earned reputation for being dangerous. Always boat in groups and it is helpful to have a guide.
Flinders Island sits right in the teeth of the Roaring Forties which brings strong winds and the cleanest air on earth. When the winds died down, you’ll find many rock climbers out in the park. There are numerous short climbs with one cliff in the park rising more than 230 metres.
Geological features, Environment and ClimateThis park contains the most extensive area of undeveloped vegetation in northeastern Tasmania. It is dominated by Devonian granite massifs which were formed approximately 370 million years ago. The Rocky granite headland gives way to Quaternary Sands that create the beaches, dunes, ridges and flats in the park. You’ll have to watch your feet as granite boulders pop up through these shallow sandy soil areas along the coastlines.
You’ll find dense tea tree forests full of sheoaks and Tasmanian blue gum as well as Oyster Bay Pine. White gum and Smithton peppermint can also be found on the lower and middle slopes of the granite peaks. You also run into some sassafras-musk rainforest in the wetter gullies. But the most spectacular vegetation on the island has to be the immense number of orchids that are threatened due to the feeding of feral pigs.
Flinders Island features a mild oceanic climate. You can count on the air being cool but never very cold with whipping winds. It rains a bit on Flinders Island with the summers being drier than the winters. But the whipping winds can change the weather dramatically so always plan accordingly.
Wildlife and BirdsIt’s not difficult to find the wildlife in Strzelecki National Park. Just drive around at dusk and you’ll see wombats, Bennett’s wallabies, Tasmanian pademelons, and potoroos crossing the roads. The wildlife in this remote Park is abundant and seemingly unafraid of human activity.
But the birdlife is truly spectacular. With over 114 recorded bird species on Flinders Island, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of rare and endemic birds such as the Swift parrot, forty-spotted pardalote, grey-tailed tattler and hooded plover.
Facilities and CampingFlinders Island is a popular travel destination so it is covered in commercial accommodation. The only camping you’ll find in the park is permitted at Trousers Point. There you’ll find basic facilities such as a composting toilet, rainwater tank, fireplace pits, picnic tables, cleared areas for tents, rubbish bins and information displays.
HistoryCaptain Tobias Furneaux’s crew were the first Europeans to set foot on Flinders Island back in 1773. Flinders is just one island in a chain of islands named the Furneaux Group. A few years later, The Sydney Cove wrecked on Flinders Island with a cargo full of rum on route to Calcutta. Matthew Flinders hopped off the boat to explore the island which would eventually be exploited for sealing.
A road to the area which would become the national park was carved in 1914. It was later developed in the 1950s and proclaimed a national park in 1967. It was named in honor of the Polish scientist Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki who climbed to the park’s peaks in 1842.