As the Castle Rock bushwalk is one of the three Tas Parks “60 Great Short Walks” in Tasmania on Flinders Island, I expected this to be a scenic track… and it didn’t disappoint!
I was dropped off at the start of the walk near Allports Beach, during our week-long stay on Flinders Island. It’s easy to find the start, and the rest of the family is meeting me at the other end. The track starts a little inland with small orange markers pointing the way to the coast, which is quickly reached.
After about half a kilometre the first “beach”, consisting of many small boulders, is traversed: one of the attractions of the island is the variety of landscapes found along the coast, from soft (“normal”) sand to ground quartz and miniature boulders.
The track then diverts inland along a wide 4WD track for a few hundred metres, before a set of wooden steps that leads down to Old Jetty Beach Beach (also, incorrectly, called Emita Beach).
It’s an easy stroll along the beach, then up and over the headland at the end.
After the headland (and a small, rocky bay) is Emita Beach, another secluded and desolate beach. At high tide or stormy weather this section could get a bit tricky, but with calm seas and a fairly low tide I can easily skirt around some of the granite slabs and rocks that jut into the beach.
Looking back, I can still see my starting point in the distance, a few beaches away. I’ve covered about 2km, with another 2km to go.
There’s a great view from this half-way headland: a typical Flinders Island outlook of sea, sand and some dramatic, weathered sandstone formations.
There’s now another landscape change, with the track leaving the coast and winding through coastal grassland. Looking inland to the east, there’s many kilometres of native grasses and farming land, with Mulligans Hill Conservation area in the far distance.
There’s three final, adjoining beaches before Castle Rock, which is now visible in the distance. These beaches don’t seem to have a name, but are referred to as FI79, FI80 and FI81. Very imaginative. Behind the three beaches are two kilometres of dunes which are up to 38m in elevation.
Finally, I reach Castle Rock, an imposing, monolithic boulder on the end of the headland.
From here, you can return to the start the same way. Or, just beyond the rock if you continue along the beach you can join a 4WD track that takes you around to the end of the next beach (Marshall Beach). This is accessible by a 2WD road, and there’s a sall car parking area.