Walking at Trousers Point
If there is one walk which showcases all the goodness of Flinders Island, then the Trousers Point walk is it. Pristine beaches in gorgeous bays, and vistas of mountains and uninhabited islands make this a walk to be savoured. But be warned - you can easily spend longer here than intended.
The first thing about the walk which caught my attention was the name. Why trousers? The name may have been inspired by sailor Richard Burgess having been washed ashore here from the wreck of the Sarah Blanche in 1872 - alive, but missing his trousers. Or it may commemorate a box of trousers being washed ashore from the wreck of the Cambridgeshire in 1875. I like to think it was both; the washing ashore of surplus trousers nicely balances the trouser shortage suffered by the sailor.
Whatever the story, all the descriptions and photos I saw of Trousers Point suggested it would be a great place to experience the coastal splendour I had come to Flinders Island to enjoy.
Getting there is straightforward; from the island's main settlement of Whitemark the drive is an easy 16km. It is simply a matter of following the signs towards the Strzelecki National Park, where a signposted right turn up a good gravel road leads to a small parking area - and a small camping area with a toilet.
A few steps up some rocks rewarded me with a glorious panorama of Trousers Point Beach. Inviting waters in many shades of blue, encircled by a crescent of sparkling clean sand, with the delightfully rugged Strzelecki peaks as a backdrop. Not bad! Further south across the waters loomed mountainous Cape Barren Island, the largest neighbour of Flinders.
Walking on the beach revealed plenty of picturesque rocks, and an absence of human footprints. I could see why this place is popular in the warmer months, but in the off season it is very under-used. It has the sort of remote and secluded ambience that people in crowded cities dream of ... although that could be said of much of Flinders Island.
I could have soaked up the solitude for hours, but there was a walk to do! I set off through the deserted camping area towards the walk trail, but soon became sidetracked by a small secluded beach which looked so gorgeous it just had to be visited. More charming vistas of distant islands framed by pristine beach scenery with just the gentle sounds of nature - very satisfactory.
Eventually I resumed the walk I had come here for. It began with a small section of forest - secluded and sheltered - then emerged atop a granite headland with panoramic views westwards across the sea. Once more I had to pause to soak in the scenery.
Most of the walk from Trousers Point to Fotheringate Beach traverses this headland, however the views vary. One moment you're enjoying commanding views over Bass Strait; the next you're passing through sheltered pockets of coastal heath, sometimes with small trees. The distinctive Mt Chappell Island is a distant but constant companion, and you're never far from interesting cliffs and rock formations.
Official walk descriptions warn against leaving the track. However, with care - especially if windy or wet - some delightful nooks and crannies can be found. I enjoyed some random exploring which rewarded me with charming pools of water and lovely vantage points. Great for photography ... and also just sitting and contemplating.
It may have been a cool winters day, but I managed to get hot and sweaty walking in a T-shirt ... the power of the sun should never be underestimated in Australia, even in the southern winter. I became grateful for the stiff sea breeze.
Finally I arrived at Fotheringate Beach - another gorgeous crescent of sand at the far end of the track. A picnic table overlooking the scenic bay served as a welcome lunch spot, and limestone formations motivated me to spend more time exploring ... and just soaking up the away-from-it-all feeling.
A gravel road provides a more direct and quicker return to Trousers Point, but unless time is pressing I'd recommend returning back along the coastal walk trail. The view can look a little different in the other direction, especially if the weather and lighting has changed, as it often does on Flinders Island.
The return walk is said to take one and a half hours, but with time for exploring and photography, and just contemplating the changing views, I had no trouble using up four hours. It was this time blowout which changed my strategy for exploring the island.
I had come to Flinders Island with well researched plans for seeing the whole island ... efficiently, and with no scenic spot unvisited. The Trousers Point walk changed that. I became less concerned with hurrying to tick boxes of places seen, and more content to slow down and fully relish the beauty of wherever I was. Even if it did mean not having time to go everywhere. Unspoiled nature has a way of dissolving humans' sense of urgency.
The beaches and walk at Trousers Point not only showcased the coastal beauty of Flinders Island; they helped me chill out inside. If my resulting slower pace meant I didn't get to see everywhere I wanted, then that just gives me an excuse to return ... and if I do, a big chunk of time will be set aside for walking at Trousers Point.
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